Indonesia’s place in the global jungle

I have loved Indonesia from my first night there hitching into Jakarta with the Herald Tribune correspondent, drinking with German landscape gardeners and being introduced to a huge bunch of locals in a bar. Even being thrown out of the hotel the next day couldn’t break my mood.  Each trip back merely confirms that I will move out to live in such a great wonderland in a few years. Its huge diversity excites me, with delicious food, friendly people and a certain adventurousness, it continues to pull me in. It is also a growing country with huge potential and I want to be part of it.

Below the Economist blogger Banyan outlines part of Indonesia’s future.

Its people agree that their democratic country should play a bigger global role; but what?

BY DINT of size, population and potential wealth, Indonesia has long loomed large over its own backyard. The archipelago nation bestrides the world’s busiest sea lanes. Some 231m Indonesians account for two-fifths of the population of ASEAN, the ten-country Association of South-East Asian Nations. A young and reasonably educated population offers perennial promise, as do vast deposits of oil, gas and minerals, forests and palm-oil plantations. For all that ASEAN operates according to its famed consensus, Indonesia has been its stealth leader.

More here

Yeah Whatever Suckers!!!

>“Hands up all those who are already bored of Newcastle? If the relegation of the Prem’s most soap-opera like club had a downside, it was that we here in the Championship would be saddled with endless pieces bewailing, bemoaning and analysing their fall from grace, with a cynical and tedious presumption that the rest of us give a damn. Having been here before with Leeds, it’s just dull. And, like Leeds, we have to suffer endless solemn pronouncements about how “the best fans in the country don’t deserve this”. Actually, they do. In fact, apart from Leeds, I can’t think of a single group of fans who deserve it *more. Their tendency to idolise former players and managers to deity status is as annoying as it is delusional – especially when you look at these idols. Alan Shearer. Kevin Keegan. Malcolm flipping MacDonald. And this goes way back. I bet even Wor (or however it is you spell it) Jackie was an annoying thug as well. As for their prospects, I confidently expect them to blunder around the mid-reaches of the league with a sort of bewildered expression gradually replaced by petulance and then heart-rending sobbing as the realisation dawns: they’re not in Kansas any more. Too bloody right they’re not.

Prediction: 8th”

When I thought pre-season about the Championship , I said I wanted us to go up in style, to go to teams and we win convincingly. And we have. Best points for me have been the big players who could have left have come through and played for the team, the manager and the fans. Championship football is more honest and I have been to different grounds this year where supporters turn up and support and don’t moan. i.e. genuine fans.

We look good for next year and should have no real issues staying up with the strength at the back and in the middle. We create enough to score goals, hoping Andy Carroll will stay and need to start well.

I imagine Hughton will stay in the job simply because Ashley is unlikely to provide the money that a new, big manager would want. And we’ve had enough of big managers over the last decade. Ashley deserves some credit for keeping his distance and staying calm and providing some funds in January which Hughton has used excellently.

Thanks Hughton, the squad, the fans, Ashley and the Championship. Howay the Premier League. 🙂

A Review of the classic novel Striker by Steve Bruce


“Finding words to describe this book is difficult, especially as I am not myself gifted with the innovative, nay – ground breaking vocabulary, or crafty word play/poetry of Bruce.

That Bruce has spent so much of his life on the football pitch and not behind his typewriter should be a tragedy for literature – but he skillfully, stealthfully works his years of experience on the pitch into this crime novella resulting in a story which will delight fans of murder and lower division football alike. Looking for a comparison? Nothing bears comparison, though think Graham Greene / Harry Harris lovechild and you are somewhere near. The spelling mistakes are alright after a bit you don’t notice them, anyway you’ll finish the bloody thing in half an hour,you’ll never forget it though. I had to show this book to my mates, it’s unbelievably funny for me to imagine Steve Bruce actually writing this thing, you have to read it to believe it.

Buy this book I think some of the money might go to Huddersfield Town, and you will never look at Bruce the same way again.”

I have thought this for a long time

I have thought this for a long time. Spending seems to be driven pride and some delusions of grandeur which should have been clear after the Falklands Wars or the mere support we actually give in major operations. Below, admittedly an Army general gives his views on the realities of British defence capability.

Full speech is on the pdf link at the bottom of this link . The BBC report is below.

Ministers will have to cut back all but the most essential defence projects to meet a funding shortfall, a former head of the armed forces has warned.

General Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank told the Centre for Policy Studies that a stronger Army was the priority. He said plans for two new aircraft carriers should be scrapped, the RAF order for Typhoon jets cut, and the nuclear deterrent scaled back. His comments came ahead of a strategic defence review after the election.

In a speech, Lord Guthrie also called for the Ministry of Defence’s “bloated” bureaucracy to be radically reduced and suggested it was “not fit for purpose”.
He said there would inevitably be “winners and losers” in the strategic defence review, whichever party formed the next government. “The problem is too big to massage, to trim, to rely on efficiency savings and a prayer,” he said.

Lord Guthrie said the priority was to strengthen the UK’s land forces. “The threats of the present, and the future, point to the need for more troops, not less. This will mean that cuts have to be found elsewhere in the budget,” he said. “Land operations are likely to be by far the most important operations we will undertake. “Peacekeeping, counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism are all manpower-intensive. Manpower is expensive but is what we need now.”

Lord Guthrie said the Royal Navy would be better off with a larger fleet of smaller ships instead of investing in new aircraft carriers. He said the RAF had ordered 232 Typhoons – but rarely needed more than a dozen fighters on recent operations. More helicopters, transport aircraft and unmanned drones could have been bought, he added. Lord Guthrie also suggested that cheaper systems such as cruise missiles could replace the UK’s current submarine-based Trident nuclear deterrent.

He criticised the Ministry of Defence over its procurement programme, saying: “Dr John Reid, when he moved from defence to the Home Office, questioned whether it was fit for purpose. Could he have asked the same question of the MoD?”

Lord Guthrie was chief of the defence staff when the previous strategic defence review was held in 1998.