The Travails of an Unpopular President

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I often read in several newspaper columns how they put side by side the legacy of Arroyo with those of history’s most unpopular tyrants, making it appear that Arroyo, beyond reasonable doubt, stands fit in the same pedestal where Herod or Marcos now stands with great infamy. Adding insult to injury, it seems that Arroyo’s case differs largely from those whom she is compared with: while they enjoy some speck of popularity, Arroyo on the other hand never enjoyed it longer than she would want, even when she assumed office after Estrada’s fall, many saw it as a constitutional farce and a mockery of the system we have. All these bickering about her flight abroad to allegedly escape trial had been the talk of the nation, but it couldn’t have precipitated to the current issue without the infamous the body that started it all: the DoJ-COMELEC Joint Panel Investigation that is tasked to probe on probable cases of election-related violations and the offenses that may have (or for some, already had been) been committed by several officials, notable of course by Arroyo. Following the supposed “hasty” filing of a criminal case against Arroyo in the Pasay City Regional Trial Court by COMELEC based on the finding of the said body, the Arroyo camp (through former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo) and former COMELEC Commissioner Benjamin Abalos filed separate petitions challenging the constitutionality of the joint panel which, if found to be violative of the constitution, would nullify all the findings of the panel and ultimately lift the HLO and arrest warrant against Arroyo which apparently would allow her to leave the country having the last laugh. On November 29, the Supreme Court heard the Oral Arguments, starting off with the Abalos’s counsel, but over-all, the court highlighted the following issues: (1) whether or not the creation of the panel and the procedures adopted by it is constitutional, (2) is there a need to publish the Rules of Procedure adopted by the investigating committee/panel, and (3) is there violation of the equal protection and due process clauses of the constitution. The first impression of this session is clear: is the joint panel reminiscent of the early Spanish Inquisition created specifically to hunt non-believers and heretics without the slightest observance of a fair trial. To emulate the ever-eager columnists, let me cite some historical similarities to Arroyo’s case. In Romania, following a successful overthrowing of the government of Nicolae Ceausescu, the military immediately dispatched Nicolae and his wife and subjected them to a trial before a military tribunal. The court looked less than a respectable one, and many historians believed it was just a show trial. What happened next tells the horrors a tyrant might get from his or her betrayed country. In just one day, Nicolae and his wife were found guilty of several crimes and atrocities, sentencing them to suffer death. Right after the trial, the spouses were shot to death by a firing squad. This event in Romanian history marked the advent for revolution, but it made an unprecedented leap towards bending the rules through disregard of even the most humane of our natural laws. Now, we have our own case which we might fear not to resort to such atrocious persecution which was a wide-spread act in several European countries, or recently, in the most recent Arab Spring. How does Arroyo’s case find the same standing? Some argue that the panel hastily did an overtake ahead of the Supreme Court after it re-affirmed the issuance of a TRO by filing a criminal case against Arroyo in a trial court which, by operation of law, would bar Arroyo from leaving despite the TRO. Although the TRO speaks of her right to travel, the criminal charge bars her from leaving as a matter of police power to withhold flight of potential criminals. But the ultimate question is: is the panel duly constituted in the first place? If not, would its findings become fruits of poisonous tree? Was it created purposely to prosecute Arroyo and others for the alleged vote rigging in the 2004 and the 2007 elections? One argument raised by the petitioner is that due process must be observed even in cases of preliminary investigation, citing the cases of PCGG vs. COMELEC and Allado vs. Diokno. The question of independence of COMELEC and the alleged violation of such independence by attaching itself to a political branch of government had been brought to the fore. And all other matters of procedure and proper jurisdiction had been duly raised. There’s the question that if the DoJ-COMELEC sought to punish the election cheaters, it should cover cases even before Arroyo, otherwise it violates equal protection. To that point, the stand is clear: that Arroyo might have been unduly subjected to an investigation as if she is the only beast that must be put down. The line of interpellation seeks to deduce the substantial issue of whether to whom the jurisdiction should investigating election offenses fall. In Republic Act 9369, the COMELEC has concurrent (but not exclusive) jurisdiction over all cases of election-related offenses. In Batas Pambansa Blg. 811, the DoJ has the same concurrent jurisdiction. The law speaks clearly that DoJ and COMELEC have concurrent jurisdictions to investigate election-related offenses, meaning, they can exercise investigatory function over the same subject matter. But the question is: can they go hand in hand in finding probable cause of violation by Arroyo and by other people she is in cahoots with? Does the mere joint function of an independent body and a political agency of government already subjects the former to questions of doubt and uncertainty? The impression is quite real than imagined: that Arroyo is under a show-trial that ultimately will throw her to jail no matter how the law speaks otherwise. But of course, whether the Supreme Court rules against the creation of the panel, the precipitation of all these boils down to the political reality of our country: that the vigilante will not stop in catching the crooks. Even if the so-called “Arroyo justices” will hand down their verdict to save their master, the Aquino administration will find a way to throw her in jail, like how they found time to delay Arroyo’s plight despite clear legal provisions, which would only take bold courage and risk “defiance” to question.

Sidelining Bush’s efforts – Why Washington should credit the previous administration

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The Congressional authorization granted to Pres. George. W. Bush during the infamous War on Terror waged against Al-Qaeda, the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks under its leader Osama bin Laden, has resulted to serious human rights and legal issues that attacked and tarnished Bush’s foreign policy efforts. The mistake of Iraq war as most would claim put Bush in extreme criticism over his competence the over-all legitimacy of the war on terror. Right after 9/11, Bush has focused most of its military attention to terrorist-ridden countries, as paranoia and the still lingering raw hatred against 9/11 attackers overwhelmed most of the public’s views. The Authorization of the Use of Military Force or AUMF may still be as controversial as torture issues that contributed to several war crime accusations against Bush and his henchmen, among them the former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. This presidential power has brought down both innocent and guilty individuals. Among the infamous court cases, Hamdi vs Rumsfeld and Hamdan vs Rumsfeld and Boumediene vs Bush, questioned the legal justification of Bush’s anti-terror efforts. But should his efforts be judged solely on the mishaps rather than the contributing success of the present anti-terror and counter-insurgency policies of the United States?
Bin Laden’s death has catapulted Pres. Obama into certain pedestal that bred the public’s confidence over their new Commander-in-Chief which somehow hasn’t been present since Bush stepped down from office. The haunting fact however is that the success of the military siege that ultimately brought down the most wanted terrorist in the world has eclipsed Bush in the development of foreign policy approaches dealing with terrorist groups in several countries including Pakistan and Afghanistan. Although one might see this as a victory for America, Republicans rather than the Democrats have the right to brag about Bin Laden’s death. Washington’s failure to credit the Bush administration puts a double standard in dealing with the matter. The surge of criticisms against Bush has created an early judgement to the president himself that has dragged down unseen and unrealized successes behind. Bush’s policies have resulted to serious positive developments against terrorism for the past decade. However, media frenzy and court battles have strayed away the public from weighing down the mistakes and the good things that had happened under Bush. Double-standards are evident however in Obama’s Washington. Obama’s presidential campaign has changed the hopes of the public regarding security issues. Obama’s plan to close Guantanamo Bay has resulted to almost non-extant criticisms, even to the point where Obama failed to do so. Even the still present practice of torture which the Obama administration has avoided to address hasn’t placed the government in the same hot seat as Bush before. Even worse, some blame the present mishaps to Bush himself. Now that vengeance has been served against the root of American anger against terrorists right after 9/11, political value gas been obviously considered favouring Obama’s campaign, and crediting Bush over Bin Laden’s death may lose such political and electoral value for Obama. And besides, Bin Laden’s death does not end US’s efforts in fighting terrorism, more so being the final factor for judging Obama’s foreign policy efforts and duty as Commander-in-Chief. But putting Bush into the success should be an utterly fair move for Washington to do. It is irksome to hear and watch Liberal defenders such as the pretentiously chirpy comedienne Wanda Sykes (who keeps on criticising Bush but seem to have a brain the size of walnut) question Bush and judge his presidency. But on the matter of counter-terrorism, Bush has succeeded in several areas that no president has done before. But Washington is just being into convention that critically questioned administrations are not good for politicking.


(Cartoon Courtesy of: Political Graffiti (http://politicalgraffiti.wordpress.com/)

Talking Points: The Power of Fake News(-casters)

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Nowadays, we can rarely see and even experience the same kind of journalism that Cronkite and the many masterfully made into what people consider a respectable, noteworthy brand of media. Surely so, we have Larry King who matter greatly in the craft. The people who sat with King for years were construed as not only the people who significantly matter for the world (for us to realize it), but they were seen just like the common people who watch or tune in on the show everyday: hardworking people, teens, and even those who hate King himself. I’m just not so sure.
But sure do, it inspires people. But that’s all but crap right now. In my previous posts, I surely did want to come across the idea that the likes of O’Reilly and the rest of the FOX News anchors and self-proclaimed journalists, in retrospect, lacks that sentimental embrace for fair media. I don’t think these guys even value what Cronkite worked hard for. Even King himself is losing some mojo here. I notice, in several of his shows, the questions he asks, if not most, are awfully and oafishly simplistic. Seriously, it seems that his questions don’t want to be answered with value. Even his comments are quite platitudinous. I mean, come one, Larry King Live is too much a syndication to fall from grace and drop so ruthlessly in shame, especially when I feel disgusted about it. I don’t mean to put some loathe over the craft of King. I don’t. It just that what makes the show so syndicated in the first place is not there! Again, the mojo is losing! And King getting too old (maybe this could explain some numerous fill-ins for the show, including Seacrest and Probst, and by all people, why Behar?). Really, I would admit the show itself becomes more and more parochial, more so banal. There is much absence of adulation or something for the show to be considered “syndicated”. The reason why King became so famous (and so the show) is that the show wants to invoke that kind of journalistic craft that explores personality, events, trends and the like and the people especially that move behind them to be revealed and be known under the light of truth. It may sound dramatic but, really, we know people more than what they are known for – they as themselves people.
Or even talk about our dearly loved talk shows. They too are syndicated. Two things: it’s either they make the best out of ordinary (or even famous) people or they make fun of them. And we know on the top of our head who these people are.
Now we go to what we might call the power of non-journalistic craft. What comes to my mind is....no, not the likes of Chelsea Handler who appears to be too perverted for a talk show or The Dish or The Soup (although I do like these shows)....it’s the always fun (and critical) The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. I know what comes into the minds of some when they hear these people. Two words: FAKE NEWS! The Colbert Report is a parody of.....well......The O’Reilly Factor. The Daily Show is...well...a unique show of its own. But let’s look at how these two FAKE NEWS SHOWS became so influential that America in fact chose Stewart among others the most influential person in the country.
The story goes when these two shows became the voice of the enemies of the FOX News gang. The sanctimony of Conservatism and Republicanism (and unbalanced and unfair news at that) in the channel has scoured so much in our TV sets for their propaganda. Exactly no fair journalism there. But people expected that the other half of the political divide (that, I will passionately stress, has compromised the fundaments of journalism), CNN, would counteract the shoot-and-kills or FOX. Well, CNN never did engage in the war so openly but in the least subtle way. But this one ‘expected role’ the media company tried not to do (I’m relieved then) was taken over by these two brilliant guys. When Colbert went to O’Reilly’s show, O’Reilly asked Colbert if he’s imitating him. Colbert responded so brilliantly, saying that Bill might be mistaking the terms “imitation” and “emulation”, which the latter Colbert chose of what he’s doing in his own show. Yet, over the years, these two guys keeps on becoming (not only Emmy-award winning) visionaries of politics. If the other half has Beck as their visionary, the other got these two guys. But all came so clear that the power of FAKE NEWS become so immense that the craft of these two is not just being fake, but also being the REAL THING. And here’s the catch: President Obama is the first sitting president to be interviewed in a FAKE NEWS SHOW! Yeah, you’re reading this right! You might ask, who does this? A FAKE NEWS, as a guest, a president? Really? Another thing, Colbert and Stewart’s Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear makes things clearer: the power of fake news goes unstoppable!

TALKING POINTS BARNACLE: THINGS THAT MAKE CABLE TV USEFUL TO HUMAN SANITY

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O’Reilly – The View Syndication

Bill O’Reilly’s visit to The View that went ugly made me realize some aspects of what makes TV so, so great. One, O’Reilly can really be a total jackass. This simple yet powerful realization had been in front of me ever since Family Guy, Jon Stewart, Colbert and the rest of TV’s great thespians and worthy jackanapes (in an award-winning way) became part of what revolutionizes media today. I had so much respect for O’Reilly before, and up to now I really want to buy his book (not Pinheads and Patriots, the Bold Fresh). [i can’t help but writing something about his new book. I haven’t read it yet. But I have a very strong gut feeling on what it is about. Surely, this is again his namby-pamby attacks on his enemies, the liberals and his hates in writing. If you look at the cover, you can say that the Pinhead whom he’s referring to is Obama, and by all means the Patriot is himself. Really? Ego much? I think the term Pinhead is more suited for him.]
The View fiasco (maybe it was more humiliating to Behar and Goldberg than to Bill himself) touched on an issue which might have its connection to previous uproars against the New York mosque stuff. It’s an issue of Islamophobia, one can tell. But O’Reilly defends, it’s far from the “b-word” that joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg tried to label him. O’Reilly, in his show, strongly disdained the word – but a few instances shed some light on this. Should O’Reilly be called a bigot for airing some sentiments which Behar and Goldberg construed as purely anti-Muslim? On his show, O’Reilly might have slipped on this one. A contention of his in one of his shows is that the problems of terrorism among others is a Muslim problem, meaning, Muslims should in the very first place be doing most of the job in taking care of it. He defended he would never generalize the issue that the Muslims , all of them, are causing these. But what came more interesting on this issue is when obviously O’Reilly was leaning on the side of the NPR guy who was fired for making anti-Muslim remarks. And this, now, makes O’Reilly such a jackass. If he wants to wrestle down issues where he appears to be losing, he would weave outlandish issues along with the case at hand.
Talk about the firing of the NPR guy. This guy commented (on O’Reilly’s show) that he always feels unsecure whenever Muslims wearing burqas and what have you board the same plane he is in. What did he mean? Simple. The same old defense of those who want to ban burqas and the like in some countries like France – because these garments can conceal bombs. This is absolutely nothing new an issue. Here in the Philippines for example, insurgent-terrorists wear burqas, in recorded cases there are men, trying to sneak in public places and conceal bombs in God knows where – basic terroristic strategy. Was the NPR guy right? A Muslim thinks so. In one of the Doha Debates, a Muslim arguing for the ban contended that burqas do really enforece such terroristic image, especially to women – hence, making a bad reputation for Islam. But the problem (the same as O’Reilly’s) with the NPR guy is how he wants to be understood. His remarks would invoke the same element of generalization. One can say that we he said is that whenever you see Muslims wearing these garments, boarding the same flight as you are, expect to be u comfortable with it. Is this bigotry? Were Behar and Goldberg right? Maybe. But let’s see how O’Reilly dealt with this.
The defense is simple (in relation to the firing of the NPR guy): freedom of expression.
This is very common over the news. Some months ago, a CNN newscaster was fired for making remarks against Jon Stewart. Some defended the guy, even Stewart himself. To be truthful, CNN was wrong on this one. O’Reilly on the other hand seemed furious over the firing of the NPR guy. Same defense: freedom of expression. But here’s the twist – he’s making it appear to be a political propaganda. Our dear old Bill drags for example billionaire investor George Soros (he labels far-left) to the issue of the firing. Sounds familiar? He’s making it a blame game – this is all the Liberals’ doing. Period. Is he a jackass? Definitely. But the syndication never ends. O’Reilly never got over The View walk-outs. In several instances, O’Reilly tried to demonize The View hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg in whatever way he wanted it. But to give credit, the game wasn’t played well. Even Behar and Goldberg seemed a little bit unfair. They never gave O’Reilly the chance to defend himself on the show, making it appear as if O’Reilly was the bad guy. Not fair. Even labelling someone ‘bigot’ might be very risky and hasty. Both hosts were hasty. So was O’Reilly. So maybe the score goes to Walters. Rock on! Syndication never let us down!

The Mango Avenue

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 (Tell-tales, the randomness of the writer's minds)

I always tell my friends that the best way to rid of deep-down 'deep-ression' (redundancy intended) is going to a farmer's market every Friday. Why, they ask. It's simple. The people are nice there. The local farmers are kind enough to make you happy and help you with your troubled week, or months sometimes. They could even be your substitute to coffee if you happen to lose your way not finding any nearby cafe - and that makes you awfully sick and more deep-ressed. One farmer, George, is my favorite. He sells so much variety of vegetables freshly-picked from his farm, about three miles from the city. Whenever I see him every Friday (sometimes he's not in his little green stall, and that makes me sad), I tend to spend my day talking to him. Our acquaintances had developed to some sort of privileging over the months since I bumped to this little farmers' fare. My friends are getting worried though that I've been distracted from my work. I'm actually working in a consulting firm. Although my friends entirely know that I hate my job the first day I worked, still, they always make me realize that I'm doing this for my dog, Daisy. I don't know why I even bothered to note such reason, but it kept me from quitting my job for fifteen years. Daisy must be proud of me.

My depression is daily. But the farmer's market fare is just once a week. Adding that up, my week except Friday is hellish. Friday is my escape pod out of a week of being in a hell hole. But it happens that my strolls in the city led me to some interesting new places. More farmers' fare, Turkish toy shops, ridiculously-named candy stores, a variety shop that sells magic wands and hats and of course, a store that features a worldly-variety of apples. I got curious that day. I called my friends to come over, so we can all dive into apple madness (my favorite fruit is apple). It was late in the afternoon when we finished buying baskets of apples representing 25 countries in total. It led me out of the day's dose of depression. The place of wonderful stores is located somewhere in Mango Avenue. My discovery of a bastion of anti-depressants like Mike's Organic Fruits, Susan's Candy Bonanza, Rachel's Cupcake Chowder, Dante's Italian Antiques and Plom's Toy Tower has liberated me from weeks of  depression, sadness, emptiness and whatever that comes to your mind and thank goodness not suicide. My delusion of a wonderland was not at all surreal. I grasped it entirely. It was real and experiential. It was there. Mango Avenue is no illusion.

My fat, stinky boss called me back to office. He noticed I haven't been going to work for a month. I know well for a fact I lost some salary. But Mango Avenue just kept enticing me. I went to the office. My boss, who was divorced by his wife because his fatness and monstrous weight keeps breaking their bed, bad-mouthed me. He said the company lost some clients because of me. I don't why. I work as a janitor there. He kept lambasting me. My patience grew into a total black-hole. I smacked him in the face. I felt a sound of breaking bones. My right hand broke. But my boss's nose bled horribly. He screamed. I cried. I quit and dashed immediately out of the offuce before the security catches me. I felt bad that day. To get rid of some hot temper and bloodstains in my shirt, I planned to go to Mango Avenue and buy some new clothes for myself and for Daisy at Vicky's Cashmere. When I got there, right before the corner, I saw nothing. Deserted, unhappy, barren. No one was there. Not even my friends who begun loving the place minutes after I did. I felt sad again. It's got worse. The worst part is, I saw my friends sitting in a corner where Sally's Frozen Cream Deluxe used to stand up high. It was the first time I saw them cry - in unison. They looked at me, with those unwarranting sad faces, hoping. Hoping for what? For a wonderland. But it was gone forever. The sadness and loneliness were shared. Me and my friends just stayed there until we run out of tears. We left, as dusk begun to fall down, with dismay. That day, we lost Mango Avenue. Mango Avenue lost us. We walked, and walked, and walked, still hoping that any of the wonder stores would come at any moment. We walked unhappily. The feeling was no longer surreal, nor joyful not wonderful. It was nothing buy emptiness. We walked - until - we saw something. People, buying things. I happen to see some carrying paper bags that bear the logo of Holly's Happy Tacos. Right there and then, we realized. Mango Avenue was never lost - and will never be gone. It's life is the people. It's life is us. It's life is the happiness that feeds its own. That day, we were just lost. And my friends kept laughing while I was crying the whole time. I hated them. I was lost.

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[Feature Article]




Anti-High Society Jockey*

                Gloating, where at some point faces and smiles are overstretched halfway their heads with bean-like brains, is always the initial reflex of the overly-clothed club members of the High Society – the ruling elite of an idiocratic utopia called the fashionably dumb and hijas y hijos de la madre bobilla – when somebody falls to the ground, hitting the pauper (non-carpeted) walk of shame, blood spilling from that somebody’s pathetic face. Overly-clothed, that is, the predicament of their ill will to live in a civilized society while them acting out as if they are the early ancestors of the ridiculous, the un-smart and the regular subject matter of the Theatre of the Absurd of the poorest quality – whereby their proud regalia that girdles their egos and the ornamented persona of so much assumption that they are the better half of humanity, and that they make so much enthusiasm in adoring the apostles of Musca, on such matter, they are wrong and awfully wicked.
                Talk about the delusion of grandeur, and the dumbfounded contention that they deserve to live better highly than the “other” half of humanity, they label the undeserving as the subjects of their gloat and ridicule. At this point, the High Society is awful. High Society, only to label how far their vapid souls can no longer be galvanized by the arsenals of reason or even the simplest type of common sense. At this point, they are not only awful, they are also hopeless. Indeed, they are there in the streets with bullhorns and parades of half-naked, if not, overly-flamboyant display of self-centeredness, announcing to the entire world that they are the anti-modernists, nay, the reformers of the mechanical Earth, hoping to make themselves deities of grandiosity and power. At this point, they are in fact the tormented, rotten, un-intellectual part of humanity that cannot even outsmart a swine.
                But stripping off their mascaras, revealing the neediness to be thematic personifications of a low-class play or poorly-written, poorly-composed opera, and their insatiable thirst for attention and glory that they don’t even understand – the masquerade of the High Society is ended, thus, becoming the victimized scandalized patients of the spoiled context. Deep within the wilderness of never-ending ear-thirst for self-satisfaction of the worst kind and value, brought up in putrid condition of delusions, for them to appreciate the subtlety behind telling them that they have patently grotesque and flatulent sense of understanding (if they have one), they better cut the crap and shut their oafish bearings up. At this point, they are worms. They are worse than the sick male-ghouls that laid me to bed - not my testament - but that of the court's remarkable effort to get me to rest and rot without even making my point across the ill-gottens and ill-breds that make me vomit.

                            - Alexander Pierce


This is Pierce’s speech addressed to his followers prior to his execution, with sixty counts of crime of buggery.
                 

Some thoughts....politico

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I agree with Nick. He was right, that until he formed UK’s new government with the now Prime Minister David Cameron, they were ‘rivals’, but now they are ‘colleagues’. Straight from the words of Cameron himself, the government he formed with the man ‘he barely know’ and ‘haven’t spoken to’ in the last five years is a Liberal Democrat-Conservative administration. A BBC journalist expressed that Cameron’s description of the new government isn’t just semantics. This proves the marriage of two stranger parties is an unprecedented milestone to a new kind of politics.
Watching the two leaders giving conference at the garden of Downing Street that once belonged to the ‘other’ contender in British election race, outrightly impresses that these two are not just products of Britain’s first coalition since Churchill, they are a product of a rising movement and trend of politics bred out of the principles of reform, responsibility, freedom and fairness, as Cameron would put it.
I say it is exciting. Congratulations, Nick and David. 

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                                                                           David Cameron/ Flickr
The New Man of 10 Downing Street
Now that the Tories and the Liberal Democrats form a coalition government , and taking over the Parliament from the thirteen-year rule of the Labour Party, how did Prime Minister David Cameron become the new face of British politics?

[A Column by Emil Angelo C. Martinez]


Ever since David Cameron took over the Tory leadership in 2005, his party played a crucial role as Opposition, as the Labour Party ruled the hollowed halls of the Parliament. And that, thanks to Cameron himself. But this was not just the common kind of party opposition, as it may be the usual party competition aiming for political power. Cameron did play this kind of game. He wanted the power back that once belonged to the Tory. But Cameron was exclusively no political nut. He was after all one of UK’s eloquent and charismatic statesman.
          Educated at Eton and Oxford, Cameron’s youthful rise in political spotlight was both surprising and impressive. Not since Churchill rallied his party to power by both predicting and winning the war with Germany and the old Sir Winston becoming the Conservatives’ new face that the young Cameron become the Tory brand. Margaret Thatcher has Thatcherism, David Cameron has the Camerons. To say it, the Conservative MPs to rule the government this time are themselves Camerons. Being the youngest Prime Minister for the last 200 years, I’m sure the Conservatives under Cameron deserved where they are right now. And Cameron deserved it than anybody else.
          But with a new face in Downing Street, there comes a new political environment. The significance of the coalition is how will the system work, now that for thirty years Britain hasn’t experience this kind of government. How will Cameron work with the Liberal Democrats? What will he offer them? What will Clegg offer back? How will Cameron deal with the rise of smaller parties?
          On the first issue of working with the Liberal Democrats, consistent discipline and cooperation are important, much more necessary. At present, there have been appointments already. The Chancellor of Exchequer is a Conservative. The one replacing David Miliband as Foreign Secretary is a Liberal Democrat. Would the levelling up of MPs and Cabinet members in a diverse approach be better for the government? Certainly this is a result of the negotiations between the Tory and the Liberal Democrats. Clegg would disagree if his party members are still in the minority in most government posts.
          The bigger case both Clegg and Cameron must have understood already is compromise. Does this reflect both Cameron’s and Clegg’s political persona? For Clegg, most probably the decisions made by his party have been expressions of compromise already, as apparent as it may be by settling with the Conservatives. And the choice of leaving at hand a hung parliament with a minority government to take over maybe dangerous for the Liberal Democrats. Like in the last hung parliament in 1974 without a coalition formed, the minority government was short-lived, forcing to hold again another election. I would think the 1947 crisis was a bad choice if either Clegg or Cameron or even Brown had had considered. Thankfully, the decisions made were better. And that thanks to Clegg. But in the bigger picture, the Liberal Democrats really had the least to compromise. Cameron and his party had the biggest stake of compromise. For several years in fighting with the Labour, Cameron and the rest of the Conservative Party had enough of the system, and the demand for a Conservative party is imminent. But with the results of the elections, it seemed that Cameron has to deal with what the Liberal Democrats’ policy demands. This new government is after all not a purely Cameronian creation. But then again, this is what really impresses me about Cameron. The value of a pragmatic approach for the purpose of creating a stable and solid government is very heroic. And for sure, the choices left for Cameron are both hard and necessary. Is it in the character of Cameron to compromise?
          He has no choice, nor his party nor Clegg. And really, the result of the elections spelled the outcome of the formation of the coalition. With key issues such as economic recovery, education and political and electoral reform, Cameron as the new Prime Minister is in the crossroads of odds so hard to handle. Talk about the first issue: economy. How did Clegg and Cameron pull it off? Cameron was against transforming pounds to euro. I might say Clegg had agreed on this. I think this choice (and also by the former PM) is rather close enough to save them from further economic damage, considering the Greek economic tragedy that is haunting EU right now. In essence, all three were almost providing the same measures for a positive effect in the British economy. Now, talk about political and electoral reform. This I think is an easy issue for Cameron himself. In the past, Cameron has expressed (but less sentimental or vocal) political reform, but the same centuries-old electoral system that brought him to the Prime Ministerial position might as well is a question whether he would consider the Liberal Democrats’s primary demand for political and electoral reform. On education, Cameron settled on Clegg’s pupil premium. How about in international relations? Cameron seems very open and diplomatic in issues that best serve his country and the rest of the world. With the immense relations between US and UK during the Labour years under Blair and Brown, Cameron might do the same thing as well. Number 10 has a new guy, and Britain must expect something from he himself, Prime Minister David Cameron. 


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Looking at the British elections: What it says about their brand of politics

It may not be quite a surprise in general that the three parties competing for a hold of power by securing as much as possible majority seats in the British Parliament are almost at par in terms of their policies and promises for the future UK. Recent happenings involving the country’s biggest parties, the Labour Party led by the economic-crisis saviour Gordon Brown and the Conservative and Unionist Party led by the ever-ardent oppositor of the majority government David Cameron, have created both advantages (to boost the Party’s popular support at the expense of the other’s downfall) and disadvantages (which impaired them in some way) both to the image of the party leader and the credibility of the Party as a whole.
            And on May 6th, the standards the parties set for themselves to portray a “who’s the better party towards a better UK” semblance will speak for themselves. But what really is new in this election? Will the candidates make a game-changer?
            Contrary to what Simon Schama said, a notable professor from Columbia University, in an interview in a CNN program Amanpour., this years election and the end result will be a different direction at the very least and the campaign trail itself is one of a kind. But to give credit to what Schama contends, British politics may be indeed all as it may have been, if one could talk about how Labour and Conservative always beat each other (sometimes with utmost lack of decency and civility), trying to tone down, nay, cause the fall of the other entirely. Well, as a matter of how I see it, this makes British politics strong and governance a clear competition with clear check and balance. A party’s intense political will to, atop its priorities, gain majority rule by criticizing the other ruthlessly amongst its tools has begun to permeate almost everything a Party may or may not have any business about. This means that as long as party competition is a serious business; expect that both sides of the Parliament will better the nation as a whole, or not at all.
            This is not basically new in British politics. Despite Labour’s young origins contrary to the Tories’ centuries-old presence, power-play has been tough. Now this makes a clear ground for real competition in British elections. But what becomes of the present situation compared to the past British governments is that the element of surprise has been deadlier and more cunning for the Parties themselves. For example, if you talk about the Labour-Conservative relationship, despite their most recent bashings, bickering and face-slaps, there is no clear cause to believe that one is inevitably winning. Former British Ambassador to the United States Sir Christopher Meyer on Amanpour. said that this has always been the case. How I see it is that the unpredictability comes before and after. I would say that nobody knows who will win and nobody knows what will happen after a party wins. By going back a little, this trend of unpredictability has haunted British politics for a long time. Churchill’s Conservative leadership brought a major lead and support for the party. The Conservative’s unprecedented political success was amplified by Churchill’s victory during the Second World War (a boost for morale) together with the Allied Forces, seemingly making Churchill the Conservative’s most influential leader and UK’s prime minister with boundless popularity, both local and overseas. In spite of the Conservative win during this time, the parties hold on power and the British’s support waned down in just a matter of few years. Labour and other parties broke the British power dominance of the Conservative. This short-live rule of a party or it’s popularity begotten by its successful marches to make the public believe that what they do is for the nation’s welfare may even presently be there. This is true as I see it in the case of the Labour.
            Thatcher’s rule also led a Conservative swipe in the British politics, almost the same as Churchill’s. But the Iron Lady’s role in keeping in competition with Labour and contributing to the empowerment of her party led to some unexpected downturn. Her resignation as Prime Minister reflected a loophole in party discipline. It seemed that the Conservatives have been turning against each other, making a shaky party less competitive against the Labour. With this, Labour took advantage (which is the trend in the present British election). Tony Blair’s New Labour Party was a game-changer in the political battle mainly fought by the two. Blair’s New Labour created a new standard for the old Labour, signalling a political change and ideology for the Labour Party founded in the 1900s, only that this reinvention of the party strengthened a new politics that the people wants at the very demise of the Conservatives.
            The element of change (due to discontent of the previous governments) has always been a fact of politics, nay, a political leverage at that. Why a leverage? Talk about 21st century and everybody will talk about political shift. This has been the very trend of politics across countries. In the US, the Democrats showed that a Republican government has been a failure – this took an extreme advantage for Obama to win, exploiting the weakness showed by Bush and the unpopular support to the Iraq War and the other in Afghanistan which the Republicans strongly fought for. Across Europe, the rise of countless parties never heard of before calls for social and political change, challenging the age-old parties that have been failing. Reformist and moderate parties are gaining support and power as opposition against fundamentalist governments across Asia. Even US’s Tea Party Movement calls for it. And this demand is CHANGE. Change breeds tough opposition. Like what the Tories experienced during years after Churchill and during Thatcher, Labour spells the same fate. The advent of Blair’s government as a particular case was as I’ve said a major change in British politics. But one mistake said it all. Like the intense outcry against the war in Iraq, Blair’s support for the war damaged the party, so as the interest of the British people, leaving a chance for the Conservatives (Tories) to exploit it. This is however was not done so to their advantage. It may have been that either or both Tony Blair and the Labour as a whole was damaged by their stand on the war, the party’s win ‘again’ under a new government led by Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer during Blair, was an unprecedented turn of events. Did the Conservatives fail to do about the Labour’s disastrous decisions? Did the Conservative fail to exploit the mounting unpopular support for Blair’s New Labour? This happening is indeed a history maker if ever things have gone differently, and this deserves some attention.
            You see, the reinvention of the Labour Party turning into the New Labour supposedly spelled a much better party to compete against the Tory. The mere changing of the party itself posed one thing and one thing only: that the British people had enough already of the countless mistakes of the previous governments including the Tory for a certain amount of time, thus, a new party innovation will change the British politics to its core as what people so desperately demands now and urgent. I might say that this was indeed a very powerful strategy for the Labour to do. If Labour did not make a new game plan, would the Conservatives have done it? I couldn’t say for certain what could have happened but the interesting issues could have been different if the New Labour was short lived. But Brown’s majority government proved a much tougher enemy for the Conservatives to deal with. Their failure to exploit Blair’s mistake led to the Labour’s persistence. Also, this I think had a blow against the Tories themselves. By not finishing off a dying enemy, it will certainly create a backlash whether a party is strong to take over. And the Labour’s role in the recent economic crisis under their man himself Gordon Brown showed a party in momentum for winning another election. But then again, the Opposition has been also strong and has been tougher (but not enough yet) under Cameron’s leadership, balancing the power-politics presently ruled by Brown.
            Now this I say levelled a fair and square competition between the two major parties. What is interesting again is that the unexpected appearance of the Liberal Democrat Party may hold a twist in the political arena. At this point perhaps one could contend and concede that the Tory and the Labour would be competing primarily against each other. However, the game-changer may be the ‘other’ party. Polls show that despite Cameron’s party’s lead, seconded (surprisingly) by the Liberal Democrats’ candidate Nick Clegg and Brown being the third, the Conservatives may not secure a majority win. If neither the Conservative nor the Labour wins a majority with the LD’s breaking role, this could lead to a hung parliament. Brown for one sees (in the final prime ministerial debate) that the LD and the Conservative will make a coalition. But will Clegg or Cameron be unto this? I doubt that Cameron will agree on a power-sharing deal with the LD. But acting out of desperation to once again hold the government, possibility may be spelled out. But still we can doubt whether LD or Nick Clegg will agree. Certainly these parties do not agree on issues at hand, but looking at the debates, the three candidate’s policies are neither different nor the same. Now, if Clegg becomes the majority breaker, he could assume to take a coalition with the party his policies are closest to. However, the LD may even have the chance to win the elections, which is a serious problem for the Conservative who fought long hard to gain the support, but less for the Labour. It will surely be a slap on the face to Cameron if they lose. But who knows? The complexity of the political situation now is different and a case to with most surprises. Think of it, Labour had been popular for quite sometime, but the Conservatives hadn’t waged war enough with them, only at the floors of the Parliament most of the time (didn’t exploit intensively the Iraq war, the misconduct of some Labour government officials, Gordon’s gaffe, Clegg’s experience). Cameron’s leadership is not enough to counter the Labour, even the newbie Clegg who seems to be a rising star, bur Brown is still not out of the picture. Indeed, the 6th of May could be a rethinking of how the British politics plays.