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BS: How do you feel about Blair?

GUEST 21 Jun 01 - 05:33 PM
Clinton Hammond 21 Jun 01 - 05:41 PM
GUEST,Willis Jackson (Arnold's big brother) 21 Jun 01 - 05:49 PM
GUEST 21 Jun 01 - 05:51 PM
bill\sables 21 Jun 01 - 06:01 PM
lady penelope 21 Jun 01 - 06:07 PM
Mark Cohen 21 Jun 01 - 06:11 PM
Shields Folk 21 Jun 01 - 06:40 PM
Clinton Hammond 21 Jun 01 - 06:45 PM
bill\sables 21 Jun 01 - 06:50 PM
Shields Folk 21 Jun 01 - 06:50 PM
bill\sables 21 Jun 01 - 06:58 PM
Shields Folk 21 Jun 01 - 07:04 PM
CarolC 21 Jun 01 - 07:08 PM
Dorrie 21 Jun 01 - 07:13 PM
bill\sables 21 Jun 01 - 07:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Jun 01 - 09:06 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 21 Jun 01 - 09:50 PM
Joe Offer 21 Jun 01 - 11:21 PM
Sorcha 21 Jun 01 - 11:33 PM
Amergin 21 Jun 01 - 11:44 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 21 Jun 01 - 11:48 PM
JedMarum 22 Jun 01 - 01:56 AM
John J 22 Jun 01 - 04:16 AM
CarolC 22 Jun 01 - 04:33 AM
Lyndi-loo 22 Jun 01 - 04:48 AM
mooman 22 Jun 01 - 05:14 AM
paddymac 22 Jun 01 - 05:22 AM
Fiolar 22 Jun 01 - 05:32 AM
GeorgeH 22 Jun 01 - 06:10 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 22 Jun 01 - 06:14 AM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Jun 01 - 06:54 AM
Jon Freeman 22 Jun 01 - 07:00 AM
sian, west wales 22 Jun 01 - 07:08 AM
Jon Freeman 22 Jun 01 - 07:14 AM
Ringer 22 Jun 01 - 07:28 AM
Jon Freeman 22 Jun 01 - 07:35 AM
The Walrus at work 22 Jun 01 - 08:21 AM
English Jon 22 Jun 01 - 08:31 AM
bill\sables 22 Jun 01 - 08:38 AM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 22 Jun 01 - 08:52 AM
Ringer 22 Jun 01 - 10:08 AM
English Jon 22 Jun 01 - 10:30 AM
sian, west wales 22 Jun 01 - 10:36 AM
Brian Hoskin 22 Jun 01 - 10:58 AM
Jim Cheydi 22 Jun 01 - 11:04 AM
Jon Freeman 22 Jun 01 - 11:05 AM
mooman 22 Jun 01 - 11:19 AM
GeorgeH 22 Jun 01 - 11:38 AM
Ringer 22 Jun 01 - 12:54 PM
8_Pints 22 Jun 01 - 02:00 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 22 Jun 01 - 05:09 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 22 Jun 01 - 05:14 PM
Shields Folk 22 Jun 01 - 06:13 PM
bill\sables 22 Jun 01 - 06:20 PM
bill\sables 22 Jun 01 - 06:22 PM
Lanfranc 22 Jun 01 - 06:31 PM
Jon Freeman 22 Jun 01 - 06:38 PM
Shields Folk 22 Jun 01 - 06:41 PM
DougR 22 Jun 01 - 06:45 PM
GUEST,Les Jones, once of Ellesmere Port now of Man 23 Jun 01 - 03:26 AM
Firecat 23 Jun 01 - 06:37 AM
Fiolar 23 Jun 01 - 09:05 AM
bill\sables 23 Jun 01 - 09:34 AM
Gareth 23 Jun 01 - 01:45 PM
Gervase 25 Jun 01 - 07:39 AM
Ringer 25 Jun 01 - 08:37 AM
English Jon 25 Jun 01 - 09:01 AM
English Jon 25 Jun 01 - 09:04 AM
KitKat 25 Jun 01 - 09:24 AM
Gervase 25 Jun 01 - 10:37 AM
GeorgeH 25 Jun 01 - 12:27 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Jun 01 - 01:41 PM
GUEST 25 Jun 01 - 01:45 PM
GeorgeH 25 Jun 01 - 02:12 PM
Kim C 25 Jun 01 - 06:12 PM
Mrs.Duck 25 Jun 01 - 06:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Jun 01 - 06:30 PM
GUEST,Jude 26 Jun 01 - 08:44 AM
Fiolar 26 Jun 01 - 01:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Jun 01 - 01:49 PM
Fiolar 26 Jun 01 - 02:10 PM
GeorgeH 26 Jun 01 - 02:41 PM
Gareth 26 Jun 01 - 07:16 PM
Jon Freeman 26 Jun 01 - 07:27 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Jun 01 - 08:15 PM
Gervase 27 Jun 01 - 05:52 AM
Fiolar 27 Jun 01 - 06:38 AM
Jon Freeman 27 Jun 01 - 09:10 AM
Gervase 27 Jun 01 - 10:31 AM
Ringer 28 Jun 01 - 11:53 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 08 Apr 03 - 12:33 AM
DougR 08 Apr 03 - 02:44 AM
kendall 08 Apr 03 - 09:00 AM
GUEST,Gareth 08 Apr 03 - 10:29 AM
GUEST,pdc 09 Apr 03 - 01:39 AM
DougR 09 Apr 03 - 02:42 AM
Nigel Parsons 09 Apr 03 - 04:14 AM
Rapparee 09 Apr 03 - 08:52 AM
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Subject: How do you feel about Blair?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 05:33 PM

I just read the Euro-Topic below and was wondering about your general feelings about Tony Blair's reelection ?


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 05:41 PM

Who's what to what??

I have a hard enough time caring about Canadian politics without worrying about politics that have no effect on me what so ever! And don't give me any of that butterfly-beats-its-wings-we're-all-connected crap!

;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: GUEST,Willis Jackson (Arnold's big brother)
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 05:49 PM

Blair was a stuck-up, rich, white chick.

Tootie, on the other hand, was a babe.

Willis


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 05:51 PM

Well actually my question is refering to those of you who are English/British - of course everybody else who is caring about "politics that have no effect on them" may feel free to give their opinion as well ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: bill\sables
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 06:01 PM

I was in the USA at the time of the British election and although I asked who was elected it took me three days to find out, and that was from an Englishman


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: lady penelope
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 06:07 PM

Actually I think our American / Canadian friends some my feelings about Mr Blair up quite well. I try not to have any feelings about him. If I do it hard enough, it may be feasable that he might cease to exist altogether.

TTFN M'Lady P.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 06:11 PM

I think that Blair Witch film was a fake. Did you notice that they were supposed to be in the woods for 4 days but the guy's beard never grew? And then there was the scene where the camera was supposed to be lying on the ground but it turned off and then on again...all by itself? Come on! And -- what? Who's Tony Blair? Oh, well, never mind.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Shields Folk
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 06:40 PM

After the amount of North American crap we put up with I think you can put up with our Blighty shite!


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 06:45 PM

Blighty shite...

LOL!!

Rhymes with...

Blather Skite!

:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: bill\sables
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 06:50 PM

But you got to admit he got that smile from a Lewis Carrol book, It will still be there long after he has been voted out, just like the Cheshire Cat


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Shields Folk
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 06:50 PM

I defend the right of British politicians to talk bollocks!


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: bill\sables
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 06:58 PM

What's he like as a guitarist, this is a music site after all.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Shields Folk
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 07:04 PM

He supports the Toon he can't be all bad!


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: CarolC
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 07:08 PM

I was wondering about this subject right after the election. When he won re-election, I toyed with the idea of starting a congratulatory thread for my fellow Mudcatters in England. Then it occurred to me that I hadn't any idea how they felt about it. So I didn't.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Dorrie
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 07:13 PM

i'm sure he'd b a good guitarist but it would take years-after all his football skills are rubbish dorrie xxx


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: bill\sables
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 07:35 PM

I supose it could be worse we could have a melodeon player or bodrhan player as PM. The poor Americans had it even worse than that, they had a saxophone player


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 09:06 PM

Anyone who actually wants to be Prime Minister (or President) is by definition unfit to hold the job.

I think most people would have been horrified by a Tory victory, but can't feel too enthused by Blair type of politics. He's moved so far into Tory political territory that we've now got two Conservative parties, one of them totally bonkers, the other rather boring. A bit like American politics.

The thing is everyone knew the raving Tories weren't going to win this time, which took a lot of the shine off the Blair victory for a more humane version of Conservatism.

The logical thing would be for them to amalgamate, and for a new opposition to grow up to the left of New Labour, but that's not going to happen. I'd not be that surprised if the Tories repositioned themselves to the left of New Labour themselves, maybe after another defeat. There's lots of room - the Tory governments of the 50's were arguably significantly to the left of Tony Blair.

Michael Ancram, who's the latest Tory candidate for the thankless task of leading the party, appears to be quite a fair hand strumming the old guitar and sings songs like The Streets of London. So maybe next time round we could have him and Tony singing and playing against each other, which would arguably be more fun than some pseudo-debate...


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 09:50 PM

Guest-I think hes a lying cheating shit.john


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 11:21 PM

Although U.S. opinion hasn't been invited, I think it might be interesting for people to know what Americans think of Blair, and what others think of U.S. politicians.

From my viewpoint, I've had a very good impression of Blair. I guess I think more highly of him than I do of any British politician since Churchill (Margaret Thatcher is another matter...). I'd rate him up there with other non-U.S. leaders I've admired from afar - Trudeau, Meir, Brandt, Aquino, Mandela, Walesa, Gorbachev, Dubcek, Havel, Mary Robinson. I guess I really don't know all that much about any of these people, but they seem quite admirable.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Sorcha
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 11:33 PM

I think I'm with Joe here but until I discovered Mudcat, I admired Ms. Maggie. Changed my mind about her, but not about Golda. Now there was a Leader. Come back Goldie and be Prez of the US........!! Mandela I'm still not sure about.....lots of conflicting info, esp. about Mrs. Mandela.

Sorry if I offend, but I think the US needs a pacifist President with Brass Balls who is not afraid of anybody/thing.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Amergin
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 11:44 PM

what we need, Scorch, is a president that has a set of brass balls...period...


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 21 Jun 01 - 11:48 PM

Tony Blair was once at a party,and said he wanted to be the prime minister, "Which political party?" he was asked his reply was "I dont care so long as the prime minister is ME".At the beginning of the last parliament he said he would outlaw hunting with dogs,he hasnt.I am not too bothered either way on the foxhunting issue,I think there are far more important things to sort out(the health servicee etc).But I think if you tell the electorate you will do something then dont, it wont take them long to start to mistrust you.Also on the europe issue even yhough he mentioneed a referedum, I am sure he will do whatever he wants.People are talking of a "Landslide Victory",well the last election saw the lowest recorded turnout in peacetime, also there were 3 times in the last century when the losing party received more votes than the returned government.A case for PR?


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: JedMarum
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 01:56 AM

I don't think you have to worry about Blair moving in the Tory territory, McGrath - he's just getting you to look at his right hand while he lifts your watch with his left.

I think Blair is a Clintonesque lefty. He sugar coats his agenda in moderate language, attempts to keep the conservatives at bay, and follows the left wind that all of Europe seems to favor.

Of course, I could be wrong.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: John J
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 04:16 AM

I saw a small poster at the election before last. It said 'Vote for Blair for a new Tory government'. We did and we have.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: CarolC
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 04:33 AM

Ok, here's an idea...

You give us Blair, and in return, we'll let you have Bush. No? Shucks. Didn't think so...


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Lyndi-loo
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 04:48 AM

I think he deserves another chance at government. He had to tread softly in th 1997 election to win over support from the "me me me" Tories. I think you'll find that his policies will be more socialist this time around. Let's hope so. Anyway what are the alternatives to Tony Blair and New Labour? possible Gordon Brown and New LAbour. Certainly not Michael Portillo, who claims to be less right wing these days. Talk about leopards and Spots!


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: mooman
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 05:14 AM

I don't particularly care for him. His attempts at "sincerity" are lamentable. He certainly did a very good job for "New Labour" taking over the turf the Tories used to occupy and a friend describes him as the "best conservative prime mininster we've had in a long time". But there seems to be little free speech in the Labour Party these days and Blairites (now an official dictionary word it seems) have been parachuted into the top jobs all over the place.

Lyndi-loo, I'd love to hope you're right and there will be a bit more socialism this time round but I have to admit I'm rather sceptical!

mooman


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: paddymac
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 05:22 AM

Blair's attack on the hereditary Lords resonates well with me, but that because i find hereditary caste/class systems morally and intellectually repugnant. Now, if he really wanted to do some good, he'd push hard to establish an independent judiciary and meaningful separation of powers.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Fiolar
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 05:32 AM

Interesting thoughts about Tony Blair. Thank God that Labour was re-elected. The thought of the return of the Tories is enough to give any right-thinking person nightmares. Miguel Porteeyo has apparently changed his spots. That's a laugh. Some of us still remember his SAS speech. In spite of moans and groans from people, many have had their life style improved. Just one little example. Pensioners were moaning about a 75p increase. BUT they failed to mention the £200 winter fuel allowance everyone over 60 received.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 06:10 AM

The difference between Blair and Haigh . .

Haigh wouldn't recognise a principle if it hit him in the face . .

Blair recognises them . . . and ignores them in favour of advancing his own political career . .

The only sensible UK political comment I've heard recently was (sadly) from Tory Michael Anchram (?) when making his pitch for the leadership. He identified politics with public service; the idea that a career in politics should be driven by a desire to serve one's society.

Sadly he then negated this message by seeking to include the "Thatcher vision" in his appeal. For it was she who destroyed the whole idea of public service being a noble enterprise.

In any case, the Tory party won the election. There were suggestions that Blair might make a modest increase in taxation to invest in health (where our spending is lower than most EU nations); the Tories opposed this; labor policy becomes "no tax increases". The Tories make refugees an issue - Labour announces even more draconian anti-refugee measures (hell, it's our damn foreign policies - with the help of our USAian friends) which have created most of the current refugee crisis).

What matters is who controls the Government's policy making, not who sits where in the Palace of Westminster.

Blair claims to be a "Christian Socialst". Both those belief patterns (neither of which I claim adherence to) require hard decisions and a readiness to stand up for what is RIGHT . . I see absolutely no sign of that in Blair.

And Les in Hull - your anecdote is a nice tale, and fits Blair's "political will", but unfortunately it's also an Urban Legend . . .

Do I feel better for that rant? Sadly, no, 'cause it reminds me we're in for another five years of degradation of British society.

G.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 06:14 AM

The best comment I've heard so far on our recent election came from Billy Bragg last weekend. Billy's political convictions are well to the left of Tony Blair's, but in a political ramble between songs during his set at Beverley Folk Festival Billy said (as near as I can remember)

"You may think there's only an inch of difference between Labour and the Tories: but remember, a lot of people are going to survive on that inch."

J K Galbraith once said something similar. Near as I can remember it went like this:

"Politics is usually a matter of choosing between the unpalatable and the intolerable."

Well, I find many of the items on Chef Blair's menu rather unappetising - but it's a lot better than the bill of fare offered by his main opponents on June 7th. And maybe, like a good wine, he will improve with age. Chateau Blair 2001 might be a better vintage than the '97 turned out to be.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 06:54 AM

"Clintonesque lefty" - that is some oxymoron.

Some Americans seem to have a pretty foreshortened idea of politics, with extreme left being identified at what most people on the planet would call a bit right of centre.

Just because someone is to your left doesn't make them a lefty. Margaret Thatcher was arguably a little to the left of her good friend General Pinochet, but...

Distance can make the heart grow fonder. I can see what Joe means, given the general run of politicians. I'd give Blair a B+ in a scale where most people score Omega minus. Could do better. Must try harder.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 07:00 AM

I hope I'm proved wrong Lyndi-loo but I can't see Blair keeping his word on anything.

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: sian, west wales
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 07:08 AM

I take your point, McGrath, but he certainly isn't in the same league as some others named by Joe. New Labour has better pull some pretty big rabbits out of the hat in the next term. Blair's yes-men policy really backfired in Wales, and New Labour's track record and stuff like higher education funding, and rural issues (and I'm not meaning fox-hunting) are apalling.

Blair himself give me the creeps. Insincere and patronizing. If he gets good press in the States, I can only assume that he has a great Press Agent ...

I'd trust Prescott, or Brown, m'self. And, in nostalgic moments, I wonder what would have happened if John Smith hadn't passed on ...

sian


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 07:14 AM

sian, I too wonder about John Smith and feel he would have made an excellent prime minister.

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Ringer
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 07:28 AM

If John Smith hadn't died, we'd probably still have a Tory government.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 07:35 AM

We have a tory government. If John Smith hadn't died, we'd probably still have a labour party.

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: The Walrus at work
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 08:21 AM

I note from the Queen's Speech (for those overseas, this is written by the PM) that the plan to ban tobacco advertising has been dropped, but the Care Blair is still going to find time for another go at banning fox-hunting.... It's good to see they've got their priorities sorted.

Walrus


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: English Jon
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 08:31 AM

I'm with Jon Freeman on this. John smith at least had some vestiges of Socialism about him, unlike TB who is as mad as a spoon and motivated solely by opinion polls. Frankly, the chances of any party in England doing anything left wing are pretty small. Thatcher basically permanently knackered social policy 15 years ago.

The only good thing about blair is that he isn't portillo.

EJ


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: bill\sables
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 08:38 AM

Regarding the so called fox hunting ban, The new law as I have read it states that "Hunting with dogs" will become ilegal. This means that if I take my dog for a walk and he chases a rabbit I am a criminal.
Come on Blair if you can't thimk out new laws without making the whole of the population, who own dogs, just another source of revenue for the courts stick to playing your guitar.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 08:52 AM

When I think about Tony Blair I am reminded of an old Irish adage. "I realized fear one morning to the crys and the Fox Hunters sound; and it came to me, that when everyone is chasing the poor bloody fox, tis best to be dressed as a hound" So utterly devoid of talent and ethics, politicians like him force me to destroy my ballot. Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Ringer
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 10:08 AM

Devoid of talent, Dave? I don't think so. Of ethics, yes. But it takes some talent to turn the unelectable Labour Party of 15 years ago into the successful vote-winner of a fortnight ago.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: English Jon
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 10:30 AM

Any idiot can copy a winning formula, Bald Eagle.

Now we have a complete switch round and the Tory party are claiming to be nearer to the centre than "New Labour".

A compulsory vote with an abstension box and PR would be a good thing, although when I mentioned this at breakfast, my housemate (who's just been for a job interview with the international socialist alliance) looked horrified.

Oh well.

EJ


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: sian, west wales
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 10:36 AM

Hey, PR (Proportional Representation) works ... IMHO. We have it in the Welsh Assembly elections which gave us an assembly in which all 4 major Welsh parties are represented. I think that's healthy. That and the fact that they've come pretty close to getting rid of yah-boo debating techniques makes it a pretty workable forum. It was Plaid and LibDems that pushed PR through, I think.

Ah yes. LibDems. No one seems to have mentioned Dem.

sian


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 10:58 AM

As the T-shirt says 'The only man to enter the house of commons with honest intentions was Guy Fawkes'.

I can't help but remember all that righteous anger from the opposition benches at every new Tory outrage - from the war against the unions and the selling-off of the Nation's 'family silver', to the levying of tax on household fuel (and much, much more besides). Now, after four years in government,it might just be my limited imagination but only one word fills my mind when I see that 'oh so sincere' Mr Blair and the word is HYPOCRITE.

We might well be better off with New Labour than the Conservatives, but that doesn't mean I have to like them.

Brian


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Jim Cheydi
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 11:04 AM

EJ - surely a compulsory vote would be a step away from democracy. The fact that 40% of the potential electorate didn't vote shows that it would be an unworkable law anyway (or a huge civil uprising maybe).

It doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always wins.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 11:05 AM

How good are people's memories or does anyone have any data on John Smith's popularity. I'm not convinved that Bald Eagle is right. This article seems to back what I thought.

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: mooman
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 11:19 AM

Jim,

I had the same worries as you about a compulsory vote and democracy as, where I live now in Belgium, voting IS compulsory upon pain of a big fine.

After 10 years here, I'm not so sure it isn't a bad idea after all. There are precious few politicians here I care for but at least I can go to the polling station, be registered and vote for none of them at all to show my dissatisfaction! That's more active than plain apathy!

mooman


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 11:38 AM

I think Bald Eagle is totally wrong . .

By the end of the Tory reign you could have put up a blind monkey against her and she'd still have lost . . Indeed, that situation (in the Tory party) hasn't changed much; there's no real sense in which Blair won this election, it's simply that the Tories lost it . . .

It was comforting to see that the Tories campaign on Race and Nationalism (dressed up as "save the pound") brought them very little benefit, but that only emphasises how much of a wasted opportunity Blair represents...

(remember, on one past occasion it took the Falklands war for Thatcher to win the election . . )

The Queen's Speech was even more depressing than expected (and Bragg the optimist was speaking in advance of that speech) . . . More "Change for the sake of it" in Education, more "private/public partnership" (meaning "spend less now but pay more in the future" - totally stupid at time when our economy is buoyant and interest rates are low), vague talk of reforming the Lords but no willingness to over-rule them over the ban on Fox hunting (and, for whoever said it, the "I break the law if my dog chases a rabit" is a myth put about by the countryside mis-alliance . . )

I can't say there was a single aspect of the Queen's Speech which raised the least glimmer of enthusiasm . .

George


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Ringer
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 12:54 PM

Totally wrong, George? I think you're letting yourself get carried away. If I'm totally wrong, Blair has ethics but has no talent at anything. Can't you even admit that he's a perfect front-man?

And, Jon, you can't believe everything Jimmy Reid says: he suggests, for example, that nobody in his right mind would vote for "Hague's lot", but I did (only because there was no UKIP candidate in my constituency).

None of my posts in this thread have been entirely serious. I'd forgotten just how lacking in a sense of humour Old Labour is.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: 8_Pints
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 02:00 PM

I think that the old BBC TV series "Yes, Minister" and later "Yes, Prime Minister" captured the essence of politics both with humour and accuracy.

Who was it defined a politician as "one who lies to the press, and on reading the papers next morning believes it"?

Bob vG


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 05:09 PM

GeorgeH, it is you who is confused I fear. Mrs Thatcher never lost a General Election. Indeed the Tories won again, after she'd gone. And of course, even when so-called Labour finally won, who was the first invited guest at Number Ten?

How heartening it is to see evidence in this thread that Blair is being rumbled. To me, this one-time CND campaigner's choice of the Labour Party as his career vehicle, when it was at rock bottom, was as breathtakingly cynical as Hitler's choice of the the National Socialist party when that too was a pathetic rump. I have no difficulty at all in imagining Blair running off the rails, if not quite on Hitler's scale, then at least on a par with say Mugabe, to mention another self-proclaiming Christian.

Blair leads a party that promised an end to selection in secondary education. Then when it came to his own kids, he chose the Brompton Oratory - leapfrogging several nearer schools, and opting for one that is massively selective (it likes rich Catholics best). Eventually Cardinal Heenan put a stop to Blair partaking of the Holy Eucharist at Catholic Mass, on the reasonable basis that Blair isn't actually a Catholic. At least one of the Catholic schools that Blair bypassed (St Richard of Chichester) closed soon afterwards , and no wonder. Families cottoned on immediately - if it wasn't good enough for Blair's kids, it wasn't good enough for theirs. They flocked away in droves.

Shortly before the last election, Blair was put under repeated pressure in a tv interview, to say what he thought about the gap between rich and poor getting wider under his stewardship. (It has been widening in the UK since 1980, faster than in any developed country on earth except New Zealand.) In the end, he said he thought it was OK. Pure Thatcherism.

No wonder he was returned on the lowest turnout in Britain's democratic history (apart from 1918, when soldiers were demobbed too late to vote). Blair was quick to lambast the Gothenburg protestors for threatening democracy. (Bertie Ahern was a bit more temperate, suggesting that maybe European policymaking needed to be more open and inclusive.) Blair should have remembered that another drop in turnout comparable to the last two, and the voers will be a minority. Legitimacy could well passs to single-issue campaigns that have given up on the futile farce of politics.

Just like Blair himself has given up on parliament. Most policy anouncements are now made elsewhere, free from irritating challenge. All postwar Prime Ministers, from Attlee to Major, attended to vote in 35-50 per cent of divisions. For Blair the figure is less than 12 per cent. What is so amazing about his arrogance is that he actually gets away with it.

On personal qualities - competence, honesty, etc - John Major is streets ahead of Blair. Odd it was that Major, the son of a circus trouper, proud posessor of two 0-levels, and brought up in the inner-city streets of Brixton, came to lead the Tories, while Labour got Blair - the privileged and privately educated son of a well-to-do Tory.

Any American observers who share Jed Marum's fear of the colour pink seeping into Euro-politics, must find it bewildering that leftish France has the world's finest railway (the TGV) while the UK has Railtrack.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 05:14 PM

Cardinal Heenan? Well that's only about 50 years wrong.... Make that Cardinal Hume.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Shields Folk
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 06:13 PM

If he was that cynical he would support Man United


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: bill\sables
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 06:20 PM

I fealt I had to mention that when reading through the threads the three threads in order were
Can a believer sing athiest songs
How do you feel about Blair
Is this guy worth a second chance


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: bill\sables
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 06:22 PM

Shields Folk, you said earlier he supported The Toon now you say Manchester United. It seems he just suports whoever is winning at the time


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Lanfranc
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 06:31 PM

Blair is a hypocrite, a self-seeking control freak and an insincere, patronising pseudo-socialist.

All of which makes him just the Prime Minister that Britain deserves.

Bush is a hypocrite, a self-seeking capitalist lackey and an insincere, patronising xenophobe.

All of which makes him just the President that the US deserves.

If I believed in God, as they both profess to do, I would ask Him to help us all!

As I don't, who will? - discuss.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 06:38 PM

Bald Eagle:

"And, Jon, you can't believe everything Jimmy Reid says: he suggests, for example, that nobody in his right mind would vote for "Hague's lot", but I did...".

No comment! ;-)

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Shields Folk
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 06:41 PM

I was making the point that if he was that cynical he would support whoever was o top at the time ie Man U. but as far as football goes he is commited true and black and white (not easy for a politician)


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: DougR
Date: 22 Jun 01 - 06:45 PM

I don't know enough to comment, but it's refreshing to read a discussion about British politics rather than U. S.

On the subject of balls: you have a president now who has them, but you don't like him.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: GUEST,Les Jones, once of Ellesmere Port now of Man
Date: 23 Jun 01 - 03:26 AM

It is worth considering a hidden Blair agenda, the complete distruction of the Tory Party. Things going quite well for Blair and those of us who have spent the last 25 years argiung for tax redistribution, failing and getting Thatcher etal. Most people never understood or wanted socialism, the Labour Party certainly didn't, and as for old Labour, what the hell was that? Municipal Socialism, Militant? Socialst front for the Liberation of Palistine, what did the Romans ever do for me..... oh1 God stop me.

It looks like Blair has almost seen the scum off. Rejoice!


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Firecat
Date: 23 Jun 01 - 06:37 AM

One thing you don't particularly want to hear as soon as you wake up on the day following a General Election is to hear that the person you hate has stayed in power. I couldn't believe it when I heard that Tony "I'm a smarmy git" Blair had got back into power after totally messing up the country. I wanted William Hague to get in, but he's quit now.

Mind you, I'm only 17 and a hlaf so I'm too young to vote anyway, so why am I bothered!!??


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Fiolar
Date: 23 Jun 01 - 09:05 AM

Never mind guys. Just don't vote next time or vote Tory and then moan and grouse about everything. The Tories destroyed the mining industry, the Health Service and God only knows what else and now people are complaining because they haven't got instant improvement after four years. The Tories were in for 18 years for God's sake. It takes seven years to train a doctor, three for a nurse. The biggest shock to the Tory ego is that they think that they are the party who should always be in power and it galls them to see another party who pricked that balloon.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: bill\sables
Date: 23 Jun 01 - 09:34 AM

Arthur Scargill destroyed the mining industry by calling a mining strike without a vote in the middle of Summer. He knew, along with many miners, that after six weeks closure the pits would be un-workable with floors rising and ceilings falling. He caused hardship in mining villages and scars between friends that will never heal. When the Russian miners sent £6,000,000 to help the strike fund he put the money in his own account, and after a year he paid it back minus interest. This is why he is a rich man today. I met Scargill in the early 70's and could see then that he was a man after fame and fortune at the cost of anyone who got in his way. Blair is very much like him.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Gareth
Date: 23 Jun 01 - 01:45 PM

As a paid up, and active member of the British Labour Party here in Caerphilly perhaps some comments on what we found going from door to door over the last few weeks might be in order.

No, most people, including myself, have our doubts about Blair, but when you look at the alternatives - well what choice was there.

I can remember when the head bangers controlled the Party in the 80's. Unelectable and rightly so.

What we did find on the doorstep was a good deal of goodwill towards the Labour Party, and the realisation that the damage that was done under Thatcher and Major can not be rectified immediatly - You can't go down to Woolworths and buy a packet of instant Doctors or Nurses.

Time will tell - but I would point out that turnout here in the UK was still higher than the turnout in the US of A Presidential election, and the votes were counted quickley and accuratley.

Incidently Scargill did not destroy the mining industry here - but he made it possible for Thatcher to do so !

But then as they saying went "The Yorkshire Miners will fight to the last Welshman !"

Gareth (Sorry if this sounds serious but I'am seriously P****d off with the armchair critics who want utopia but find it actually get involved, and who infest the pages of the Gaurdian Newspaper)


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Gervase
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 07:39 AM

Well said, Gareth!
I too did my bit of footslogging as a paid-up party member, and the general reaction I found on the doorstep (from those who could be arsed to vote - but don't get me on that one, or you'll get the full rant...) was that Blair as a person may have shortcomings, and certainly isn't the messiah, but what the Labour government has done since 1997 meant it deserved another go.
The minimum wage may not be as much as is needed, but it's better than what didn't exist earlier. Then there's the working families tax credit, the new deal, the winter fuel allowance....but maybe all you Blair-hating cynics out there are just too comfortable to benefit from such things.
And, for most people, the alternatives didn't bear thinking about. Ann Widdecombe may be the stuff taht wet dreams are made of for paid-up Tory party die-hards, but to most reasonable people her views are grotesque.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Ringer
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 08:37 AM

If you define "reasonable people" as "people who think like me", then you're probably right.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: English Jon
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 09:01 AM

Cheydi, the point of a compulsory vote would be that no government could be formed until ALL THE VOTES WERE IN.

Hehehehehehehe!

Also, the 40% of the population who didn't vote, could tick the abstension box and then all the politicians would have to bugger off and come up with some better ideas.

Either way, it's no less democratic than the current system.

EJ


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: English Jon
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 09:04 AM

maybe what I mean is that a non-vote should count as an abstension. Yep, that'd be better.

Chairman EJ

corrrr..... votez four Katz.....corrrr....

EJC


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: KitKat
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 09:24 AM

Dear Firecat

You may think that Blair has messed up the country, but you weren't born when Thatcher came to power - now THERE was someone who really knew how to mess up a country. Remember that the present bloody awful mess we have with transport in this country (amongst other things)is her fault.

As for Scargill, I once heard him described as 'the shite in mining armour'.

Pat


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Gervase
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 10:37 AM

Bald Eagle,
Which of these views of the Blue Nun is the most reasonable:
Her views on the use of cannabis - one strike and you're out (far more extreme than those of most serving officers in the Met);
Her belief that asylum seekers should be locked up without any semblance of a trial;
That a pregnant prisoner should have to be shackled to a bed while she gives birth;
That an armed man who shoots an aunarmed teenager in the back should be hailed as a hero?
...
Need I go on?


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 12:27 PM

You're right in one respect, Fionn - I failed to distinguish between Thatcherism and Thatcher . . None the less, at that point the Tories were so unpopular anything would have got elected . .

However . . Are you sure about Blair's father being a Conservative? That's not my recollection. Certainly Blair himself has been a member of the Labour party ever since he was at University. (Mind you, my "source" on these matters, who's a Labour activist from those parts, does reckon Blair's constituency labour party is probably the most conservative in the UK). [I have an idea Blair Father was a lecturer at Durham University, and a Liberal.]

I'd also agree with you that Major was the first and last decent person to serve as Prime Minister for a very long while . .

Bill Sables, I disagree with you about Scargill, too, but that's another topic . . (Do you believe the miners are totally stupid when they kept voting for him? He endured longer than Thatcher . . ) And, indeed, my reaction on meeting him is the opposite to yours, too. (Though I agree he was bloody stupid over the management of the strike ..)

Bald Eagle - again, I was in too much haste . . "Totally disagree with you ON THAT PARTICULAR POINT!!"

Firecat - HOW has Blair destroyed this country? (And in any case he's generally continued the policies of "the other lot" including - as someone pointed out - widening the gap between rich and poor . . and destroying manufacturing industry . . .

G.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 01:41 PM

On the subject of balls: you have a president now who has them, but you don't like him.

But surely Doug, that was one of the big complaints against that last lad you had...


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 01:45 PM

Major was and is a waste of skin. How many remember the Black Wednesday fiasco. Scargill was right about the Tories destroying the mining industry but as the bible says "a prophet is not without honour, save in his own country." Thank God the Tories are out for at least another four years and if the present contenders for the leadership of the party are anything to go by, perhaps for ever.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 02:12 PM

How, precisely, was Major a waste of skin? He was and is a decent and honest guy, treated badly by his own party (the start of the chaos they're still in) . .

But it's precisely BECAUSE the Tories are such a mess that it's deplorable that "New Labour" are so little better . . I don't know about Bush having balls (I'd say that like an enraged bull he's simply to dumb to know better) - but certainly NONE of new Labour do - AND they continue to let the Tories set the agenda - on Taxation, Public/Private partnership, denationalisation, treatment of refugees . .

We still have the Tories in power - just calling themselves by a new name. Yes, they are marginally better than the other option - but it's a depressingly narrow margin, IMO. I'm still waiting for Blair to show a vestage of leadership (as distinct to his control-freak approach to his own party . . )

G.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Kim C
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 06:12 PM

Dogs don't kill foxes, foxes kill foxes. No, wait.......... Excuse me. I live in Tennessee. We run raccoons up trees with hound dogs.

I think Mr. Blair's ears stick out a little. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 06:20 PM

I always feel better after a good Tony Blair. I try to have one at least once a day preferably before breakfast.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 06:30 PM

The new law as I have read it states that "Hunting with dogs" will become ilegal. This means that if I take my dog for a walk and he chases a rabbit I am a criminal. (bill/sables)

I think if you substitute "cat" for "rabbit" in that sentence the distinction becomes fairly straightforward. Taking your dog for a walk, in the course of which it pursues a moggy is a very different thing from going out on a cat hunt

Actually of course in many towns your dog might be as likely to come across a fox, since the more sensible foxes have moved into towns. Maybe they do understand the difference between having to leg it from a mutt on is way home from a trip to the pub and being pursued by a mobb of dogs and humans bent on a kill.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: GUEST,Jude
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 08:44 AM

Did anyone notice that in all the retoric about public services, not one of the polititians acknowldged that public services are more than teachers and nurses. There is outrage at "dirty" hospitals and yet do they think that the problem might be that they have auctioned cleaning hospitals off to private firms who pay their staff so little that most of them have to claim some type of mean tested benefit just to keep food on the table. There is public outcry at children who are not protected - but no understanding that if you don't fund the service properly, pay them enough and sufficient staff you end up with a few demoralised social workers desperately trying to carry an unworkable caseload - they are being set up to fail - and when they do ... the polititian's answer is to scapegoat the individual. The quality of residential care depends upon the staff - in general supermarket checkout operators get paid more than residental staff and that's before they "transfer us to the private sector". In the private sector, terms and conditions are even worse. TUPE is little protection as it only lasts as long as you are in that exact post, you cannot develop your career without accepting a change to the new firms terms and conditions. So you are effectively trapped & with a downward pressure on your terms and conditions as any new staff do not have to be paid at the same rates. And since the new pay is even less than yours it does not tend to attract high quality professional staff so your job gets even harder.
Sorry for the rant - but polititians annoy me
Jude


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Fiolar
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 01:02 PM

" A waste of skin" - The Tories had a choice when Thatcher was booted out between Hesseltine, Major and Hurd and major was chosen as her blue-eyed boy because it was assumed that he had "the common touch." He then went to speak against devolution in Scotland and Wales. His government was forced to withdraw from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992. He was completely unable to control the mavericks in the party and presided over a government which was besieged by revelations about sleaze or sexual misconduct. One word sums up the sleaze - "Tatton." Because of his wafer thin majority, the Unionists were able to lead him around by the nose. The 1995 leadership crisis need never have happened if he had knocked a few heads together. Thank God for Tony Blair. I have no wish to see another Major or Thatcher in power again ever.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 01:49 PM

Has he got round to discussing privatising politics yet?

Privateers used to be a sort of pirate. I think the word should be brought back for the 21st century equivalents.

What is really worrying is that, with the way politics is structured, when a left-of-centre party lurches over to take the place of the right-of-centre party, the chances are that the right-of-centre party will spin off into round-the-twist extreme-right politics - but in time that won't stop them getting back into power, if they are seen as the only alternative, according to Buggins' Turn.

Blair is irritating, though significantly better than what he replaced, let alone the present wreckage of a Tory Party - however the real nightmare is that in a few years some nightmare amalgamation of Thatcher and Bush will slip into office. And that will not be at all pleasant.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Fiolar
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 02:10 PM

Chin up lad - look back over the past thousand years and take heart from your history. At least rape and pillage doesn't occur anymore (well not much anyway). Think of what happened to the participants who defied William the Conk; The wars of the Roses; The Pilgrimage of Grace; Guy Fawkes and his mates; the Highlands after Culloden. I could go on but I'm sure you the same as I are fairly happy living in a decent society in spite of what the Tories did to destroy it with Thatcher's claim that there was no such thing as society.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 02:41 PM

Fiolar . . you actually confirm my view of Major as a decent guy who was destroyed by his party . . that's the problem with "compromise" candidates. The fact that his style of management was more appropriate to a delicate task like running a country is, of course, of no significance . . . You can only govern (be it a nation or a political party) by the consent of the governed (even if in the UK that consent is largly through apathy).

As for withdrawll from the ERM - that was a consequence of our havind entered it at a stupid and unsustainable rate; that wasn't Major's fault.

As for "Thank God for Tony Blair" - as others have pointed out, he's an admirer of Thatcher - and I, for one, see NO clear differnce between the pair of them. Both are more interested in self-seeking than service to the nation. Yes, I realise that's a quaintly old-fashioned notion. As is honesty.

In terms of personal qualities Major is leagues ahead of Thatcher or Blair. He couldn't pull the Tory party together . . neither could Haigh (who was not averse to banging heads together . . ) simply because the party was/is in self-destruct mode. Which since their philosophy values, above all, personal achievement at whatever cost to everyone else, is hardly surprising.

And, Fiolar, with race riots AGAIN, repressive action against refugees, continued destruction of the Education system, worship of "private sector" management skills, ridiculous courts, an increasing rift between rich and poor, areas of the country where the police claim they can't maintain the law, a fundamentally dishonest press and a Government which isn't prepared to do ANYTHING more difficult than follow the line of least resistance . . do you REALLY call this a DECENT society? I'm sorry, but I don't.

Thank heavens for Mudcat!!

G.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Gareth
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 07:16 PM

Gervase

I agree with every word.

Sorry I have not replied earlier but I spent Monday night at the Statistical Post Mortem ( continued at the Pub until shut tap ) Thank the Lord for Exell spreadsheets.

I must confess that in the 1980's I thought that the Labour Party Song The Red Flag, should be replaced with Garryowen - and if you wonder why, think about where and by whom, that was reputed to have been sung.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 07:27 PM

Whatever, Gervase but I'll bet that unlike you, I did need New Deal and in fact had an employer willing to take me on until it emerged that going on a government training course within 12 months of this actually stopped me - great system - make the effort to get trained and not get a job because of it....

Argue for all you want about Blair but please remember when you try to make your smarmy comments about those of us being too well off not to need it or notice what has been done, I have been in need and I doubt you have.

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 08:15 PM

At least rape and pillage doesn't occur anymore.(Well not much anyway). " (Fiolar)

There are some fortunate places where that broad generalisation isn't that far off the truth. But I suspect that overall there's probably been more rape and pillage over the past half century or so than there ever has been before. It's organised more efficiently these days, as a technique of war, rather than just being left to happen on the side.

You'll be saying isn't it a good thing we don't have torture any more next...


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Gervase
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 05:52 AM

Jon,
Need is relative. If you define need as relying on housing benefits, free school meals, free prescriptions and all the other benefits and rebates that were so grudgingly given in the early eighties, then I suppose I do qualify.
Now I'm lucky enough (at the moment) to have a business that pays reasonably well, but I do know what it's like to have bugger all - but let's not get into the Monty Python "we 'ad to live in cardboard box" routine. Mind you, a winter endured without electricity or hot water wasn't a barrel of laughs...
I agree that the current system is far from perfect - the housing benefit system in particular is falling apart at the moment, with delays of up to a month in the payment of benefits; delays which mean that some claimants are literally losing their homes. That is dreadful and needs fixing asap. And the fact that you can't get work under the New Deal because you've been on a training scheme within 12 months is bloody ridiculous - so yes, the system still needs to be changed.
But, smarmy or not, I stand by what I said. On balance, I believe that the country as a whole is better off under "New" Labour than the Tories. Remember Portillo's pre-election pledge to "trim" public spending by £8 billion? I know he wasn't able to say where the money would come from - but it's a fair guess that it would come from those who are most needy and who have the smallest political voice.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Fiolar
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 06:38 AM

The funny thing about leadership contests is that people don't have to stand as a candidate. If they do stand and get selected and later cannot do the job, then it's no good blaming others and saying "if only this" or "if only that." Regarding Tony Blair how many people really now the man behind the public mask? Much of what is "known" about him is the rabbiting of the gutter press who for years were bed-fellows of the Tories. Now that the boot is on the other foot, they cravenly change tack. Personally I must admit that I have rarely been better off. Having worked in the Health Service for over 37 years, I saw the destruction vented on it by successive Tory governments - cutting bed numbers; closing hospitals; the introduction of the financial markets and introducing managers from industry to run hospitals on a financial basis. Those "managers" had little or no experience of health management and were better prepared to run supermarkets than hospital wards. As a result of this staff left, recruitment dropped and the staff who soldiered on were often scraping the bottom of the barrel to cope. I was glad to be able to get out of a service I loved which was not the one I joined. Anyway - sigh - I guess we'll have to agree to disagree over many points.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 09:10 AM

Gervase, firstly sorry for "smarmy". You just hit one of my many nerve ends...

Re housing benefit, I am well aware of the problems and my parents bailed me out a couple of times when I was renting a flat in N Wales. One of the times was caused by an error on the part of the DSS which resulted in my claim for benifits being stopped. Again an amazing system. The DSS recognised their error and re-instated my claim but the council who had managed to close my housing benifit claim instantly on notification from the DSS could not accept this so I had to go through the full claim procedure again and yes, had to wait a month... Mind you, I think most of it was sheer inefieciency and incompetence on the part of the council - I have gone in to the offices with paperwork, had it agreed as OK by the person on the counter to later receive a letter saying "not OK" - as for letters, their postal system was quite incredible - on more than one occasion, there were changes in the ammount I was paid which I discovered by the payment cheque - the letter explaining why although dated earlier, arrived later - guess they must set a rule, payments are batched and go out on a Monday, explainitory letters are batched and go out on a Friday...

As for better of, I'm not convinced although I think there can be no doubt that we would have been worse off under the Tory's.

What I can't see is why Blair took the party the way he did. It was not because the party was not electable, the party regained popularity under John Smith who I think many people expected to become the next prime minister. The popularity of the Conservative party decreased further during the period between his death and the next election.

Fiolar, what has happened to the NHS now - has there been any real improvement? My mother was a phyisiotherapist for 30+ years and, like yourself, watched with sadness as the service she loved was destroyed by trusts, where bed occupancy became more important than patient welfare to keep the statistics looking good for the (financial) managers... she too was glad to get out.

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Gervase
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 10:31 AM

Jon, no hard feelings!
The benefit system is particularly skewed at the moment because of the incredible obsession by politicos of all colours in cracking down on fraud. That means that all claims have to be examined at six-monthly intervals, and yet no extra staff have been taken on by most departments - resulting in horrendous delays.
Yet what rarely gets mentioned is just how much money goes unclaimed in the UK because people can't cope with the system. Last I heard it was estimated at around £2 billion - which would make a heck of a difference to a lot of people.
Sadly, by the sound of them, Blair's plans to bring the private sector in will only make things worse (much as they've done with the prison and courts service. Group 4 is a national joke/disgrace)
I for one would quite like my old Labour Party back. Meanwhile, the current one is the lesser of several evils.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Ringer
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 11:53 AM

A few questions/points, about private/public partnerships, or PFI, or whatever it's called at the moment (and this post is entirely serious):

Somewhere above, George H muttered about the inappropriateness of PPP given today's buoyant economy & low interest rates. Other things being equal, he may be right (I'm afraid I've never looked at the figures) but, as so often, other things aren't equal. It used to be the case that on average planning a new hospital, awarding the design contract, waiting for the design, going out to tender, evaluating the responses, and finally awarding the contracts took about 12 years; building subsequently took another 9 years typically. PFI reduces the first phase from 12 years to 3 and the second phase from 9 years to 5 (I have in mind the specific instance of the new "Derby Acute" hospital where the 3 years is fact, although the 5 years is, as yet, a promise). So you get a new hospital in 8 years, not 21.

Second, although people fulminate about the private sector profiting from illness, no-one complains about profits (moderate profits, anyway: but I'm talking about normal competition-limited business, not exploitation) made by the suppliers of anaesthetics, scalpels, PCs, bog-paper, canteen cutlery, etc to the hospital service - what's the difference?

Thirdly, in the private sector, monopolies are thought to be a bad thing. But, again, no-one seems to complain about government monopolies. I think that all monopolies are deplorable, but that government monopolies are particularly pernicious.

Lastly, RailTrack: they may not be a shining example of the benefits of privatisation, but are memories so short that the deficiencies of BR are completely forgotten? BR was not a golden age. If I may introduce, taran-tara taran-tara, a musical element, the "apocryphal" verse, "I saw a snail drive a nail faster than by British Rail", of Who's the Fool now? was written long before RailTrack was thought of.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 08 Apr 03 - 12:33 AM

refreh, 9I stil think hes a lying sack of shit), i told him as well, 9 i sent him an emale =t.blair@gov.org, saying tony , you are a sack of shit, and you like making trobble, war etc), he dident anser yet either, ignorant arshole.john


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: DougR
Date: 08 Apr 03 - 02:44 AM

Gee, John, I can't imagine why you didn't get a reply!

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: kendall
Date: 08 Apr 03 - 09:00 AM

By the time the Bush gang get through stabbing Blair in the back, he will make Neville Chamberlain look like Attila the Hun.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: GUEST,Gareth
Date: 08 Apr 03 - 10:29 AM

"Edukation, Edukation, Edukation !"

Obviously some parts of Hul9 need it more than others.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 01:39 AM

Answering the original question of this thread:

I think Tony Blair is a very sad, little man, who longs for the days when Britain was an empire, and being British Prime Minister had international prestige. I think he is holding on to Bush's coattails as hard as he can, hoping desperately that some sort of glory or power will rub off.

Unfortunately, the only thing that is rubbing off on Blair is the stuff that Bush is so full of.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: DougR
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 02:42 AM

I think Tony Blair is an outstanding statesman. Too bad so many people in GB don't recognize that. Sorry folks, I think Neville Chamberlain is gone by now.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 04:14 AM

I agree with DougR; Blair is an outstanding statesman. He can convince all his listeners that he has their best interests and wishes at heart, even when confronted with an audience with widely divergant views!


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 08:52 AM

"How do you feel about Blair?"

I'd use my hands, but I'd rather not, thank you.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 11:30 PM

Blair, a squealing pig who's just been forked. Barry


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Subject: RE: BS: How do you feel about Blair?
From: stevetheORC
Date: 10 Apr 03 - 05:22 AM

I dont like him never have and never will, but I will credit him with been a very effective politician.

De Orc


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