No Saint Nick

By Marcus Dysch
December 22, 2009

Nick Clegg’s track-record on Israel is well-known. This is the party leader who did not even realise Israel was a Jewish state.

Given such form, perhaps his comment piece in the Guardian this morning should come as no surprise.

This is the party leader who refuses to deal with Jenny Tonge. The man who calls for a suspension of arms sales to Israel.

The papers are also full of stories this morning proclaiming Clegg’s elevation to the top table of British politics as part of the 'leaders debate' panel for the election alongside the current Prime Minister and likely next Prime Minister.

But the voters are not fooled. Clegg is likely to preside over a disastrous set of results for the Lib Dems in the elections, both general and local. He struggles to command widespread support even within his own party.

The public, regardless of whether they are Lib Dem supporters, are far more inclined to back, and respect, previous leaders Charles Kennedy or Sir Menzies Campbell, vastly prefer the lovable Vince Cable and no doubt some time next year will be seeing Chris Huhne standing in the Commons representing the party after the election.

The sooner Mr Clegg is dispatched to the dustbin of history, the better.


Jonathan Hoffman

Wed, 12/23/2009 - 19:00

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Clegg writes “The extremely high nitrate level in the water supply is leaving thousands of newborn babies at risk of poisoning.”

This is disingenuous as this article on CiFWatch shows.

First the ‘poisoning’ is a deliberately emotive word which conjures up pictures of babies dying. The risk is not of that. It is of methemoglobinemia, or ‘blue baby syndrome’ which is rarely fatal. Moreover according to an October 2009 BBC report (cited in the CiFWatch piece) “the World Health Organization has not discovered any recent, full-blown cases in Gaza.” Of course Clegg does not tell you that.

Nor does he tell you that Marianne Stuart of the British Geological Survey believes the reported levels of nitrate in Gaza’s groundwater are “worrying but not exceptional.”

Chris Huhne – who knows Israel and respects the truth - would have been infinitely better as the LibDem leader. If you remember it was a very close contest between the two of them. Reportedly a number of votes that came in late would have swung it for Huhne. He was asked if he wished to include the late votes, but declined.


gordon bennett

Wed, 12/23/2009 - 20:13

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No doubt Clegg is wrong on some of this, but the question needs to be asked of the Israelis: do they allow treatment for this, or would they prefer a festering mess on their border? After all, infants under 6 months of age are particularly susceptible to methemoglobinemia caused by nitrates ingested in drinking water, dehydration usually caused by gastroenteritis with diarorhea, sepsis, and topical anesthetics containing benzocaine or prilocaine. Nitrates used in agricultural fertilizers may leak into the ground and may contaminate well water. The current EPA standard of 10 ppm nitrate-nitrogen for drinking water is specifically designed to protect infants.
All of these contaminants can kill

jose (not verified)

Mon, 12/28/2009 - 16:57

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Besides, what Clegg says is blatantly false: the rocketing of Israeli civilians in Gaza has stopped. At least by the Hamas. Like it stopped in 2006 at the northern border.
All what is remaining was the work of provocation specialists, such as Al Qaida cells and some Fatah-related terrorists. Not much and nothing that could be blamed on Hamas anyway.

The statement that mostly civilians were killed in the Cast Lead operation is based on Palestinian reports. These reports include the 200 policemen who were killed on the first days of Cast Lead as "civilians". In a modern democracy, that could be true. In the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip, this is a gross misrepresentation: these policemen were armed Hamas activists.
That 200 figure accounts for most of the difference between the Israeli account and the Palestinian one. And it certainly changes the "mostly civilians" into a "mostly Hamas and other activists".

Then, while Clegg correctly mentions that Egypt is also blockading Gaza, he fails to mention that most (near 100%) of humanitarian aid goes not through Israel, not Egypt. Technically, Egypt is much more to 'blame' for the situation of the Gaza strip than the Israelis. But then Clegg fails to acknowledge that fact and put the two countries on the same level, and goes even further requesting more efforts from Israel, not really from Egypt.

Clegg then asks the government to exert more pressure. He 'forgets' that all pressure is done exclusively on Israel, not on Egypt, much less on the Hamas.

I suggest that if Hamas did not use the money it receives from Iran and other islamist countries, to buy weapons, the water facilities would have been built, repaired in days rather than months. But every penny sent to the Hamas is used for warfare, not well-being of the Palestinians.


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