good stuff other people wrote

What I’m currently reading:

The fallacy that continues to dog Project Cameron – John Rentoul (who wrote this killer Tony Blair bio I totally loved) says that David Cameron’s ideas are just as flawed as Gordon Brown’s. Sad part is that in this battle between the Conservative Party (Cameron) and Labour Party(Brown) one of these two will probably end up being UK Prime Minister.  Side note: Current UK PM Brown was never going to be Tony Blair.  Sometimes a politician is best suited to his previous job, rather than his current one.  This is very true of Brown.   However, I have no love for David Cameron and his “New Labour” -lite schtick and his obsession with the environment.  Of course, that’s generally how the Brits roll anyway — with their entrenched welfare state and their socialized health care with the NHS.  Naturally, these are the kind of politicians they like.  Bully for them.   Moving on…

Jack Kelly on President Obama’s new nuke deals.  Here’s the bottom line as far as I’m concerned – if President Obama really believes that we are facing a more challenging time in dealing with nuclear threats, then he’s got the wrong solution to this.   We can’t be voluntarily reducing our own nuclear arsenal and stopping production on more modern weapons at the same time North Korea and Iran are ramping up their nuke production.   This seems backwards to me.  The United States of America may very well be the only country which would be willing to voluntarily do this — and that’s exactly why we can’t do it.

A cautionary tale from Europe – Greece’s monetary struggles – a result of overspending and a massive entitlement society.

should tony blair step down?

for some reason i feel compelled to comment on this. 😉

the recent charges against members of blair’s labour government in the cash-for-honours scandal are troubling. it’s hard to imagine how so many people involved with this current scandal could be arrested without cause to do so, which is why it’s surprising that no charges have been brought against those accused of breaking the 1925 Honours Act. when there is an accusation that contributions to a political party directly bought titles or influenced a policy decision, those accusations should be seriously dealt with. no votes should be bought.  the amount given to a political party should not determine who holds positions of power in the party.  in a perfect world, this would be the case, but we don’t live in a perfect world. those with the money have more control over political parties than those who don’t.  that’s just the way it is. 

as for the unfortunate prime minister, it seems to me that the british people have found him guilty until proven innocent.  tony blair has been prime minister in the UK for 10 years. that’s a long time. they want and need an excuse to get rid of him. he has been questioned about this scandal several times now and each time it was as a witness, not as a suspect in the case. he has not been charged with anything, and of course, denies doing anything wrong. i believe him. i’m probably the only one who does. if he is innocent, as i suspect, then he should welcome the investigation.

the bigger question to me is: who will replace tony blair when he chooses to step down? will it be blair-lite david cameron, fan of the nanny state?  will it finally be gordon brown’s turn to live in number 10? will it be some unknown stealing the spotlight from both of these men? the only prediction i feel confident in making is that the next PM probably won’t be a LibDem.



that’s the only accurate way to describe what has happened to british prime minister tony blair recently. some labour MPs are resigning, threatening resignations, writing nasty letters– all to force blair to announce when he is stepping down. it is understandable if the UK was suffering from a bit of blair fatigue. after all, he’s been in office since 1997. this is just not the best way to transition to new leadership of the labour party. all this revolt is doing is emphasizing the deep fissures in the party between blair’s new centrism (“new labour”) and those who hold a starkly different view of foreign and domestic policy. this divide has always existed, but because of blair’s past electoral success, most labour MPs have grudgingly accepted what he’s done.

the war in iraq has caused the same damage to blair in the local polling that president bush has suffered here in the states. in the last general election, labour lost a huge number of seats in parliament, yet still managed to hang on to the majority, due to the inability of the tories to capitalize on perceived weakness. blair has survived so far, but when his party starts to desert him, that’s a sign that he’s in real trouble. it is also a sign that labour is headed toward chaos.

could they lose the next general election to the tories? i could see this happening. gordon brown may be a competent chancellor of the exchequer, but what do we really know about his ability to lead the country, or his willingness to continue blair’s reforms? we don’t know what kind of prime minister gordon brown would be. even with his experience in the current government, gordon brown is still an unknown quantity.

so what are the alternatives? david cameron (leader of the Conservative Party), doesn’t have any significant policy differences from blair. then there’s sir menzies campbell of the Liberal Democrats…who can’t be considered a serious challenger to either brown or cameron. if i was voting in the next general election, i would probably sit it out, because there are no desirable alternatives. maybe things will change in the next year or so.

gordon brown has been waiting for the opportunity to stand for tony blair’s job for years. he better hope that he will be running unopposed by any other labour challengers, or he might be disappointed yet again.

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new labour and david cameron–a perfect match?

meet the new boss….same as the old boss? when tony blair steps down as british PM, there will be a pitched battle to determine the next occupant of 10 downing street. the upcoming contest between david cameron (conservatives) and british PM tony blair’s hand-picked successor (chancellor of the exchequer gordon brown) may not be the fierce ideological struggle everyone may have expected. the message of “cameronism” sounds familiar– very similar in fact to blair’s “new labour”.

Cameron has put a stake through Margaret Thatcher’s legacy. New Labour has triumphed beyond its wildest dreams: this is Blair’s brilliant legacy – to be outflanked on the left is an extraordinary achievement he should mark as his glory moment. If anyone doubts that Cameron means it, just chortle with glee as the Daily Mail’s Melanie Phillips shrieks in pain: “This leaves millions of natural conservatives effectively disenfranchised – and, even worse, demonised as dinosaurs by the party that is supposed to represent them, but is now telling them to go hang while it tears up everything they believe in … The ideas in his advertisement appear to define ‘what is right’ as the distorted doctrines of leftwing propaganda.” Tebbit weighs in too. Imagine how the Cameron clan must be whooping as the Mail is left gasping and spluttering. This is exactly what it wants.

polly toynbee in the guardian

i think she’s right that cameron has “put a stake through margaret thatcher’s legacy”. many observers of british political history may see this as a good thing. the baroness would not have signed on to wealth re-distribution through government largesse, an emphasis on global warming, or the idea that “strict ideologies should be foresworn in favor of a flexible approach to politics”(cal thomas). we can argue the overall effectiveness of thatcher’s policies, but at the end of the day, politics will always be about ideology. those who ignore this and choose style over substance do not give the voters what they need, which is a debate on ideas, not on personality.

david cameron isn’t any different from tony blair, at least in any visible way. so maybe that kind of ideological debate can’t take place between blair and cameron. the real question here is whether gordon brown believes in continuing blair’s policies in a future labour government. if brown intends to stay with what has worked under new labour, then i don’t see how cameron provides much of an alternative.

if he really believed that the blair government was ruining the country, he wouldn’t go out of his way to help the PM get his school reforms passed. he talks about fighting global poverty, bridging the gap between rich and poor, and reducing carbon emissions to deal with global warming. the problem cameron has is that he has more in common with tony blair than margaret thatcher. we shall see if the conservatives will follow cameron to the left, or whether they will be resigned to re-electing new labour.
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