Moderator: Nicole Marie
Oh, yes.Originally posted by shostakovich:
......but they pall in comparison to the menace he represents (because he DOES have the clout).
By "democracy" I mean any citizen representational form of government. Yes, the United States is constitutionally defined as “representational republic” and England’s form of democracy is actual a parliamentarian government.democracy is almost the most widely practiced political systems in the world.
Thankyou so much for your comments, Haggis.Originally posted by Haggis:
I haven’t ignored your comments; I just wanted to think about them for a while.
In the near East it is ridiculous to say that our values are universal values.
I beg to disagree. In 1900, most of the world’s population lived in one of the world's empires – British, Russian, Austro-Hungarian, Chinese or Turkish – and those rulers were with few limits, absolute monarchs. Therefore, the universal value then appear to be the divine right conferred to monarchies to rule.
In the 1830s and 1840s, a series of democratic revolutions occurred throughout Europe modeled on the American and French revolution. Most of them were harshly put down.
I can’t resist commenting on that glorious storming of the Bastille, so recently celebrated in France. According to Simon Schama in his book Citizens, seven prisoners were liberated-- two lunatics, four forgers, and an aristocratic delinquent who had been committed with the Marquis De Sade (who left a week before the Bastille fell). Liberte!
Although, in all fairness the concepts of liberty and the Declaration of Independence own much to many ideas from the age of European Enlightenment: John Locke, the right to life, liberty and property; Voltaire, freedom of speech and religious tolerance; Baron de Montesquieu, separation of powers
After World War II, most of northern, western and southern Europe, America, Japan, South America and the parts of the former British Empire, practiced some form of democracy.
Today, as a new millenium begins, democracy is almost the most widely practiced political systems in the world.
I have been in most of the countries of the Middle East and lived for a time in Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain. I think all humans want the ability to control their lives and deserve whatever help we can offer to help them achieve that goal.
Look at the richest countries of the world, they are mostly democracies –alas Hong Kong WAS a democracy. Representational government seems to work better than any other and clearly prospers better than any other.
America will doubtless tire soon of its involvement in Iraq as it did in Somalia in the mid 90s
Not a good example. I was there from the beginning, the UN change to a man-hunt from a relief operation and loss of focus from the original purpose contributed to a timid withdrawal; nothing to be proud of, the country still remains the world’s only 4th World Country, an anarchy of thug rule and murder.
but really Mr. Blair, however highly you may think of him in the US is a busted flush in England, and there are just too many areas where he has proved himself unworthy of the people of this country in the way that he has systematically set about to restructure the country in his own image with no concern for our history and true interests.
I think I’ll have to interject a reply that I found on James Lileks’ The Bleat(marvelous blogger very refreshing.
I lived in England when Lady Thatcher was elected PM. I think that was a major change for the better, but what the heck, as you said, we in the U.S. have a higher approval of Mr. Blair than his own citizens, it wasn’t so long ago that the same could be said about or last president so what do I know!
What I found most invigorating about the speech was the tenor - the tune, not the notes. It was a speech sung in the key of War, and reminded us that we are just midway through the end of the beginning. If that.
Blair is, at heart, a socialist; I’ve no time for half the stuff he wants and most of the stuff he’d agree to. But he’d get my vote. We can argue about the shape and direction of Western Civ after we’ve made sure that such a thing will endure. I haven’t heard every single speech Tony Blair has made since he popped on to the political scene; I don’t know if he argues for increased license fees for domestic gerbils with the same passion and force. But today he sounded like a man who knew things, who knows that the threat is still grave, and cannot understand why others seek transient political advantage in exploiting those sixteen words. The people are worried, your majesty! Oh, let them eat yellowcake.
When I hear a speech like Blair’s, I have to check the calendar. And the calendar is usually wrong. It may say 2/23, or 7/16, or 4/30. But I know what the date is, and the date is 9/12. It’s going to be 9/12 for a long time to come.
But, I don't think I know of anyone with your marvelous knowledge of Beethoven!!!!
Lliam, I pretty much agree with everything you said and the excellent way you put it.Originally posted by lliam:
Lliam (Mr Real Estate):
I’m not really into politics, BUT I can speak up a little for my country and Government whom I voted for. I can also be cynical of the Government in as nice a possible way as I can without being ‘Nasty’. “Are you with me Ludovica”? This is my fair comment on my Prime Minister.
So routinely is he now portrayed in the press as the most brazen shyster to occupy Number 10, you can easily forget that Tony Blair is one of the most successful Prime Ministers ever to govern Britain. He has won a three-figure parliamentary majority and he has done so twice. He has enjoyed a lead in the polls virtually unbroken for more than five years. This ought to confer him with a reserve of gravitas in his trials of strength with the media. He should be able to command a degree of public credibility, invoke some moral authority in the Government's increasingly vicious war with its unelected enemies in the press. When newspapers with an evident agenda to undermine his government charge him with trying to aggrandise his role in the mourning for the Queen Mother, Mr Blair ought to be able to issue a simple rebuke to his tormentors: who voted for you?
That he does not, dares not, call on his democratic mandate against the right-wing press tells us how his government has contrived to shift the balance of advantage against itself. The hideous irony for Mr Blair is that he is sustaining so much damage at the hands of the media that New Labour was specifically designed to neutralise. And it is precisely the techniques they adopted to combat the press which are now being used to depict him as the habitually scummy leader of a daily mendacious regime.
From the inception of New Labour, it was a media strategy as much as it was a political vehicle. The two men who conceived its approach towards the media, Alistair Campbell and Peter Mendelssohn, had both watched in despair as the press, especially the right-wing tabloids, dismembered the public character of their friend, Neil Kinnock. They determined to do better by Tony Blair, who was himself as convinced as the other two that elections could not be won without winning the media.
To beat the press, they joined it. They ran a party as if it were a newspaper. Mr Campbell was appointed editor-in-chief of the Daily Blair. The Prime Minister has always been an extremely hands-on proprietor. Those who have seen it happen describe how he will stride into meetings demanding: 'How are we following up that? What are we doing to kill that?', as though he were addressing reporters in a newsroom.
They have conducted themselves not as a government, something detached from and grander than journalism, but as a rival media group, scrapping in the gutter of a ratings war. Just as newspapers compress complexity into headlines, so they believed that the presentation of policy could be crudely condensed. Just as newspapers try to build circulation with 'exclusives', so has this government attempted to boost popularity with ‘initiatives’?
Just a closer examination reveals quite a lot of newspaper 'exclusives' to be rehashes of old stories, so quite a lot of this government's announcements turn out to be recycled. Just as newspapers dig for dirt to discredit their targets, so New Labour used character assassination for its own battles, external and internal. It was Mr Campbell who famously suggested that Mr Mendelssohn was a mango short of the full fruit bowl.
The British press can be glorious and it can be grotesque. In pursuit of their agendas, newspapers exaggerate and distort. They spin. The truth becomes a malleable commodity. Journalists sometimes simply make things up. The way to combat the crude excesses of the press, so New Labour believed, was to imitate them.
In his treatings with media owners, Mr Blair has presented himself not as their superior, but as an equal, as if he were just another press baron himself. He truckled to Richard Desmond, purveyor of Big Ones, in order to keep the Express papers within the New Labour stable. He obliged his wife to swallow her detestation of the Daily Mail and play hostess to its most rabid columnists and most right-wing executives. Particular care and attention has been lavished on Rupert Murdoch in the hope of softening his hostility to the single currency.
The Sun was given the last election date before the Queen and the Cabinet. The thanks for that are that the paper's political editor has joined those calling for Alastair Campbell to be purged. In the same week, Rupert Murdoch brutally squashed Mr Blair, along with any notion that his editors are free spirits, by declaring that he will die before his papers drop their virulent opposition to Europe.
All that effort to neutralise the media has had the counterproductive outcome of swelling its sense of power. In his own feverish hand, Mr Blair wrote that notorious memo demanding 'eye-catching initiatives' with which he could grab some headlines. When the media read that memo, when they smelt the fear sweating out of the Prime Minister, it fed the appetite of the beast. Rarely modest in estimating their own importance, journalists have been emboldened to act as if they are the real Opposition, even a sort of alternative government.
The Prime Minister has thus been the accomplice in the bleeding away of his authority and dignity. He evidently feels grossly traduced by the accusations that he tried to exploit the Queen Mother's lying-in-state. It was Mr Blair himself, more than anyone else at Number 10, more even than Alastair Campbell, who was vehement that they should lodge the complaint with the Press Complaints Commission which has backfired so disastrously. Mr Blair's judgment was clouded by red mist, with the result that he has transformed unproven gossip into a full-blown conflict, which has ended with a rout for Number 10 at the hands of the two right-wing newspaper groups it most detests.
Inevitably, it is Mr Campbell, a man who has never been shy of making enemies in the media, whose head is demanded. Before the last election, and again since, he has given serious thought to leaving Number 10. What is most likely to convince him to stay on are the calls for his resignation from such a bizarre ménage à trois as Lord Hattersley, Charlie Whelan and the political editor of the Spectator. According to one close ally: 'If there's one thing that makes him want to stick it out, it is these f***ers saying he should quit.' The vituperation of the language being used inside Number 10 tells us how deep is the fear and loathing between the Government and its enemies.
My guess is that Tony Blair is even more determined than Mr Campbell that the latter will not be sacrificed. On both sides, among the hunters and the hunted, there is the feeling that the media has the Government on the run. Peter Mandelson has twice been scalped by the press. The daily branding of Stephen Byers as a liar forced even that rubber man out of the Cabinet. The removal of Alastair Campbell, the destruction of the head of Mr Blair's Praetorian Guard, would intimate the Prime Minister's own mortality. Gordon Brown's supporters are struggling to hide their satisfaction. With Campbell gone, the crosshairs of the right-wing press would focus on the ultimate target, the big one: the Prime Minister himself.
New Labour and its enemies in the right-wing press are locked in a fearful symmetry of accusation and counter-accusation, each charging the other with being malicious pedlars of untruth. The Government cannot defeat the press at its own game and another of New Labour's mistakes was to believe that it ever could.
Charles Clarke, who bears the deep scars of the Kinnock years, had some strong points to make in his counter-blast against the media, though the party chairman would not have been so easy to ridicule if he had mobilised his case with more precision. Yes, the media can be 'pious', though piety is more the preserve of Tony 'purer than pure' Blair. Yes, the media do indeed poke about in people's private lives. When journalists do it, we celebrate it as legitimate inquiry in the public interest. When politicians seek background information about their opponents, the press lambaste them for 'dirty tricks' and 'smears'.
Yes, journalists can be extremely hypocritical. This is a point, but it is ultimately a pointless point for politicians to make. Bad behaviour by the press does not give public licence to politicians to act in the same way. Ministers now scrabble with journalists and estate agents at the bottom of the league table of public respect. New Labour's private polls and focus groups are telling Mr Blair that distrust and dishonesty have become the two most salient issues with the voters. Estate agents will still sell houses and newspapers will still sell copies even when their trades have fallen into disrepute. Governments that squander the trust of their electorates do not tend to hold on to office.
The most grievous error was to think that mimicking the worst elements of the press could beat the worst elements of the press. This has not secured the respect of the public. Nor even the media. Journalists know that their trade can be shameless, sensationalist, shallow, vain, vulgar, manipulative and duplicitous. Funnily enough, they expect governments to behave more responsibly than newspapers. If much of the press now hates this government, it is because New Labour has tried much too hard to be like the press.
That's my lot.
Originally posted by lliam:
quote by Ludovica
Yes, the right wing is very strong in Britian, but I don't mind that, because I am a bit of a
Oh well, say no more Ludovica.
Yes, the seriuos point I am trying to make, and which has been noted by various commentators is this. We do not have any sort of credible sort of parliamentary opposition. Inevitably therefore, the press, and as you say the right wing press at that, has rushed into that void, because nature and politics abhors a vacuum, (Like the space between 'New labours ears').
It is I would respectfully suggest perfectly natural for this to happen, particularly given that, as you rightly say, the government itself is just a publicity and media machine and the only body capable of opposing it is the press.
I suppose the most overwhelming point about the present government is that it simply does not listen to anyone in its obsession with spin, ie. deceit and lies.
The point about Blair is that he want's to be everybodies friend like a typical hippie, and for a man who seems to set great store by his religion, he seems to have not the slightest conception or appreciation of the reallity of evil and wickedness in the world. But then that is a typical labour thing, trying to recreate the world, without having any grasp whatsoever on reallity. Perhaps I am just a realist, not as I half jokingly refered to a fascist.
Blair, as a friend of mine once put it, bears the impression of the last person that sat on him, ie. he just goes from moment to moment with no thought or appreciation of history, character, or where the country is going.
Ignatius, how do you expect to sing if you’re chewing a dandelion root?? “SPIT IT OUT BOY”
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