Friday, April 23, 2010

British Leaders Debate

Having watched the second British leaders debate I admit to being unimpressed to say the very least. Televised debates are something new for the UK and it seemed to me one reason it was shown on this side of the pond was the evident glee that British politics had gone "American style" in having the candidates duke it out in front of the cameras. However, as much as I dislike how similar the Democrats and Republicans seem in the US, that problem seems to be more advanced in the UK. From all I saw last night it looked as though Britain has only to choose from a liberal party, a radical liberal party and a moderate liberal party.

The Liberal Democrats would seem the worst choice to me, having previously heard that they only just decided against putting it in their platform to abolish the monarchy and institute a republic. From the debate they also seemed the most enthusiastically pro-EU which puts them in no better standing with me. They also all sounded like they were trying to out-Obama each other in being the party of 'hope & change' with even Gordon Brown trying to make the same sales pitch while still holding himself up as the candidate of experience and pressing the need for continuity. Brown was, of course, also very pro-EU. In fact there seemed to be very few, despite their protestations, substantial differences between the three. Brown also made mention of his recent call to make the House of Lords fully elective and his opposition to putting major EU measures up for referendum. So, in other words, he does not want the public to vote on giving more power to the institutions where most decisions are now made but he does want to let the public vote on choosing the members of a House his party has effectively made irrelevant.

David Cameron of the Conservative Party expressed the most skepticism about the EU but still did not call for Britain to leave that body nor did he hold out much hope for those who would like to see Britain more independent of Europe as they used to be. He also stressed that his was the party of values and of families yet he sounded to me as if he supported most if not all of the recent policy changes I would regard as immoral. So, they are all basically accepting of Britain being simply one more member state of the EU, all accepted the basic current foreign policy track, all accepted the need to take measures to stop "climate change" (yes, believe them -politicians can control the weather!) and I heard no one talk about doing anything to really change the current welfare state that is dragging Britain and most of the rest of Europe down to financial ruin. If these are the best leaders Britain has to offer all I can say is God save the Queen from ministers such as these.


  1. Alas, in the competition to convince an increasingly apathetic electorate to vote for one of the "mainstream" parties, the ideas that differentiate the parties have evaporated untill it truly is a contest between tweedledum, tweedledee (and in the case of Britain, tweedleduh). Such is the dominance of the levelling instinct that not even the Tories try to push for a society ordered in precedence.

    Indeed it is sad. And it shall remain that way until minor parties force hung parliaments everywhere. The dominance of the old guard needs to be broken before much can change.

  2. Probably true, and as someone generally favorable toward anything "old guard" that saddens me. It saddens me that so many have sold out their original core principles in an effort to water-down everything to appeal to the lowest common denominator of humanity. Retch! They've even made me use math refrences -damn them!

  3. I htink a Major problem is the American Hegemony. America DOminates right now, in terms of Military Might, Academic Influence, Economic Ability, and Political Power. Ever since Woodrow WIlson, Americas basic Policy has been to Reshape every nation on the Planet to match its own Republican Ideals.

    Also, as America is todays current Superpower, Nations naturally seek to Imitate it. Besides, the Intellectual Elite in the Universities teach American Political Philosophy because they want to be seen as up on the Latest and most advanced BReakthroughs, and anyoen who has been in Academia logn klnows just how eaisly it is Influenced by Fads.

    The Politicians want to soudn intellegent, modern, and up to date, ar beign dictated t be Washignton DC, and want to copy it anyway as they think soem of its psoer and prestige will rub off.

    Besides, Americas system gives all power tot he Politician, in the name of the peopel of coruse. (Does anyone beleive the Politicians care about the peopel other than as Fodder?)

    The UK wants ot "Modernise" because they see it as a means to grow their own power and to follow the current trends.

  4. I don't tend to put to much stock in America being the ever-present bogey man. Especially in recent years being seen as "too American" is politically dangerous. One reason Labour popularity fell was because Blair was seen as too pro-American. In general Europe is alot more liberal-socialist than the US (though Obama is struggling to catch up). The American model is far too capitalist for most Euro-politicians to admire it. My worry is that China will be taken as an example to follow. And, in most countries where the US and other Allies have intervened the result has been parliamentary republics on the European model rather than on the American model. That being said, there are still plenty of republics that have copied the US system almost to the letter and still failed miserably.

  5. the European Parlimentary Modle is stil a Republic though, and tsill restsont he Fundamental Theoy.

    Basically, Republicanism is itself a Modern Craze in the intellectual world, and no matter ow Anti-American Europe is now, Academic theories tend to be based aroidn works 10, 15, or even 30 years old.

    Withthe collapse of Communism, and the influx of reconstructionist Ideas, America took over. At least in a mental way. Nowadays people just buy the assumption of Modern Democracy, because thats what hey were taught in Univesities and hwo the economic modle is currently set up.

    I'm not usin America as a Bogey Man, but think it does play a role here. Though in some ways indireclty by simply influencing others.

    As to China, I suspect that if it becomes a Superpower, and countres collapse oly to be rebuilt by them or their allies, their ideas will be copied in the same way.

    Heck, not too logn ago the Soviet ideology and Philosophy was copied routinely.

  6. I'll be blunt -the European left (and 'academics' in particular) despise America and would, ironically, view the American model of republicanism as too monarchial. The US was simply not 'revolutionary enough'. They want to remake society as a whole as the French Revolution tried to do. Moreover, most of the current leftist groups in Europe don't go back as far as Washington and 1776 but to Karl Marx and 1848. The fall of communism has been largely overblown. They did not suddenly become American capitalists but simply changed their names to democratic socialists or something similar and carried on being just as Marxist as they always had been. Probably the biggest influence America had was simply in making radicals in France think that their revolution could be successful.

    The British are a good example of how changes are very anti-American as America's system was largely a republican version of the Britain's constitutional monarchy. So it is that the US still has a powerful president and powers divided between two houses of congress. Britain, on the other hand, has taken away most of the executive powers of the monarch, made the house of Lords irrelevant so that one house; the House of Commons, dominates everything and its leader (the PM) controls almost everything.

    If anything, in recent years it has been the US that has been following the example of the European left with more centralized authority, more social welfare, more state control of the economy and more of the "we are the world" attitude. Even as we speak Obama is considering importing the VAT tax from Europe. Of course if that happens it is not the fault of any country in Europe but rather the fault of Obama and all those who voted for him.


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