Just to prove that even strictly money and numbers games can provide interesting results from time to time, some snippets from today's Grauniad. First, Jonathan Steele on the results of the Palestinian elections:
Murdering a Palestinian politician by a long-range attack that is bound also to kill innocent civilians is morally and legally no better than a suicide bomb on a bus. Hamas's refusal to give formal recognition of Israel's right to exist should also not be seen by Europe as an urgent problem ... For decades Israel refused even to recognise the existence of the Palestinian people, just as Turkey did not recognise the Kurds. Until 15 years ago Palestinians had to be smuggled to international summits as part of Jordan's delegation. It is less than that since the Israeli government accepted the goal of a Palestinian state.
It does have to be said on the other hand that Henry McDonald really gets himself into all kinds of difficulty here, denying any analogy between Hamas and the Provos while providing ample evidence to ground one. Both are movements much of whose support derives from the perceived bankruptcy of moderates and the IRA, like Hamas did until beginning to participate in elections, once strove to achieve its ends through violence and violence alone. The denial of the analogy on the grounds that the IRA never used tactics of suicide bombings seems, in an analysis of the political situation, rather out of place. The British state never carried out a programme of targetted assassinations, although it probably colluded in slightly less deliberate loyalist schemes, or turned Northern Ireland into an inescapable ghetto, either, but apparently that's not so important.
Still, Steele is better than nothing, and Polly gets pleasingly excitable in the cause of social justice. Better than pictures of women in states of undress.