Sunday, October 03, 2004

BBC NEWS | Politics | Kilroy-Silk: I want to lead UKIP

Predictable. Kilroy-Silk is the only experienced politician in the party. He is an experienced communicator, a well known figure. It won't take him long to replace whatever non-entity started the UKIP.

This puts Howard in a real bind. A UKIP led by Kilroy-Silk is unlikely to replace them but it means that he is being squeezed on the left and right by the Liberals and UKIP.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

BBC NEWS | Politics | Howard bids to seize UKIP votes

Hopeless, hopeless.

People know that Blair lied about the WMD. But there is no point in raising the issue unless you are also prepared to call Bush the liar in chief. Howard clearly cannot do this for the same reason that Blair could not be honest. So the whole issue falls flat.

There is little point to cultivating Bush at this point, Bush has already put Howard down on his enemies list for criticizing Blair. When is the UK right going to finally realize that the only way to preserve the special relationship is to eject Bush?

If Bush is elected in November the chances are that the Labour party will eject Blair rather than go to the polls with a leader linked to him. It is one thing to stay in Iraq with a competent President with a chance of turning the situation round. His party does not and will not believe that Bush is anything other than a dangerous idiot. The idea of another four years tied to Bush will cause a revolt. If you don't think that the Labour party is two faced enough to go to war on a platform of ending an unpopular war they started or that the UK people would fall for it...

At that point they will go all out against Bush and we might as well be France as far as the Bush admin is concerned. Don't place too much faith in Howard being able to patch things up either. If you look at the Senate polls the GOP looks set to lose which means a protracted Clinton impeachment style examination of Halibuton, the WMD intel and all the rest.

Look at the budget deficit and tell me that Bush is a conservative. Look at the spending increases, look at the protectionist farm bill and steel duties. Look at what the patriot act is doing to civil liberties.

The only thing this gang wants to conserve is power.

Friday, October 01, 2004

BBC NEWS | Politics | Blair heart treatment 'went well'

This is good news. It is somewhat strange the way that Clinton and Blair both suddenly had this problem in such a short period of time.

Blair is saying he will serve a full third term but not a fourth. I don't see how he can. Realistically he has to had over power at least a year before the election so that his successor can run as an incumbent. And that means that Blair will become a lame duck somewhat earlier than that.

If the current trend for four year terms continues that means an effective switch of power very early in a third Blair term. Cabinet ministers will be looking to please Brown, not Blair. I think that we will see an actual transfer of power much earlier, probably two years in, so that the new leader is installed before the summer recess.

This does not necessarily mean the end of Blair. Usually PMs retire to the back benches or quit parliament altogether. But this is because most PMs leave office involuntarily. The only PM that may have gone voluntarily since WWII is Harold Wilson and there is a good chance that he might have gone because he suspected he was getting Altzheimers.

Back in the 19th century when PMs did sometimes relinquish their grasp on power without having it pried from their hands the tradition was for the PM to become Foreign Secretary.

Blair and Bush

Does Bush realize that Blair is in fact the leader of a left wing socialist party whose members earnestly hope to see him defeated?

Blair himself would have no problem working with Kerry. It would make his domestic political problems much easier in every way.

Bush has been snubbing Howard yet the US based Tories seem to all be earnestly hoping he is re-elected. Clearly Britain's public schools are still doing a stirling job of turning out masochists. Howard seems to be responding to Bush like one of his frat pledges 'thank you sir may I have another'.

The Edge of England's Sword: The Old Order Changeth...

Perhaps it does not change, perhaps it has merely reached a stalemate. Thatcher enjoied almost twelve years of relative electoral security due to the third party effect. The liberals could not replace old labour but they could keep them out of office. Now the pendulum has swung to the other side the third party effect has rewarded Blair. There are very few commentators who think that the next election will be any more of a contest than the last two.

It might just be time to start thinking about whether it would be better to go the PR route. That will be Kennedy's price if he ever does get to hold the balance of power.

The Conservatives also need to stop talking about what obsesses them and start talking about what interests the people. Most people do not like the EU. But they see the EU as a big beureacratic mess that the UK has to deal with whether its in or out. It does not help the Tories much when their rhetoric does appear to differentiate between the EU and Bin Laden. The arrival of the UKIP makes things even worse. They are to the Tory party what CND was to Labour in the 80s. If the Tories reject them they lose a chunk of their base, if they embrace them they come off as crackpots.

There is clearly no imminent threat of the UK joining the single currency or of the UK agreeing to the EU constitution. The best guarantee of UK independence is for the EU to expand to include Turkey. There is no way that France can pretend that the EU is the reborn Napoleonic Empire once that happens.

The logic for including Turkey is very strong. First there is the Greek/Turkey issue which is in many ways older and deeper than the France/Germany issue. The Greeks realize that getting Turkey into the EU is the way to set asside that rivalry and also to prevent Turkey from sliding back into a military dictatorship. There is also the security issue. Turkey is at the epicenter of all the major international security issues that any EU combined army would have to address. To the West there is the former Yugoslavia, to the North and East the Global Balkans of the former USSR, to the South Israel, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan. The other logic for including Turkey in the EU is that it then incorporates all the former great Imperial powers, Britain, Rome, Ottoman and the European colonial powers.

The reason the French will fight including Turkey is that it means accepting an end to the idea of cultural integration. Play the same damn game on the French people that their politicians have been playing on us, tell them that the expansion of the EU to include Turkey is inevitable and there is no way they will ever vote for the constitution.

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