The British Politics Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by DarthKarde, Apr 8, 2003.

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  1. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    Is there a full moon tonight?
  2. DarthKarde Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
    Even if they're doing it at the behest of foreign dictators?

    Of course not, if this is the case then everything he said and did is without merit and is meaningless, thats why I hope that he didn't do it.

    The supposed link between the Afghan Mujahedeen and Bin Laden is not what it's been made out to be. Bin Laden travelled there from Sadui Arabia and fought with them, but it was these same Mujahedeen who made up the Northern Alliance that helped us overthrow the Taliban. Another empty accusation that only works on people who don't know the truth.

    With respect I have fairly good knowledge of the what happened in Afghanistan in the 1980's. I am well aware that the US did not fund or train bin Laden or any other Arab groups that went there to fight. To pretend however that US policy towards Afghanistan was not seriously misguided in some areas (i.e. Allowing the ISI to distribute the cash mostly to idiots like Hekmatyar) and that it did not play any role in the founding of al-Qaeda is to bury your head in the sand and ignore the consequences of your actions.
  3. DarthKarde Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
    Some good news for the Conservative Party in the long run. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former Defense and Foreign Secretary looks set to return to Parliament at the next General election and speculation is rife that he could suceed Iain Duncan Smith as party leader. IMO this would be a huge step in the right direction, IDS, like Hague before him looks like a man out of his depth. Irregardless of his policies he just doesn't look like a top politican, neither did Hague. The public just can't picture either of these men holding high office. Rifkind on the other hand is an experienced politician of considerable stature, as leader he would have the credibility in the eyes of the public because he has held high office. Further to this he could possibly unite the party, he is respected on both wings of the party and while neither would get everything they wanted from him very few MP's would hold too much against him.

    Sir Malcolm was MP for Edinburgh Pentlands from 1974-1997 and a minister for the entire 18 years of tory rule from 1979-1997. He lost his seat in the 1997 landslide and re-contested it in 2001 despite party top brass offering to find him a safe seat in England, insisting that he wouldn't give up his old seat without a fight. The seat is being abolished at the next election as part of a reduction of Scottish seats in parliament. In an interview with the Telegraph he confirmed that he has put his name forward for the safe tory seat of Windsor which is being vacated by Michael Trend at the next election following a financial scandal.
  4. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    Sounds interesting, although if I were a British Conservative, I would be a little concerned that this gentleman could be perceived as "old guard", much as Bob Dole was in '96, and might not be as aware of the subtleties of the current situation as a potential candidate would need to be to survive. I can see the label of "out of touch" being constructed as we speak. Sounds to me more like a Dick Cheney than a George W. Bush, although I don't guess the British system has a post equivalent to Vice President, which it seems to me might be the ideal role for such an individual.
  5. Darth_Asabrush Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2000
    star 5
    This would be good news for the Party. This guy is a big hitter within the ranks and a seasoned politician. He has had time for the stain of the Major years to go away. If he is a unifying force then this would be good.

    IDS looks weak. Hague had potential but he proved that a good parliamentarian doesn't always make for a good leader. Hague can do great work in Parliament and has some very progressive views on empowering Parliament and making it more relevant at holding the Executive to account.

    I watched an interesting program where he and Tony Benn were discussing reform of Parliament. They agreed more than they disagreed which is promising but at the same time sad that it has come to this.

    I still think Ken Clarke would boost the tories no end but would also split the conservative party apart.

    We do have the role of Deputy Prime Minister but this is way different to a Vice President.
  6. DarthKarde Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
    Sounds interesting, although if I were a British Conservative, I would be a little concerned that this gentleman could be perceived as "old guard", much as Bob Dole was in '96, and might not be as aware of the subtleties of the current situation as a potential candidate would need to be to survive. I can see the label of "out of touch" being constructed as we speak. Sounds to me more like a Dick Cheney than a George W. Bush, although I don't guess the British system has a post equivalent to Vice President, which it seems to me might be the ideal role for such an individual.

    It is true that he might be seen as old guard but at the moment the tories are seen as both being out of touch and as utterly lacking credibility. As someone who had no problems with the policies of Hague and feel the same way abouy IDS even I have become sick of the parties inability to make petty squables and student politics a thing of the past. It should be blindingly obvious to any Conservative member or supporter that the party will never regain power under a leader lick Hague or IDS and equally obvious that a Pro-European or one of the hard core modernisers like Portilo will only divide the party further. The party must unite if it is ever to regain power. A compromise candidate must be found, Michael Ancram stood for the leadership in 2001 on such a platform but he was not seen as a big hitter. Rifkind is a big hitter and has the respect of most of the party. As for comparisons to Dole, he isn't as old as Dole was, despite being around for ages he is still only in his fifties.

    We do have the role of Deputy Prime Minister but this is way different to a Vice President

    Traditionally the title DPM was given to a senior member of the Cabinet such as the Home Secretart or the Foreign Secretary. All it really meant was that they ran the show when the PM was away. In 1995 John Major moved to strengthen his weak position as leader by doing a deal with the parties left and he appointed Michael Hesseltine to the position of DPM, the role still had little power but it looked like a top job and gave Hesseltine a platform from which to speak. Since 1997 John Prescott has a held the post but like Hesseltine the power he weilds is more symbolic than anything.
  7. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    That sounds very similar to Vice President. Technically, the only duty of the Vice President is to replace the President if he he's killed or incapacitated, and to preside over the Senate in the event of a tie vote. Nevertheless, Cheney has functioned as the President's chief advisor, and was credited with providing "gravitas" to the Administration of the relatively inexperienced George W. Bush.

    My interpetation is that the method of Labour, like the Democrats, has been to browbeat their opposition into submission, and when that fails, to demonize them. The reason why I'm "keen" on Duncan Smith is that he seems to me, like George W. Bush, to be someone to whom the campaign of demonization would not stick. You don't defeat this "Third Way" crowd by beating them at their own game. You do it by standing immovably on principle. Then it's up to the people whether they want "easy", but ultimately hollow "solutions" from the "New Left", or the truth, which oftentimes is not the "feel good" answer, or "politically correct".
  8. DarthKarde Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
    I certainly don't propose beating Labour by playing them at their own game, that is something that people like Rifkind wouldn't try and do anyway. The problem with IDS is that he is considered a joke by a large portion of the population. He was considered that way when he became leader of the party and has done nothing to change that in over 18 months. He simply doesn't have credibility in the eyes of middle ground voters, without that credibility it doesn't matter how good his policies are or how principled he is, people won't contemplate voting for him so don't bother listening to what he says. It is hard job now to find anyone, even party members who believe that he will ever be PM. There is hardly a conservative journalist or columnist who remains enthusiastic about his leadership, even those who supported him the in the leadership contest are reduced to tiredly defending him more out of loyalty than anything else, some have even turned against him altogether.

    The sad truth is that he only won the party leadership because his rivals were unacceptable to the party. Michael Ancram was not considered a big hitter, David Davis was too inexperienced (he only ran too get noticed for future attempts) and Portilo pushed his social liberal credentials too far and lost all his traditional supporters. In the final round of voting where all party members were involved IDS faced Ken Clarke. Few doubted that Clarke was the better candidate but most (myself included) could not bring themselves to vote for a man that favoured british entry to the Euro.
  9. G-FETT Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 10, 2001
    star 7
    Well, we are certainly in an extrodinary situation, politically.

    Whilst I agree that at the moment IDS looks like a dead man walking, things can quickly turn around. If we was to find ourselves in a deep recesion, with Gordon Brown leading the Country, IDS might not look too bad. The recession part looks unlikely, but I still wouldn't be all that surprised if the Labour Party tire of Blair at some point.

    What I think's going to happen, is Labour will win the election 2005/2006, but with a MUCH reduced majority. They will lurch from one crisis to another, and the Conservative's will win the 2010 (or there abouts) election. Now will IDS still be around at that time? Who knows? If he doesn't do well this week, he will struggle to last the Summer! [face_laugh]

    Incidentally, I noticed in Friday's The Sun newspaper, their politcal Editor, Trevor Kavana was suggesting what I said the other week, that basically the Tories might well benefit in the Local Election's, from a collapse in Liberal Demorcrat support. I STILL have a feeling the Conservative's might do well on Thursday.....

    If they don't do well, who do you think will be elected leader My money's on Micheal Howard.
  10. DarthKarde Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
    I suspect that IDS will survive to the next General election. The plot that has been taking place all year has fallen apart because Ken Clarke blew it by opposing the war in Iraq. For months the speculation has been that the oponents of IDS would move after this weeks elections but all the key political journalists are saying that there has been no briefings recently from senior tories in this regard so a challenge seems highly unlikely.
  11. G-FETT Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 10, 2001
    star 7
    It's staggering to think the Conservative Party has been stagnating in the same position for over 10 years now. When you think how old the party is. All the giant leaders it has had, and now, what it has become.....

    It really has been one of THE major political catastrophe's of any time. Certainly going back to the death of the Liberals in the 1920's. Historian's will talk about this period of British political history, for hundreds of years to come, I think.
  12. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    Interestingly, the BBC Politics page has four stories on asylum, along with video of a David Frost interview with Duncan Smith wherein he does almost exactly what I said the Conservatives should do on the issue earlier in the thread. He might as well have been quoting me, for pete's sake. I'm starting to wonder if I don't have a sharper eye for British politics than some of you who live there.
  13. DarthKarde Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
    He might as well have been quoting me, for pete's sake. I'm starting to wonder if I don't have a sharper eye for British politics than some of you who live there.

    Don't flatter yourself AJA, few conservatives would argue with his stance on ayslum but it isn't going to change the way that people look at him. William Hague used the asylum issue to great effect in the 2000 local elections which saw impressive tory gains but it didn't change people's overall impression of him.
  14. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    Yeah, I think I could see from this interview where Duncan Smith's problem is. In order to succeed in politics, you have to want to win badly enough to fight for it. Whether or not it's a matter of personal temperament or a result of party infighting, it seems "IDS" could use a little more backbone. I thought he made some pretty sharp responses to Frost's questions, but you've got to quit hedging your bets and move the debate rather than playing defense all the time if you want to win.

    Having said that, it definitely sounds to me like things are moving in the Conservatives' direction on these elections.
  15. DarthKarde Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
  16. G-FETT Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 10, 2001
    star 7
    Darth Karde, I have been reading in the newspapers recently, that during the run up to the Iraq war IDS has the chance to bring Tony Blair down, if he had instructed his party to vote against the war.

    Do you think this was ever really a possibility? And if it was, do you think IDS made the right decision to stick with Tony Blair? (BTW I know you didn't agree with the war, I'm asking about politically, not especially the moral rights and wrongs of the war)
  17. DarthKarde Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
    Darth Karde, I have been reading in the newspapers recently, that during the run up to the Iraq war IDS has the chance to bring Tony Blair down, if he had instructed his party to vote against the war.

    Do you think this was ever really a possibility? And if it was, do you think IDS made the right decision to stick with Tony Blair? (BTW I know you didn't agree with the war, I'm asking about politically, not especially the moral rights and wrongs of the war)


    Well it was a posibility, had the conservatives voted against the government it would have led to Tony Blair losing the vote. It would have been crazy though, nothing short of total political suicide. Another leader moght have been able to do it but not IDS, he was more pro-war than Blair and had been calling for action against Iraq for nearly a decade. To oppose the war as a political move when everyone knew he supported it would have destroyed any credibility that he has.
  18. G-FETT Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 10, 2001
    star 7
    A good job he didn't do this then.

    Mind you, we could have seen the end of Blair and IDS in the same week! What an upheaval that would have been. [face_laugh]
  19. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    I'm telling you, if I didn't know better, I'd think somebody over at Conservative HQ was reading my posts.
  20. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    Caught the Prime Minister's Questions yesterday, and IDS was pretty fired up. He put Blair on the ropes over education and hammered him. It'll be interesting to see what happens in the elections.
  21. DarthKarde Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
    Today is the big day and to put the results into perspective, in last years local elections the Conservatives gained 237 seats in an election that saw 5,907 seats up for grabs. This year over 10,000 seats are up for grabs. For the conservatives to be showing signs of real progress at least 400-500 gains are required. This is the top end of the expectations scale though with the leadership predicting only 30 gains. Anything less than 200 gains would be considered a catastrophe and put even more pressure on IDS.

    On a better note for the conservatives they have a good chance to become the largest party in local government. They are currently around 500 seats behind labour and control 109 councils compared to labours 122.

    A few of the bigger councils to watch are as follows.

    Sheffield - A labour stronghold for decades until the Lib Dems took control in 1999. The council went to NOC (no overall control) last year and both Lbour and the Lib Dems hope tp regain control this year. This is one of the most interesting Lab V Lib Dem contest.

    Current Composition:

    Lab: 43
    LD: 42
    Con: 2

    On third (29 seats) being contested today.

    Leeds - Held by Labour since 1980, current majority of 15. Labour will probably lose seats but will expect to retain control but strong gains from both the Lib Dems and conservatives could see the council go to NOC.

    Current Composition:

    Lab: 57
    LD: 20
    Con: 18
    Green: 3
    Ind: 1

    On third (33 seats) being contested today.

    Birmingham - The largest local authority in the country has been controlled by Labour for 19 years. Current majority is 19 but Labour are defending 26 of the 39 seats being contested today. Gains by both the Conservatives and Lib Dems could eat massively into Labour's majority but they should hold on, if they don't it will be a very bad result for them.

    Current Composition:

    Lab: 68
    Con: 31
    LD: 15
    Other: 3

  22. Darth_Asabrush Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2000
    star 5
    I voted for the Green Party today.
  23. DarthKarde Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
    As the polls close, Crspin Blunt, a Conservative shadow minister for Trade and Industry has resigned and called for Iain Duncan Smith to resign as party leader, saying that the party will never regain power under his leadership. This is a catastrophe for IDS, it could lead to a vote of no-confidence in his leadership. Good results tonight are now even more important for him.
  24. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    Hmm. What's the story on this Blunt? Which wing of the party is he from?
  25. DarthKarde Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
    Hmm. What's the story on this Blunt? Which wing of the party is he from?

    He isn't that close to IDS but he was not considered someone likely to move against him. What remains to be seen is if this is part of a plot or an isolated incident.

    Incidently under party rules it take 25 MP's to call for a vote of no-confidence. If this happens IDS has almost no chance of surviving.

    EDIT: He did oppose the war in Iraq.
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