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The British General Election


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#1 JulesLuvsShinzon

 

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 08:13 AM

Britain followed the 2008 election of Obama with baited breath. When he won and gave his famous "Yes we can!" speech, the school in which I was working was showing it to the students via YouTube. For many Brits, tied to the US as ever through our "special Relationship", which candidate became the next US president was as important to us as the election of our own Prime Minister.

Now Britain is in the run-up to a general election, and for the first time, an important feature of this election has been the introduction of US-style questioning of the main political candidates on live TV. There will be three of these live debates in front of specially selected audiences in all - the first two having taken place this week and last week. There was also a similar debate between the three "chancellors of the Exchequer". One effect of this move towards a more American style of election campaigning is that British politics has become more personality driven, which, while it has meant that the general population seem to have become more engaged in politics, has also meant that the actual policies of each party might be taking a back seat. Importantly, it has also turned the election, for about the first time ever, from a two-horse race into a three-way election, with the Liberal Democrats being given a platform on an absolutely equal footing (with the other two parties) for their own leader, David Clegg, to impress TV audiences in debate, which he has done very well indeed, perhaps, for the first time, giving voters a genuine alternative to Labour and the Conservatives.

Another, rather more undesirable, aspect of this highly visual style of presenting a campaign has meant that the politician's wives have become rather more visible and subject to scrutiny by the media. As a feminist, I find this rather disappointing, because I really don't care about the clothes, child-rearing, or views of a woman just because she happens to be married to a politician. To my mind, a wife's views are unimportant to the electorate at large unless she herself is running for office or actually going to play a part in government - like Hilary Clinton, for example. Samantha Cameron, wife of David, leader of the Conservatives, is also pregnant, and unbelievably some media commentators regards this as a savvy political move that might appeal to women voters! "SamCam" as she has now been dubbed by the Media, seems to have an edge over the other two leaders' wives in a kind of dreary, reductive, and totally beside the point race to make her husband appear more vital and virile than his opponents.


So, I was wondering if anybody in the US - or any other country for that matter - is following the general election in Britain, and if so, what are your views?

Edited by JulesLuvsShinzon, 25 April 2010 - 08:14 AM.


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#2 poko

 

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 02:24 PM

The debates are poop. Once, long ago, they were hosted by the League of Women Voters, who picked the questions and gave no quarter. Now the debate questions are decided by the candidate's campaigns. The candidates have a strong say in what is asked, who they're debating against, and who asks the questions. When this type of debate became the norm the League stopped giving the debates; refusing to compromise their integrity for a farce.

Its all pageantry with little substance. Hopefully in Britain they handle the debates the right way.

And no, the US mainstream media isn't covering your elections at all.

Edited by poko, 25 April 2010 - 02:28 PM.

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#3 Apocalypse

 

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 02:32 PM

And no, the US mainstream media isn't covering your elections at all.

Yeah, I sort of laughed to myself when I saw this thread.
"The average American, paying attention to foreign political events? Hahaha..."

Sorry, it's one of the flaws of our country.
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#4 poko

 

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 02:38 PM

Yeah, I sort of laughed to myself when I saw this thread.
"The average American, paying attention to foreign political events? Hahaha..."

Sorry, it's one of the flaws of our country.

But it's not even an option without the internet. Even if you are interested it just isn't covered.

And even on the aggregate news sites do you see a lot of coverage? Not hardly. Digg had 800 stories on Ron Paul alone make it to the front page. Canada gets maybe 3-4 for their elections. Britain has probably had one.

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#5 JulesLuvsShinzon

 

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 02:44 PM

Thank you for your response Poko.

I want to say that I'm surprised that the US media isn't covering the general election, but alas, I'm not. I mean no disrespect to US citizens, but I've learned as much from US friends who have complained that the only news they hear about in the US is news generated in the US. A lot of the want to know what is going on because they deem it important.

I guess this highlights something significant in our so-called "special relationship", or the US media simply assumes on the part of the public it serves that nobody really cares about what goes on in other countries.

The British election ought to matter: a lot depended on whether Blair would support Bush when he declared war on Iraq. Blair and Bush were men who seemed to work well together and they shared a religious conviction that I think was key in the decision to invade Iraq. (In fact, Blair's faith was something he was advised to hide form the British public because he was famously told that we "don't do God", and then he converted to Catholicism on leaving office.) The issue as to whether the new Prime Minister would support a move on Iran is an election issue here, and I've found myself wondering which of the three viable candidates would work well with Obama, or in fact, could stand up to Obama in the very unlikely event that he decided to further Bush's War on Terror to the same aggressive extent.

With regard to the televised debates - alas, they were very heavily regulated with a specially selected audience and questions were taken and approved in advance. Rather than allow any kind of sponteneity or show of bias, the audience were only allowed to applaud the speaker at the bginning of the debate and at the end. Nobody was permitted to applaud an individual speaker, although a few audience members dared to laugh when one of them made an amusing point.

I don't really agree with vetting questions beforehand because we don't get to see anyone being put on the spot and the answers given were very definitely pre-prepared and rather too slickly delivered. Much more impressive is the politician who can think on his or her feet. However, the vetting process for the audience may not have been thorough enough to route out troublemakers who could cause havoc in a live debate.

EDIT

And thank you too Apocalypse for your responses - we seem to be posting at the same time!!

Edited by JulesLuvsShinzon, 25 April 2010 - 02:46 PM.


#6 poko

 

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Posted 01 May 2010 - 02:31 PM

Daily Show Covered Bigotgate.

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#7 JulesLuvsShinzon

 

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Posted 01 May 2010 - 02:55 PM

AW damn!

I can't view that video because I'm not in the US. :angry:


However, "Bigotgate" was hilarious! As if Gordon Brown wasn't already lacking in personal charm and charisma to a painful degree, he goes and does the biggest no-no in the history of free elections in the world anywhere. You yould have thought that even a dunderhead like Brown would have cottoned onto the fact that a politician never, ever forgets to check his microphone is switched off before making inflammatory asides or personal comments about people when he thinks he's in private.

In point of fact, the old lady concerned was not a bigot, she simply asked him about pensions and immigration as a legitimate concern held by many, many voters, and not just old ladies. It appears that Brown did not appreciate being put in the position where he was asked these questions, but to turn upon a dear old lady for asking them is really not the way to win hearts and votes!

And then, to make matters worse, he makes apologises to the old lady for calling her bigotted - like he never meant to say and like it was something that he could just take back. Um no, and it the grand pantheon of Brown balls-ups he's had to apologise for, it ranks with spelling a dead serviceman's name wrong in a letter of condolence sent to his family.

Even if it did give our commedians something to make huge capital out of, it's not the biggest news of this election campaign so far, nor the most important, it's odd how the US have picked up on this one, and it has only made a comedy show.

#8 poko

 

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Posted 01 May 2010 - 03:30 PM

AW damn!

I can't view that video because I'm not in the US. :angry:


However, "Bigotgate" was hilarious! As if Gordon Brown wasn't already lacking in personal charm and charisma to a painful degree, he goes and does the biggest no-no in the history of free elections in the world anywhere. You would have thought that even a dunderhead like Brown would have cottoned onto the fact that a politician never, ever forgets to check his microphone is switched off before making inflammatory asides or personal comments about people when he thinks he's in private.

In point of fact, the old lady concerned was not a bigot, she simply asked him about pensions and immigration as a legitimate concern held by many, many voters, and not just old ladies. It appears that Brown did not appreciate being put in the position where he was asked these questions, but to turn upon a dear old lady for asking them is really not the way to win hearts and votes!

And then, to make matters worse, he makes apologies to the old lady for calling her bigotted - like he never meant to say and like it was something that he could just take back. Um no, and it the grand pantheon of Brown balls-ups he's had to apologize for, it ranks with spelling a dead serviceman's name wrong in a letter of condolence sent to his family.

Even if it did give our comedians something to make huge capital out of, it's not the biggest news of this election campaign so far, nor the most important, it's odd how the US have picked up on this one, and it has only made a comedy show.

First, the Daily Show contains just as much news per minute as a standard news program.

Assuming those are the US airdates, it should be Thursday's episode.

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I saw the gif on Galifrey Base before I watched the Daily Show episode. I'm glad it finally makes sense.

Edited by poko, 01 May 2010 - 03:30 PM.

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#9 Apocalypse

 

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Posted 01 May 2010 - 06:34 PM

Daily Show Covered Bigotgate.

I would have loved to watch it, as the majority of news slips by me, but 30 seconds of wading through Jon Stewart's "jokes" turned me off of the whole idea.
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#10 JulesLuvsShinzon

 

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 07:21 AM

I keep forgetting that I can watch Jon on TV here in England!!

Yep, that's the moment when Gordon Brown realises his massive gaff!

Interestingly enough, there are actually some media pundits who are prepared to support Brown's notion that Mrs Duffy is a bigot for daring to ask about immigration. I find these smug, nimbys a total pain in the arse. People need to realise that it is quite legitimate for British citizens (of all cultures and colours, and who pay their taxes and National Insurance) to question the massive influx of EU nationals coming into this country for ecomomic reasons - just because they now can. Every year, we deal severely with asylum seekers who are from outside the EU - often sending them right back where they came from and into possible danger. These people are scrutinised in case they are actually economic migrants, whereas we appear to accept EU nationals coming here for economic reasons, and often because they are young, using our National Health Service to have babies. There are reciprocal arrangements for British Nationals for healthcare in other country as well, but in the case if a friend of mine who lives in an area that has attracted a great number of eastern European immigrants, it often means that she and her family have to wait a long time to see their family doctor.

The smug media pundits and commedians have made fun of poor Mrs Duffy because she asked something like "Where are these Eastern European immigrants all coming from?" and hooted down their long noses at her working class ignorance in asking such an apparently obvious question, however, last time I looked at an Atlas, that part of the world known generically as "eastern Europe" actually contains a number of countries spread over a vast, vast area of the planet. Speaking as one descended from eastern European (Jewish) migrants myself (the Ukraine actually) who effectively sought asylum here at the end of the 19th century, I would not condemn Mrs Duffy as a bigot for questioning why Britain simply rolls over and accepts that acommodating massive influxes of economic migrants is part of our duty as a member of the EU.

Many of the migrants are Polish, and many come from other more recently admitted EU countries. I don't have anything against the Polish because they are hardworking and often quite enterpreneurial. We also owe the Polish pilots of WWII a debt of gratitude, however, Britian is tiny and there comes a point at which controls over immigration need to be asserted quite simply because we'll run out of space and resources for everyone. Mrs Duffy has a point, and it is quite scary as the EU has grown. The Tories are reacting to growth of the EU by suggesting that we impose a "transition" period before we allow migrants in from new EU members, and the Liberal Democrats suggest a "counting in and counting out" control over immigration, so, since two out of the three political parties in the one of the most tolerant societies on the planet think immigration needs to be addressed, why then, should Brown regard Mrs Duffy as a "bigot"?

Edited by JulesLuvsShinzon, 08 May 2010 - 07:24 AM.


#11 sevnson_71

 

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 03:33 PM

...and the winner is...nobody? :huh:
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#12 JulesLuvsShinzon

 

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 05:03 AM

Indeed, nobody won the election, or apparently, didn't win enough to be allowed to form the government.

However, the losers appear to be the British public because apparently "democracy" in this country means that the least popular party (one that is even more unpopular than it was last time around in spite of Nick Clegg's efforts on TV) gets an almost guaranteed place in the new government and is pulling its fly-weight to be able to influence policy making.

Even less democratic is the spectre of the two least popular parties forming a coalition government, with Brown still at its helm, while the most popular party remains in opposition.

If that's friggin' democracy I may never vote again...

#13 sevnson_71

 

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 03:02 PM

There's always the US :P
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#14 JulesLuvsShinzon

 

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 07:04 AM

I'm assuming that since you're posting from the land of the hanging chads that was a tongue-in-cheek comment!

As I write (lap top on knees watching the TV) there is yet more "breaking news" about the Liberal Democrats being in talks with both Labour and the Conservatives, and looking more self-centred and capricious by the second. The Liberal Democrats can't seem to haul some of their MPs out of a decidedly local, parochial mindset where they think only about the political opponents they have to fight in their local constituencies, and not about the good of the country as a whole.

There is supposed to be an announcement today about which government the men in smoky rooms (and it is still mostly men) will impose upon the electorate.

I find this situation deplorable. I never wanted a hung parliament, and the fact that the electorate couldn't decide clearly between the three main parties speaks to the lack of political options in this country. Even the emergence of the Liberal Democrats via the vehicle of live televised debates flopped once the electorate saw through all the razmatazz and realised that the Lib Dems really hadn't thought through some of their policies. Ideaology is all very well, but there's a point at which ideology has to work through the vehicle of being in government and translating ideology into actual law. Plans to scrap Trident (as Britain's only independent nuclear deterrent) to save money for a "fairer society" and a "greener society" didn't stack up, and demanding electoral reform in the shape of proportional representation looks good until you realise that nobody has joined up the thinking in terms of how local representation in central government will work, and access to a local MP is a vital vehicle for democratic representation in this country.

At least Brown has begun to comtemplate that he will at some point have to step down, however, he thinks he can cling on in there like Gollum until the Autumn, even though he is looking more and more like the pantomime villain. Labour have apparently promised some kind of rushed-through legislation to guarantee electoral reform and then a possible referendum! WTF???????? The Conservatives have offered to go to the country first to see exactly how much of the country desire electoral reform - probably most of us after this fiasco.

There's lots of noise being made that a minority coalition government based on a LibLab pact that can't make legislation without the help of minority parties like the Scottish National Party et al, is not a stable, sustainable government and will innevitably lead to another general election in a few months' time. Not what Britian needs at this point, and if it's about tackling the recession, it's worth noting that increased specualtion over a coalition between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems caused the markets to be become more buoyant, and an increased speculation over a LabLib pact caused the opposite effect.

As far as I'm concerned, the solution to this mess is clear. Let the Conservatives have their chance. I feel for Nick Clegg, I really do, but on this occasion he needs to put sanity first and be a leader or make his refusnik MPs shape up or defect to Labour if they reckon there so much more naturally inclined towards Labour values. The BBC News Channel is receiving some very hostile messages from the elctorate towards a LibLab coalition government made up out of the two least popular parties that will have to rely on special interest parties like the SNP to pass law. It would be interesting to see how that hostility might manifest itself in the event...

#15 sevnson_71

 

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 10:13 AM

I'm assuming that since you're posting from the land of the hanging chads that was a tongue-in-cheek comment!

As I write (lap top on knees watching the TV) there is yet more "breaking news" about the Liberal Democrats being in talks with both Labour and the Conservatives, and looking more self-centred and capricious by the second. The Liberal Democrats can't seem to haul some of their MPs out of a decidedly local, parochial mindset where they think only about the political opponents they have to fight in their local constituencies, and not about the good of the country as a whole.

There is supposed to be an announcement today about which government the men in smoky rooms (and it is still mostly men) will impose upon the electorate.

I find this situation deplorable. I never wanted a hung parliament, and the fact that the electorate couldn't decide clearly between the three main parties speaks to the lack of political options in this country. Even the emergence of the Liberal Democrats via the vehicle of live televised debates flopped once the electorate saw through all the razmatazz and realised that the Lib Dems really hadn't thought through some of their policies. Ideaology is all very well, but there's a point at which ideology has to work through the vehicle of being in government and translating ideology into actual law. Plans to scrap Trident (as Britain's only independent nuclear deterrent) to save money for a "fairer society" and a "greener society" didn't stack up, and demanding electoral reform in the shape of proportional representation looks good until you realise that nobody has joined up the thinking in terms of how local representation in central government will work, and access to a local MP is a vital vehicle for democratic representation in this country.

At least Brown has begun to comtemplate that he will at some point have to step down, however, he thinks he can cling on in there like Gollum until the Autumn, even though he is looking more and more like the pantomime villain. Labour have apparently promised some kind of rushed-through legislation to guarantee electoral reform and then a possible referendum! WTF???????? The Conservatives have offered to go to the country first to see exactly how much of the country desire electoral reform - probably most of us after this fiasco.

There's lots of noise being made that a minority coalition government based on a LibLab pact that can't make legislation without the help of minority parties like the Scottish National Party et al, is not a stable, sustainable government and will innevitably lead to another general election in a few months' time. Not what Britian needs at this point, and if it's about tackling the recession, it's worth noting that increased specualtion over a coalition between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems caused the markets to be become more buoyant, and an increased speculation over a LabLib pact caused the opposite effect.

As far as I'm concerned, the solution to this mess is clear. Let the Conservatives have their chance. I feel for Nick Clegg, I really do, but on this occasion he needs to put sanity first and be a leader or make his refusnik MPs shape up or defect to Labour if they reckon there so much more naturally inclined towards Labour values. The BBC News Channel is receiving some very hostile messages from the elctorate towards a LibLab coalition government made up out of the two least popular parties that will have to rely on special interest parties like the SNP to pass law. It would be interesting to see how that hostility might manifest itself in the event...

I beg your pardon madame, but my home state would not be caught dead using that asinine punchcard ballot. Ours are still largely hand marked, counted by a tabulation machine and hand verified. So if we make a poor choice it really is our choice, not a court decision. We actually have a pretty decent sized ex-pat population in our region from all over Europe and Canada. My town clerk is from north of London. But tongue in cheek? Yes quite so :P
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#16 JulesLuvsShinzon

 

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 12:12 PM

LOL! :thumbsup:


I'll tell you this much - this election has been an emotional roller coaster for me. I don't think I've ever been to involved in a general election result before!

I've had the BBC 24 hour news programme on all day and things have been gathering pace. I have just heard that talks have broken down between Labour and the Liberal Democrats (apparently, the "deal" Labour were offering for a coalition which was basically their manifesto - go figure!). Some Labour insiders have been saying what I've been saying all along - that the public won't want a coalition government made out of a "cut & shut" between the two losing parties, and that the Tory party offer is the only one left to consider.

BBC reporters are excitedly reporting that Gordon Brown seems to be packing his bags and they are being loaded into cars at the back of Number 10 Downing Street!

:buttrock: :buttrock: :buttrock: :cheers: :cheers:

I'm hoping for an announcement soon - I can't take this excitement!

:argh: :argh: :argh:

Actually a coalition between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems would be the best result from this fiasco. The Lib Dems will be able to knock the corners off some of the Tories' policies that favour the rich only, and a blend of workable ideologies might better address some of the ills of our society.

Edited by JulesLuvsShinzon, 11 May 2010 - 12:14 PM.


#17 sevnson_71

 

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 04:20 PM

LOL! :thumbsup:


I'll tell you this much - this election has been an emotional roller coaster for me. I don't think I've ever been to involved in a general election result before!

I've had the BBC 24 hour news programme on all day and things have been gathering pace. I have just heard that talks have broken down between Labour and the Liberal Democrats (apparently, the "deal" Labour were offering for a coalition which was basically their manifesto - go figure!). Some Labour insiders have been saying what I've been saying all along - that the public won't want a coalition government made out of a "cut & shut" between the two losing parties, and that the Tory party offer is the only one left to consider.

BBC reporters are excitedly reporting that Gordon Brown seems to be packing his bags and they are being loaded into cars at the back of Number 10 Downing Street!

:buttrock: :buttrock: :buttrock: :cheers: :cheers:

I'm hoping for an announcement soon - I can't take this excitement!

:argh: :argh: :argh:

Actually a coalition between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems would be the best result from this fiasco. The Lib Dems will be able to knock the corners off some of the Tories' policies that favour the rich only, and a blend of workable ideologies might better address some of the ills of our society.

Here ya go Jules
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So the combination is 1-2-3-4-5. That's the stupidest combination I've ever heard in my life! That's the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage!- Dark Helmet; "Live free or die. Death is not the worst of evils." - Gen. John Stark; "Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it." -Robert Frost; "It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." - Samuel Adams, Brewer/Patriot
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#18 JulesLuvsShinzon

 

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 05:09 AM

Sweet!! :buttrock: :buttrock:

In the end I had to leave my station by the TV and go to an early evening wine tasting and ended up missing out on most of last night's drama! By the time I got back, the Evil One had left Number 10 and I was just about in time to see David Cameron move in!

It all happened rather quickly in the end and I ended the day in a much better mood than I began it (the wine may have helped there!).

The details of this coalition government are about to be revealed around midday in a document setting out how it all goes forward. However, I think the efforts made by the Conservatives are going to mean big changes for British politics, which, if they work, will be changes for the better.

I think David Cameron making Nick Clegg Deputy Leader is a stroke of genius.

#19 sevnson_71

 

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 12:56 PM

I just thought it amusing that Brown's motorcade got cut off by a cabbie picking up a fare on the way out :P
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So the combination is 1-2-3-4-5. That's the stupidest combination I've ever heard in my life! That's the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage!- Dark Helmet; "Live free or die. Death is not the worst of evils." - Gen. John Stark; "Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it." -Robert Frost; "It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." - Samuel Adams, Brewer/Patriot
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#20 JulesLuvsShinzon

 

JulesLuvsShinzon

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 02:07 PM

That just about sums up his reign as Prime Minister.

He's the David Brent of politics! >_<



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