Thursday, January 05, 2006

Does anyone have a paddle?

Like most of the nation, I've been following the PM's condition with extreme concern. My colleague summed it up well - "he's like a father - you don't always like the decisions he makes, but you know he's got your best interests in mind". Yair Lapid writes an excellent piece on Ynet - well worth reading.

Barring a miracle (and let's face it - we're in the right part of the world for one), we will be choosing a new Prime Minister on March 28th and no-one can be overly happy with the parade of candidates to hand; Amir Peretz who has contrived to put Labour almost into freefall since winning their leadership and is a big fan of Soviet economic models; Netanyahu who was unceremoniously booted out by the electorate after pissing off pretty much everyone in '99 or (seemingly) Ehud Olmert who I see as being a very politic politician - all fineigling and not too much substance. In that Kadima will have to chose a new leader, of the obvious front runners I think I'd go with Livni rather than Mofaz or Shitreet.

Watching the foreign news channels, the positive effect that Sharon and the withdrawal from Gaza has had on Israel's standing is very clear to me; from being portrayed as a warmongering butcher of Beirut character when he assumed the top job, Sky News has been positively fawning over him today, speaking of him as a Statesmen who will be incredibly difficult to place; asking who will be able to fill the sizeable space which we assume he will be leaving behind. He has won the world over by proving that actions speak louder than words - he was the one with the balls to get up and say that we should no longer be in the Gaza Strip and then to take action that was incredibly unpopular with his traditional voters and which only made him more popular in the country as a whole.

Sharon has been here since the very beginning; as a maverick commander in the military and subsequently a pivotal political figure over the last 30 years. He is part of a breed that is fast disapppearing - like him or not, he has shown leadership when the country really needed it. There doesn't appear to be an obvious successor but whoever takes the job on after March 28th can learn a lot from the way in which Sharon has set about things.


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