'But that's the way we do things in Afghanistan'
That was the answer that a world bank official had from President Karzai. She had demanded that he should intervene when a million dollar contract had been 'sold' for a single dollar. The money was aid from the stupid rich world. The Afghans have accepted $25 billion worth of it. Only one dollar in five has got through to the poor-the rest has been pocketed by Afghans. That's the Afghan way.
For ever British soldier who has died in Afghanistan, there is at least one new Afghan millionaire-some of them are related to Karzai.
The insurgent stronghold in the Babaji was captured freeing 80,000 potential voters from Taliban control. But only 150 people turned up to vote, 13 polling stations were set up within the district but these averaged just over 11 voters each.
Today an American official Richard Holbrook complained that the presidential elections were rigged. British and other Nato soldiers have died to make the election free. That's the British way. No doubt Karzai was baffled at the complaint. Of course the election is corrupt.
That's the Afghan way.
Time to in-shore
But the announcement from Lloyds TSB does not yet mean 50 redundancies in Newport. The firm assured me that would be the last resort. They are now the biggest employers in the city. There should be vacancies arising here where they emply 2088 or elsewhere in the UK where they employ 75,000 people.
The bank unions are right to complain that Lloyds TSB could start to reverse their outshoring of jobs to India. Inshoring some of them for the benefit of Newport staff would be fair and just.
Prior to the merger there were two competing General Insurance Office in Newport and in Leeds. Rationalisation means that 50 jobs are threatened here and 100 in Leeds.
Lloyds TSB have a great record compared with other banks. On their own they made a small profit last year. Buying HBOS was a disaster that many LloydsTSB employees are paying for now. The low and medium paid workers at Newport made their full contribution to the success of the company.
They deserve better than the anxiety of the threat of redundancy.
Thanks for the good wishes about the new arrival.
She was born at home as planned. Everything is going very well. Apart from being parent, few things in life have given me greater happiness than being a grandparent. Now for the third time! Bliss.
Today this blog recorded its quarter of a million hits. Thanks to all those who have contributed an average of twelve comments on every blog. They have been great. It not just the numbers it's the quality of debate. I have the best regular readers with the wisest and most incisive comments. I have learnt a great deal. Keep writing please.