May 5th, 2008

It must be Glubb

This program, 'The Birth of Israel', http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/page/item/b00b91vj.shtml, mentioned the Arab Legion and that is had British officers. I was hoping that Glubb Pasha would be name-checked, but he wasn't. Once again I was struck that the causal link in The Yiddish Policeman's Badger between the Holocaust killing 'only' 2 million people, and Israel being overrun by Arabs in 1948 (?) is not a convincing one.
I think from a alternate world POD point of view the case could easily be made that the outcome of the Arab Israeli War of 1948 (other names for this conflict / war / whatever are available) could easily have been different if for example the Arab forces had been better trained or the five Arab countries involved were less self-serving . However, I think Chabon's idea is that this is supposed to be a grand sweep of history, which I don't really think fits the facts. It was all very messy and contingent and my gut feeling is that most people have a sort of folk-history view of it which bears little relation to reality.

Also, Chabon breaks alternate reality rule 1 - no cold war, no computer revolution, no mobile phones, shoyfer or otherwise.

OK, I shall shut up about this one, though I reserve the right to quote from the Glubb biography when I start reading it.

(I am looking forward to the random drive-by search driven comments on this one :-))

[At least it was better than the Nancy Kress novella that won the Nebula, the only other winner which I have knowingly read, which struck me very much as a typical Isaac Astral's SF by numbers story]

The problem surely...

... is the gerrymandering that expanded Bozzagrad (world city my arse) to include the Tory suburbs in the hope of giving it a perpetual Tory majority. Not that it worked, of course, but in the words of A Very Peculiar Practice their lack of principle was mitigated only by their lack of competence, hence Sir Horace being booted out in favour of Ken. Obviously NuLab could have done the same in reverse, but didn't. Ah, hubris.

"Throw the Bromley down the well
Then out country will be free"

as Borat would no doubt sing.

It was Bromley, and the proud tradition that judges are allowed to make the law by thinking up bizarre interpretations of words like 'economic' that scuppered 'Fares Fair'. Not that is is fair for me to complain since I got 10p returns from the distant Tory suburbs by pretending to be 16.

All of which is a bizarre incoherent ramble leading towards the fact that I liked the comment here http://leninology.blogspot.com/2008/05/contours-of-new-labour-descent.html

"If the turnout was higher in London, it was higher mainly in the dead zones of the Tory suburbs, which will spend the rest of the summer smelling of bigotry and barbecues until some kind of divine Ballardian punishment crashes the party"

For this sentence, I salute him.

Onwards to the glorious future.

Or bed, anyway.