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Elections In Pakistan: What Can, What If, What’s Up?

March 31, 2013 2 comments

Pakistani media and polity seem to be addressing mostly urban issues. How will the rural voter respond?

Phuttt, phutt, phut ...! This is a make or break election for Pakistan. Probably the best organized  |  Cartoon by Sabir Nazar on March 30, 2013; image source & courtesy - tribune.com.pk

Phuttt, phutt, phut …! This is a make or break election for Pakistan. Probably the best organized | Cartoon by Sabir Nazar on March 30, 2013; image source & courtesy – tribune.com.pk

Pakistan attracts stereotypes to the mind like a swarm of flies.

Inviting Images

Among others, civil war, terrorism, bomb blasts, fundamentalist Islam are common stereotypes about Pakistan. Some of these stereotypes are valid – and some are downright irrelevant.

For instance, more people die in the US due to gun-related violence compared to Pakistan. For another, it is worthwhile to remember and understand that Pakistan has never (in its limited election history) elected a fundamentalist party.

The different sides of Pakistani Polity  |  Cartoon by Sabir Nazar on August 25, 2008; image source & courtesy - dailytimes.com.pk

The different sides of Pakistani Polity | Cartoon by Sabir Nazar on August 25, 2008; image source & courtesy – dailytimes.com.pk

This will be the first time in Pakistan’s troubled history that an election will pave the way for transfer of power – and not a coup or martial law. For the first time in nearly seventy years, Pakistan has evaded the ritualized murder of Pakistani polity by the Pakistani army.

The short-shrift given by Pakistan’s power centres to orderly elections and transfer of power is not a stereotype.

This Sauce is Different

The three most significant differences in this election, compared to previous elections are in the manner that Pakistan’s polity has acted to protect the poll outcome. It seems unlikely that there will be any significant post-poll dissonance due to three measures.

Who will do the electioneering for PPP - with Bilawal out of the country?  |  Cartoon by Sabir Nazar on March 28, 2013; image source & courtesy - tribune.com.pk

Who will do the electioneering for PPP – with Bilawal out of the country? | Cartoon by Sabir Nazar on March 28, 2013; image source & courtesy – tribune.com.pk

It does seem like this will be an election that Pakistan will be proud of.

One – is the appointment of a non-competitive caretaker administration at national level – headed by retired Justice Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, and at the provincial level in Punjab with the appointment of Najam Sethi.

Two – Voter lists have been rigorously updated. Some 3.5 crore voter records were found invalid and deleted – and some 3.9 crore new voters added.

Three – The centre of debate is Pakistan’s economy. Nawaz Sharif is talking of an economic explosion – unlike the nuclear explosion last time. PPP is depending on an income-support scheme for the poor that they have implemented. Imran Khan’s 6-promises are all about bringing peace back to the nation. It has been speculated that the Iran-Pakistan oil pipeline agreement signed by the ruling-PPParty, is to reassure restive voters that it has a solution for electricity shortages plaguing Pakistan.

Pakistani media and polity seem to be addressing mostly urban issues.  |  Cartoon by Zahoor on February 03, 2010; image source & courtesy - dailytimes.com.pk

Pakistani media and polity seem to be addressing mostly urban issues. | Cartoon by Zahoor on February 03, 2010; image source & courtesy – dailytimes.com.pk

Is Popularity Enough?

Imran Khan is by far ahead of all other leaders in Pakistan in terms of personal popularity. His first rally after elections were notified, attracted 1-lakh people – closer to 1.5-lakh people according to some other estimates.

Will Imran Khan’s popularity convert into votes?

In India, for decades, election rallies by Nehru-Gandhi family, starting with Indira Gandhi could attract voters for election rallies – but after 1989 elections has not been able to convert voter turnout into votes.

Is Imran facing a similar challenge? Equally, many popular leaders have converted their personal popularity to votes – especially in South India.

Look Who’s Talking

Radio Pakistan seems to be giving good coverage to Imran Khan going by these tweets.

Print media and Pakistan’s huge satire ‘industry’ however is quite dismissive of Imran Khan. Including the like of MajorlyProfound (now probably under the handle of majorlyp).

https://twitter.com/InvincibleHeart/status/317651280866721792

Many from the English-media are quite dismissive of Imran Khan

Apparently, Musharraf has lived up to his earlier threats. He has returned - to what? A nation that cannot imagine a role for him?  |  Cartoon by Zahoor on August 15, 2009; image source & courtesy - dailytimes.com.pk

Apparently, Musharraf has lived up to his earlier threats. He has returned – to what? A nation that cannot imagine a role for him? | Cartoon by Zahoor on August 15, 2009; image source & courtesy – dailytimes.com.pk

Gear Ratios In A Democracy

PPP may get more women’s votes due to BISP income support scheme. Imran Khan has connected to Pakistan’s youth. Nawaz Sharif is appealing the mature male voter who wants the Pakistan economy to do better. None of these constituencies form a majority.

Finally, the winner may be the party that can get its constituents to come and vote at the polling booth.

The Players

Ex-general Musharraf seems to be n0n-starter and non-entity in Pakistan.

Pakistanis sought to drive home the point that Indians held the former Army chief in greater esteem that his own fellow nationals.

The kind of media coverage his return got in India, and the frequency with which he appears on Indian television channels and gets invited to conclaves organised by the media across the border has raised eyebrows here often enough

via Proud of Kargil operation, says Musharraf – The Hindu.

Which political unit is connecting to this Pakistani?  |  Cartoon by Zahoor on March 03, 2006; image source & courtesy - dailytimes.com.pk

Which political unit is connecting to this Pakistani? | Cartoon by Zahoor on March 03, 2006; image source & courtesy – dailytimes.com.pk

Interestingly, Imran Khan’s campaign is well-funded according to some reports.

They were drawn from all over the country through a well-financed and heavily advertised campaign. But they were also drawn, they said, by a simple yet nebulous message. “We want change,”

via Pakistan: Ex-Cricket Star, Ex-President Kick Off Election Campaign | TIME.com.

Imran  Khan’s acceptance by Pashtuns, FATA, Pakhtunkhwa makes him a rare leader with acceptance across various segments.

There are concerns among some of Khan’s supporters about his attitude to the Pakistani Taliban – wanting to negotiate with them – and the decision to work with the Jamaat-e-Islami, a hard-line religious party. But the mere fact that he represents a political force that hasn’t been compromised by power works in his favor — as does Khan’s celebrity. “He won us the Cricket World Cup,” says Shah, “he built us a cancer hospital, and he’s really good looking.”

via Pakistan: Ex-Cricket Star, Ex-President Kick Off Election Campaign | TIME.com.

Will this man get taken in shiny projects?  |  Cartoon by Zahoor on November 22, 2005; image source & courtesy - dailytimes.com.pk

Will this man get taken in shiny projects? | Cartoon by Zahoor on November 22, 2005; image source & courtesy – dailytimes.com.pk

Numbers talk you know …

After 2ndlook called the 2009 Indian election correctly, among many other correct calls, encourages 2ndlook make an attempt at reading Pakistan’s election.

Sixty and seven months ago, when Musharraf was on rampage in Pakistan and Imran Khan was no one in Pakistan’s politics, 2ndlook examined the idea of Imran Khan’s rise in Pakistan.

  1. It is worthwhile to remember and understand that Pakistan has never (in its limited election history) elected a fundamentalist party – unlike say, Egypt.
  2. Since none of the three main players are making a fundamentalist Islamic pitch, this factor will affect no one – except some fringe parties.
  3. What if Imran-PTI consolidate the fringe-parties vote banks – and eat into PPP+PMLN? To me this model of voter behaviour, seems more likely than the static vote bank of PPP+PMLN theory.
  4. In this election, the main contenders, as per opinion polls in descending order are Nawaz Sharif’s PMLN (32%), Imran Khan’s PTI (18%) and Zardari’s PPP (14%).
  5. Not many have tried to make a model for opinion polls in Pakistan – which remain unreliable and have limited value. With this caveat made, raw data seems to suggest that PMLN-Nawaz Sharif are in a pole position for this election.
  6. Most of election analysis stops at Pakistan’s urban centres – while 60% of Pakistani voters are rural. Nawaz Sharif’s Lahore Metro Bus implementation in 11-months has made many political parties nervous. But will the rural Pakistani be impressed?
  7. Will PPP’s BISP attract more rural voters than Imran’s tsunami? Remember, how Chandrababu Naidu paid a price for ignoring the rural voter.
  8. After the fresh voter enrollment, nearly half of Pakistani voters now listed, have not voted before. Since most of these young voters are young, they are likely to be drawn towards Imran-PTI.
  9. Will the Lahore Metro make a difference to Nawaz Sharif? Outside Lahore? Seems unlikely.

Keeping the above factors in mind, what are the likely outcomes.

In the name of the poor and dispossessed ... |  Cartoon by Zahoor on September 02, 2008; image source & courtesy - dailytimes.com.pk

In the name of the poor and dispossessed … | Cartoon by Zahoor on September 02, 2008; image source & courtesy – dailytimes.com.pk

Scenario-1

Imran-PTI emerge as the single-largest party, with a thin majority – or miss becoming the single largest party by a few seats. Imran dithers. Announces that he will sit in the opposition, as he does not have a clear mandate. PTI MPs defect or PTI splits. Most likely PPP wins over the defector faction. Makes a claim to form government. Zardari agrees. Protests engulf Pakistan.

Scenario-2

As per opinion polls, PMLN emerges as the single largest party. Wins over MPs from PTI-Imran and others. Forms government.

Scenario-3

Opposite of opinion polls, PPP emerges as the single largest party – riding on women’s vote. Wins over MPs from PTI-Imran, PMLN and others. Forms government.

Senario-4

One of the three main parties gets a parliamentary majority – and forms the government. Seems like the most unlikely scenario.

Seemingly, Imran is preparing for a narrow victory. Most importantly, is Imran preparing for a narrow loss?


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Defense Technology: A World Of Haves & Cannots

March 29, 2013 1 comment

In the last 70 years, technology gaps in defence have increased hugely. US and Russia are far ahead from rest of the world in making arms and armaments.

One of the world’s four airworthy Zero fighters sits on the tarmac in August 2011 in California, decked out in its full Pacific War livery. (Image courtesy - ajw.asahi.com; source - Masahide Ishizuka)

One of the world’s four airworthy Zero fighters sits on the tarmac in August 2011 in California, decked out in its full Pacific War livery. (Image courtesy – ajw.asahi.com; source – Masahide Ishizuka)

A big drawback that hobbled Japan in WWII was oil. Japan had aircraft carriers and fighter aircraft – but little oil. In each battle, in the decisive stages of the WWII, oil was in short supply. By the start of WWII, Japan was prepared for war, with its Zero fighters.

In the last 70 years, technology gaps in defence have increased hugely. Countries like India have decided to build their defence capability by importing the latest and the best on one hand. On the other hand, India has launched ambitious R & D projects that are getting close to world standards.

US and Russia are far ahead from rest of the world in making arms and armaments. Coming close to these countries will take decades and billions of dollars – two things that very few countries have. For instance, few countries in the world (US, Russia, UK, France, Italy) can make world-class jet engines for fighter aircraft. Even countries like Japan and Korea, with a strong electronics and industrial base depend on defence imports.

For WWII, Japan produced more than 10,000 fighters – including the famed Zero fighter.

The Zero fighter found in Papua New Guinea undergoes restoration work. (Image courtesy - ajw.asahi.com; source - Masahide Ishizuka)

The Zero fighter found in Papua New Guinea undergoes restoration work. (Image courtesy – ajw.asahi.com; source – Masahide Ishizuka)

Masahide Ishizuka, 52, a New Zealand resident originally from Tochigi Prefecture is campaigning to bring one of the four airworthy Zero fighter aircraft in the world back to Japan, where it can fly again in the skies of its homeland.

The Mitsubishi A6M Zero, the mainstay of the Imperial Japanese Navy, was produced by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nakajima Aircraft. Japan produced about 10,000 carrier-based Zero fighter aircraft during World War II.

In the early stages of the war, the Zero gained a reputation as a fearsome dogfighter with its slick maneuverability, long-distance range and high speed–three important attributes of fighter aircraft.

All four airworthy Zeros today are registered in the United States.

The Zero, a Mitsubishi-produced A6M3 Type 0 Model 22, was found in the 1970s in Papua New Guinea, and was restored to airworthiness by the U.S. collector.

via Aviation expert hopes to return Zero fighter to skies over Japan – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun.


Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – Problem? Solution! Irrelevant?!

March 26, 2013 7 comments

It is time that Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) went to the BJP for some lessons in ideology.

RSS has been a favorite whipping boy of the Congress  |  November 2010 cartoon by R.Prasad

RSS has been a favorite whipping boy of the Congress | November 2010 cartoon by R.Prasad

Ihave no idea what kind of people Ram Madhav is hanging around with!

Me and the people I hang around with, seem to have no problems with women – and women who know us and deal with us don’t seem to be having a problem.

Who are the men that Ram Madhav thinks, who need to change that he is talking about?

Now…

So is Ram Madhav talking about?

  1. His set of people – of whom I know nothing
  2. My set of people – who are not a problem
  3. All Indians – in India, which has a low rape percentage by any world standards.
  4. Rapists – who are a small minority; and unlikely to affected by such silly statements or silly laws made by Lok Sabha.

Why fault an entire society or a gender for the actions by a few deviants?

BjP has built  a comprehensive, consistent agenda  |  August 2009 cartoon by Unny; source & courtesy - churumuri.wordpress.com

BjP has built a comprehensive, consistent agenda | August 2009 cartoon by Unny; source & courtesy – churumuri.wordpress.com

Earlier…

Regular 2ndlookers will recall earlier cases of such obscurantism from Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

We had Mohan Bhagwat the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)  chief comparing and promoting the British Raj a little over a year ago.

Soon after an ex-editor of Tarun Bharat, the RSS publication, MG Vaidya was pushing Nitin Gadkari as the BJP chief. Why? Because Nitin Gadkari  is a Maharashtrian – and MG Vaidya suspected non-Maharashtrians to be anti-Maharashtrian.

Over the last 3 decades we have had the BJP build an enviable rightist narrative for India – at variance with the rather steamy Congress propaganda – overdone now for 60 years too long.

A geriatric RSS leaderehip with last century's narrative in an post-modern India

A geriatric RSS leaderehip with last century’s narrative in an post-modern India

A Past Dead & Gone

RSS with the Western chuddies, (copied  from Nizamshahi police uniform), their pseudo-martial Western marching music, hand half-raised, open-palm salute are all dated and irrelevant.

It is time that RSS went to the BJP for some lessons in building ideology.


US, France To Join Russia Missile Co-Development With India?

March 26, 2013 2 comments

Missile development may give India asymmetrical defence parity.

Indian Missiles Armoury  |  Creative credits embedded.

Indian Missiles Armoury | Creative credits embedded.

The Indo-Russian supersonic missile, Brahmos has been making waves in the missile technology field.

Derived from the Russian Oniks /Yakhont missile platform, Indians are likely to modify the Brahmos beyond recognition. Sea, submarine, mobile and air versions of this missile have been designed. Some of the designs have gone into production and induction in the Indian armed forces.

Based on this co-production model, Russia has proposed that India join in for co-development of the new 5th Generation Sukhoi stealth fighter, T-50.

Vaporware?

Based on the Brahmos model,  India and France have agreed to co-develop Maitri, a short-range, SAM missile.

And now we have news that the US has also decided to examine ways in which it can work with India for missile development.

Cross-section drawing of a Hellfire Missile  |  Image source & credit- littlegus.com

Cross-section drawing of a Hellfire Missile | Image source & credit- littlegus.com

Pentagon officials have opened the way to cooperating with India on ballistic missile defense (BMD).

Washington is conducting a cooperative development of the SM-3 IIA interceptor with Tokyo, and interest in India is part of the Pentagon’s larger plan.

India plans eventually to deploy systems to protect against intermediate-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) in some of its major cities. A detailed proposal is being prepared for approval by the Indian government.

The missile defense program, developed by India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), has carried out seven tests, the first in March 2006 and the final one last February. Six were deemed successful.

India’s system is designed to destroy an incoming ballistic missile with a range of up to 2,000 km (1,240 mi.). DRDO used variants of surface-to-surface, short-range Prithvi missiles as simulated targets and intercepted incoming missiles in test firings.

Its BMD program has a two-tiered system, with the Prithvi missile for high-altitude, exoatmospheric intercepts and advanced air defenses for low-altitude endoatmospheric interception. In the most recent test, DRDO’s Air Defense Missile AAD-05 intercepted a modified Prithvi ballistic missile at 15-km altitude off the coast of Orissa in East India.

via U.S. Eyes Missile Defense Work With India.


Immigration Into Britain: Bubble Before The Collapse

March 8, 2013 4 comments

This economic ‘trick’ of higher wages, profits, turnover, prices – and a higher GDP creates a brilliant optical illusion. It is called progress.

Was this cartoon a Government effort at building popular opinion on immigration in 1921 - before the passage of the Immigration Act (1924)?  |  A 1921 cartoon from the US Library of the Congress. Creative and publication credits not available at source.

Was this cartoon a Government effort at building popular opinion on immigration in 1921 – before the passage of the Immigration Act (1924)? | A 1921 cartoon from the US Library of the Congress. Creative and publication credits not available at source.

M

odern OECD economies have an interesting economic model.

Overpaid waiters charge more for a coffee. Over-paid waiters fork out fancy amounts for a car-wash. Over-paid taxi-drivers pay huge amounts for a haircut.

And so on.

Socialist, Welfare States work best with slavery - or with immi-grunts model, in the last few centuries  |  Cartoon by Brian Fairrington; earliest date as per internet search 2010.

Socialist, Welfare States work best with slavery – or with immi-grunts model, in the last few centuries | Cartoon by Brian Fairrington; earliest date as per internet search 2010.

How Does Over Pricing Work

Compared to, say Indians, Norwegians are paid some 10-20 times more.These overpriced coffees and haircuts by overpaid waiters and barbers, increases GDP – and gives an optical illusion of wealth.

This economic ‘trick’ creates a brilliant optical illusion. Of higher wages, profits, turnover, prices – and GDP. Now replace Norway, with any OECD economy.

Same story and the plot does not change.

A waiter in Mumbai earns between 125-200 dollars. A Norwegian waiter earns closer to US$1500-2000 per month. Both do the same job and the net economic output should not change.

But it does. What Norway does is overstate Norwegian economic output.

By over-paying everybody.

Attracting imi-grunts on one hand - and making it impossible for some others. |  Cartoonist: John Deering; Pub. Date: 2013-01-30; source & courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com

Attracting imi-grunts on one hand – and making it impossible for some others. | Cartoonist: John Deering; Pub. Date: 2013-01-30; source & courtesy – cartoonistgroup.com

Nuggets of Information

Look behind this show …

A recent study concluded that nearly half of American population dies penniless. Spain has a million prostitutes from approximately 10 million women in the 15-50 age group.

What about the apparent wealth? The cars, trains and aeroplanes …

Using over-generous debt, workers can ‘buy’ the latest cars, toasters and lawn-mowers – which creates an illusion of economic well-being. The vast numbers of workers are tied down by increasing amounts of debt – and taxes.

Dos this ‘wealth’ give them freedom? Liberty?

Not if look at the number of people who are in prison. Who are bankrupt and indebted. Who die penniless. But as long as long as you do what the powerful elite wants you to do, you can have the latest cars, toasters and lawn-mowers.

But …

This illusion can be kept standing, only as entry into the labour pool remains low and limited.  This ties in neatly with low-marital rates – and low birth rates. in OECD countries. Low birth rates mean labour shortages – and need for immi-grunts.

High wages attract immi-grunts…

While making promises on one side - and erecting new obstacles.  |  Published: Wednesday, February 20th, 2013;  Immigration Reform cartoon by by Clay Bennett; source & courtesy - timesfreepress.com

While making promises on one side – and erecting new obstacles. | Published: Wednesday, February 20th, 2013; Immigration Reform cartoon by by Clay Bennett; source & courtesy – timesfreepress.com

And …

To a country like Britain also …

This line of immi-grunts allows British media to be gross and ill-mannered. It gives them the right to talk of ‘booting’ and ‘kicking’ people. Like in this report.

A Home Office report says there may be as many as 863,000 illegal migrants – 70 per cent of whom are living in London.

The study also reveals that 10,000 foreigners who had no legal right to live in Britain have been granted permission to stay under the so-called 14-year rule.

It means they managed to stay in the country for so long without being booted out that the Government has now given up the fight.

The illegal immigrants are a mixture of those who sneaked into Britain in the back of lorries and those who arrived on visas but never went home.

The ‘robust estimate’ of how many illegals are living in the UK comes from the London School of Economics, and is included in a study titled Practical Measures for Reducing Irregular Migration. The LSE found there were between 417,000 and 863,000 illegals living in the UK, with a central figure of 613,000. Ministers accept the figures.

The Home Office says the top five countries from which the illegals have arrived are believed to be India, Nigeria, Pakistan, China, and Bangladesh.

This is based on the nationalities of those people the authorities have detected.

Earlier this month, the official Census showed that 7.5million people who were born abroad were living here in 2011, of whom more than half have arrived since 2001.

The Home Office study sets out for the first time how many beneficiaries there have been of the 14-year rule.

This states that, once a migrant has lived in the UK for this long, he or she will have established a right to a family life and should not normally be kicked out.

via Enough illegal migrants to fill three cities the size of Newcastle: 863,000 of them in UK, study finds | Mail Online.

What would be just great is if Brazil decided to throw out British businesses – who are seeking to exploit Brazilian opportunities.

Theresa May, the British home secretary, faces a row with cabinet colleagues over proposals to impose visa restrictions on Brazilians, underlining the tensions between the search for economic growth and the need to recognise public concern over immigration.

Ms May’s plans to tighten rules for Brazilians is a serious test for the coalition, as it tries to balance conflicting priorities. Ministers fear the restrictions will cast a shadow over British relations with Brazil, a fast-growing economy that David Cameron has targeted as a key trading partner for Britain. The Home Office is already fighting criticism from tour groups and UK luxury retailers that the complex process of obtaining a tourist visa in China is preventing high-spending Chinese nationals from entering the UK.

Mr Cameron and Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister, have both visited Brazil since the election and have tried to bolster trade links. But Ms May believes the country is also the source of much illegal immigration to Britain.

The home secretary will propose ending the current agreement, which allows Brazilians to visit Britain for up to six months without a visa. Her suggestion comes as countries such as the US and Australia are taking the opposite course by easing visa restrictions with Brazil, to encourage tourism and business ties.

William Hague, foreign secretary and George Osborne, chancellor, are among those who have clashed with Ms May over her operation of Britain’s visa regime.“The Home Office is in favour of new visa restrictions but everyone else in the cabinet is basically against,” said a person involved in the discussions.

Lord Mandelson, the former Labour minister and EU trade commissioner, said the idea was “certifiably mad”.

Only last summer, Mr Cameron visited São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro accompanied by a 58-strong business delegation, to develop better trade ties with the $2.3tn-a-year economy. According to UK Trade & Industry, 14 government ministers have visited Brazil over the past 18 months.

Home Office figures for 2011 show that Brazil is fifth in the top 10 of illegal immigrant nationalities in the UK, with more than 2,000 forcibly removed that year.

via UK set to tighten Brazilian visa rules – FT.com.

The racism behind the British immi-grunt debate is papered over. Worth looking at some British Government statistics.

Long-stay immigrants into the UK from Poland, India and China are outnumbered by Germans, South Africans, North Americans, people from the white Commonwealth and returning Britons.

Official figures show that of the top ten migrant countries in 2008, 137,000 were from the first group and 152,000 from the second group.

There is no debate in the media, among politicians and among the public concerning North Americans and the white Commonwealth.

The fact that they ‘take jobs’ in the UK does not feature as an issue among those who are most concerned about immigration.

The anti-immigration campaign group Migration Watch and UKIP create fear about immigration numbers and fail to point out that immigrants include people from Australia, US, New Zealand and others.

The figures are contained in the Office for National Statistics latest annual report on migration, Migration Statistics 2008, http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/cm71/7197/7197.pdf

Of those intending to stay for a long period, the report states:

British, 77,000 (i.e. UK citizens returning to the UK)

Poland, 54,000

India, 48,000

China, 18,000

Germany, 18,000

Pakistan, 17,000

USA, 15,000

South Africa, Australia, Italy, 14,000

The report suggests that many of the Indian, Chinese and perhaps Pakistani long-stay migrants are students. In terms of all visitors and migrants into the UK, the report states: ‘Citizens of the United States of America (USA) comprised 32 per cent of total non-EEA admissions, the nationality with by far the most admissions, representing an increase of 6 per cent to 4.1 million in 2006. The next three nationalities with the highest numbers of admissions were Australia (up 8 per cent to 1.1 million), Canada (up 11 per cent to 1.0 million) and India (up 23 per cent to 0.8 million).’

It is likely that most illegal immigrants are from North America and white Commonwealth countries.

According to the Institute for Public Policy Research, few people sneak into the country undetected so most illegal immigrants are overstayers, or people who stay in the UK beyond their entitlement.

There are few figures concerning overstayers by country. When Australia checked their overstayers in 2005, they found the top countries were the US and Britain.

via UK Indymedia – Most illegal migrants likely to be white.


China:The Limits of Central Control

Chinese Govt drives a consensus with regional govts – using mostly persuasion, sometimes post-facto ratification, rarely central diktat..

China lifts Uncle Sam; cartoon by rodrigo; on September 02, 2009  Published at www.expresso.pt on August 25th, 2009; source & courtesy - toonpool.com

China lifts Uncle Sam; cartoon by rodrigo; on September 02, 2009 Published at http://www.expresso.pt on August 25th, 2009; source & courtesy – toonpool.com

China’s governance, in reality is contrary to the image widely projected or popularly understood.

Instead of a monolithic, unitary, autocratic dictatorship the Chinese central Government drives a consensus with regional governments – using mostly persuasion, sometimes by post-facto ratification, rarely by central diktat.

Smoke On Water

Probably the worst example of Chinese governance is production and promotion of tobacco smoking by regional governments. As cigarettes are a large part of the revenue for regional governments, cigarette smoking has been passively encouraged. Sometimes even actively.

China’s expenditure on internal policing and law & order is larger than China’s defense expenditure. If the control of the China’s central government was so strong, why is its expenditure on internal security so high?

There are many other elements to the Chinese puzzle.

Bit by bit

Earlier posts had examined the Chinese economy that thrived on exports for the last nearly twenty years aided by and supported with a cheap yuan. Will China go the Japan way?

The mysterious manner in which the Buddhist monk has disappeared from Chinese movies is an ominous feature. Especially when the Buddhist monk has been replaced by gangsters. To this add, how Tibetan protests in the form of self-immolation by priests and nuns have unnerved the Chinese administration.

Coming to foreign policy, Indian media paints a unreal picture of the Chinese threat. Even in the past, in the 1965 and the 1971 India-Pakistan Wars, China  maintained a distant attitude towards Pakistan, providing little more than verbal support to Pakistan. Indian Navy in the South China Sea, in alliance with Vietnam, is a significant counter-measure to aggressive posturing by China in the Indian North East.

Catching on and catching up with the emerging China picture.

The reality is that power in China is much less concentrated than it was in the days of Mao and Deng.

Far from being the all-powerful behemoth that some in the west admire for its omnipotence, the central government can often be oddly ineffectual and powerless.

A slightly frivolous but nonetheless instructive example is the government’s complete ban on the construction of golf courses that has been in place since 2004.

Since then the number of golf courses in China has nearly quadrupled. The point is that Beijing produces many well-intentioned laws and regulations that are often not implemented or enforced unless they directly align with the interests of cadres at the lower levels of state power.

The central government can impose its will and mobilise the nation when it absolutely has to but it uses up an enormous chunk of political capital every time it does that.

Because of this, China’s leaders tend to spend a lot of time giving positive speeches but they only really swing into action when faced with a serious crisis.

A good example was the Sars epidemic that emerged from southern China almost exactly 10 years ago and presented the now outgoing administration of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao with their first big test at the outset of their time in office.

After trying first to cover it up they finally responded by mobilising the entire country and eventually brought the disease under control. Mr Xi and his team have not yet been tested with their equivalent of a Sars moment but when they are it will provide more of an insight into their ability to govern the world’s most populous nation

via Xi’s task exposes limits of central control – FT.com.


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