Sunday, January 13, 2008

Internet phantom

Apologies for not coming around the blogs still. I've had no internet this weekend, and of course spent the 3 weekdays I was home falling asleep over my laptop before I even finished reading my emails, let along the blogs :(

I properly rested this weekend, though....I think.

If you click on the comments from my last post you will see my replies to you all, you're so lovely!

As for the room, there's a pause in packing away things. So still some suitcases around as we can't be bothered to move the furniture from in front of the eaves storage doors. *sigh* So no room pics yet.

London last week and this coming week will continue to be drenched in stupid rain. I remember once there was a thing called the sun, but that's not been seen within living memory.

I am fed up of sleeves and layers, fed up of gloves, scarves, hats, umbrellas, and fumbling with them in the street and when I sit in the Tube. I am fed up of looking down and not up. I am annoyed at the way my bag handles always pop off my shoulder when I wear coats.
And I really detest getting up in the dark and going home in the dark.
I've had it with twisting my ankles on the crooked paving stones in the street.
I am also really miffed at the way the trains are delayed every morning and I can't get anywhere without diversions now.

And don't even get me started on UK politics.

This morning I was watching some political commentary programme and something occurred to me (and at the time I wrote a most eloquent and succinct blog in my head and hope I can keep it that way, though I usually get too loquacious).

David Cameron (erstwhile Tory candidate) came on and was mentioning how when Gordon Brown first took over after Tony Blair stepped down, there was supposed to be an election. This is what I don't get about British politics.

Tony Blair:
I'm leaving Downing Street next summer.
No, I'll be out in the spring.
I'll call an election.
No hang on, 3 more months.
I'll not call an election.
Well, no, give it another month.

Gordon Brown has long wanted to be PM, but this is not the way to do it. He moved into Downing Street. The Tories were ahead in the polls. He cancelled the election. (Note that I am not giving any direct cause and effect there.)

But this is not a democratic process is it? PMs can call elections or cancel them as is their wont. Shouldn't there be a time limit? Oh, and also, Blair could have stayed for as long as he wanted, or called another election but he wouldn't have won. They are thinking of instituting a 2-term limit as in the US.

So David Cameron is in limbo. Imagine if Hillary (notice how she's dropped the Rodham she so distinctly started out with?), Obama, McCain, and Edwards suddenly had to abandon their campaigns tomorrow...


amillionpieces said...

I do hope you get your net back soon!

I agree, I think we should have term limits here. It was unfair of Brown just to take over like that, so I'd also make it so any change in PM required a general election.

However, I think America's system is flawed too. The electoral college system means you can lose the popular vote and yet win the presidency, I think they should make it straight forward who gets most votes wins. That said, I still hope Obama rocks the vote! :)

L B said...

Oh, there is a time limit alright. Brown will have to call General Elections by a certain time (Life of me, I cannot remember when, right now)..

I hate having to wake up when it's still dark too! Come back soon, Summer. Everything's forgiven!

Anonymous said...

Coo, politics. I think the American presidential limit of two terms to be somewhat unfair. Assuming the President is competent and is doing a good job why should he (or she) be forced to resign and hand over to someone who could be less competent?

We do have a limit of elections in England. I'm not sure what the law is but the party gets between 3 and 6 years before they have to call an election. I agree that it should probably be fixed but it worries me that we'll go the way of the yanks. 1 year to settle in, 1 year to make changes, 2 years to look good so as to get reelected. Not exactly good government.

Also Cameron is in opposition. That has more in common with the mythical limbo than any other job in the world.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Good to see you back and still perky as ever!

(But it sounds like you're in desperate need of a shoulder to cry on...)

I think the American presidential limit of two terms to be somewhat unfair.

The reason the 2-term limit rule was instituted was because the only president to serve more than two terms, the immensely popular F.D. Roosevelt, died partway into his fourth term. It was judged that the office of President was just too demanding. (Also, conservatives resented the way he steadily realigned the government and packed the Supreme Court in order to liberalize them during his long term in office. I guess they figure a term limit equals an influence limit.)

lunaliar said...

Wow! You Brits know plenty about U.S. politics! Here's my thoughts, if you care, from a journalist:

The U.S. system is mighty flawed, since it was mostly borne from an anti-federalist founding philosophy. The Electoral College gave states more rights, it gave them the opportunity to add weight to the popular vote, meaning that if the majority votes in each district is what is counted, not the majority overall. A highly populated East Coast state has the same weight in votes as the sparsely populated state of, say, North Dakota. Since then, the U.S. has moved to a more discretionary federal system where states rely on the central government for funding. This goes hand in hand with the federal income tax. Anywho, the Electoral College has become outdated and we now have the technology to accurately monitor the popular vote.

Also, term limits are more about adding credibility to goverment, since many elected representatives in Washington become entrenched in cronyism and bureaucracy. Term limits are a means to fight incompetency and they give a greater number of people the opportunity to serve as president, therefore offering turnover that you won't see in countries with stranglehold regimes, like in Cuba, for example...

Anyway, I could go on, but I won't. Our elections are world events, and the hype just gets to me during my workday so I try to focus on other cool things, like knitting!

Anonymous said...

Liv, I'm so sorry you're stuck in that unending rain! I'm not fond of politics and can't wait until the elections are over.

Anonymous said...

Hello Bubble.

Happy new year.

"But this is not a democratic process is it?"

An interesting proposition. Depends on what you mean by democracy. The maximum length of time for a parliamentary session is c. 5 years (depends on dates of elections). This dates back (in part) to the days of the Glorious Revolution and the backlash faced by the "Long Parliament" - google "In God's name, go"

Parliaments can go on for longer but this is only in extraordinary conditions such as an existential crisis - the Second World War is the prime example in recent history.

In Britain elections are held in the name of Her Majesty, upon a request by the PM of the day. There's no normal process to cancel an election once called - it could happen but there's no existing way to do this.

I think your analogy is somewhat inaccurate. Imagine that back when he was President Bill Clinton had resigned from office. Who would have taken over - it would have been Al Gore. Al would have served the remainder of the term and then faced an election. Look at what happened after JFK was shot or after Nixon resigned. Arguably the same sort of promotion from below rather than a new election.

Comparative politics is a fascinating subject; not one you have touched on much. Or you can some it up in the eloquent lyric "you say tom-ah-toe, I say tom-ah-toe"...

The job (representing the people) gets done in any case. It's actually quite easy to show that historically Britain has been a much more representative democracy per head of population than the US. Hint to any American readers about to adversely jump on that - remember Jim Crow and the 1964 CRA.

Arguably, the Founding Fathers specifically wrote the constitution to be anti-democratic; the electoral college was designed for that purpose.

Jahooni said...

I am back reading your rants. Oh how I have missed them so!

MattJ said...

I won't go into too much detail on the British politics, it's been done byu others - the 5 years maximum term is the one though. What I will do is defend the Brown thing. In the US elections are all about the cult of personality - you elect an individual who is a member of one of the two parties (apparently democracy only needs 2 sides).

Here it's all about party politics - you elect the party to government and the leader of that party is the prime minister. I agree that in practice it's down the to the actual person - Cameroon is doing a good job of hiding the real Tories behind the furniture and pretending to know what the left looks like. This aside, even though in practice it's about the person, it is technically the party so a change of leadership is a change of prime mininster.

Unfortunately we are definitely heading for more of a US system thanks to Blair - the team with the most money wins and it's all about who has the most charming and convincing liar leading them. Brown doesn't stand a chance, Blair left him a mound of troubles which he is now being blamed for, and gets no credit for the fact that he kept us out of recession for 10 years, quietly repairing the monumental damage the previous conservative governmment did to the economy.

Still facts rarely count with voters, I will be voting with my conscience - Lib Dem again - a party that talks a lot of sense but you couldn't pick their leader out of a line up!

Olivia said...

This is the second time I've brought politics into my blog and wish I hadn't.

Once again, Anon I have to point out to you that I was keeping it simple and did not need to apply what happened with JFK and Nixon. What stood out for me in this case with Cameron was that election campaigns that were going ahead had to be suspended.

LBJ and Ford filled the office till the end of the remaining term and then there were elections, whereas Brown just seems to be hanging around rather conveniently in the office he has so long coveted, rather than winning the office in the usual way.

Doubtless I've put my foot in my mouth again...

And how come nowadays you only turn up for the politics???

No more politics on my blog, I think I said it last time but now I mean it. The grumps get too worked up.

Um Naief said...

Happy New Year my dear!!!

Sorry I haven't been around much. In the States right now visiting and don't have as much time to get online.

Matter of fact, baby is sleeping right now, just cried - thought he was waking up - but he went back to sleep!

What happened to your thoughts of moving to the States? Decide against it??

Olivia said...

Um Naief - I thought of you yesterday and what you were getting up to on your big holiday! I've missed you. How's Naief getting along with his cousin?

I'll address the move in a blog post I think because a few people have asked why I'm not in the US yet.

Anonymous said...

Hello Bubble,

Well I do read everything, I just comment on the odd thing or two.

You are still due a drive in my new motor! Let me know some weekends when you are able to get to Norf Lahndahn...