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tony blair

Pieter at Peaktalk links to the latest news from the UK, where Tony Blair is fending off the leadership challenge from Gordon Brown as long as he can manage it.

Pieter’s not impressed and, as he rightly points out, the situation mirrors that of the Canadian Liberals a little too closely:

Many have pointed to the analogy with Canada where a defiant and successful ten-year stint in office was not sufficient for Jean Chrétien to ward off the coup by his former finance minister, Paul Martin. What is telling is that Martin’s successful attempt to dislodge Chrétien – who like Blair had long outlived his popularity – was not based on any justifiable policy difference or other quantifiable ideological rift, but on the simple logic that it was Martin’s turn. Not the greatest rationale for seeking the highest office in the land, and we have all witnessed the incredible mess that ensued as it became painfully clear that the absence of any sound content turned Martin’s tenure at Sussex Drive into an utterly forgettable one. It was a power grab for power’s sake, nothing more and nothing less.

It is too early to tell whether Brown’s move into Downing Street will yield the same sorry spectacle, but given the relatively late stage of Labour’s tenure and the strength of a resurgent conservative opposition, it may not be a very pretty one.

What is it with these finance ministers and their sense of entitlement, anyway?

Since I’ve never missed an opportunity to quote the West Wing, why start now? Here’s a quote from season four, shortly after Bartlet is re-elected for his second term, when Josh finds out that Vice-President Hoynes is already lining up precinct captains for the next election:

Josh: We got [Hoynes] on the ticket by convincing him it’s not his turn. We kept him out of the center ring ’cause it wasn’t his turn, and now…

Toby: There aren’t any turns.

When did Canada, the US or the UK turn into Cuba or North Korea? We’ve got politicians getting elected because of who their fathers were (*ahem* Dubya), politicians assuming it’s their “turn”, and power being handed over as though it was someone’s to hand.

Memo to the British Labour Party: Pieter’s right. The Canadian Liberals haven’t recovered from the Chrétien-Martin fiasco, and surely there’s a warning in there somewhere for you as well.

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Via Damian Penny, this disgusting tidbit:

Advisers appointed by Tony Blair after the London bombings are proposing to scrap the Jewish Holocaust Memorial Day because it is regarded as offensive to Muslims. They want to replace it with a Genocide Day that would recognise the mass murder of Muslims in Palestine, Chechnya and Bosnia as well as people of other faiths.

[ . . . ]

The committees argue that the special status of Holocaust Memorial Day fuels extremists’ sense of alienation because it “excludes” Muslims.

[ . . . ]

Ibrahim Hewitt, chairman of the charity Interpal, said: “There are 500 Palestinian towns and villages that have been wiped out over the years. That’s pretty genocidal to me.”

I’d call it chutzpah of the worst kind, but that would be an insult… to the term.

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It didn’t take long

07.07.2005

Tony Blair is claiming that the world stands behind him in standing firm against terror. And for a few hours, at least, there will be a wave of sympathy. But Tommy Schnurmacher predicted that this wave wouldn’t last long. He noted the wave of anti-Americanism among the understanably terrified British population, and predicted that very […]

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Blair poised for third term

05.04.2005

It looks like today’s UK election will put Tony Blair’s Labour back into power, according to the latest polling data. My friends in England have their gripes about Blair, but on the international front he’s been reasonably solid. I’m sure this election will be anti-climactic and not much will change. Hey, anyone but George Galloway, […]

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Blair’s pet project

12.21.2004

Tony Blair is in Israel holding meetings this week with Israeli and Palestinian leaders (separately, of course): The centerpiece of Blair’s visit is his initiative for a conference in London focused on strengthening the new Palestinian leadership. Sharon said Tuesday that Israel will support the conference but will not attend. He said the conference is […]

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Belgium restricts war crimes law

08.01.2003

Belgium has dramatically restricted its war crimes law, finally realizing that it was being abused for political purposes: The original 1993 law allowed Belgian courts to hear war crimes cases regardless of where the crimes allegedly occurred or the nationalities of those involved. However, relations with Washington were strained after complaints were filed against Mr. […]

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Let the amends begin

04.08.2003

Bush and Blair said that the United Nations should play a “vital role” in post-war Iraq: “We are of course agreed… that there will be a vital role for the United Nations in the reconstruction of Iraq,” Blair said after holding talks with Bush. Bush used the same words, before spelling out their vision for […]

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No unseemly rush to war

03.20.2003

Good editorial in the London Times: There has not been, despite what some critics charge, an unseemly rush to war on the part of the United States and the United Kingdom. Six months have passed since George W. Bush first went to the United Nations, five months since he acquired the political authority from Congress […]

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