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Better The Devil You Know?

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Mark Twain said, "'The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated," when a newspaper mixed him up with a dying relative, and the Labour Party could do worse than to adopt this as their new slogan because the red flag may not be flying, but it's certainly fluttering gently in the breeze.

A few short months ago it was the Conservative Party 15% ahead in all the polls, the Murdoch Press had abandoned Labour and we were preparing for a Tory Government and the burial of the Labour Party.

Today, a YouGov survey for The Sunday Times gives the Conservatives a 2% lead, so where did it all go wrong for David Cameron that he is seemingly finding it so difficult to bury such an unpopular Government? One of the reasons was touched upon in December, with Gordon Brown's comment that the Conservatives' idea for an Inheritance Tax was "dreamed up on the playing fields of Eton."  The Conservatives predictably slated Brown for bringing class into it, but it seems that evoking the privileged background of senior Tories, when they are attempting to form a connection to the 99.99% of the country who were not schooled in Oxbridge, struck a chord with the electorate.  Cameron argued that "What people are interested in is not where you come from but where you're going to," which shows a strong lack of knowledge of the people he is asking to vote him into power, because where one comes from is very important in class divided Britain.  The photograph of Cameron in the top hat and tails of the Bullingdon Club where membership is by invitation only and reserved only for the wealthiest Oxford students was the first of the drip drip of revelations that Cameron was a "toff."

His party members were embroiled in the expenses scandal with claims for moat cleaning and tennis court maintenance, and Conservatives MP Anthony Steen ranting that he was disliked because of jealousy over his "very, very large house. Some people say it looks like Balmoral."  It is hard to connect with voters who don't have moats, tennis courts or homes like Balmoral, and that is why David Cameron and his party are sweating over how they have been pegged back by a party that has a track record which includes Afghanistan, Iraq, the expenses scandal, 10% tax rate debacle, billion-pound payouts to the financial markets, the non-referendum on the EU Lisbon Treaty, the worst recession since the 1930s and a leader outed as a bully.

It seems that possibly the British electorate are taking the view of better the inept devil you know than the posh one that you don't.

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About Lucyp

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Lucyp,

    [“What people are interested in is not where you come from but where you’re going to,” which shows a strong lack of knowledge of the people he is asking to vote him into power, because where one comes from is very important in class divided Britain.]

    Unfortunately, this idea was brought over to America on the Discovery, the Susan Constant, and the Godspeed in 1602. Is it too late to send it back to you?

    It is more important to move towards some fresh new ideas in America, rather than rotting away in the same tired old beliefs.

    In fact, I’m now really tired of the Tories, after reading this article.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    What you would probably be tired of if you lived in Britain, Jeannie, is the caricaturing of the Tories and Labour by the media – particularly the tabloid newspapers like the Sun, the Mirror and the Mail, which comfortably outsell the quality, broadsheet papers like the Times, the Telegraph and the Guardian.

    I think calling Britain ‘class divided’ is putting it a bit strongly as well. True, there is an upper class which remains for the most part divorced from social reality, but we’re talking about a very small number of people here.

    Even many aristocrats have fallen on hard times and find themselves working regular jobs like everyone else – albeit often with the significant leg-up which comes from an Oxbridge education.

    David Cameron is one of those toffs, although he’s made a commendable effort to tone down his party’s elitist image. I’m still not a fan, though. My preferred Tory leader would have been David Davies. He’s a down-to-earth bloke and one of my favourite contemporary politicians, and I might seriously have considered voting Conservative again if he’d won the leadership.

    Lower down the scale, the boundaries which used to exist between the middle and working classes are very, very blurred nowadays and most people don’t dwell much on class any more.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    DD,

    If you chose to vote in upcoming elections in the UK, would you?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Sorry, DD, that was careless phrasing. If you desired to vote in the upcoming elections in the UK, could you?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Lucy,

    Interesting piece. I have to tell you; looking at my own political “system” here in Israel, I am terribly bored with the same soap given us under different labels. No matter which brand we choose, we seem to get the same garbage. Do you feel similarly?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Doc,

    I love the Brits, please don’t get me wrong, but the author sounded as though where you came from out-ways who you are in class standing. That is what I was reacting to in my comment.

    My husband and I love to watch BBC, Doc Martin, Midsumer Murders-DVD, Waiting For God,and One Foot In The Grave, are all our TV diversions right now. Of course the Beatles were the real gift from England!
    :)

    I really do like English people. I just have a big mouth and sometimes find fault everywhere I look.

    The media sucks all over the world, that should be the title of my next article!:)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Ruvy,

    Yes, I can vote in the upcoming UK general election if I so choose. There are a few bureaucratic hoops to be jumped through for the overseas voter, but I will simply be registered to vote in the constituency which contains my last UK address of record.

    Then it’s a question of whether to vote by mail or by proxy. Since the UK election laws are not as relaxed as the American ones, there is an insufficient timeframe for my postal vote from the US to arrive in time to be counted; so my brother has agreed to be my proxy.

    I then just need to trust that he’ll vote for who I tell him to vote for!

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    looking at my own political “system” here in Israel, I am terribly bored with the same soap given us under different labels […] Do you feel similarly?

    I know the question wasn’t addressed to me, Ruvy, but yes, it’s certainly the case in Britain that there is little ideological differentation between the major British political parties nowadays. I don’t, though, feel that this is necessarily a bad thing.

    Britons, by and large, benefitted greatly from the Thatcher era, particularly in regard to standard of living. Labour remained stuck in their old socialist ideology for over a decade before the bright sparks in the party finally got the message across that there was no way they were ever going to win again unless they ditched the socialism. Under the late John Smith and later Blair they transformed themselves into what was pretty much ‘conservatism lite': so that when they finally got re-elected they simply continued with the Tories’ overall policies, ditching only a few that were the most unpopular.

    The Tories then found themselves in the same boat, having now been in opposition themselves for almost 13 years, and have had to abandon the more rabid Thatcherist positions in order to be more centrist and palatable to the millions who’ve been voting Labour for the past decade.

    The result is that the centrist Liberal Democrats are now further left than either Labour or the Tories, although the party is still very moderate.

    What this all means for the UK voter is that there’s little to no risk of inadvertently electing a government with the ability or inclination to trash the place. Any change of party simply means more of the same, with a few minor tweaks to fix what’s perceived to be the most rotten.

  • STM

    Doc: “pretty much ‘conservatism lite'”

    Which Blair got on a trip to trip to Australia, where they sat down with the former PM Bob Hawke, madly scribbling away, as Hawke expounded on his theories, which was based around accord. The same thing happened in Australia.

    After decades of conservative government beset by scandals and upper-class arrogance, the Whitlam government came to power in the early 70s and lasted three years, totally mismanaging the economy, falling victim to their own scandals and forcing a crisis of supply in the senate that led to the governor-general sacking the government and going back to the people, who re-elected a conservative government that was to remain in power for another decade or so. Labor had lasted three years.

    Hawke was smart enough to understand that people thought Labor too radical and too tied up with the trade unions. Despite being a former union leader, he broke their power and worked with private enterprise to reach”accord” … which was basically an attempt to keep everyone happy.

    It worked up to a point, and it’s the same strategy employed by Labour in Britain in the wake of Thatcher.

    However, Hawke didn’t invent it. It came from the policies of former Labor Premier of NSW Neville Wran.

    The truth is, though, much like in the UK, the parties of the right and left are really parties of the centre, each sitting slightly to the right or left of that … unlike the US, where what Americans call the Left would be more akin to the right in Australia, and possibly the Democrats of the mainsream would more closely resemble the right wing of the Labor Party, which of course is quite conservative.

    Nice piece Lucy. I can’t see the Conservatives not winning power in the UK, though, even if it’s by a small margin as Britons have some second thoughts

  • http://johnlbell.blogspot.com John L Bell

    I am a taxpaying (are you listening Lord Ashcroft?)citizen voter in the UK who has been studying the scams of those in this Fraudsters’ Parliament since the Conway scams first came to public notice.

    I watched as MPs, of ALL parties at ALL levels up to ministerial and shadow ministerial level, were caught with their fingers in the till!
    I continue to ask why the terms of The Fraud Act 2006 (especially Sections 2-4) have NOT been deployed to investigate and prosecute those in this Fraudsters’ Parliament who have stolen taxpayers’ monies!
    So tell me – how do I, a taxpaying citizen voter, choose between candidates in the major parties whose shared credentials include fraudulent activity on a massive scale? … and do these people really believe that we will believe ANYTHING they say?
    We need a disinfecting general election to remove all those in that institution which could arguably be defined as ‘the largest single concentration of shysters, thieves and con-artists this side of prison bars!

    You have probably guessed – I will be voting for an independent candidate in my local constituency…… and will watch his every action, should he be elected, for signs of the financial dishonesty endemic in parliament today.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’re fighting City Hall, John Bell.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Consider the recent case before SCOTUS, challenging the present law against fraudsters and less-than-full disclosure to the stockholders as being “too vague” and therefore unconstitutional. And considering the present composition of SCOTUS, I wouldn’t be surprised if the challengers won their day in court.

    But these are the last-ditch efforts of failing regimes.

    Surely, better and brighter days are awaiting.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I can’t see the Conservatives not winning power in the UK, though, even if it’s by a small margin as Britons have some second thoughts.

    I don’t think Lucy was suggesting that the Tories wouldn’t win. I agree, I think the Camerons will be measuring Downing Street for new curtains in the spring. But it ain’t going to be the sort of landslide that Labour enjoyed in ’97 when the tables were turned.

    We Poms are a nation of complainers, and even when the country isn’t more than mildly sick (the comments of people such as John Bell notwithstanding), we get fed up with the same old same old after a while.

  • Arch Conservative

    I’m going to write a book titled “I Learned All I Need to Know About European Politics from Nigel Farage”

    It will be a very good book.

  • STM

    “why the terms of The Fraud Act 2006 … have NOT been deployed to investigate and prosecute those in this Fraudsters’ Parliament”.

    Because, mate, the courts would be blocked up for the next 10 years, and they’d have to go back deacdes having set a precedent and prosecute retired MPs as well. The wheel of government in the UK would grind to a halt. We all know it’s not just this parliament that’s been doing it.

    I understand that putting in expenses for moat cleaning is wrong, and some of the big-spending shysters need to be brought to task, but spending a bit of the electoral allowance on chocolate bars and the like probably isn’t so bad … even if it’s wrong by the letter of the law.

    It’s horses for courses, isn’t it. There’s a big difference between large-scale fraud by an individual that might add up to many thousands of dollars (let’s say moat cleaning, gardening and the purchase3 of furniture for the home rather than the parliamentary office), and a bit of pilfering of the electoral allowance for chocolate bars, lamps and dry cleaning by a lot of people that adds up to many, many thousands of dollars.

    Problem is, if you go the moat cleaners and the furniture buyers in court, then you have to go everyone else, including the chocolate bar pilferers who might have misappropriated only a couple of quid’s worth of their electoral allowance. My understanding is that it is the latter that make up the bulk of the numbers.

    Perhaps the national and international embarrasment for Britain’s MPs is enough in this case. Certainly, as is always the case in Britain, an expose by the press – an absolute beauty of an invetsigation in this case that makes the London Daily Telegraph a poster child for the kind of high journalistic standards employed “old” media – certainly leads to a) keeping the bastards more honest, and c) more transparency in government.

    The problem in the past, of course, is that the gravy train has been an accepted part of British political life.

    As it is in most systems of governance.

    I like to put it in perspective: British MPs were pilfering chocolate bars on the public purse, or buying the odd lounge chair for the home, and in the worst-case scenario getting their moats cleaned and spending more than they should on perfectly legal parliamentary junkets overseas for ‘study trips”, while in other places (other countries) it’s been the raking in of many millions of dollars from, say, kickbacks for oil and defence contracts, or worse: the pocketing of squillions while their own people starved.

    Now that the British MPs have been busted and outed, Cadbury’s will be doing a lot less business in Westminister, and the moat cleaners will be looking for work elsewhere.

    In the meantime, the next parliament will have a different idea of what kind of tickets they buy on the gravy train.

    Because one thing I do know: while Britons were shocked by the parliamentary expenses scandal, the real reason they were shocked – and all the more shocked – is because when it comes to good governance, Britain is a beacon when it comes to transparency and lack of corruption in public life.

    It would be foolish to undermine that any more than it has been … and like I say, perspective is everything.

    Having said all that, I don’t condone it either.

  • STM

    Jeannie: “Of course the Beatles were the real gift from England!”

    No Jeannie, the real gifts from England were the concept of personal liberty, democracy, equality, due process, freedom os speech, rule of law … and your political system generally.

    You’ll hear views to the contrary, but the truth is, just like us, you owe it all to them. Your system of governance might look slightly different, but it’s near identical in function, as is your law … especially your criminal law.

    Even the American revolution was only made possible by the revolutionaries using Britain’s own democracy against it.

    Why do you think everyone became friends again after the unpleasantness died down?

    And it’s no coincidence that the best standards of living, the most stable democracies, are all those that were settled by the British. Compare Australia, say, to Argentina … two countries at the turn of the 20th century that were considered to be about equal in terms of their hope for their future and their potential to become big players in the global economy.

    One became a food basket for the world (Australia), the other became a basket case.

    As Doc loves to say, the founding fathers didn’t just pluck this stuff out of thin air.

    The Beatles were pretty damn good though, although I have some other faves from the little island in the north sea shaped like a witch taking a dump.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    The information age, that the inter-net has brought to the world, is such a wonderful gift.

    People who, previously, had very little political voice or real power can now join in the conversation, and this forces all politicians to become more honest with the electorate, whether they want to or not.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    I forgot to mention The moody Blues!

    I’m listening to them right now.

    :)Question -Legend Of A Band.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    STM,

    You misunderstood my comment. I didn’t mean that, The Beatles, were the only gift from England.

    If it were not for England, then most of us would not be here, in fact, there would not be, a United States of America.
    I was just saying thank you for, The Beatles.

    Have I insulted you in some way that I am not aware of?
    If I have, then my apologies are for you.

  • zingzing

    jeez, stan… that was a little unnecessary.

  • zingzing

    plus, beatles>silly old bill of rights.

  • http://www.bruisefalling.blogspot.com/ Lucy

    Lots of comments for me to plough throw. Firstly, i do think that despite our best efforts, class does play a role in Britain and not just in politics. Maybe it’s jealousy or just inbred that we distrust anyone ‘privleged’. It is not a very pleasant trait but one that cannot be ignored.
    I do think the Tory’s will win, whether they will be better or not than Labour is debatable so to answer you Ruvy, it seems that both of the main parties are so similar that the transition from one to another would be almost seamless.
    Although the Beatles were a great gift jeannie danna, although a little before my time (born 1969), i’d have to plump for Queen (the band, not Elizabeth II).

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Your country gave us many gifts, Lucy, but we should have left the Native Americans alone since they were here first.
    The biggest hallmark of America today unfortunately, is intolerance; it strikes me that this is not such a huge problem in England.
    I love your use of words, “i’d have to plump for Queen.” :)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I agree that class plays a role, Lucy. I just don’t think Britain is as divided by class as you say it is.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I’m going to write a book titled “I Learned All I Need to Know About European Politics from Nigel Farage”

    Not entirely to my surprise, Farage has taken a big dip in my estimation after his antics in the European Parliament last week, after he launched into a lengthy and uncalled-for personal attack on the new European Council President.

    Poor bloke hadn’t even started his job yet, and found himself and his country being publicly insulted seventeen ways to Christmas.

    Farage is refusing to apologize too. He doesn’t even see what it was he did wrong. Which makes me take an even dimmer view of him.

    Don’t get me wrong: we need people like Farage in the European Parliament. But… some dignity, please…

  • pablo

    Dr. Dread,

    Please forgive my faux pas for intruding on this thread with my brief comments on another subject matter, however it is probably the easiest way of garnering your attention.

    You mentioned several months ago regarding Climategate that it was much ado about nothing, I of course differed vehemently in my opinion as I still do.

    From The Daily Mail dated March 2nd:

    “Scientists at the heart of the Climategate row were yesterday accused by a leading academic body of undermining science’s credibility.

    The Institute of Physics said ‘worrying implications’ had been raised after it was revealed the University of East Anglia had manipulated data on global warming.

    The rebuke – the strongest yet from the scientific community – came as Professor Phil Jones, the researcher at the heart of the scandal, told MPs he had written ‘some pretty awful emails’ – but denied trying to suppress data.
    The Climategate row, which was first revealed by the Daily Mail in November, was triggered when a hacker stole hundreds of emails sent from East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit.

    They revealed scientists plotting how to avoid responding to Freedom of Information requests from climate change sceptics.

    Some even appeared to show the researchers discussing how to manipulate raw data from tree rings about historical temperatures.

    In one, Professor Jones talks about using a ‘trick’ to massage figures and ‘hide the decline’.
    Giving evidence to a Science and Technology Committee inquiry, the Institute of Physics said: ‘Unless the disclosed emails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations, worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research and for the credibility of the scientific method.

    ‘The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital.’

    Last month, the Information Commissioner ruled the CRU had broken Freedom of Information rules by refusing to hand over raw data.”

    I just wanted to refute your assessment of the situation Dread, as you were being over simplistic and a wee bit naive in my opinion pal. The global warmer mongers are currently in a hasty retreat and I believe we have only seen the tip of the iceberg as it were in the fraud that has been perpetrated by the Chicken Littles of the world.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    No problem, Pablo, although I think we’d better continue the discussion on a more germane thread, rather than hijack this one. See you over here.

  • Arch Conservative

    Maybe Farage just doesn’t like the idea that the Belgians, French or Germans should have a say as to what goes on in your nation Dread. Personally I find the whole idea of the EU appalling.

    I could only imagine if American law was in part dictated by the wishes of Canada or Mexico.

  • STM

    Jeannie: “Have I insulted you in some way that I am not aware of? If I have, then my apologies are for you.”

    No, not all Jeannie, just making a comment … geez you guys can be thin skinned on the other side of the big pond, and can find something where there’s nothing to find. Or, just the regular-sized pond if you’re at Lucy’s end of proceedings.

    I just don’t think the Beatles were Britain’s greatest gift to anyone. Democracy and stable, transparent government was their best export … just expounding on that. I just sometimes wonder whether we all understand just how lucky we are because of it.

    No offence meant, either.

  • STM

    There is a view Doc that the European parliament is made up of, to paraphrase a certain P.Keating, undemocratic swill.

    I can’t see why it couldn’t have stayed as a loose grouping of countries bound to each other by trade and common interests, with some bureaucracy to faciltate that. Instead, they spend a fortune on a euro parliament. So what are the national parliaments now?

    Little better than state parliaments run by a federal parliament?? That’s almost where it’s headed.

  • zingzing

    stm: “I just don’t think the Beatles were Britain’s greatest gift to anyone. Democracy and stable, transparent government was their best export … ”

    YAAAAWWWWWNNNN… you go to hell. yer a fuckin stones fan, aren’t you? or is it the kinks? must be the damn kinks. sure they had a few great albums, but shiiiit.

    plus, it’s not like the british people suddenly got to america and totally regressed to the middle ages. it’s the ideal that the british came up with that was exported by the british for the british in the british who came to america who set up a similar gov’t in america and then revolted when it wasn’t being realized to the extent that ideal promised. then they went about making the same mistakes the british did. except with both more and less religion. depending.

    from there, it spread, with more or less success, and with more or less willingness. it wasn’t a gift. it was an idea. ideas aren’t owned by anyone.

    the beatles are a gift. thanks, england.

    when avalanches put out their next, long-promised album, i’ll thank australia as well.

  • pablo

    zing 31:

    “plus, it’s not like the british people suddenly got to america and totally regressed to the middle ages. it’s the ideal that the british came up with that was exported by the british for the british in the british who came to america who set up a similar gov’t in america and then revolted when it wasn’t being realized to the extent that ideal promised. then they went about making the same mistakes the british did. except with both more and less religion. depending.”

    Nice english! Did you learn to write like that in school? Shit I only had a tenth grade education pal, that is some use of the english language there Zing! Thanks for showing your stuff! Truly amazing. :)

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “the beatles are a gift.”

    except for Ringo

  • Clavos

    Actually, some highly honored and widely recognized poets have written just like that, Paulie, and been acclaimed for it.

    If you had gotten past the tenth grade you might (or might not) know that.

  • pablo

    Clavos 34

    I was far too busy having the time of my life touring with the Grateful Dead pal, sex, drugs, and rock and roll, or wine women and song if you will. If I had it to do over again I would do the same thing. Too bad you were not hip enough to see them, a bit too many “right” angles as it were, as it is I got to see them some 700 odd times. No Phd, no Masters degree, or working for the man for several hundred grand a year, would I trade it for.

    Zing’s english in that paragraph was atrocious.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    The drug use from 700 odd Dead shows would help explain the heightened paranoia.

    “Look out, look out the Candyman”

    “Trouble ahead, trouble behind/ And you know that notion just crossed my mind.”

    I came late to the game and only got about 12 in

  • pablo

    Unfortunately Bicho you do not know what paranoia is. If I were of that ilk I would keep my fucking mouth shut for fear of the boogeymen. I cannot help but wonder though Bicho seeing as you were lucky enough to see the boys from Marin County a few times, how that would lend to said paranoia.

    What it did lead to me, is bliss, spirituality, fun, and a chink in the armor of the right wing square unhip uncool automotans that pretend that they are human beings. For that I am eternally “grateful” :)

    “Comes a time, when the blind man takes your hand, and says, don’t ya see? Gotta make it somehow on the dreams you still believe.”
    Don’t give it up, you got an empty cup only love can fill,
    only love can fill.

    From day to day just letting it ride.
    You get so far away from how it feels inside.
    You can’t let go cause you’re afraid to fall,
    But the day may come when you can’t feel at all.” Grateful Dead Comes a time.

  • pablo

    Most of the drugs that cause psychological impairment with the possible exceptions of meth and coke, neither of which have ever been my cup of tea are prescription meds, also of which I have NEVER partaken. Just wanted to clear that up Bicho. ;)

    The fact is, I am awake, are you?

  • STM

    “the kinks?”

    Yep, them too …

  • STM

    700 grateful dead concerts. Geez, that’d fill in your time.

    Wouldn’t be much space left for any sex or drugs.

    Your sure it was 700 pablo, or is that just wishful thinking borne aloft by too many mood-altering substances?
    If so, I hope some of ‘em were on the same day and you just followed the bus.

  • pablo

    STM

    That was over a 30 year period….yup thereabouts.

  • zingzing

    i’d really like to know what was so horrible, pablo. and you like the grateful dead? weird.

  • pablo

    Another great english lesson from zing!

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    STM,

    Oh good! I’d hate to alienate you. It appears that most of the English language is misunderstood, at least when I use it. :)LOL

    What group do like? The kinks? Here is a gift for you, my Aussie friend. I don’t know if you already have Pandora, but they provide 40hrs of free listening a month!

  • zingzing

    pablo: “Another great english lesson from zing!”

    i love your specificity. 10th grade, you say?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Maybe Farage just doesn’t like the idea that the Belgians, French or Germans should have a say as to what goes on in your nation Dread.

    Then that’s what he should be concentrating on, not using a public forum to make content-free speeches full of personal insults.

  • pablo

    I love, and I mean love Farage’s insults to that little prick. I hope he does more.

  • zingzing

    teach us, pablo.

  • Arch Conservative

    I thought that’s what he was doing Dr. Dreadful.

    I find it disturbing some are so up in arms that Farage was “rude” but the very same individuals are mum when it comes to pretty much everyone else in the EU leading them to financial ruin and destroying national sovereignty.

  • pablo

    Amen Arch.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I thought that’s what he was doing Dr. Dreadful.

    Not in that speech. He started off, “I don’t want to be rude…” and proceeded to spend several minutes doing just that.

    It didn’t exactly surprise me. The UK Parliament (the House of Commons, anyway) is pretty unruly and Farage is part of that tradition, although he’s never been an MP. Even so, there are rules and limits. We care about that sort of thing, and Farage crossed a line.

  • pablo

    You sure don’t want to be rude, god forbid. I always assumed that part of the beauty and strength of free speech was rudeness, of course that’s just me. Many of these pricks that are running around ruling the world, need more rudeness. However in Dread’s view, this crosses the line. I sure hope that I never end up living in the sterile vacuous kiss ass world that Dread’s position suggests, and I will fight with my dying breath with RUDENESS, when called for. You go Farage!!

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Rudeness has its place, Pablo, as you and I both know. Pointless rudeness, however, is unclassy.

  • pablo

    So unclassy rudeness in a free speech forum, that is an EU government forum deserves sanctions eh Dread?

    Also it was not pointless, not by a long shot pal. Unfortunately most of the EU is filled with servile savants, who’s only real agenda is to serve their elite masters in turning europe into a beauracratic nightmare, that makes any semblance of democracy, a farce.

  • Arch Conservative

    “Even so, there are rules and limits. We care about that sort of thing, and Farage crossed a line.”

    Yes we in America are not so dissimiliar Dread. We’re completely onboard with our elected leaders screwing us seven ways from Sunday and basically flushing our nation down the crapper…as long as they are cordial and politically correct while doing so.

    Joe Wilson calls Obama a liar during a speech when Obama was actually lying and somehow this is more aggregious than Obama lying to the American people every time he opens his mouth and some more horsehit intended to justify spending a few more trillion rolls out?

    Given what Von Rompuy is and what he represents I’d say Farage exhibited incredible restraint Dread.

    I have this theory about the modern day European vs. American approach to the use of force…………

    Being that most of WW2 was fought in Europe’s very own front yard, the collective European psyche has been traumatized to the point that they’ve forgotten sometimes there are things worth standing up and fighting for. The nations of Europe will shy away from conflict with real threats regardless of the cost, even if it means losing their very cultures and identities.

    America on the other hand, never having witnessed war on their own soil and being so isolated geographically from the rest of the world has grown overconfident and now believes that it can do whatever it wants whenever it wants where ever it wants. I fail to see what good for our nation will come of Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Mr. Farage has what so very few politicians ever have Dread. The combination of balls and honesty. The entire world could use a lot more of that right about now.

  • STM

    Arch: “The nations of Europe will shy away from conflict with real threats regardless of the cost, even if it means losing their very cultures and identities.”

    That’d be why the Brits made the second largest contribution to the US-led coalition forces in the Gulf War, the Iraq invasion (during which US Marines served under their command) and Iraq occupation and the ongoing counter-terrorism operation in Afghanistan.

    Might also be why they so reluctantly sent a huge a battle fleet to the South Atlantic in the 1980s and booted the Argentines out of the Falkland Islands.

    Or why they spent 15 years kicking the shit out of a) communist guerillas in Malaya and b) the Indonesians in Borneo.

    That argument doesn’t wash Arch if you’re talking about our Pommy brethren. They’ve never been reluctant on that score. In fact, you’d almost prefer it they did butt out more often.

    My theory: America and Britain are cast from the same cloth and the British remain grateful for US help to belt the Nazis and Japs in WWII – but also like to wield their own influence around the world and know that the only way they can do it is by carrying a big stick – even if it’s not as big as America’s.

    The French, though, different story, maybe …

    But I don’t think your argument stacks up at all, generally. There are countries in Europe that just don’t want to do that kind of stuff, and never have had any interest in doing it, war on their own doorstep for centuries or not. You have to respect their views, though. I’d rather be drinking wine and eating good food than shooting some poor bastard, or worse, being the poor bastard getting shot at.

    Look at the US debacle in Vietnam. My memory and my experience is that the US was very anti-war for a long time after that. I can vividly recall that sentiment on visits to the US in that post-Vietnam era.

    However, I can’t say I blame America for being pissed off lately and wanting to bite back in view of the attitude of the lunatics who thought it was a good idea to crash jets full of innocent Americans into skyscrapers full of innocent Americans.

    If anything’s guaranteed to get anyone’s back up, it’s that kind of stuff.

  • STM

    Although I will agree that after WWI, during which the British suffered dreadfully, with almost every family in Britain having someone killed or seriously wounded, and virtually all the elder sons of the nobiluity and upper classes wiped out (which is when first they realised the class system might have some downsides), they hoped beyond hope they wouldn’t have to go to war again against militaristic Germany for a second time in 20 years.

    But even given that, you have to give them their due: they recognised the evil of what the Nazis were about and were only ones that didn’t throw in the towel.

    Circumstances are different for all concerned, obviously, and being an island helped, but still, history says they did what they did in the face of huge adversity and were the only ones with both enough balls and the wherewithal to keep doing it.

    As much as they give me the screaming tom tits sometimes, especially when they’re moaning about every bloody thing, there are nevertheless a couple of things you have to admire them for.

    That’s certainly one; the other is their 300-year commitment to personal freedoms, fair and transparent democracy, and stable government.

    And I’ll agree with zing for once: Their 50-year commitment to rock’n’roll has to be right up there somewhere too.

  • zingzing

    the conservative who forgets where he comes from doesn’t even know where he’s trying to go.

  • Mark

    (Minor addendum to your US history surfer dude: Bloody murder was rehabilitated generally and anti-war sentiment shelved under Father Bush; the dogs were already straining at their chains by 9/11.)

  • STM

    Thanks Mark. I had an idea even from a distance that the dogs of war were already barking. But there was a good chance cooler heads might have prevailed had there been no falling skyscrapers.

    Then again, I always thought Rumsfeld and Cheney were running the show, not Bush … which, you have to admit, since one was an unelected cabinet member if memory serves me right, and the other not the actual person elected by Americans to head up the US (nor, perhaps, was Bush if those dang Florida voting machines hadn’t played up – X marks the spot with a pencil is best, I say), well, it just ain’t that democratic.

    I think Rumsfeld knew exactly what was going on, but I have a feeling that Cheney did really believe there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 nutcases. Or maybe he thought he could spin that line and every bastard would believe it.

    Still, I can’t say I disgaree with anyone getting rid of someone like Saddam.

    It was just the way it was done, the lies that were told, and what happened afterwards when it all went pear-shaped that was the problem.

  • STM

    zing: “the conservative who forgets where he comes from doesn’t even know where he’s trying to go.”

    And the socialist who forgets where he comes from will soon be voting conservative.

  • STM

    Mark, I realise you meant Bush snr, too. It’s always interesting to me that the US and Britain will go into bat for an oil-rich nation, but in a place where they could really be spreading democracy and goodwill by forcibly removing a nasty government (Zimbabwe springs to meant), they are strangely reluctant except thropugh the use of hot air and empty rhetoric.

  • Mark

    I wait for Australia to take her place as the rightful Ruler of the World.

  • STM

    Mark: “I wait for Australia … etc”

    Lol. Nah, life’s too comfortable down here. We’re not that interested … we’ve been watching you guys and the Poms for decades and while we DO get sucked in to things and go along with it, a bit of jumping up and down usually works to reverse it.

    We’re just not that patriotic, or at least not in a way Americans would understand.

    We use our flag as a beach towel, for God’s sake.

    We do like beating everyone at sport though … and when we don’t, it’s a huge drain on the national psyche, with much collective handwringing.

    The most important job in Oz is not the Prime Minister, it’s captain of the Australian cricket team.

    That is the truth, too. The cricket skipper or the rugby captain has far more kudos than the PM.

    And look at how we are with our gun laws. Everyone of my vintage grew up around them, and knows how to shoot, but hardly anyone wants one and (almost) everyone was glad when they put controls on ownership.

    Us running the world … unless you want everyone playing sport, drinking beer, having barbecues, going to the beach, agitating for extra three- and four-day weekends and making sure everyone gets paid a decent wage, we’re the wrong people.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Pablo:

    So unclassy rudeness in a free speech forum, that is an EU government forum deserves sanctions eh Dread?

    I didn’t say that. I didn’t even say that I don’t have some sympathy for Farage and his politics. I do feel that someone who chooses to ‘debate’ like that isn’t deserving of a great deal of respect.

    Also it was not pointless, not by a long shot pal. Unfortunately most of the EU is filled with servile savants, who’s only real agenda is to serve their elite masters in turning europe into a beauracratic nightmare, that makes any semblance of democracy, a farce.

    So Farage keeps telling us. However, there are at least three opposing positions here:
    1. The EU is not the base, corrupt entity he describes;
    2. The EU’s intent is not to subvert national sovereignty;
    3. That even if the above is the case, this is not a bad thing.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    “We use our flag as a beach towel, for God’s sake.”-STM LOL, I use mine for my face. :)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Arch:

    Joe Wilson calls Obama a liar during a speech when Obama was actually lying

    Except that he wasn’t.

    Given what Von Rompuy is and what he represents I’d say Farage exhibited incredible restraint Dread.

    And what is he? Even Farage admitted he knew next to nothing about him – yet he still felt the need to savage him every which way. Assumption much?

    Being that most of WW2 was fought in Europe’s very own front yard, the collective European psyche has been traumatized to the point that they’ve forgotten sometimes there are things worth standing up and fighting for.

    Bullshit. Having experienced total warfare on our soils within living memory, we’re very keenly aware of the things which really are worth fighting for. (For the most part – that nasty little business in the Balkans a few years back notwithstanding.) So we don’t take up arms lightly. Just ask a German.

    Mr. Farage has what so very few politicians ever have Dread. The combination of balls and honesty. The entire world could use a lot more of that right about now.

    Agreed, but it’s a lot easier to sustain that combination when you don’t have a hand on the reins of power. If the Eurosceptics make gains in this year’s UK general election or at the next European Parliament election, we’ll see if he changes his tune a bit.

    America on the other hand, never having witnessed war on their own soil

    Well, not never. There was the War of Independence, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Indian wars… But nothing within living memory, which is the key.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    they hoped beyond hope they wouldn’t have to go to war again against militaristic Germany for a second time in 20 years.

    Oh well…!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Perhaps that’s why America is so “traumatized” by the 9/11 event.

    The fact that anyone dared!!!

  • Clavos

    Us running the world … unless you want everyone playing sport, drinking beer, having barbecues, going to the beach, agitating for extra three- and four-day weekends and making sure everyone gets paid a decent wage, we’re the wrong people.

    Works fer me, SS…

    We should start a “Draft Oz” movement.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I, too, will root for the Aussies.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Perhaps that’s why America is so “traumatized” by the 9/11 event.

    The fact that anyone dared!!!

    Not just that they dared, Rog, but that they succeeded.

    Arch has it right about the geographical isolation: the plain fact is that it’s extraordinarily hard to attack the US on its own soil.

    It helps, of course, that both your neighbours are benign. The Canadians are too pally to think of attacking you and the Mexicans are too busy squabbling among themselves, even if they had the theoretical capability to think of redressing the quite legitimate grievances they have against you.

    Plenty of people over the course of history would have loved to kick some American bottom. Yet before 9/11 the only force that had come remotely close to accomplishing a successful attack in over 200 years was Tojo’s Japan. It’s been theorised that if they had actually managed to destroy the entire Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor – if half of it hadn’t happened to be out on manoeuvers at the time – and if the Japanese had gone on to invade the mainland, they might have made it as far as Chicago before they were stopped.

    They didn’t, however, have the combination of balls, recklessness and sheer luck that Atta and his team of idiots did.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’re right, of course, going by past standards of warfare. So was Britain equally invincible prior to the advent of air power, nuclear missiles and now, acts of terrorism.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Not really, Rog. Being an island helped, of course, but Ireland is also an island and they’d succumbed pretty thoroughly to a foreign military power (us) by the early Middle Ages.

    It is true that through a combination of military skill, political alliances, diplomacy, geography, meteorology and sheer luck we haven’t been successfully invaded for over a thousand years. (There was, of course, William of Orange and the Glorious Revolution of 1688, but he was more or less invited over and met very little resistance, so that one doesn’t count.)

    But the English Channel isn’t really the insuperable barrier it’s often made out to be: going in the opposite direction, England’s many successful medieval invasions of France, not to mention the D-Day landings, wouldn’t have been possible if it were.

    We’ve been very mindful of that over the centuries and have had a number of narrow squeaks – the Spanish Armada, Napoleon and Operation Sealion not least among them.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, part of what I meant is that Britain had to become a major naval power to make it good.

  • Arch Conservative

    “But even given that, you have to give them their due: they recognised the evil of what the Nazis were about and were only ones that didn’t throw in the towel.”

    The Russians threw in the towel?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Great point, Archie.

    Typical Anglo-Saxon arrogance to so minimize the role of the Soviet Army in defeating the Axis.

  • STM

    Arch: “The Russians threw in the towel?”

    Hitler didn’t attack the Soviet Union until 1941 … the war had been going for two years by then.

    [edited]

  • STM

    Until then, the Poms were the only ones doing any fighting.

    On their own, that was, against a very nasty bunch of people with guttural accents, a penchant for uniforms, marching and blowing people up, and whose favoured headgear looked like a coal-scuttle.

    History records unequivocally that of all the nations in Europe attacked by the Germans at the start of the war, they were only ones not to throw in the towel.

    So yes, Arch, it’s actually right.

    The Soviet Union and the US didn’t join the fray for a couple of years.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    …and were only ones that didn’t throw in the towel.”

    Well, strictly speaking Poland didn’t throw in the towel either. They fought hard and well, and in the end there were just too many Germans.

    And Arch, Stan’s right: not only were the Russians not fighting at the start of the war (except in Finland), they were actually on Hitler’s side.

  • STM

    Yeah, Doc’s right about the Poles.

    And the many, many tens of thousands of Poles that did manage to escape – the ones who weren’t captured and murdered by the Germans or Russians – went to Britain, sometimes by the most circuitous routes and at great risk to their lives, and fought with them for the rest of the war, as part of the British military: in the Battle of Britain, the middle east, Italy and Normandy and then the capture of Germany.

    And Doc, why shouldn’t I tell Roger that he sounds like a wanker??? I’m not saying he IS a wanker, just that he SOUNDS like a wanker a lot of the time, especially when he chimes in on the end of a conversation and agrees with something that’s wrong.

    Which is a lot of the time.

    Big difference, though between you are a wanker and you sound like one.

    Free speech mate!!

  • STM

    One of the things that gives me the sh.ts is that Rog keeps referring to me as Anglo-Saxon.

    And if I’ve told Roger once I’ve told him a thousand times: I’m not anglo-saxon, I’m anglo-celtic.

    It must be the Irish in me that keeps flashing up: “Roger, sounds like wanker”.

    I’m not as polite as you Doc :).

    And someone’s gotta be not as polite as you or the voices of ignorance and arrogance will drown out the voices of reason and truth on this site.

  • zingzing

    stm: “And the socialist who forgets where he comes from will soon be voting conservative.”

    hmm? i was referring to archie and his little lack of any historical knowledge. and i’m no socialist. so i won’t vote conservative. until i get old and senile, i guess.

  • zingzing

    sigh, so attached to the motherland her teet is starting to swell.

  • STM

    In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

    How’s the crown fit, zing??

  • Clavos

    Oh my…

  • zingzing

    the dentist knew what he was doing.

  • STM

    Clav, lol.

    I’m guessing that since he left his last comment here at 4.06am, luckily Zing won’t be up for a while.

    Enough time to make meself scarce, d’ya reckon??

  • STM

    I was wrong. G’day zing. Early to bed, early to rise?? Or none of the above?

  • Arch Conservative

    “Hitler didn’t attack the Soviet Union until 1941 … the war had been going for two years by then.”

    So 1941-1945 didn’t count?

    Does the Pacific theatre have it’s place in WW2 according to STM?

    There was so much more to WW2 than the Nazis and the Brits. It may have been correct that up until 1941 the Brits were the only ones that had not thrown in the towel amongst those fighting the Nazis but that’s not what you originally stated.

    I hope you’re not purposely intending to undermine the role that the USA and Russia played in the war.

  • zingzing

    heh. seems to me that the clock is on west coast time. so that was at 7 am here on the east coast. i actually woke up at 5:50 am today. on a fucking sunday! i’ve been sleeping around 3 or 4 hours every night recently. so fucking tired. something’s wrong with my head, but you knew that.

    yesterday evening, i fell asleep at a noise show. blaring noise and i’m snoozin’. good thing that’s acceptable there. i desperately wanted to continue said sleep, but my goddamn friend doesn’t think one should pay money to sleep in public.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Arch, we were talking about Europe. Hence, Britain (and her Empire/Commonwealth partners) was the only European power actively opposing Hitler on her own account.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well then, STM, excuse meeee. I’ll try to remember that next time. But you do come across plenty of times simply reacting in the same ways as Anglos do.

    Show me some more of the Irish in you and I promise – I’ll love you so much more.

    As to the Red Army, what has the timeline got to do with anything? Sure, the English acted nobly in declaring war on Germany but the air attacks on London didn’t commence immediately, did they? Hitler was always entertaining the idea of making the British equal partners.

    And how long did it take for the German divisions to reach Volga and Stalingrad? It surely wasn’t done in a day. The Red Army wasn’t prepared for war. But darn it, once the Germans commenced their offensive, they got the bitter taste of their own medicine.

    And yes, since then, there was an ongoing offensive of the Red Army, on land, until the fall of Berlin.

    So I don’t give a fuck whether it’s the Irish now or the Anglo who is talking, to minimize the impact of the Russian offensive in defeating the Nazis is the height of Anglo-Saxon arrogance.

    No different perhaps than Reagan’s empty boast that he alone was responsible for the crumbling of the Berlin Wall – as though Gorbachev had nothing to do with it.

    As I said before, my Silver Fox friend, act more like an Irish and I will love you forever.

  • STM

    Rog (and Arch): “So I don’t give a fuck whether it’s the Irish now or the Anglo who is talking, to minimize the impact of the Russian offensive in defeating the Nazis is the height of Anglo-Saxon arrogance.”

    Don’t be a knob Rog …. read the posts. We were talking specifically about the early war in Europe.

    As Doc points out, the Soviet Union was an ally of Hitler’s until he invaded them in mid 1941, and actively took part in the invasion and carve up of Poland. You knew that, right?? They came from the the opposite end after the Germans started it in cahoots with the Nazis. Google the Katyn massacre if you don’t already know about it.

    The bombing of London wasn’t the start of WWII. The fighting started in 1939.

    The discussion revolved around Arch’s debunked theory about the nations of Europe not wanting to stand up for anything because of all the European wars. That might be so in some cases, but is clearly not in others. You just chimed in on the end of a virtual conversion without, it looked (as usual), having properly read the rest of the stuff. No one in their right mind devalues the Soviet Union’s sacrifice against the Nazis. But Stalin thought he could support the people who became his allies, and actively encouraged them. However, that wasn’t the gist of the discussion. It looked to me from his comments that Arch didn’t even realise that the British make up a huge chunk of the coalition in Afghanistan and that they took part as the second largest controbutot in both Iraq wars.

    No one who is a student of modern history doesn’t understand the war-winning effort of the US, either, during WWII. And yes, Arch, of course I do know about the US effort in the Pacific. I live in the Pacific and the Japanese were very close to invading at one point so it has real resonance here.

    All Australian troops not overseas with the British were under Macarthur’s command, with three divisions of veterans who’d been overseas since 1939, and all the assorted bits and pieces, including some of the air force, being pulled back to fight in New Guinea after the Battle of El Alamein. All Royal Australian Navy ships, many of which were pulled back from the Atlantic and Mediterranean, were also part of the US Pacific fleet during WWII, and this city was a giant naval base and staging area for the US-led war effort in this part of the world.

    The largest number of combat troops in Macarthur’s south-west Pacific theatre under US command until 1944 were Australian (probably because they were ready and close), while the US exclusively carried out the massive central Pacific and northern Pacific island hopping campaign across to Japan proper. (New Zealand also helped in a not insignifacant way too, not insignificant given their small population at the time). The British also fought the Japs in a big way too, liberating Burma.

    But we understand only too well here that the war could not have been won without American support and sacrifice – something the British haven’t forgotten either. I know that for certain because both Britain and Australia generally are the first to put their hands up to when asked by the US to help in their “endeavours”, which is how the ongoing gratitude is shown.

    Not that I agree with all of it – the current situation being an exception because I don’t like the idea of lunatics with teatowels on their heads deciding it’s best we all go back to the stone age – but as Clav will attest, Australians were on the same side as the US in the Vietnam War and for the same length of time, except for a year at the end when we had a change of government.

    So while the British didn’t fight in Vietnam, the US once again asked the Crown to contribute, and it did.

    I have the opposite problem to Arch, wanting me to recognise the American effort: The effort of others shouldn’t be forgotten either, and with a lot of Americans, it’s virtually unknown despite the huge scale of it.

    Maybe you should ask the French next time you need a hand. Of course, they’ll have to be in charge.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Wow, STM, all that history lesson and the point about the contribution of the Red Army conveniently ignored.

    Thanks again.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    And yes, STM, I’m aware of the context – the early war in Europe.

    Well, I opened it up a bit, didn’t I? Also, lumping me with Arch is a dubious undertaking.
    I was only responding to his comment about the Russians presumably throwing in the towel, nothing else.

  • STM

    Rog: “the Russians presumably throwing in the towel, nothing else”

    Yeah, well that was the problem. I never said that. The period being discussed, they were on Hitler’s side.

    Think Rog, before you type.

  • STM

    Rog: “all that history lesson … thanks”

    No problem. You needed one.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Still, a convenient omission to discuss World War II without yours truly.

    Have a good one, Silver Fox.

  • STM

    You still don’t get it do you. I wasn’t discussing WWII but the start of WWII.

    Hitler lost the war when he a) failed to deafeat Britain, b) invaded the Soviet Union, c) declared war on the US.

    But that wasn’t what was being discussed. No matter how much you carry on, you were wrong. You just chimed in as usual without reading the posts, and don’t appear to have that much knowledge of the era.

    Sorry, but you know, you wanna chime in, do so armed with the facts in regard to the conversation.

  • ra ra ra

    “The Conservatives are back – but what took them so long? Why did the world’s oldest and most successful political party dump Margaret Thatcher only to commit electoral suicide under John Major? …

    Interesting definition of: ‘success’. I cannot believe that someone could possibly think that Thatcher was beneficial to the nation. I don’t understand why people voted in the Tories, seriously, I cannot get this. I mean, come on.

    ‘Let the rich prosper… Provided they’re selfish bigots.’