BBCwatch

We have a TV in the office, which we have on during the day, so we can watch press conferences from Brussels and keep in touch with the news. For much of the day, we have BBC News on. I’m going to start a BBCWatch (like Colemanballs but with loads more people). Gems today:

Our fuel bills have doubled by 100%

Can you say what this means for McCain’s campaign in ways we can’t yet predict?

Plus Jon Sopel outing himself as a Eurotunnel geek. I’m sure there will be many more. (Still I’m sure if I went through some of my past live intereviews there would be some duff moments, so maybe I shouldn’t be such a pedant.)

One big story of the day is of course the fire in the Channel tunnel. I was in Brussels last time it happened (to my horror that was 1996 – where did the last 12 years go?!) You could tell the Brits in the subsequent days by the terrified look on their faces – “how am I going to get back?”. It always seems to happen just before a weekend.

Course, the big issue today, as it will be for a long time, is the 9/11 commemoration. When I was in the US for the Eisenhower Fellowship, we visited the Flight 93 site. It was amazingly moving. Whatever you think happened, whatever you think about what it led to (Iraq, Afghanistan), a lot of people lost their lives there and that deserves remembrance.

It’s like the many times in my childhood when we visited Commonwealth War Graves in Northern France. We visited many of the major sites of the D-Day landings and also some of the major battles of the First World War, following the diary of my great-grandfather, who was at the Somme, and also honouring other major battles, like Vimy Ridge. In some places I saw graves stretching in every direction as far as the eye could see, with ages of 16, 17, 18, 19 on the headstones. Others were tiny, on the outskirts of villages with perhaps 5 or 10 graves, people lost in one particular attack. If you needed to pinpoint a moment when I became convinced that working together in Europe was a good thing, that was it. I think a few rules about the marketing of vegetables have been worth it to avoid a repeat of that.

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