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Old 10-15-2007, 01:39 PM   #1
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Sir Menzies Campbell resigns as leader of the Liberal Democrats

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Sir Menzies Campbell has resigned as leader of the Liberal Democrats, "with immediate effect".

Senior Lib Dems Vincent Cable and Simon Hughes made the announcement, saying the party owed Sir Menzies "a huge debt of gratitude".

Deputy leader Mr Cable will take over as acting leader for now - a leadership timetable will be announced on Tuesday. Mr Hughes said Sir Menzies had taken the decision in the "interests of the party and of Liberal Democracy".
So... what will happen to the Lib Dems now? I'd hope that the Social Democrat aspect of the Liberal Democrats will begin to show itself again and perhaps we'll get our viable third party back - lord knows we need it.


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Old 10-15-2007, 08:57 PM   #2
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Speaking from the perspective of an (literally) ignorant American:

What, exactly, do each of the parties in British politics represent ideologically? Could someone please enlighten me?

By the way, I have read Winston Churchill's memoirs, all six or so volumes of them, and I thought it was well worth it.





Wer mit Ungeheuern kämpft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein. -Friedrich Nietzsche, Jenseits von Gut und Böse
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Old 10-16-2007, 12:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by John Galt
Speaking from the perspective of an (literally) ignorant American:

What, exactly, do each of the parties in British politics represent ideologically? Could someone please enlighten me?

By the way, I have read Winston Churchill's memoirs, all six or so volumes of them, and I thought it was well worth it.
Eh... politics over the past decade has been a race to see who can cross-dress the best; a race for the centre ground which is partially driven by a handful of "swing seats" which wouldn't really matter if we replaced this ageing first-past-the-post system with proportional representation.

But I can tell you what the parties are traditionally before taking a stab at what the parties are about now.

Labour: Developed out of the Fabian Society (middle class group of intellectuals) it's traditionally been the party of the workers and was eventually taken over by the socialists a couple of decades after its foundation. It was the first openly left-wing party in Britain, in support of the redistribution of wealth (through benefits and high taxation of richer members of society), worker's rights, human rights, welfare state and state-funded education and healthcare.

They gave us:
  • The National Health Service (NHS) - though it was, admittedly, a Liberal party idea.
  • Nationalisation of most major industries (coal, transport etc.) - basically any company that now has the prefix "British" was once state-owned
  • Cradle-to-grave welfare state - again, a Liberal idea (have a refreshing Beveridge)
  • The liberal reforms of the 1960s (abolition of death sentence, ending of theatre censorship, legalisation of homosexuality and abortion, the amendment of divorce laws, and various laws thought up in an attempt to end race and gender discrimination.

The party fell victim to its more militant side during the 1970s causing the split down the middle and the formation of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), which later went on to merge with the floundering Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrats (or Lib Dems).

Conservatives: Also known as the Tories by many, they're the oldest political party in Britain. They're a party for the (lower) middle classes, traditionally associated with tax cuts and greater emphasis on the ethos of "you can spend your money better than the government can". They're usually associated with the right-wing (and, so far as Britain is concerned, traditionalist) side of the spectrum. Although they took us into the European Economic Community, the Tories are generally anti-Europe.

They gave us:
  • Neo-liberal economic reform
  • "Selling the family silver" by selling off nationalised industry to private investors. It arguably had to be done because Labour had allowed the industries to become inefficient and generally bad for the country. Whether or not it would have been needed if Labour hadn't allowed the nationalised industries to get out of hand is debatable - I'm of the mind that Maragret Thatcher would have been a footnote in history if Labour had known how to manage their businesses.
  • Lower taxes
  • Modern Britain - we are all children of Thatcher in the UK, whether we accept or deny it, her government were the architects of what we have now.

The Tories have had the most number of terms in power - other parties are like islands in the sea of conservatism.

Liberal Democrats: Formed out of the Liberal and Social Democratic parties, it's never been in power. This has always been, and will likely remain so, the party of the true centre. Placing the party in left or right terms will always fail. The party is on the liberal end of the authoritarian-libertarian scale. In recent years, the Lib Dems have found themselves as the party of the left but that's only when one compares them to the Labour and Conservative parties.

TODAY!

New Labour: It defines itself as a "democratic socialist" party these days but, to be honest, its policies are much further right of the centrist Lib Dems and really rather resemble Thatcherism (neo-liberalism) with the hard edges knocked off with excessive use of buzzwords like "reform" "radical" "unfair" and "better". Nu Labour is something of a paradox. On the one hand you have liberal-progressive policies like the minimum wage, civil partnerships (the right of gay men/women to get the legal status of a married couple) and so on but we also have the terrorism laws and an absurd relationship with the Republican party (which really rather represents everything that the traditional Labour party hated).

Everyone expected a comfortable shift to the centre-left when Gordon Brown was coronated as leader and Prime Minister and Mr. Blair did his tearful farewell tour of the world. But no, Labour continues to be a great beast of the centre-ground - that is, the centre-right - and all the change in leader meant was slight shift in rhetoric from "education" to "social housing".

Conservatives: The Tories perhaps haven't betrayed their heritage so much as Blair did with Labour (you'll note that David Cameron - the party leader - no longer refers to himself as a liberal conservative...) but they're still cross dressing as fast as they can. They recently offered a bunch of tax-cuts which makes me think that the transformation of the party into New Tory still isn't quite complete.

Liberal Democrats: The poor Liberal Democrats - occupying the true centre of politics - have found themselves, recently, as being something of a think-tank for the other parties (they have their policies stolen and redressed by the others) and have been absolutely hammered in the polls. If the Lib Dems can define themselves as the new party of the left, I actually feel that there'd be a breath of fresh air in politics and I honestly think it would win them voters from New Labour - it did at the last election.

There's obviously more to it but I've been typing for I don't know how long now and I think my fingers are beginning to bleed.

Then:
Left ------------> Right
Labour, Lib Dems, Tories

Now:

Left ------------> Right
Lib Dems, Labour, Tories

But left and right are defunct in British politics now because the furthest left are the Lib Dems... and they're the party of the centre. Politics today is a game of which party you dislike the least rather than which one you agree with. Sad, isn't it?


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Old 10-16-2007, 04:05 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply. As America's closest ally(and mother country) I think most Americans should have at least a basic knowledge of British politics. So, how influential in the overall scheme of things is the Liberal Democratic Party? Here in the States "third parties" are almost completely powerless.

Also, I've noticed lately that the left-right model of government is becoming obsolete, especially when dealing with social policy.

And as a Libertarian I can sympathize with the "lesser of two evils," American politics has been in the same two-party deadlock ever since the Whig party died, and neither party wants to do away with the winner-take-all system that keeps both of them in power. In many ways I envy the diversity of opinion that the parliamentary system fosters.





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Old 10-16-2007, 05:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
So, how influential in the overall scheme of things is the Liberal Democratic Party? Here in the States "third parties" are almost completely powerless.
Labour: 353 seats
Conservative: 197 seats
Liberal Democrats: 63 seats

There are other seats which are held by minor parties such as the Greens and the nationalists. The Lib Dems are the third largest party, currently; but they're being squeezed. Labour's had a change of face (switching from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown) so they've had a revival in the polls and the Tories have just managed to make a come-back on one policy alone and that's increasing the boundary for paying inheritance tax. Essentially, if your estate is worth over £300 000 then when you die you will pay a tax on the value that is over £300 000 (so if your estate was worth £302 000 then you, or your corpse, would only be taxed on the £2 000). The Tories proposed to raise the threshold to £1 000 000, shortly after the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Labour) announced that they'd be raising it to £700 000, another fine example of cross-dressing politics.

So the Lib Dems are leaking on both sides as people who rallied to them during the crisis years of both the major parties are returning to their "homeland". They're currently on 11% in the polls which means that they stand to lose about half their seats - quite a squeeze.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
In many ways I envy the diversity of opinion that the parliamentary system fosters.
Well, our current parliamentary system is in dire need of updating, if you ask me. We have a similar case of winner takes all over here. There are some really rather severe things wrong with democracy in Britain:
  • Our representatives can be elected on a tiny amount of public support - only 3 of the MPs sitting the Commons were elected with over 40% of the votes from their constituents.
  • It encourages the sort of tactical voting we touched on above - people don't vote for the candidate they want but the one they dislike the least. The number of times I've heard people say "I'd vote Liberal Democrat but it would mean X would win the election" is ludicrous.
  • Our system wastes votes - once a candidate has won, he takes everything, the votes over that critical winning point are completely ignored.
  • The number of seats you win in the Commons is not indicative of the amount of support you get from the public. Labour were around 40% in the polls the other week - they would have won a land-slide victory with that. Instead we have a sort of lumpy support system whereby, losing 5000 votes in one seat (by cross-dressing and nicking another party's policy on health or education or some such) to gain you 500 in another seat could actually be a good thing and would win you two seats over the one you would have gotten in the first place with more support. If someone would like to explain how that's democratic, I'd be pleased to hear.
  • We have these "safe" seats - a seat which is all but guaranteed to fall into a certain party's lap. It actually leads to the majority of the country being ignored while policy is tailor made to fit the whims of a handful of "swing" seats - which has led to this crowding of the centre ground.

Those are only some of the reasons why I'm pro-electoral reform. The third parties are little more than pressure groups under the new system but at least we have them.


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Old 10-26-2007, 06:50 PM   #6
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I think this could be a step in the right direction for the Lib Dems. I'm not a strong follower of politics to be honest but I take a look when I get chance. Hopefully the party will be able to get their overall aims and ethical values across more clearly now? I feel that I've never understood what diffrenciated the Lib Dems from other parties.

I'm not sure they'll be able to compete with the likes of Labour without a serious review of their policies, however.

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Old 10-28-2007, 12:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
America's closest ally(and mother country)
HA!

Why does everyone believe this ridiculous fairy-tale of the so-called 'special relationship'?

It's a pile of rubbish! There's no such thing. We aren't 'allies' - Britain is all but a vassal state. We get nothing in return for our indentureship to your country.

Not to mention that we from other countries are assumed to be totally au fait with your system.

Oh, and the Lib Dems are a political irrelevance, have been since the Maundy Gregory business.

The ONLY chance they have is a charismatic leader, which given that there is no particularly above-average MP amongst them in media-coverage terms, is unlikely, and a hung parliament, in which case we will most likely get a fourth term of New W***er Labour Party.

Aside from the three main parties, there are also the United Kingdom Independence Party, the British National Party and the Green Party, whose positions should be fairly self-explanatory, each of which hold no seats and are fairly extreme or are single-issue parties.

Not to mention that Toryism is not Conservatism, as Liberal ideology does not necessarily match Labour ideology.

[/rant]



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Old 10-28-2007, 12:48 PM   #8
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Not to mention that Toryism is not Conservatism, as Liberal ideology does not necessarily match Labour ideology.
No but the Conservative party is often dubbed the Tory party - it's a name they've inherited from the original Tory party as I understand it.

Today's special relationship is sickening. Where once it was a relationship of equals, now Britain is taken for granted; our position is automatically taken to be in agreement with the USA. I wouldn't mind seeing Britain stand up for itself once in a while. Just as I wouldn't mind asking the British public the Europe question via a referendum. Not the constit- I mean 'reforming treaty' you understand, just the question of "In or Out?"

I find politics exceptionally frustrating in that there is no choice between the major political parties - you can hardly fit a hair between Nu Labour and the Conservatives - and aside from democratic reform the only way I see that happening is if the backbenches of the Labour and Tory parties quit and found their own parties.

Just as the SDP split from extreme-left Labour, so a true Social Democratic/Democratic Socialist party should split from an incredibly annoying centre-right 'Labour' party that hides its wolfish appearance behind the husk of its long dead ideals.

No doubt you would feel the same way about the Conservatives.


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Old 10-29-2007, 11:22 AM   #9
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Is it fair to say that Brown isn't as interested in relations with America to the extent that Blair was? Brown seems a lot more focused on Britain and European relations IMO.

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Old 10-29-2007, 11:59 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Pavlos
No but the Conservative party is often dubbed the Tory party - it's a name they've inherited from the original Tory party as I understand it.
True. It is, however, something of a misnomer. One Nation Toryism is a distinct political philosophy - and one which Thatcher hated - she called such Tories 'conservative wets'.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavlos
Today's special relationship is sickening. Where once it was a relationship of equals, now Britain is taken for granted; our position is automatically taken to be in agreement with the USA. I wouldn't mind seeing Britain stand up for itself once in a while.
Indeed. It would be nice to occasionally tell the US where to go. Although we might have to give them a map first. And instructions for use of said map. And sat-nave references.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavlos
Just as I wouldn't mind asking the British public the Europe question via a referendum. Not the constit- I mean 'reforming treaty' you understand, just the question of "In or Out?"
I refer you to Sir Humphrey Appleby:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yes, Prime Minister
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the rise in crime among teenagers?

Bernard Woolley: Yes.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Do you think there is lack of discipline and vigorous training in our Comprehensive Schools?

Bernard Woolley: Yes.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Do you think young people welcome some structure and leadership in their lives?

Bernard Woolley: Yes.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Do they respond to a challenge?

Bernard Woolley: Yes.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Might you be in favour of reintroducing National Service?

Bernard Woolley: Er, I might be.Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes or no?Bernard Woolley: Yes.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Of course, after all you've said you can't say no to that. On the other hand, the surveys can reach opposite conclusions.

[Later]

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the danger of war?Bernard Woolley: Yes.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Are you unhappy about the growth of armaments?

Bernard Woolley: Yes.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Do you think there's a danger in giving young people guns and teaching them how to kill?

Bernard Woolley: Yes.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Do you think it's wrong to force people to take arms against their will?

Bernard Woolley: Yes.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Would you oppose the reintroduction of conscription?

Bernard Woolley: Yes.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: There you are, Bernard. The perfectly balanced sample.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavlos
I find politics exceptionally frustrating in that there is no choice between the major political parties - you can hardly fit a hair between Nu Labour and the Conservatives - and aside from democratic reform the only way I see that happening is if the backbenches of the Labour and Tory parties quit and found their own parties.
Quite. We might get Schmucks and Others, then....At least the choice would be easier. Sadly, I don't think it would work. The Schmucks couldn't stick to their principles, warped even as they are, if they tried.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavlos
Just as the SDP split from extreme-left Labour, so a true Social Democratic/Democratic Socialist party should split from an incredibly annoying centre-right 'Labour' party that hides its wolfish appearance behind the husk of its long dead ideals.

No doubt you would feel the same way about the Conservatives.
Pretty much. I blame Disraeli.



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Old 10-29-2007, 12:14 PM   #11
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Hah. Don't make me laugh. The day Britain tells the U.S. to do anything is the day Britain becomes a superpower. The United States is the most powerful country on Earth. We hold all the bargaining chips. That is why the States tell you what to do, not the other way around. Britain can stand up for itself all it likes, but it doesn't have the muscle to make the United States do anything.

Of course we don't treat Britain as an equal partner. They're not. The United States is a more powerful country in every way. Larger nuclear arsenal, larger navy, larger air force, larger army, larger marine corps, larger, better equipped, plus we've pulled Britain's ass out of two very hot World Wars. You owe us a lot, and you still haven't paid us back for burning Washington in 1812. So just sit back and be happy that you're still #2. Lord knows sometimes Australia would be easier to deal with. And get comfortable with your position, my limey friends. You're going to be in it for a rather long time.
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Old 10-29-2007, 12:35 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by TLM20
Is it fair to say that Brown isn't as interested in relations with America to the extent that Blair was? Brown seems a lot more focused on Britain and European relations IMO.
Eh... Mr. Brown certainly isn't chummy with Bush but he's also very pro-American; it was him who introduced Tony Blair to all the dignitaries for the first time, after all. However, Mr. Brown's reasons for being pro-American are somewhat different than Blair's. While Blair was probably drawn by the ideology - very heavy on this whole 'holy' war thing - of the Republican administration (according to a BBC 1 program last night, he asked a group of academics "Do you feel Saddam Hussein is an inherently evil man?"), Gordo seems very interested in the way the USA works - the constitution, the bill of rights and so on. Incidentally, Brown's speech on liberty the other day has got to be the most intellectual thing a Prime Minister has written since... ever.

Both Brown and Blair take a very pro-Europe stance, which I'm rather fond of. Unfortunately, Britain is, by nature, very anti-Europe (it's part of the island mentality). But when one considers the fact that the decisions of the future will be made by the USA, China, Russia, and India, we are foolish to believe that we'll still have a voice on the world stage without the EU.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarthInsidious
I refer you to Sir Humphrey Appleby:
How is it that a program that was on the television decades before I was born still manages to have an answer to everything? Good ol' Yes, (Prime) Minister.

Edit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corinthian
Of course we don't treat Britain as an equal partner. They're not. The United States is a more powerful country in every way. Larger nuclear arsenal, larger navy, larger air force, larger army, larger marine corps, larger, better equipped, plus we've pulled Britain's ass out of two very hot World Wars. You owe us a lot, and you still haven't paid us back for burning Washington in 1812. So just sit back and be happy that you're still #2. Lord knows sometimes Australia would be easier to deal with. And get comfortable with your position, my limey friends. You're going to be in it for a rather long time.
The Great War would have been won by the Entente without American intervention (or at least as far as my reading goes) but, yes, it would have dragged on for longer and yes, it would have been at the cost of many more lives. But I think you'll find that the victory of the Second World War was as much to do with the USSR as it was the USA - if not more so.

I don't think anyone in Britain believes than the United Kingdom is anywhere near as powerful as the United States of America. The point we're making is that it doesn't stop nations like, say, France from maintaining an independent foreign policy. It's rather annoying to see your nation's foreign policy dictated not by the people you elected but by someone sitting in Washington.

What has America ever done for us? A rather interesting read .

I think the principles upon which the USA was founded are terrific and it is, to be honest, the most benevolent super power the world has ever seen. But, as I said, I would prefer it if we weren't slaves to someone else's policy. But if you want to talk about owing things, just think about what language you're speaking and then do a bit of research about British (English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish and all) inventions and discoveries .


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Old 10-29-2007, 01:31 PM   #13
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I'm sure it is annoying to have the United States dictate your foreign policy. Unfortunately, that just means you need to get leadership with a spine of greater strength than the average trout's.

As for your point about USSR having a lot to do with Germany's defeat, you're quite right. But without the United States also fighting Germany, D-Day would most likely have failed, thus allowing Germany to devote most of their forces to fighting the USSR. They might have still been defeated, but a lot more people would have died and the war probably would have lasted several more years. Furthermore, without our involvement, many of Germany's secret designs would have reached mass production, possibly turning the tide of the war. The USSR greatly contributed to the victory, but make no mistake, we were at least equally important.

By the way, that article misses some pretty crucial points about politics. 1: Altruism doesn't exist in politics. We asked for our money back after we were giving you war supplies in the Second World War. What a shock. That's like complaining because you get bills. I'll tell you what you owe America - you're not speaking German.
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Old 10-29-2007, 05:09 PM   #14
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The USSR, once up and running where grinding their way trough europe, and would most likely defeat the germans. What the U.S did do which I am gratefull for, is preventing the USSR from simply claiming most of western europe.

I have a problem seeing why Britain should have to "pay" for something that happened 50 years ago. The U.S emerged from the war relatively unharmed, and thanks to their war efforts and the marshall aid, got a huge market to sell their goods, boosting the economy, and recieved support from a lot of countries for being the nice guy.

Quote:
We hold all the bargaining chips.
Tiny overstatement there methinks, oil in particular is a chip the US has problems with.

Quote:
Britain can stand up for itself all it likes, but it doesn't have the muscle to make the United States do anything.
But surley their loyalty should be rewarded? Or are you expecting countries to support you for nothing? As you said there is no altruism in politics..........
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Old 10-29-2007, 05:39 PM   #15
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Unlikely. The Germans nearly destroyed the Soviet Union, and this was with German fighting a three front war, fighting in Europe, Africa, and Russia. Without us, the Afrika Korps would have destroyed Monty's forces while the rest of the German army overwhelmed Russia.

You owe us because if it weren't for our intervention, Britain wouldn't exist. It'd either be part of the USSR or part of the German Empire. Yeah, economically, we came out in good shape. With enough of that money, we can bring back all of our boys who died for your freedom. We certainly weren't fighting to rescue ourselves in the European Theater - the only one who had attacked us was in the Pacific.

Britain has the oil chip? That's funny, I hadn't heard of Britain finding a lot of oil inside their borders and selling to us. When last I checked, the Middle-East sold us most of our oil, and almost all of the rest we drill ourselves.

Rewarded with what? We've already got an agreement to protect each other with NATO. Besides, what has your loyalty ever really done for us? You contribute troops to our efforts that are slightly better than token. You know what the worst part about Britain withdrawing it's support from the United States would be? Morale. I like Brits. You're good stock. But for our most valued ally, you're not very valuable.
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Old 10-29-2007, 06:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
You owe us because if it weren't for our intervention, Britain wouldn't exist
1. I'm not a Britt, but a Norwegian which by your logic means I owe Russia my freedom.
2. By that definition you owe the french your freedom, because without them the U.S wouldn't exist.

Quote:
We certainly weren't fighting to rescue ourselves in the European Theater - the only one who had attacked us was in the Pacific.
The U.S fought for the same reason all countries going on the offence fight, because it was in your interest.

Quote:
Britain has the oil chip? That's funny, I hadn't heard of Britain finding a lot of oil inside their borders and selling to us. When last I checked, the Middle-East sold us most of our oil, and almost all of the rest we drill ourselves.
Erm, my point was that the U.S don't hold that chip.

Quote:
Rewarded with what?
Brown seems to want to do something about poverty, some helping there would be apreciated.

Quote:
Besides, what has your loyalty ever really done for us?
The british troops are more than token, the fact that its pressence makes it not "just amerca bullying", a veto nation in the UN doing you bidding, trade, morale, etc

Quote:
I like Brits. You're good stock.
carefull, that smells like racism

We seems to have drifted way off topic, so maybe a mod could use their godly powers to sett things straight.
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Old 10-29-2007, 06:19 PM   #17
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Britain has the oil chip? That's funny, I hadn't heard of Britain finding a lot of oil inside their borders...
It's called North Sea Oil and Gas - a lot of it is used for jet fuel (I think). But it's running out, like all reserves.

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Rewarded with what? We've already got an agreement to protect each other with NATO. Besides, what has your loyalty ever really done for us? You contribute troops to our efforts that are slightly better than token. You know what the worst part about Britain withdrawing it's support from the United States would be? Morale. I like Brits. You're good stock. But for our most valued ally, you're not very valuable.
I'd prefer this thread not get bogged down in "Britain owes the USA a thousand and one years of servitude." If you want to discuss that, then create a separate thread, I'd prefer this one was reserved for the discussion of UK politics - more specifically, the state they're in. Perhaps the thread title could be changed to reflect the change in topic (which pretty much occurred straight after my initial post ).

What say you to the West Lothian Question?


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Old 10-29-2007, 07:18 PM   #18
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What has America ever done for us? A rather interesting read .
Very interesting read, but I find some of the history to be a little questionable. The American people did not want to enter the World War II. The US government did everything possible to Japan short of begging them to attack us in order to get into the war. Those in control of the US government at that time saw it as their moral obligation to join the conflict. As to the American people not wanting to join in, we must remember that WWI was billed as the war to end all wars, 21 years seemed a little short for there to be another World War.

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The Great War would have been won by the Entente without American intervention (or at least as far as my reading goes) but, yes, it would have dragged on for longer and yes, it would have been at the cost of many more lives.
Dragging on is what the Nazi leaderships wanted. Do you know how close they were to achieving weapons such as the atomic bomb? They may have actually won the war and they may have still lost that is something we never have to know thanks to all the men and women that served the allied forces.

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I don't think anyone in Britain believes than the United Kingdom is anywhere near as powerful as the United States of America. The point we're making is that it doesn't stop nations like, say, France from maintaining an independent foreign policy. It's rather annoying to see your nation's foreign policy dictated not by the people you elected but by someone sitting in Washington.
I agree. Washington’s attitude that you are either with us or against us is just plain stupid. If another country were trying to tell the US what to do, we would tell them where to stick it. Your allies are your partners and not someone you can run rough shot over. I would have loved to see George Bush try to pull this crap on Winston Churchill.
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Old 10-29-2007, 07:28 PM   #19
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Dragging on is what the Nazi leaderships wanted. Do you know how close they were to achieving weapons such as the atomic bomb? They may have actually won the war and they may have still lost that is something we never have to know thanks to all the men and women that served the allied forces.
I was referring to the First World War . But no one wins war, it's simply a matter of who loses the least.


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Old 10-30-2007, 06:50 AM   #20
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Hah. Don't make me laugh. The day Britain tells the U.S. to do anything is the day Britain becomes a superpower. The United States is the most powerful country on Earth. We hold all the bargaining chips. That is why the States tell you what to do, not the other way around. Britain can stand up for itself all it likes, but it doesn't have the muscle to make the United States do anything.
No, you don't. We could tell you to **** off quite easily by full integration with the EU. Unfortunately, we have a saying about cutting your nose off to spite your face...
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Of course we don't treat Britain as an equal partner. They're not. The United States is a more powerful country in every way. Larger nuclear arsenal, larger navy, larger air force, larger army, larger marine corps, larger, better equipped,
And you are a cultural and genetic backwater.

Aside from which, your military is notorious for being poorly-trained and being about the worst for friendly-fire. You may have the cash, but we have the military experience and training.
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plus we've pulled Britain's ass out of two very hot World Wars. You owe us a lot,
Wrong. By 1918, all the major battles of the First World War had been fought. The "rolling barrage" had been developed twice over, and Germany was exhausted. And Nazi Germany was doomed from its inception by its own incompetence. The Battle of Stalingrad saved us. Not the US. If we'd fallen you might well be speaking German, and if we hadn't dragged you kicking and screaming into the war, you might well have remained shut up in your Union, steadfastly ignoring first the Germans and then the Russians.
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and you still haven't paid us back for burning Washington in 1812. So just sit back and be happy that you're still #2. Lord knows sometimes Australia would be easier to deal with. And get comfortable with your position, my limey friends. You're going to be in it for a rather long time.
Shove off and die.

You owe us everything you are. You have no right to demand we take a back seat to you, my parvenu friend. You have no rights of conquest, nor have we ceded our nation to yours (a preposterous notion!). You have no rights to treat us as a vassal, and 'gunboat diplomacy' is 150 years out of date!



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Old 10-30-2007, 12:35 PM   #21
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Bwahahahahaha!

Full integration with the EU? We could handle everything in Europe if you threw it at us. Seriously, who in the EU is at all significant? France? Oh, yeah, the last time they fought in a real war they surrendered in about two weeks. So you're going for the Russia Assault, massive armies of underequipped and undertrained armies. The difference is, it doesn't matter how many you have, you won't stand up to a rolling horde of Abrams.

Cultural and Genetic backwater? I point out that you're militarily inferior, and you go to insults about American Culture? If I remember correctly, that's ad hominem. I love a good old logical fallacy in the morning.

Besides, how are we a cultural and genetic backwater? I'll remind you that we are the melting pot, with a far larger gene pool. It's a wonder that we haven't been seeing Brits with their eyes pointing in the wrong direction or having six fingers and three legs. Do you ever mate with anyone not from the Isles?

Heh. That may be so, for the First World War. Of course, the war would have continued and Germany would have been able to go for much better terms than the Treaty of Versailles. As for the Second World War, you're wrong there too. Without us, D-Day would have almost certainly failed, allowing Germany to hold the lines against Stalin for much longer, possibly meaning he'd get some of his secret weapons out, including the Nuke.

What the hell do we owe you? Nothing. Anything we might have owed you was paid back after you attacked us twice. Remember pressing thousands of American sailors into the British Navy, for example? Taxing us without allowing us equal representation? Bah. We owe you nothing, and you owe us everything. It's a wonder we haven't marched over there and turned 'Great' Britain into an American Colony. It'd be a nice irony.

We have every right to treat you as a vassal, because you don't have the balls to tell us to shove off to our face, because you're terrified of us.
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Old 10-30-2007, 01:07 PM   #22
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Bwahahahahaha!

Full integration with the EU? We could handle everything in Europe if you threw it at us. Seriously, who in the EU is at all significant? France? Oh, yeah, the last time they fought in a real war they surrendered in about two weeks. So you're going for the Russia Assault, massive armies of underequipped and undertrained armies. The difference is, it doesn't matter how many you have, you won't stand up to a rolling horde of Abrams.
First off: I like the French (their poetry suffers because of their reliance on the Alexandrine but that's besides the point ). If they're not happy with something, you'll know about it - it's something we lack here in Britain where it's a matter of "Oh they're cutting out pay by 50%... oh well... best just get on with the job. Stiff upper lip and all that."

Secondly: The EU is the world's largest free market economy. If it decided to federalise (unlikely though that is seeing as how that vision was ended when the constitution was shot down) then the USA would find itself sorely out-gunned - we account for about a third of the world's GDP and the USA imports more goods from the European Economic Community than it exports to them; tells you a little something about the health of the European economy.

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Besides, how are we a cultural and genetic backwater? I'll remind you that we are the melting pot, with a far larger gene pool. It's a wonder that we haven't been seeing Brits with their eyes pointing in the wrong direction or having six fingers and three legs. Do you ever mate with anyone not from the Isles?
Let's not start this... please... it's dangerously close to a form of racism and I'd really rather not go down that path.


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Old 10-30-2007, 01:48 PM   #23
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I'd prefer this thread not get bogged down in "Britain owes the USA a thousand and one years of servitude." If you want to discuss that, then create a separate thread, I'd prefer this one was reserved for the discussion of UK politics - more specifically, the state they're in.
I'd prefer that too

Please stay on topic peepz. If you'd like to continue the great e-Penis comparison between countries, then please start a new thread. I'll even move the appropriate posts (out of this thread to a new one) should you wish to carry on

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Old 10-30-2007, 02:04 PM   #24
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Sorry. I shouldn't have responded to Insidious' use of ad hominem with use of it myself.
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Old 10-31-2007, 11:35 AM   #25
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I agree, our leadership should not be treating our allies like hired guns, Bush has his Blackwater mercenaries for that.

However, as much as I like Britain and its people, I simply don't think entangling alliances are good for the US (or the UK) in the long run. Although our nation's self-interest may coincide with that of another nation some, or even most of the time, close alliances like the one we have with the United Kingdom undermine the sovereignty of both nations by forcing them to act, sometimes, solely based on the interests of another nation or her citizens.

Admittedly, we WERE lied to by Bush prior to his election; one of the major tenets of his campaign was establishing a "more humble" foreign policy. However, this doesn't justify the arrogance of Americans toward citizens of other countries, which is fostered by the media and our self-aggrandizing education system.

Personally, if I were a resident of ANY European country I would oppose the EU, as it undermines the sovereignty of its member nations. However, as an American I can never truly appreciate the mindset of someone from another country fully, and vice-versa, so I can't really say anything.

To pretend that all people are born totally equal is to ignore Darwinian principles, but I honestly thought eugenics died after the Second World War...





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Old 11-02-2007, 01:12 AM   #26
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However, this doesn't justify the arrogance of Americans toward citizens of other countries, which is fostered by the media and our self-aggrandizing education system.
It's actually a great source of anti-Americanism. After all, who likes to have some idiot from another country smother his face about how his own country is the best in the world and everyone else sucks.

It really gets old and annoying. We, citizens of various countries, have our own national prides and we hold it dear. Pissing on each other is a good way to generate unjustified hate.

By the way, the old idea of American hegemony died a couple of years ago, with the rise of China and the EU as capable economical and political forces. Some people still cling to it blindly, but hey, doesn't mean they're right



Now on to the main topic...

Can someone explain me how "Toryism" and the Conservative party can be two different things?

Here in Canada, Conservatives are very often called Tories and there's no ideological distinction between the two. It's almost just a nickname.


Westminster system and proportional:

The province of Ontario recently rejected a proposal for a new way to elect MPs that would be more fair and more democratic. It seems that traditions and habits have the last say. Then again, on the federal scene, we have a minority government that works relatively well, so the need for a change might not seem so urgent. Or Ontario really loves the Liberal party so much, they want it to dominate Ontarian politics until the end of time.

My worries about the proportional stems more from a governing point of view. Proportional means minority government and much compromises which also means coalition governments and even more ideological concessions. It could also mean more instability.

It would depend mostly on the ability of the British parties' leaders to deal with such situations, but considering how Britain has no tradition of coalitions and minority governments (as far as I know), it might end up being a problematic situation with governments rotating at an insane pace, nothing moving forward and a gigantic waste of funds organizing elections.

The current situation of Canada still has factors that can explain the longevity of Stephen Harper's Conservative government such as the absolute crash of the Liberal party, the only ones who can actually replace them. The neo-democrats certainly can't and the Bloc Québécois has no voters outside of Québec.

Having a majority in the Westminster system does confer many advantages such as decisions being taken and having no turning back. For example, abortion and gay marriage is not much of a debate anymore, but a system with a lot of checks and balances like the US still can't decide. The Prime Minister is almost a reigning king if he has the majority, but at least things get done.

Granted, it might not be fair or give much chance to third parties, considering the system favors only two big parties.



Explication towards shift to the center:

The volatility of the vote certainly has changed political parties to seek out the voters who don't have a partisan affiliation, which means the majority. If parties seem to tend towards the center and that no great ideological split can be seen between the two major parties, it's actually a result of society changing.

Considering partisan affiliations being relatively unimportant, if a party wants to win the elections, it has to aim for the center, in order to grab as many votes as it can. Parties with a definite ideology, like the NPD representing the left here in Canada, and sticking to it has a pretty bad chance of winning an election and forming a government.


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Old 11-02-2007, 09:45 AM   #27
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