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So what are we up to in Mali?

I have never seen a more rapid and openly disingenuous escaltion ever. First it is a couple transport planes, then it’s a surveillance plane (but no boots on the ground – honest), then it’s “training” and it’s allowing tankers to operate from British airfields but still we’re “not going to be combatant”. It beggars belief. Finally all the pundit’s of Jane’s Fighting Armchairs are talking of a long-term commitment. I suppose that’s kinda like marriage. Except marriage is nice and being shot at by ragheads until HS2 is completed* (or for the duration) isn’t.

So why the interest?

iDave has annoyed the French with all this referendum on the EU nonce-sense. Helping out Hollande is some quid pro EU. He’s blotted his copy book but is now trying to get himself back in the good books by playing teacher’s pet.

Which of course begs the question. Why are the French getting involved? Could it just be that 80% of French electricity is nuclear and France buys 80% of it’s Uranium from Niger which is beginning to look almost surrounded by Islamist insurgencies…

If that domino falls to the beards France is up a gum-tree without an electric paddle.

Oh, and of course it’s back to the Caliphate. And not the future. To dark age tyranny over all of North Africa in the C21st. And boat people across the Med in huge numbers. Not that I’d blame them.

And if that happens expect the domino (I think that game is haram BTW) next to be Nigeria where we do have interests. Yet more refugees. Not that I’d blame them either. It’s not that I hate refugees – I don’t at all and they should be afforded our help, if it comes to that – but I hate the reasons for them which are universally vile – like polio better prevention than remedy (Yes, I did see Bill Gates at the RI last night – and he pussy-footed about saying polio would be no more if it wasn’t for Islamic fundamentalism – not that we can be too proud following the MMR fiasco). Politicians (by and large) do hate refugees because the Daily Wail can whip up an election killing stink over ’em.

But there is another thing – returning to the energy issue** – and that is we have got into a position where these places matter to us.

So I suggest if iDave hadn’t engaged in a cockamamie grand-standing over the EU (the price of which is helping out France in a war that at first blush has nothing to do with us) and we hadn’t put ourselves in a situation where we simply can’t generate electricity sufficiently (I’m talking base-load here) we wouldn’t be embroiled in this utter mess.

I mean the sensible thing is to just get fracking! And of course build nuke plants. And yes, I’m calling Johnnie Porridge out on this. And all the bally rest of ’em such as Chucles the Lugs all because they dream of their deranged visions of The Shire. Deranged because unlike the Hobbits we have the tech (sadly less advanced than it ought to be due to their meddlesome obstruction) and also deranged because they dream of sitting at the high-table and lording it over the rest of us. Oddly enough I don’t get the impression (and I am a Tolkienista) that was how Hobbits actually lived. They didn’t have a Central Committee of the Righteous.

Oh, well, it’s all going to pot. But I would warn them we’re only three power cuts from bloody revolution. I hope we do not go gentle into that last dark night.

*Why is that taking so long to build. Isambard Kingdom Brunel would have reached for the smelling salts on hearing the time-scale. I mean 20-odd years to build a railway not quite as good as that the French or Japanese, or… have had for decades. It’s like me being charged through the nose for a Ford Escort to be delivered just in time for turning 60. I’m 39 BTW. Yes, that is the time-scale!

**It would appear the Cumbrians have voted against a major nuclear waste storage facility so that is British nuclear power buggered and we’re stuck with playing with whirly-gigs and importing real power from France via the Channel cables. So in that sense Niger matters to us and therefore Mali does. How it should come to this is of course a sequence of unfortunate events. And of course the oil and gas from Nigeria.


  1. Chris says:

    “Why are the French getting involved? Could it just be that 80% of French electricity is nuclear and France buys 80% of it’s Uranium from Niger…”

    Ah, clever Nick. I’d thought something along the lines of French banks being fuxxored, Basel III allowing banks to hold gold as a Tier I Asset (as of the New Year), and Mali being a big gold producer. But your argument seems less ZOMGBankerswar!

  2. Mr Ed says:

    Does anyone ask who is funding the insurgents? Might it be possible to buy petrol and Diesel from ‘ethical’ suppliers (i.e. not the House of Saud, Qatar (gas-to-liquid Diesel), Venezuela (all quite for the last week), just in case we were to fund any of this nonsense.

    Having been to the Algerian Sahara, and into the Western Sahara, there is a lot space to hide, but not from surveillance aircraft, so why would we have a generational struggle that Mr Cameron speaks of, when, if there is a War, it ought to be ended suddenly, quickly, decisively or not entered into at all, by going after the enemy, rather than bribing them to pretend to be friendly for a while.

    The Germans are shutting down their nuclear stations soon, and seem to be replacing them with flatulence. Quite how the 80,000,000-odd Germans will manage (along with no lignite) is anyone’s guess.

  3. David B. Wildgoose says:

    We need to start building Molten Salt Thorium plants right now, one advantage being that they actually “burn” most of the fuel that goes into them, unlike conventional Uranium plants. And we’ve plenty of nuclear waste that we could be using as fuel to help keep the lights on.

  4. CountingCats says:

    There’s also the issue that France was the colonial master of Mali, and France tends to take a paternalistic/neo-colonialist attitude towards the constituent parts of its ex empire.

  5. Bod says:

    Can’t cite sources, but we had boots on ground within 50 kliks of Timbuktu, 2 days before the Algerian Well debacle.

    Something smells bad south of Oran.

  6. NickM says:

    Is that “can’t” as in “can’t” or “can’t” as in “won’t” (with presumably very good reason) – loose lips sink ships and all that?

    Anyhoo, from what I’ve seen pretty much everything south of Oran don’t smell too tasty.

    Or North of it come to that.

  7. Sam Duncan says:

    Helen Szamuely:

    A conversation with a leading analyst of the international scene turned to Mali and our ridiculous involvement. He summed the situation up rather well:

    “It seems that the policy is to become involved in a third country only if we have absolutely no economic or defence interest in doing so. Anything else appears dirty to this government.”

    Sounds about right. But,

    France, one may add, does not share that attitude, no matter how much they harrump about American imperialism.

    Such as in Iraq, where the country whose state-owned oil company had a virtual monopoly on exploration led the “principled” objection to régime change. I often wonder if the “no blood for oil” mob even knew about TotalFinaElf’s dealings with cuddly ol’ Saddam, the Santa Claus of Baghdad.

    Any French government over the years would consider that former French colonies (even if they were that for a short period only) remain in the French sphere of interest and, therefore, French bombs (well, American bombs all too often) can fall on them and French troops of various description can invade them.

    Truth is, the French don’t really have any concept of “former colonies”. They never had much idea of colonies and dependencies, come to that. There’s just France and foreign; that’s it. Hence Guadeloupe being in the EU while the Isle of Man and Channel Islands aren’t.

    [Edit: fixed a wonky blockquote tag.]

  8. John Galt says:

    “Hence Guadeloupe being in the EU while the Isle of Man and Channel Islands aren’t.”

    As a sometime resident of the Isle of Man, I am eternally grateful for the difference in phlegm between the English and the French.

    On the matter of Mali, this has all of the hallmarks of being a shit sandwich, which we appear to be in the process of eating for no bloody good reason at all. However, the frog always did have a streak of cowardice a mile wide, so hopefully this will all dissolve into nothing when real fighting starts.

    If we end up picking up the pieces on our own in Mali then I’ll be bloody annoyed, but not very surprised. As Harold Macmillan once said “In the end the French will always betray you.”

  9. Paul Marks says:

    Mr Cameron has discovered (it appears to his horror) that Britian is not yet totally bankrupt – hence such things as the war in Mali and HS2.

    The economy must die and it must die NOW! This appears to be Mr David Cameron’s position.

    An alternative explination is that he just loves going round the world (the Ivory Coast, Mali, Algeria, Lybia, Pakistan, Afganistan….) and hearing organised crowds chanting……

    “Tony! Tony! Tony!” the people chant – and Mr David Cameron smiles with pleasure.

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