Thursday, 2 July 2015

Experts do so much to inspire our confidence...

It’s not immediately obvious how legitimate it is for the wife of a former British Prime Minister to be lobbying a US Secretary of State, who happens also to be the wife of a former President, on behalf of a wife of the then ruler of Qatar.

That, however, was revealed to have happened when messages exchanged with Cherie Blair emerged from the publication of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails as Secretary of State. It seems that Cherie was terribly interested in Sheika Mozah of Qatar’s charitable work and keen to set up a meeting between her and Clinton. In itself, there’s no reason to feel suspicious about that – it may be entirely above board – though one can’t help sharing the view expressed by Luke Harding in The Guardian:

There is no suggestion here of malfeasance. But the emails are a further example of how alluring the Blairs apparently find the very wealthy, even when charity is involved.

What struck me most, however, wasn’t so much the goal of Cherie’s e-mails. It was their illiteracy. This woman is, after all, a British judge. What’s worst, the illiteracy concerned the principals of her lobbying: she referred to the Sheika as “Moser”, though the received European spelling of her name is “Mozah”; and she couldn’t even get her dear friend and lobbying target’s name right, referring to her as “Hilary” and not “Hillary.”

Oh well. Perhaps up there in the stratosphere of international relations what we mere mortals would regard as simple professionalism doesn’t apply. It doesn’t do much for my confidence in the great and good, however.

Confidential relationship
But not good enough for Cherie to learn how to spell Hillary's name
But then nor does one of the other exchanges, gleefully recorded in The Guardian, between Clinton and one of her aides.

Jake Sullivan: I’m being told – and still trying to verify – that as of last week, we’ve succumbed to the Europeans’ preferred term. That there was interagency discussion of this, and that going forward, we will join the rest of the world in calling the P5+1 the E3+3.

Clinton: What does it mean? What is the E and who are the three?

Jake Sullivan: E is Europe. E3 is UK, France, and Germany. +3 is US, China, Russia So it’s the same 6 as the P5+1, just a different name.

Clinton: I already feel safer.

Jake Sullivan: And I feel ashamed that I had to subject you to this.

Yep. Like Clinton herself, I feel much safer for knowing that leading figures have worked out whether to call the same six nations “E3+3” or “P5+1”.

But then there’s been quite a bit of news to excite confidence recently. We also had some curious revelations about John “Goldfinger” Palmer, a bit of a serious underworld character, who apparently had a sign over his desk “remember the golden rule – he who has the gold makes the rules.” He made a lot of money from gold, including smelting some that wasn’t his client’s to smelt.

Police and paramedics were called to his house on 24 June and found him dead. Six days later some suspicions were raised about how he’d died, and a postmortem was carried out. It found that his death was not unrelated to the bullet wounds he had in his chest. It seems the paramedics had assumed them to have been caused by some recent surgery, which says a lot about either (a) their rating of the skills of local surgeons, or (b) their ability to tell their arse from their elbow.

It’s not the first time something like this has happened. On 1 May 1992, Graeme Woodhatch, a patient at the Royal Free Hospital in North London, was called to a public phone. What he didn’t realise was that Rangimaria Ngarimu, a 27- year-old Maori woman, was waiting for him in the corridor. As he took the receiver, she shot him four times.

That was bad enough, but when hospital staff found his body, they decided he’d been killed in a fall. It wasn’t until the evening that the four bullet holes were discovered.

Now the killer had used a .22 gun so the holes were small. All the same, one would like to think that medical professionals ought to be able to tell the difference between injuries due to a fall, and those caused by a gun.

Ah well. I’m sure experts know what they’re doing. Most of the time, at least.

No comments: