Dear Sir,
I cannot recall if it was a film or a book that had the title “Oh What a Lovely War” but without wishing to sound too sarcastic, I cannot but feel it is proving to be for some, ie the present situation in Afghanistan following the events in the USA on 11 September past. Before the horrendous events on that day, on one side of the Atlantic was George Bush, who had won the presidency (not the popular vote) in dubious voting/circumstances, bumbling along with policies seemingly to give tax cuts to the already very rich, losing the majority vote in Congress, and being constantly slated in the press for his uninformed, badly (even embarrassingly so for viewers) spoken speeches, etc. Come the “war on terrorism” and even phrases like “run for the hills” or “smoke 'em out” and “round 'em up” sounding like something from an old Ronald Reagan “B” movie, became acceptable to a stunned home and overseas audience. Add to this his scriptwriters having a patriotic, chest-beating opportunity to write war speeches and all other domestic issues are put on the back burner indefinitely.

Meanwhile, on Tony Blair's side of the Atlantic, whilst having won a General Election, due in the great part to the Conservatives' inability to be united and offer a seriously presented contest/opposition, his government's failure to really get to grips with, let alone solve, the main issues of concern in the UK, deplorable health service, rising crime and immigration of the illegal type, schooling and a third-world transport system -all has taken very much of a back seat to the current events. As it is becoming more and more obvious by the day that bombing an already ravaged country through 23 years of war, whose leaders and direct followers have just become hardened veterans of conflict, will not win the day, and ground troops will be the only solution. This respite from domestic affairs and the euphoria of a “just” war, will hopefully not come to a bleak end with the body bags returning to the US and UK.

In a different way, airlines and others are using the present crisis to cut flights, staff, etc. Mild recession was already being experienced before September 11, in fact it was being discussed that the ten main airlines in the USA were likely to merge/change to an effective five or six. European airlines will always have a fall in the quieter winter months, so this crisis is a perfect way to keep unions at bay when higher staff cuts are made. Basically, there were probably too many seats available chasing too few customers, and with a recession building up, it was due to happen anyway. It is said “one man's gain is another's loss”, so maybe Europeans will not be travelling to the USA, Turkey, the Middle East so much, but will stay in Europe, and the same by degree in the USA, they may give Europe, Israel and Egypt a miss for a while, but they have virtually a continent within their own country to take their vacations, etc.

I would never recommend the buying of shares to anyone, but one big mover in the future, I feel, will be the TV/telephone. We are seeing it in the early stages with transmitted reporter's reports from normally inaccessible parts of the world, and when this becomes more sophisticated, what need for businessmen to fly halfway around the world for a meeting - a conference TV/'phone link-up will serve for many. Also, does one have to face the daunting flight/journey to Australia to see the grandchildren, one could chat and “see” them on such a (daily/weekly) TV/phone link? Yes, I can see a lot of future in this.

Yours sincerely,

Graham Phillips. Palma.

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