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September 12, 2006

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APPEASER!!!

Appeaser? Hardly.

More like "loser-defeatist."

Is he running in the US?

The next PM? Surely Gordon Brown would take exception to that.

thanks for this, von, but (and I see I am echoing the comments of the commentors over there) it is more an attack on Labour than an actual statement of purpose. Standing alone, the words are great, but viewed in the context of the Labor palace coup, they are just a way to kick Blair while he's lying on the ground. Not that I don't think that he needs a good boot, but the Conservatives are a lot like the old saw about Protestants, in that they are only united by their hatred of the Pope. However, I'd be interested in observations about the dynamics that are playing out over there.

I don't know anything much about British politics so when I read this I don't have connotations or baggage or whatever. I just read the words. Except for the support for pre-emptory war, which seems immoral to me as well as unwise, I like it. I wish the Republicans hadn't dedicated themselves to polarization and exploitation at all costs. I wish they actually cared about governing well. I wish they cared about the future of the country, not just the future of their party and its financial backers. I wish it was posible to discuss what to do without all the posturing and lying and responisbility-dodging.
But we've got to do politics with the Republicans we have, not the ones we wish we had. Right now the only words I'm willing to listen to from a Republican are "I'm sorry". I am very interested in how this UK conservative would handle the Bush administration.

I am very interested in how this UK conservative would handle the Bush administration.

that is a very interesting question. I've seen a lot of discussion about Blair's motivation for standing beside Bush, and it ranges from he was fooled, to he would have been left, to he was hoping to modify the worst aspects. I think the most interesting motive proposed (not that it is necessarily true) is that Blair felt that the UK could only hold on to its foreign policy clout if it went along. If that were the case, the Conservatives, who have an even greater problem giving up the notion of being a Great Power, are going to be able to do damn little differently.

(and, if the polls hold, the next PM)

Only if Tony Blair stays in office. And that looks less and less likely.

*shrug* It's possible the Conservatives will get in come 2009. But it's still not likely. They're a collapsing party, not a rising one. Cameron's shown no signs of being the kind of reforming leader that the Tories unquestionably need, but that the party rank-and-file will never elect.

lily: I am very interested in how this UK conservative would handle the Bush administration.

Well, politically, the UK Conservative Party is about as right-wing as the US Democratic Party. But, traditionally, and practically, the Conservatives have always gone American.

(Though Margaret Thatcher famously went apoplectic when Reagan used US airbases in the UK to bomb Libya in 1986, because not only did he not ask her permission - which technically, of course, he didn't have to - he didn't even let her know it was going to happen in advance.)

Current Conservative attacks on Tony Blair for lying to the House of Commons to get MPs to vote for the war in Iraq are purely revisionist: Conservatives were champing at the bit to join the US in attacking Iraq, and Blair's lies seem to have been targetted at Labour back-benchers (MPs who aren't Ministers) who were listening to their constituencies and wondering if they should vote for the Iraq war. It would have been extremely embarrassing for Blair if he had won the vote to attack Iraq only because the Conservatives voted with him - for his political survival then, he had to get enough Labour MPs to agree. Of course, those Labour MPs now are not best pleased at having been lied to.

The only question really is who's going to replace Blair. Robin Cook would have been an obvious candidate, had he not died in August 2005. Gordon Brown seems to have shot himself in the foot.

It seems highly improbable that David Cameron will ever have to deal with the Bush administration: the next UK election isn't likely till May 2009.

So, Jes, you think the resignations were instigated by Brown? And if they were, do you think that Brown was feeling like Blair was going to leave him hanging and then slip some Blairite in there?

A couple of interesting pages about all this
This Observer page (why can't American political observers write like this?)

This story from the Guardian about Brown moving into #10 is funny, the most hackish writer wouldn't have pulled a plot twist like this.

And this description of the Blair speech to the TUC is amazing, one only wonders Bush in that situation.

But my favorite

So, Jes, you think the resignations were instigated by Brown?

Instigated is probably too strong. But he's certainly (fairly or not) become strongly associated with them.

And if they were, do you think that Brown was feeling like Blair was going to leave him hanging and then slip some Blairite in there?

I think that Brown is - with perfect justice - thinking that Blair and his supporters want Blair to hang on as Prime Minister until Labour does finally lose an election because of it. Tony Blair is now one of the Labour Party's worst liabilities: he's seen as dishonest and insincere. His subordination to Bush and his responsibility for taking the UK into Iraq hasn't helped. (How far he's responsible for the ID cards that look like becoming the Labour Party's poll tax is unknown: if any single issue will get Labour out in 2013, my guess is ID cards would be it.)

I don't doubt Brown is motivated partly by anger at Blair for hanging on to a job that they agreed years ago Brown would have a shot at: but anyone who wants Labour to continue in power after the next General Election is angry with Blair for his refusal to resign. The Conservatives aren't seen as a fit party for government - they aren't even yet coherent enough to be a good Opposition.

Instigated is probably too strong. But he's certainly (fairly or not) become strongly associated with them.

Yeah, I'm quite interested in how the narrative involving Brown developed. Daniel Davies at CT says about Watson

First, he is a ferocious careerist, and second, right up until the moment he dropped “da bomb”, he was one of the most horrifically arse-kissing Blairites you could wish to meet; if he ever saw a horrific piece of New Labour crap he didn’t like, either he didn’t blog about it or I didn’t read it.

But the Times article I linked to quotes a senior minister saying "Watson doesn't break wind in the morning unless he's checked with Gordon".

All very confusing, but quite amusing.

I took his words on preemptive attack, "More than that, we and others are justified in using pre-emptive force when an attack on us is being prepared, and when all means of peaceful dissuasion and deterrence have failed", as being a rebuke of Bush.

I cannot see how, even as viewed in March 2003, one could have said that Iraq was preparing an attack on the US, much less that all peaceful dissuasion and deterrence have failed. Since at the time, IAEA inspectors were finding nothing but dry holes, and no other attempts had been made to find an alternate method of proving Iraq's contention that it had no weapons of mass destruction, I am reading Cameron as saying he would not have supported war on Iraq at that time.

Has anyone seen any different readings of him?

Jesurgliac @ 5:19 am --"Margaret Thatcher famously went apoplectic when Reagan used US airbases in the UK to bomb Libya in 1986, because not only did he not ask her permission - which technically, of course, he didn't have to - he didn't even let her know it was going to happen in advance"

This is simply a mistake. Ronald Reagan and his administration were more competent than that.

From the memoirs of George Shultz (Reagan's secretary of state) -- "The president sent a 'direct' message to Margaret Thatcher requesting permission to stage USAF F-111s out of Britain ... Prime Minister Thatcher said yes to our request ..."

http://www.margaretthatcher.org/commentary/displaydocument.asp?docid=110630

Well, my outsider's impression is that Cameron was pretty much a blank slate. He entered in time to vote for the war in Iraq, and voted with the rest of the Torys. These two Guardian columns (he posted diaries) talk about the decision.
voting on Iraq
Which has this

My mailbag has been hostile to war in Iraq.

The letters, emails and telephone calls have poured in - and they're not just from the usual suspects, who would march to ban Christmas if George Bush said he was in favour of it.

Neither have they all come from what you might call "liberal England", of which my constituency with its proximity to the University city of Oxford, has a fair part.

Letters have come from housing estates in towns as well as crunchy gravel drives in villages. Many say that they have not contacted their MP before.

and this with a very interesting analysis of the strains at the time in the Conservative party.

pireader: Alan Clark tells a different story. (I'm not able to find that passage on line, sorry.)

I like the elements of the speech you excerpted-- ignoring whatever political context they're in, I think it's a good speech. I like his appeal to humility and patience-- even if he's just kicking Blair while he's down, it's an important reminder. His conclusion, about the drawbacks of lumping the "sides" in the war seem very accurate.

When he says "last resort", is he using the Bush meaning of "first resort"?

When, of the four major parties in the US and UK, the leader of the Tories makes the foreign policy speech I like best, something is really not right with the world.

(Did anyone else go to college where there was a "Tory party" on campus?. I was not a fan.)

I see that Katherine has expressed my thoughts in almost the same words I was planning to use.

I will say that this Tory expression of views about foreign policy, if sincere, is much more genuinely conservative than anything on offer from either of the two major parties here.

And that the garbage authoritarianism that passes for 'conservatism' here makes someone with my politics long for the real article is a testament to how desperate liberals and left-liberals in the U.S. have become under the corrupt, un-American rule of the modern Republican party.

just in time, the Eustonitas have a new manifesto.

More like the Eustonateers. Sweaters and mouse ears for the lot.

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