Britain's surprising contender

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    Apr 22, 2010 2:27 AM GMT
    "Nicholas Clegg's against-the-odds message of change is energizing young voters and has the press comparing him to President Obama.

    The man of the hour in Britain's hottest prime minister's race in decades is tall and baby-faced, a self-proclaimed atheist who wants the nation to end its "slavish" devotion to Washington and consider trading in the revered British pound for the euro. Almost overnight, he has injected an ingredient into the race that has the British establishment quaking: the Clegg Factor. ...

    Clegg has argued that Britain's "special relationship" with the United States is outmoded, that Britain can no longer afford to be the world's No. 2 policeman. He has called for the nation to consider reducing its nuclear deterrent and warned against "saber-rattling" on Iran. ...

    Clegg, 43, owes his surging poll figures to the U.S.-style, prime-time debates introduced this year. When he took the stage last week in Manchester, Clegg was running a distant third. Sounding alternately folksy and astute, he stole the spotlight from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the Labor incumbent, and David Cameron, the Conservative candidate who had been the longtime front-runner.

    But with Brown slipping, and Cameron locked in a fierce battle with Clegg, all eyes will be on Clegg's performance at the second debate, on foreign policy, set for Thursday night. ...

    But for many, it is Clegg's style -- not policies -- that is giving him the edge over Brown and Cameron.

    "You can't imagine having them around for dinner, can you?" said Patrick Lynch, 41, an architect in the key London battleground of Islington. "Brown looks like your grandfather and Cameron was born middle-aged." But Clegg, he said, "is a modern human being." "

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/21/AR2010042104703.html?hpid=artslot
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    Apr 24, 2010 7:17 PM GMT
    The Brits are so lucky.

    While we have to fear ending up with someone like Sarah Palin if the Republicans win, the worst the Brits can expect is the Conservative David Cameron whose political position would place him on the American Far Left.

    Gay Marriage Rights, Universal Health Care, Open Service in the military ARE ALL undisputed in the British political discussion.

    To us, the British arguments would seem to be between a Moderate and a Liberal Democrat.

    There's still plenty to disagree on, but they don't have to deal with Michelle Batshit Bachman and her fellow loonies.
  • mustangd

    Posts: 434

    Apr 24, 2010 7:58 PM GMT
    Caslon14000 said"Nicholas Clegg's against-the-odds message of change is energizing young voters and has the press comparing him to President Obama.

    He has called for the nation to consider reducing its nuclear deterrent and warned against "saber-rattling" on Iran. ...


    on this topic, he would be a poor choice as prime minister. iran can not be permitted to begin building nulear weapons. they will supply them in tactical form to muslims willing to sacrifce themselves. every city in the west would live under the fear, not of an incoming icbm, but, a terrorist device simply detonating at any time, if iran felt its dominance as a new muslim state, encompassing persia and mesoptamia were threatened.

    we live under this fear now, with the un-acounted for plutonium in the worlds black market. for iran to begin production of weapons grade material would increase the risk of terrorist nuclear suicide attack by 100 fold.

    you can not allow a nation, whose government is currently based on religious exremism, who advocates the benefits of the end of the world, and the return of the prophet, to begin production of nuclear weapons. while the u.s. has a deterrence in submarine launched wepaons, iran would simply have to smuggle them into western countries with muslim populations. while not an easy task, we have seen sufficient failings in western security to know that eventually this would occur.

    the west simply can not back down on this issue...

    in this case, Clegg could be the modern day version of Chamberlain, with "peace in our time..."

    it is my hope that the race between iran acquiring the bomb and the youth of iran overthrowing the government will be won by those who want peace, not nuclear war.

    we can not count on that happening, and must be prepared to send a firm and un-wavering message to all of iran, peace is our wish, iran as a nuclear weapons power will not be tolerated...
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    Apr 26, 2010 12:48 PM GMT
    amen mustangd
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    Apr 26, 2010 1:07 PM GMT
    To base one's thoughts on who should be the British Prime Minister on Iran is utterly nonsensical when it is the Economy that is the overwhelmingly important issue.

    Britain has absolutely no chance of persuading Iran to do anything---Britain is widely demonized in Iran as a colonialist oppressor. British interference in fact only reinforces the Iranian government!

    Britain is far better off being a quiet supporter of multilateral attempts to disarm Iran.

    As much as I like Clegg, the comparison to Obama (made by the Guardian) is nonsensical as Clegg himself has said.
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    Apr 26, 2010 4:12 PM GMT
    I saw a report that made my day: the commentator was wondering whether the liberals might end up displacing Labour as the Other Party in the UK. This would create a real left/right dialogue which would be wonderful. New Labour has abandoned it´s traditional identity and, with the exception of equal rights for LBG citizens for which I am grateful, has been a truly bad government. A real left/right dialectic is what we need, unlike in the USA where your "left" is right and your right is suggesting that people pay for health care with chickens.

    I just hope my postal vote arrives SOON...
  • leixguy

    Posts: 144

    Apr 27, 2010 10:08 PM GMT
    the lib dems are not left wing, they are centrist.

    the word liberal has never meant left wing.
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    Apr 27, 2010 10:23 PM GMT
    leixguy saidthe lib dems are not left wing, they are centrist.

    the word liberal has never meant left wing.


    Exactly! I have no idea why people have been mischaracterizing them as left-of-centre. They really do define the centre of British politics!

    Notwithstanding that, in American eyes all British politicians (including the Conservative party) are commies.
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    Apr 27, 2010 10:38 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    TigerTim saidTo base one's thoughts on who should be the British Prime Minister on Iran is utterly nonsensical when it is the Economy that is the overwhelmingly important issue.

    Until Iran gets (and uses) the bomb.


    Don't be even more of an idiot than you already look. Who are Iran going to bomb? The UK? I think not! There is absolutely no influence that the UK can exert that others are not already exerting and nothing the UK can do outside the context of multilateral diplomacy.

    Meanwhile, we have a spiralling national debt and a huge deficit. *THESE* are the two issues the election should be fought upon, and worryingly *NONE* of the parties have credible plans to deal with them.
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    Apr 27, 2010 11:18 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    TigerTim said
    Don't be even more of an idiot than you already look. Who are Iran going to bomb? The UK? I think not! There is absolutely no influence that the UK can exert that others are not already exerting and nothing the UK can do outside the context of multilateral diplomacy.

    Meanwhile, we have a spiralling national debt and a huge deficit. *THESE* are the two issues the election should be fought upon, and worryingly *NONE* of the parties have credible plans to deal with them.

    Here we go with the name calling... icon_rolleyes.gif

    No, Mr. Smarty, all they need to do is set it off in Iraq, the Persian Gulf, oh I don't know, the Arabian Sea..... that will disrupt the world markets greatly and then you want to see what the UK economy will look like after that?

    Or if they set it off in Israel.... and there's the overwhelming response from the Israelis.... what do you think THAT will do to the UK's economy?

    And as for there being nothing the UK can do to influence the situation... for one, why don't they and their Euro neighbors start acting collectively to pressure the Iranians? Why does the USA always have to take the lead in these things?

    And as for "spiralling debt and a huge deficit".... what's so bad about that? Everyone on here is in support of Obama's $1 Trillion deficits for the rest of the decade, so it can't be a bad thing.

    Sheesh.


    No you've totally missed the point as usual: NONE of these eventualities will be helped by the UK sabre-rattling at Iran, and none can be prevented by the UK acting individually. There is little the UK can do beyond exerting its influence to push for sanctions against the regime, and it has little voice with either of the holdouts of Russia or China.

    Perhaps you fail to understand that after the fiasco of the Iraq war the vaguest suggestion of war with Iran would be political suicide in Britain?

    The USA takes the lead in such things because it is a country of 300 million and by far and away the world's biggest military power. Why, on the other hand, should a country of 60 million be responsible for taking the lead?

    You're obviously crazy if you think people are in support of high deficits and national debt. Obama has set up a bipartisan commission to propose ways to reduce it http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gy2kNSrY_dZVulnX9mel1A4BxoUAD9FBGHRO4. One expects that the medicine recommended by that committee will prove deeply unpopular to both parties as it will have to include significant cuts in public spending and perhaps increased taxation.

    This is bad enough for the USA which is, as I said, the world's only superpower. The British economy was overexposed to the financial sector and is in far worse shape. Fiscal austerity is absolutely essential to repairing our economy; it is merely a good idea for repairing yours.
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    Apr 28, 2010 12:50 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 said

    Last I checked, the UK is part of the EU. Many of the EU countries engage in trade with Iran.... I believe the EU accounts for almost a third of Iran's trade.... How about the EU show some balls and act like the union they are supposed to be? It's not as if the EU countries don't have nukes. It's not as if the EU countries don't have sizable military forces. It's not as if the EU countries have 2nd class soldiers.

    But no... far easier to say let the USA take the lead and also take the criticism and loss of life and national treasure.

    Great.


    Firstly, this is the national election of the UK not an EU election. You clearly misunderstand the nature of the EU: The EU is not a federal union of European states, it is rather a common economic and social policy body and free trade agreement. The EU does not have a standing army, nor could it have as there are only two significant military powers (the UK and France) and a common military would present a diplomatic gordian knot as several members are not part of NATO. Whether it would be a good idea or not, it is not a political possibility as following the Lisbon Treaty and the recent Greek economic situation there is no mood for further European integration. Since the member states are sovereign bodies, the UK has very little influence on the behaviour of other members. Moreover, the EU therefore does not, in the sense you suggest, have nukes because it is not a sovereign body.

    If I need to remind you, the UK has been a considerably better ally to the US than vice-versa, and has shared in the regrettable human cost in Iraq and Iran. Your suggestion to the contrary is both insulting and untrue.

    Since this is a *UK* election, we ought to discuss *UK* issues. The UK has very limited options in any of the outcomes likely in the Iran issue:

    1) Sanctions: any rational UK government would press for strong sanctions against Iran---but sanctions that are likely to get rid of the Ahmedinajad government and not reinforce its power. With regard to trade with Iran, the EU and UK have implemented sanctions against Iran already, and the EU walked out of the UN talks on racism in response to the anti-semitic hate directed at Israel. There's only really one choice here: sanctions are good --- everyone agrees.

    2) A pre-emptive strike by Israel: the UK would unlikely to be able to do anything militarily following a suprise attack because it would not have advance notice. The UK's strongest hand---it's veto at the UN---would likely be unnecessary as the USA has a similar veto. Any rational UK government would likely appeal for a ceasefire, but wouldn't have any significant influence. Once again, there's only one rational response.

    3) A US-led/NATO attack on Iran. Because there are myriad circumstances in which this might happen, one can only speculate. However, following Iraq it would be political suicide for *any* government to agree to take part unless excellent evidence and need and the failure of diplomatic routes had all happened.

    In short, Iran is not an issue that really distinguishes any of the parties in the General Election. It's therefore pretty pointless debating it!

    southbeach1500 said
    TigerTim saidYou're obviously crazy if you think people are in support of high deficits and national debt. Obama has set up a bipartisan commission to propose ways to reduce it. One expects that the medicine recommended by that committee will prove deeply unpopular to both parties as it will have to include significant cuts in public spending and perhaps increased taxation.


    Duh... Yeah, the idiots in Washington (of BOTH parties) have spent like drunken sailors for years... and are now completely out of control with $1T annual deficits as far as the eye can see... and now we need to "study" why we have such a huge debt and what to do.

    The American people (those that are paying attention) see this for what it is... a political talking point... a diversion... a "hey, we're concerned about the debt and want to do something about it but we just can't figure out what to do..." (while they keep borrowing, taxing and spending the country into destruction).

    But of course, I'm wrong, you are right. I couldn't EVER be right... icon_rolleyes.gif


    This is a really bizarre thing to say because it's clear we both agree that large national debt and deficits are terrible policy.

    Again, this is not about the US, this is about the *UK* General Election. Fiscal Austerity is a necessary policy for the *UK*, and none of the parties are particularly convincing on their implementation. THIS THREAD IS NOT ABOUT THE US GOVERNMENT! Is that clear enough for you?
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    Apr 28, 2010 1:06 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidI AM NOT WRITING ABOUT THE U.S. GOVERNMENT!

    Is that clear enough for YOU?????



    Errr... no I didn't. When I said

    "Meanwhile, we have a spiralling national debt and a huge deficit. *THESE* are the two issues the election should be fought upon, and worryingly *NONE* of the parties have credible plans to deal with them."

    I was referring to Britain because I'm British! You are the one who introduced the US government!
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    Apr 28, 2010 1:13 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidYeah, I wrote:

    "And as for there being nothing the UK can do to influence the situation... for one, why don't they and their Euro neighbors start acting collectively to pressure the Iranians? Why does the USA always have to take the lead in these things?"

    And then you went into an explanation as to why the UK is powerless and that the USA has to do all the heavy lifting.

    Look, let's stop fighting about this....

    Have a good election. icon_wink.gif


    I didn't say the UK was powerless, I said that any government of the UK will make the same choices because there are very few choices available.