I’m being quite impressed with Gordon Brown so far. Not simply because of a lot of the policies that he has come out with so far, most of which I’m assuming have been on the cards and have been on hold waiting for Tony Blair to leave, but mostly because of the extremely canny PR spin he is undertaking at the moment. He and New Labour know that people seriously disliked the Blair governent and if he was associated strongly with them they would take a serious hit in the polls next time round – possible even enough to lose the election to an opposition party with no polices and world class infighting. So, what is the smart way to approach an electorate that is sick of war, terror and arrogance? Why, a nice smooth move to the left (just a little). For example pushing UN mandated peacekeeping and returning to the UN set world poverty goals.so far it’s working very nicely.

Britian was always going to have to come out of the disaster that is Iraq in the short to medium term anyway. No-one wants to be there for 40 years like Northern Ireland. Now Mr Brown is actively discussing troops standing down it can’t be long before they start coming home and people won’t remember his part in sending them there in the first place.

In his recent trip to the US Mr Brown has made a big deal, at least publicly, of giving President Bush the cold shoulder. This is doubly calculating since not only is President Bush extraordinarily unpopular over here but also Mr Brown knows that in a maximum of 18 months, assuming he is still PM, he is going to have to deal with a Deomcrat in the White House and now is a good time to show that he’s not another Bush’s man.

Being this savvy makes me wonder about trying to extend the maximum time for detention. On of the things you learn from watching The West Wing is that politians know exactly how many votes they have before they go into the chamber. Mr Brown must have had a very good idea that this request for an extension was going to fail. I can’t help but wonder if he was just doing this to try and look tough on terrorism while all the time relying on it being voted down because, in reality, he didn’t want things to change. If he did he would have left it until later by which time he could have convinced more people to vote his way.

Talking of Northern Ireland those of us over 30 who remember the bombs in the 70s probably never thought we’d see the troops there standing down in our lifetimes but today, after 38 years, they finally have.

A couple of quick library bits. NY Public Library giving away free public domain books-on-demand. Another example of the amazing print books on demand machines. Amazon will distribute the US National Archive on DVD. Anything in the National Archive burnt and DVD and delivered to your door. Not bad – not like having everything freely downloadable like it should be – but I good start.

One last thing. Biological origins of IVF children to be stated on birth certificates. I’m don’t know if this is a good thing or not. I guess if people are adopted they can find this out already by asking for their birth certificate and I guess this isn’t too far extending that. I’m a very strong believer in nurture of nature and people’s genetic background should make any difference to who they are. However, in reality I know it can do in terms of potential inherited diseases, etc.