Hopefully you at least partially followed the recent U.K. national elections. There is a lot of examining and explaining to be done as to what happened, and why it happened. The day after the election, on a London talk radio program, host Iain Dale took a call from a man named Martin. Martin went on an epic diatribe of voter frustration and disgust. Fortunately for us, the call has been archived and we can enjoy it over here on this side of the pond. Scroll down once you’re on the page and listen to the 9 min 40 sec version of the call. Enjoy!
By Joe Gruters
Everything is upside down and backwards for Democrats from 2003, and it screams of management incompetence at the top and philosophic corruption on the Left.
Recall that in 2001 and in 2003, President Bush requested and received Congressional approval for the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq. We did not find the WMD that every nation said was there — which has since colored the Iraq war — but it was 100% constitutional and legal.
Code Pink, Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore and the rest of the Left cast howled about Bush’s illegal war. U.S. Sen. Barack Obama inveighed against the Iraq surge — which turned out to be wildly successful — and questioned the legality of the war.
Fast forward. President Obama ordered U.S. military forces to attack Libya last year in support of insurgents there wanting to overthrow Col. Muammar Gaddafi. He did so under the NATO umbrella, but without Congressional approval, albiet by “leading from behind,” according to a spokesman.
So far the results have been an apparent Al-Quaida takeover of Libya and the Benghazi slaughter — and following coverup — of our Ambassador to Libya.
The response from the Dixie Chicks anti-war Left that bleated constantly about Bush’s illegal war? Nothing. Quiet as mice.
Now Obama is planning again to order the military to intervene in the Middle East with some sort of strike against Syrian dictator Assad. More than 100,000 people have died in Syria’s civil war and we did not propose acting. But 100 die from a chemical attack and we are planning a military strike. Obama’s reckless comments about a red line put him in the position of using the military to save face, which is just wrong.
And again, Obama feels no compunction to get any approval or consent from Congress. He may back off after Britain’s Prime Minister was rebuffed in a vote of Parliament — yes, the country we broke away from to create our democracy had a vote on their countrymen going to war.
The response from the traditional, college-kid anti-war Left? Nothing. Everything is fine — except forgive all my loans!
Candidate Obama railed against Gitmo and promised to close it because Code Pink and Hollywood the rest of the anti-war left were screaming (laughably) about the abuses and illegalities there. Well, Gitmo is still open because Obama has seen the very obvious need for it. Basically, Bush was right.
And the anti-war Left that heckled Bush relentlessly? Crickets. It’s there guy, so it’s OK. That’s ideological corruption.
What little credibility any of those folks may have had is long gone. They are philosophically weak partisans rooting for their team and against Republicans. And that’s the depth of it. It’s just a shame the media gives them any air time, because they are vacuous.
It’s hard to know what they really believe. Sure, they generally want more government control, higher taxes, weaker laws for criminals, racial strife, welfare dependency, mothers and doctors free to kill unborn babies, a centrally planned economy and making the institution of marriage meaningless. But they will cave anytime for political gain.
This is what most of us conservatives refuse to do. We call our leadership when it travels non-conservative routes and demand an explanation. We make full use of the First Amendment and even go after incumbent officeholders sometimes. If we elect them based on conservative promises and they break those promises, we don’t meekly stay quiet.
It’s why the media thinks it is always seeing division and strife in the Republican Party. It’s because we are full of vibrant ideas and deeply held values and if Mr. Smith goes to Washington and becomes part of the system of destructive, rights-denying big government, we seek someone else to represent the cause of freedom.
This may at times appear to hurt us in a political moment, but it makes us stronger at the core in the long run. Because if we don’t retain our principles…then never mind
It’s obvious, we still do.
Thanks for being informed and engaged.
This column was originally featured at Big Jolly Politics:
By Steve Parkhurst
I look to Great Britain, and I wonder what they stand for, what they would be willing to fight for, and why they do not seem to be fighting for anything.
The unbelievable terror attack in broad daylight near London recently, where a solider was beheaded with a machete and a meat cleaver, was yet another example of suicidal levels of tolerance that have come to pass in the United Kingdom. Prime Minster David Cameron was in Paris when the killing in Woolwich took place. In announcing his return to London after the attack, Cameron said:
“I’ve been briefed by the Home Secretary about this absolutely sickening attack in Woolwich in London. It is the most appalling crime. We are urgently seeking, and the police are urgently seeking, the full facts about this case. But there are strong indications that it is a terrorist incident. Two people at the scene of the murder were wounded by the police, and they are being treated as suspects.”
That is benign enough. Cameron continued later:
“The police and the security services in the UK will get all of the support that they need to deal with this, or indeed with any other incident.”
This sort of comment about “all of the support that they need” is reminiscent of US leaders saying such things after massive weather events or other tragedies. It is starting to become vague and meaningless, it lacks teeth.
Cameron concluded his statement:
“Tonight our thoughts should be with the victim, with their family, with their friends. People across Britain, people in every community, I believe, will utterly condemn this attack. We have had these sorts of attacks before in our country, and we never buckle in the face of them.”
Sounds tough. Sounds like a leader. But is it hollow rhetoric or is it a call to action?
The leader of the UK Green Party promptly condemned the attack, before taking the typical Leftist route of blaming the UK’s foreign policy for the attack, rather than the cold-blooded murderers. This is what Natalie Bennett said:
“It’s absolutely tragic what happened in Woolwich and you’ve got to feel not just for the family of the serviceman but also for the people and bystanders that saw it happen and the emergency services that had to deal with it afterwards. But if we’re going to stop that happening again in the future, one of the biggest things we have to do is stop regarding ourselves as the world’s policeman.”
Such cowardice is typical, but it is also what fills the void in place of a lack of bold leadership, or bold actions. And let it also be understood that when you follow up on the acknowledgement of a tragedy with the transitional, “But,” you are losing the argument, and maybe your country too if you’re not careful.
I like what the Prime Minister tried to do with and continues to work toward with his Big Society initiative. The Big Society consists of re-focusing the efforts of government to be more limited, efficient and effective, and instead encouraging the private sector to take on more responsibility for taking care in their communities via charities, churches, non-profits, schools and the like.
The Big Society was launched once, rather stalled out, then was launched again. While there are mechanisms and speeches and logos and slogans in place, one would be hard pressed to find whether the Big Society is in operation, stalled out waiting for revival number three, or scrapped altogether.
The London riots in the summer of 2011, where the vermin of the country gathered to wreak havoc and cost taxpayers millions of dollars in destruction to various neighborhoods night after night, would have been a great opportunity for the Prime Minster to set a new national standard for decency and a new direction for the nation as a whole. Kit Malthouse, the Deputy Mayor of London, condemned the actions from his position and he also went on the offensive:
“Obviously there are people in this city, sadly, who are intent on violence, who are looking for the opportunity to steal and set fire to buildings and create a sense of mayhem, whether they’re anarchists or part of organised gangs or just feral youth frankly, who fancy a new pair of trainers.”
Sure, the Prime Minister said many of the right things that needed to be said:
“So this must be a wake-up call for our country.
Social problems that have been festering for decades have exploded in our face.
Now, just as people last week wanted criminals robustly confronted on our street, so they want to see these social problems taken on and defeated.
Our security fightback must be matched by a social fightback.
We must fight back against the attitudes and assumptions that have brought parts of our society to this shocking state.”
The world watched. The world waited. The Prime Minster waited as well.
Do not get me wrong, there is some good stuff in that speech. If you see the video of that speech, it is tough to believe that Cameron believed any of what he said that day. That is part of the problem and part of where my argument hinges, Cameron may be too carefully scripted for his own good.
In April of this year, with the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, came a unique opportunity for the current Prime Minister to effectively re-launch his term in office. Speaking in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister delivered some eloquent prose in his tribute to Margaret Thatcher:
“They say that cometh the hour, cometh the man.
Well in 1979 came the hour, and came The Lady.
She made the political weather.
She made history.
And let this be her epitaph: that she made Britain great again.”
Once again, the words were right. But, the opportunity was missed.
As the gutter rats celebrated Thatcher’s death with signs and celebratory protests, there were many people of all political beliefs who rallied to celebrate Margaret Thatcher’s life and her deeds. She held beliefs that were not always popular. She made decisions she felt were in the best interest of her country. She obviously did not just make decisions to be liked, or to be popular. In some cases, a vocal minority just effectively looked like a vocal majority. Not everyone agreed with her, but most everyone respected her as a woman, and as importantly, as a leader.
A disaster or a catastrophic event is not necessary in order to create a situation where David Cameron could emerge as a leader, or as a hero. David Cameron does not need a President George W. Bush-like “bullhorn moment” on top of a pile of rubble. What I’m talking about is the opportunities that arise. The opportunities that demand a leader take action. The opportunities that can make and shape a nation. The opportunities to be better. The opportunities that turn to regret in the absence of action, and in the clarity of light.
David Cameron has had these opportunities. There is no such thing as knowing how many more opportunities he will have. Will he ever take the chance to grab greatness?
I think David Cameron can be a great and transformative leader, he has already had to take on many reforms and make unpopular spending decisions because of the collapse of the world economy. And as I suggested before, I like some of the moves he has made while being part of a bizarre coalition government between the conservative Tory party and the left-leaning Liberal Democrats. And what I’m talking about is not a piece of legislation, but instead a vocal declaration, a mandate from the top, that shows a path and does not need legislation, just leadership and direction. Given the current economic conditions where there is a limited amount of money for government to spend, leadership without legislation may be exactly what the world ordered.
Isabel Hardman of The Spectator points to some of the eloquence I have referenced with regard to Cameron, especially in the aftermath of the Woolwich killing:
“It goes without saying that when it comes to serious national tragedies, David Cameron is the right man to give a statement from Downing Street. His response today to the Woolwich killing underlined how good he is at producing sensitive and thoughtful speeches which, though written swiftly, avoid any knee-jerk reaction.”
As you can well imagine at this point, I find the phrase “give a statement” both humorous and insulting. There is not really a doubt that David Cameron can deliver a speech. The question is going to be can he deliver anything beyond words at any point. His re-election in 2015 may hinge on such a thing. His country’s fate may hinge on it even sooner.
I continue to wait for Prime Minister Cameron to get tough, to get bold, to set some lofty standards. I continue to be disappointed on that front. Winston Churchill had his moment. Margaret Thatcher had hers. Tony Blair stepped up when terror called. David Cameron is waiting.
But, what is he waiting for?
Shortly before last November’s election I took part in a Fox News documentary on Benghazi, whose other participants included the former governor of New Hampshire John Sununu. Making chit-chat while the camera crew were setting up, Governor Sununu said to me that in his view Benghazi mattered because it was “a question of character.” That’s correct. On a question of foreign policy or counterterrorism strategy, men of good faith can make the wrong decisions. But a failure of character corrodes the integrity of the state.
That’s why career diplomat Gregory Hicks’s testimony was so damning — not so much for the new facts as for what those facts revealed about the leaders of this republic. In this space in January, I noted that Hillary Clinton had denied ever seeing Ambassador Stevens’s warnings about deteriorating security in Libya on the grounds that “1.43 million cables come to my office” — and she can’t be expected to see all of them, or any. Once Ambassador Stevens was in his flag-draped coffin listening to her eulogy for him at Andrews Air Force Base, he was her bestest friend in the world — it was all “Chris this” and “Chris that,” as if they’d known each other since third grade. But up till that point he was just one of 1.43 million close personal friends of Hillary trying in vain to get her ear.
Now we know that at 8 p.m. Eastern time on the last night of Stevens’s life, his deputy in Libya spoke to Secretary Clinton and informed her of the attack in Benghazi and the fact that the ambassador was now missing. An hour later, Gregory Hicks received a call from the then–Libyan prime minister, Abdurrahim el-Keib, informing him that Stevens was dead. Hicks immediately called Washington. It was 9 p.m. Eastern time, or 3 a.m. in Libya. Remember the Clinton presidential team’s most famous campaign ad? About how Hillary would be ready to take that 3 a.m. call? Four years later, the phone rings, and Secretary Clinton’s not there. She doesn’t call Hicks back that evening. Or the following day.
Read the entire column here.
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has passed away in London. Let us all say a kind word to a great, historic leader.
Guido Fawkes shut down his terrific website today and out of respect, is only displaying this image.
Tory MP Robert Halfon (one of the better blogging MPs) has posted images of a leaflet that the Tories are distributing in the UK. This leaflet does a good job of connecting the Tory party with the workers of the UK. The Republicans here should follow the lead and seize upon this idea and do something similar.
Here is the front and the back of the leaflet:
– – –
What do you think? Do you like this leaflet?
This is why people hate politics and by extension, politicians.
There is an upcoming election for Member of Parliament (MP). Tory candidate Maria Hutchings is by all measures a fine candidate and has a very good chance of winning the election. Typically, one would think that of the major issues of the day, the candidates could have a healthy conversation about those issues. Take the issue here, education. The Tories, the Lib Dems and Labour all have different visions for the role of the national government in education.
Now, the Lib Dems have released this leaflet attacking Maria Hutchings for a statement she made about education, and they highlight her supposed gaffe with a giant quote-bubble. Here is said leaflet:
Now, think about the fact that Maria Hutchings has at least two, and possibly three, children who are autistic. And if you know anything about autistic children, you know they require different levels of attention and modes of learning than a public school system is typically capable of offering.
So, it appears that Maria Hutchings sends her child to a special school capable of handling his needs as an autistic child, and the Lib Dems have chosen to maliciously attack her for this. This is politics at its worst and lowest. The Lib Dems should be ashamed, they should condemn this attack piece and they should apologize for this ridiculous attack.
This is not the way to run a campaign. Focus on the issues, force the debate. If you can not get elected on your own merits, get out of the race. For the Lib Dems and Mike Thornton, they are obviously over-matched and they should reconsider their issues and their candidate. If this is the best they can do, it is time to pack up and go home and wait until the next election.
(h/t Conservative Home)
I think that conservative UK pollster Lord Ashcroft has found some interesting results in the aftermath of Prime Minster David Cameron’s recent EU speech where he offered the voters of the UK an eventual in/out referendum vote. Ashcroft’s findings are detailed and complete, and his analysis is worth review.
The Europe speech has cheered Tories, not moved votes
The policy contained in the Prime Minister’s speech of ten days ago was a good answer to the question “what should we do about Europe?” It was never, I hope, supposed to answer the question “what will ensure we win?” If anyone expected an immediate leap in the Conservative Party’s popularity, the evidence should by now have disabused them of the notion. Polling I completed earlier this week shows little change in the bigger political picture.
As with most of the published polls since The Speech, I found a small increase in the Conservative vote share; my poll put Labour ahead by just to 38% to 33%. Analysis of the numbers shows much of this is down to some 2010 Tory voters. Back in December less than three in five of 2010 Tory voters said they would vote Conservative in an election tomorrow; after the speech that number had risen to two in three. Existing supporters also say they are marginally more likely to turn out and vote this month than last.
In other words, The Speech, and more importantly the policy it articulated, has made Tories feel better about being Tories. This is not to be sneezed at – but let’s not confuse it with having changed anybody’s mind.
One thing it did achieve was a small but measurable boost to David Cameron’s leadership ratings. I found people were more likely to say they were satisfied with him as Prime Minister, and those who were dissatisfied were slightly less likely to say they would rather have Ed Miliband instead. Cameron’s advantage on representing Britain in international negotiations, having a clear idea what he wants to achieve, being able to lead a team and doing the job of Prime Minister overall was enhanced.
Otherwise little has changed. Though the coalition remains more trusted than Labour to manage the economy overall, people are if anything less optimistic about economic prospects than they were at the end of last year. While the Conservatives retain a small lead on steering the economy through difficult times, Labour have edged ahead on helping businesses grow and recover; the Opposition’s lead on getting the balance right between tax rises and spending cuts is, at 11 points, as big as the Tories’ had been in September 2010.
The 34-point leads the Conservatives enjoyed four months after the last election on tackling abuse in the welfare system and dealing with immigration have been cut to 6 points and 10 points respectively.
The Conservatives are no more likely to be seen as united, or to have clear plans to deal with Britain’s problems, than they were last autumn. Not surprisingly, given all this, the promise of an EU referendum has not unleashed a desire for an overall Conservative majority. Just under a third (32%) of voters told us last weekend that this would be their preferred outcome of the next election – a proportion unchanged since last November. A Labour government remains the most popular choice, with 38%; 17% would rather have a Labour-Lib Dem coalition. Another round of what we have now is the least popular choice, with 13%.
None of this is to say that The Speech was in any way undesirable. The issue needed to be dealt with, and it has been. It showed David Cameron as a strong leader, taking the initiative and enhancing his credentials as a Prime Minister who stands up for Britain. But the lack of movement in overall perceptions of the party is instructive.
The effect of the referendum policy on attitudes to Europe has been interesting. There has been a small boost in the numbers saying they feel positive about Britain’s EU membership (from 18% to 22% since December). However, a substantial fall in the numbers saying they feel negative about EU membership and that Britain would be better off out (from 34% to 26%), and a smaller decline in those saying they are negative about it but we are better off in (by 1 point to 19%), has been accompanied by an increase in the number with no strong views either way (from 28% to 33%). While most Conservatives are excited by the in-out part of the policy, others have registered the negotiate-and-decide part.
In debating the question in the coming years we must remember that there is only so much oxygen in the room. Most people do not pay much attention to politics at all; when they do, let’s make sure they hear something that changes their view of the Conservative Party, not just of Europe.
Find the original article here.
I am always a junkie for a campaign. When a good, movement oriented campaign comes along, I get even more intrigued.
While U.S. politics is in the governing season, across the pond things are more interesting for campaign junkies. There is a lot of talk about the coalition formed government in Great Britain. The coalition faces its next election in 2015, so they have roughly 2 1/2 years left to make their case for more time, or to fumble completely and give Labour a victory. In the run up to 2015, and looking at the conservative movement in Britain beyond 2015, it is always necessary to look beyond the current leadership in the Tory party and think about what is next, and who is next.
Prime Minister David Cameron currently sits at the helm of the Tory party. There are many that might be perceived as next in line, among them, George Osborne, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt and Theresa May.
But what about that next generation of leaders? Those working their way through the ranks, some just getting their start. To that end, Conservative Future is an organization similar to the Young Republicans (YRs) here in the States, but where the YRs is for people 18 to 40 years of age, Conservative Future is for those under 30. Conservative Future will hold leadership elections this March, and this election is getting interesting.
Paul Holmes and Charlotte Argyle have teamed up to run together as a leadership ticket in the March election. This 24 and 28 year old respectively, make up an impressive team for National Chairman and Deputy Chairman.
To show that even races like this can get negative, witness this anti-Holmes flier being distributed around:
Pretty weak in my opinion, but also very typical. At this point, the Holmes/Argyle campaign has remained positive, focusing on positive ideas and moving forward toward a real vision and real goals. Having paid attention to this contest for a while, I suspect that the Holmes/Argyle team will stay above the fray and not go negative at any point.
This campaign will be interesting to watch. We (those of us that follow politics) will be hearing these names for years to come. Whether the Holmes/Argyle team wins or one of the other campaigns, the future of the Tory movement is on full display and it is worth paying attention to right now.
For those inclined, the Holmes/Argyle team has posted a manifesto that is worth looking over. This is the equivalent of position papers here in the States.
Prime Minister David Cameron has issued a New Year message. I think the Prime Minister’s statement “we can look to the future with realism and optimism”, is an interesting sentiment and I think it is well said.
We’re posting the video and the full text of the statement.
2012 was an extraordinary year for our country. We celebrated our Queen with the Jubilee. And with the Olympics and Paralympics we showed beyond any doubt that Britain can deliver. It was a great year. But, if we are honest, it was a tough one too.
We are still dealing with debts that built up over many years. And for many families, making ends meet is difficult. So to anyone starting this New Year with questions about where we are heading and what the future holds, I want to reassure you of this: we are on the right track. On all the big issues that matter to Britain, we are heading in the right direction and I have the evidence to prove it.
This government inherited a huge budget deficit that was dragging our country down. Well, this New Year, that deficit is forecast to be £13 billion smaller than last New Year, down by one quarter since we came to office.
We inherited a welfare system that was frankly out of shape, that paid people not to work. So we made some big changes, and this New Year almost half a million more people are in work than last New Year. That is real progress.
We inherited an education system where too often mediocre was deemed good enough and discipline in many schools was slack. We said we need more discipline, tougher exams and more academies because those schools consistently get better results. Well, this New Year we’ve got more than 1,000 academies open than last New Year. The numbers studying science and languages are going up. And teachers have more power over discipline than they’ve had for years. This is, quite simply, a government in a hurry. And there’s a reason for that.
Britain is in a global race to succeed today. It is race with countries like China, India and Indonesia; a race for the jobs and opportunities of the future. So when people say we can slow down on cutting our debts, we are saying no. We can’t win in this world with a great millstone of debt round our necks.
When people say we’ve got to stop our welfare reforms because somehow it is cruel to expect people to work, we are saying no. Getting people into good jobs is absolutely vital, not just for them, but for all of us. And when there is a fight on our hands to change our schools, we are ready and willing to have it because having a world-class education is the only way our children are going to get on in this world.
And we know what we are doing all this for: not just to get our country up the rankings in some global league table but to get behind anyone who likes to work hard and get on in life. It’s for those people that we made changes to our tax system in 2012, cutting the income tax bills of 24 million workers. It is for them that we have frozen the council tax for three years in a row, to keep bills as low as we can.
And we did the right thing by our pensioners too, in 2012, bringing in the biggest ever increase in the state pension. This is what this government is about: making sure Britain succeeds in this global race and, above all, helping our people succeed, the people who work hard and aspire to a better life for their families.
So this is my message to the country at the start of 2013. We can look to the future with realism and optimism. Realism, because you can’t cure problems, that were decades in the making, overnight. There are no quick fixes and I wouldn’t claim otherwise. But we can be optimistic too because we are making tangible progress. We are doing what’s right for our country and what’s best for our children’s future. And nothing could be more important than that.
So Happy New Year and best wishes for 2013.