Anorak News | A Cereal Romance

A Cereal Romance

by | 3rd, April 2006

‘CONDOLEEZZA Rice, the US Secretary of State, arrives in the UK with lots of baggage – chiefly the war in Iraq.

‘Are they the holes you’ve been telling me about?’

Rice is in Blackburn and Liverpool for the second of her dates with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

Date one was back in last year, when Rice took Straw to an American football match, a barbecue and the Alabama church where white supremecists killed four black girls back in 1963.

The diplomats got on like a cross on fire, and now it is Straw’s turn to show rice around his manor.

But Rice’s baggage is holding her back. As the Guardian reports, Rice was booked to visit Blackburn’s Masjid al- Hidayah mosque. She was to meet and greet the locals, and be liked.

But the trip has been cancelled. Hamid Qureshi, chairman of the Blackburn-based Lancashire Council of Mosques, says this was a visit arrange by Jack Straw’s office, which did not bother to consult the mosque.

“They might not have consulted with the congregation and members were very angry and decided she should not come,” says Qureshi. Ibrahim Master, a member of the mosque’s governing committee, says it is matter of principle. He tells the Independent: “The visit wasn’t cancelled because we don’t like Condoleezza Rice.” Of course not.

At least Rice can go to Blackburn’s Pleckgate high school as arranged. Can’t she? The Guardian sees a group of parents and protestors outside the school gates.

Hanif Dudhwala, a representative of the school’s community leaders’ forum, steps forward to explain. “We decided we should see the headteacher [Robin Campbell] and ask him to cancel the visit because we were not happy that we were not consulted at the outset,’ said he. “But Mr Campbell said the visit would go ahead. So we will be asking our children to join the protest by the Stop the War Coalition at the school.’

So rather than being cheered and have American and British flags waved in her general direction by smiling children, Rice will be booed and invited to read anti-American placards. As the Independent says, her reception will be “as cool as the weather”.

The paper also says that a local newspaper columnist in Liverpool has likened the visit to one by the British Fascist leader Oswald Mosley in the 1930s. And poet Roger McGough and soap actress Cathy Tyson have refused to take part in a gala evening in Rice’s honour.

At least nothing can stop Rice attending the football match between Straw’s beloved Blackburn Rovers and Wigan. But the match has been rescheduled for Monday instead of Saturday, meaning that Rice cannot attend.

But at least Blackburn manager Mark Hughes will be on hand to show Miss Rice around an empty Ewood Park. Which, given the silence, might just be the highlight of Rice’s trip…’

Posted: 3rd, April 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink