Richard North, 30/11/2004  

Oh good, I thought. An article in the Daily Telegraph about the UN and the ridiculousness of its pretensions to being the world’s saviour. The UN must sort itself out before it can take on the world by Anton La Guardia, a seasoned journalist foreign and war correspondent, will be, I assumed, of some interest.

How easy it is to overestimate the British media. Mr La Guardia talks of the new report by the High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change about the problems with the UN, American dissatisfaction with it and various half-hearted suggestions for reform.

He comes to the entirely predictable conclusion that despite all the difficulties and inadequacies, the UN is something we all need and the United States more than anyone. Without coming up with any specific proposals he seems hopeful about useful reforms.

Well, well. A whole article about the UN and its problems without a single mention of the oil-for-food scandal, the way it reveals the corruption at the very heart of that organization and the way it is engulfing the Annan family. How do they do it?

Yet again one thinks of that wonderful little verse of Humbert Wolfe’s:

You cannot hope to bribe or twist,
Thank God, the British journalist.
But seeing what the man unbribed will do
You have no occasion to.

How true, how very true.

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