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Archive for the tag “Nick Clegg”

Brit elections: the elephant in the room

I watched a couple of the televised debates between the three front-runners in the UK election, and I’ve read several British blog posts about the hustings in various constituencies, and one thing that has struck me is that they all seem to be silent about the elephant in the room — that the Labour Party, since it came to power in 1997, has led Britain into not one, but three imperialist wars.

Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats did, to his credit, make a passing reference to the fact that the war in Iraq was illegal, but he did not follow it up, and Gordon Brown and David Cameron did not respond to it.

As an Australian journalist notes, t r u t h o u t | Voting for War. Take Your Pick:

All three party leaders are warmongers. Nick Clegg the Liberal Democrats leader and darling of former Blair lovers says that as prime minister he will ‘participate’ in another invasion of a ‘failed state’ provided there is ‘the right equipment the right resources.’ His one condition is the standard genuflection toward a military now scandalized by a colonial cruelty of which the Baha Mousa case is but one of many.

For Clegg as for Gordon Brown and David Cameron the horrific weapons used by British forces such as clusters, depleted uranium and the Hellfire missile which sucks the air out of its victims lungs do not exist. The limbs of children in trees do not exist. This year alone Britain will spend £4 billion on the war in Afghanistan and that is what Brown and Cameron almost certainly intend to cut from the National Health Service.

One other thing that all three front-ronners studiously avoided mentioning, and none of the public questions mentioned either, was the Labour Party’s attempts to destroy civil liberties and turn Britain into a fascist police state. Both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown tried to introduce 90-day detention without trial.

In the 1960s, when South Africa introduced 90-day detention, Harold Wilson’s Labour Party imposed military sanctions, and cancelled an order for Buccaneer aircraft destined for the South African Air Force. Now the British media laud Blair’s and Brown’s attempts to turn Britain into a Vorsterstan as “taking the moral high ground”.

My, how the mighty have fallen!

British politics gets interesting too

The British political scene has suddenly become more interesting after a televised debate between the leaders of the three main parties last week led to a surge in popularity for the Liberal Democrats, who have been out of power since the First World War. It was apparently the first time such a debate had been held, which gave British voters a chance to hear more than the occasional soundbite from the Lib-Dem leader, and most seemed to think he was the clear winner of the first round.

We watched last night’s second round of the debate to see what all the fuss was about.

Cameron Failure to Top Clegg in Debate Signals Hung Parliament – BusinessWeek:

April 23 (Bloomberg) — Conservative David Cameron failed to derail Nick Clegg in the U.K. campaign’s second debate, four instant polls showed, pointing to a hung parliament with Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labour Party as the largest bloc.

In a 90-minute televised debate, Brown, 59, compared his 43-year-old opponents to children “squabbling at bathtime.” Cameron, who led polls until Clegg’s surge after last week’s debate, said a government without a majority would prevent “decisive action” to narrow a record budget deficit. Clegg dismissed such warnings as “ludicrous scare stories.”

Of four surveys released immediately after the event, two showed Clegg won and a pair favored Cameron. That suggests the debate will produce little change in polls on the overall race in coming days. Most since last week show Labour winning a plurality of seats in the May 6 election.

From this distance the thing that was of most interest is foreign policy, and whether a new British government will continue or abandon the war-mongering of the belligerent Mr Blair, who has led Britain into three wars of aggression in the last 13 years.

Nick Clegg was the only one who mentioned the illegal Iraq War, while the other two steered clear of it. David Cameron’s contribution seemed to be mostly vague platitudes and aspirations without saying how these would be achieved. Gordon Brown got specific about things like jobs and recovering from the recession, but was also vague about protecting Britain from terrorism, which the others didn’t challenge him on, though it could be argued that Labour’s support for America’s wars of aggression in the Middle East actually made Britain more vulnerable to terrorism. Brown accused Clegg of being anti-American and Cameron of being anti-European, and implied that his “quiet diplomacy” would have more influence of American policy than Clegg’s promise of a more independent line — which is the kind of thing we used to hear from Thabo Mbeki about his approach to human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

It will be interesting to see how things develop.

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