Wednesday's Hansard yielded a great deal, Thursday's not so much. First off, there was a Starred Question by Lord Ashdown (formerly known as Paddy, he of the permanently furrowed brow and eyes that look to the horizon):
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the present situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.The Minister, La Kinnock, replied:
My Lords, we remain deeply concerned by the lack of progress on reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina and by recent challenges to the authority of the high representative and to the Dayton peace agreement. We are particularly concerned by positions taken in December by the Republika Srpska Government. We strongly support the Dayton agreement and the authority of the high representative and are engaging intensively with the Peace Implementation Council and European Union partners to address concerns about the current situation.Thereafter followed the most extraordinary exchange between the Noble Lord and the Noble Baroness as well as other Noble Lords, during which it transpired that the Bosnians appeared to be completely uninterested in the incentive held out to them of European integration.
It was rather amusing to read all those strong statements about the need for Bosnia and Herzegovina to stay united or they cannot come into "Europe". Back in 1989 when the War of Former Yugoslavia was starting there were equally strong statements made to President Milosevic about that country, no longer with us by the likes of Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd and Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jacques Poos. In effect, they were telling Milosevic to do what he liked but keep that country together. We know what happened after that.
Then there was a rather odd Question from Lord Lea of Cronwall, a man of many transnational allegiances:
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have investigated whether increased expenditure on contraceptive services globally would produce a greater reduction of carbon dioxide emissions than many green technologies.An even more curious discussion followed, which might be worth reading though from our point of view only one exchange is of interest. Lord Lawson of Blaby stood up and asked:
What is the Government's view of evidence that has recently come to light of seriously unprofessional conduct by the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Mr Pachauri, and of the worrying conflict of interests between his IPCC responsibilities and his business activities?The Government's view as expressed by the Noble Minister appeared to be that this was irrelevant, though all discussions about climate change and human contribution to it is predicated on whether one believes the likes of Mr Pachauri. Nevertheless, Lord Brett, the Minister in question summoned his vituperative powers:
I am afraid that I consider that to be quite a long way from the Question on the Order Paper. The noble Lord seems to be becoming on climate change what the noble Lord, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, has become on Europe.So there we are: you want to insult a peer you compare him or her to the Lord Pearson of Rannoch, than whom there is no one more terrible in the eyes of the Ministers.