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Old 04-18-2010, 06:08 PM   #16
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Default Re: The United Kingdom General Election thread

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Originally Posted by rhinooooo View Post
In the late 70s, Robin Cook was a massive anti-arms activist. Before Labour were elected, he was criticising the Tories for selling fighter jets/weapons to Indonesia who'd use them to terrorise East Timor. Of course, as soon as Labour came into power, and he was Foreign Secretary, they approved over 60 arms contracts with Indonesia, who were still massacring the East Timorese.
From what I gather Robin Cook continued to strongly oppose to the exportation of BAE jets to the Indonesian Suharto regime after becoming foreign secretary, and made his feelings clear. However his attempts to block the sale were scuppered by Blair, Brown and Jack Straw. 50% of Labour's 1997 election expenses had been paid for by a BAE director.

Some source material:

I was one of a few enthusiasts in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office who welcomed the arrival of Robin Cook as Foreign Secretary and his declaration of an “Ethical foreign policy”. The majority were hostile and cynical, but not nearly so much as was Tony Blair.

Within a very few weeks, Blair arranged Robin Cook’s defeat at Cabinet when Cook wanted to stop the export of British Aerospace Hawk jets to the Suharto regime of Indonesia, which has a strong history of vicious repression of its disparate peoples. I was told by a Cabinet Minister who sided with Cook, that Blair managed Cook’s cabinet defeat in as confrontational and humiliating a manner as possible.

Plainly there would be no ethical foreign policy under Blair, and “New Labour” would be even snugger in bed with the arms industry than the old version. One of Blair’s lead men on Hawks to Indonesia was Jack Straw, who declared in the register of members’ interests that 50% of his election expenses had been paid by Lord Taylor, a Director of British Aerospace.

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/08/320688.html


Cook was later to say that:

"I came to learn that the chairman of BAE appeared to have the key to the garden door to No 10. Certainly I never knew No 10 to come up with any decision that would be incommoding to BAE."

http://www.iraq-war.ru/article/138174

In the early stages of Blair's tenure as PM it appeared that Cook was the only cabinet minister who was brave enough to openly disagree with and question him, unlike Brown and Straw who were his stooges during his first term. There was clearly a strained relationship between the two, and it was no surprise that Cook was demoted to Leader of the Commons during the 2001 cabinet reshuffle. Cook clearly refused to sulk and took up his new role with the same enthusiasm and tireless effort, and from the back benches he continued to strongly oppose Blair on a number of issues.
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:23 AM   #17
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Default Re: The United Kingdom General Election thread

there was a fascinating documentary on the bbc recently tracing the history of the mutual antipathy that exists between downing street and the foreign office. can't remember the name of it. caught an episode on the late night repeat about 2 weeks ago...
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Old 04-19-2010, 05:22 AM   #18
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Default Re: The United Kingdom General Election thread

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Originally Posted by LeChuck View Post
Speaking of electoral systems, I really like the two-tiered mixed member proportional representation that is used in Germany and New Zealand.
I would love to see more countries adopt the German system - with every government requiring at least 50% of the popular vote (not the seats). If no party has 50% they should have to form coalitions with smaller parties. It's by far the best way to allow voters to express their opinions more accurately.

Thing is there's such a variety of opinions in the modern world and everyone has different priorities. When only the major political parties are capable of getting into power everyone has to compromise too much voting for something they don't totally agree with.
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Old 04-19-2010, 06:12 AM   #19
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Default Re: The United Kingdom General Election thread

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Not a bad quiz, though it only has the major 3 parties.

http://www.gotoquiz.com/which_uk_political_party_am_i
It now has the 6 biggest parties. There are 6 answers for each question, presumably representing the official stance of each party. Here is my result:


Which UK Political Party Am I?
Your Result: United Kingdom Independence Party
UKIP's key priorities at this next election include: withdraw from the EU and enter into a Swiss-style free trade agreement with EU members; replace basic and higher income tax and national insurance rates with a single, flat tax rate for everyone; freeze immigration for five years; establish a grammar school in every town; oppose green taxes and wind farms; create an English Parliament of English MPs at Westminster.
Result Breakdown:
68% United Kingdom Independence Party
66% British National Party
48% Liberal Democrat
42% Conservative
34% Labour
22% Green Party
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Old 04-19-2010, 06:13 AM   #20
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Default Re: The United Kingdom General Election thread

Funny results considering I'm totally in favour of joining the EU and the Euro.

I don't think there was a single answer to any question I totally agreed with. This is exactly what I was talking about, voters having to choose parties that very vaguely represent their views.
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:26 AM   #21
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Default Re: The United Kingdom General Election thread

Great stuff LeChuck. Thanks for that info. Good to know.

I was basing it on him actually heading to Indonesia to meet Suharto. But, I don't think I can completely judge someone on that. Just a sad fact of what an institution can do to you, force you against your own values.
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:28 AM   #22
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Default Re: The United Kingdom General Election thread

I liked Robin Cook too but he had the option to resign rather than go along with policies that he was clearly in opposition to.

Until the Iraq War, he elected not to do so, but to hold his nose and play the game.
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:32 AM   #23
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Default Re: The United Kingdom General Election thread

As for this election, current polls and the Lib Dem surge put us deep into Hung Parliament territory, which I consider to be a very good thing - it's the only way we'll get electoral reform, among other things, which is desperately needed.

However I do expect the Lib Dem surge to recede as polling day approaches.
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:39 AM   #24
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Default Re: The United Kingdom General Election thread

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I liked Robin Cook too but he had the option to resign rather than go along with policies that he was clearly in opposition to.

Until the Iraq War, he elected not to do so, but to hold his nose and play the game.
Agreed.

But I can understand why some stay. Not saying it in his case, but I'm sure there can be more behind it. Be it promises towards him, threats, or worst of all, just resigning himself to the fact that he'd rather be an MP than fight for his ideals.
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:16 AM   #25
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Default Re: The United Kingdom General Election thread

I will be voting Labour.

The thought of David Cameron and the tories in power makes me sick.
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Old 04-19-2010, 05:01 PM   #26
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Default Re: The United Kingdom General Election thread

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Originally Posted by Henry Chinaski View Post
there was a fascinating documentary on the bbc recently tracing the history of the mutual antipathy that exists between downing street and the foreign office. can't remember the name of it. caught an episode on the late night repeat about 2 weeks ago...
Was it The Great Offices of State? I have watched a couple of them when I've been awake at 3am.
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:32 PM   #27
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Default Re: The United Kingdom General Election thread

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As for this election, current polls and the Lib Dem surge put us deep into Hung Parliament territory, which I consider to be a very good thing - it's the only way we'll get electoral reform, among other things, which is desperately needed.
Thats the last thing we need - the power then goes from the voters to a political party leader with 10% or whatever of the vote.
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:19 PM   #28
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Default Re: The United Kingdom General Election thread

Nick Clegg most popular politician since Churchill
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:56 PM   #29
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Default Re: The United Kingdom General Election thread

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Thats the last thing we need - the power then goes from the voters to a political party leader with 10% or whatever of the vote.
what rubbish.

it means our politicians might actually have to start working together for a change, rather than just ramming policy through using their built-in majorities.
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Old 04-19-2010, 11:05 PM   #30
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Default Re: The United Kingdom General Election thread

The House of Lords is a waste of time atm.

Why not let one house be a representation of the popular vote and the other can represent the 600 constituencies.
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