posted on Aug, 4 2006 @ 08:35 AM
Reference. The British parliamentary system is different from our system. The upper chamber, the House of Lords, is steeped in tradition and
made up of either hereditary members or accomplished people nominated for life. The Lords power is limited to delaying non-budget bills for up to 1
year. Commons can even overrule that.
The real power In Parliament lies in the House of Commons. It is composed of 650 members elected for a term of 5 years but elections may be held
sooner. Elections are required when the government “falls,” i.e., fails to get a majority on a significant issue - called a “vote of
confidence” - or when the controlling party’s leaders believe it to be perspicuous to hold early elections.
The reigning monarch of the United Kingdom is the Head of State and the majority party leader, the Prime Minister, is the Head of Government. The US
system combines those two functions in one person, the office of president.
Anthony “Tony” Charles Lynton Blair was born in Edinburgh on May 6, 1953. He spent much of his early childhood in Adelaide, Australia,
where his father, a barrister, was lecturing in the local Law School. An indifferent student more interested in rock and roll - he once said Mick
Jagger was his model - he became a barrister (trial lawyer) and met his barrister wife who was also designated a QC - Queen’s Court - meaning
allowed to appear in the courts. Solicitors (also lawyers) conduct most of the legal affairs in the UK but cannot appear in court.
Tony Blair lost his first effort to win a seat in the House, but in 1983, he became the Labor Party member from Sedgefield, at age 30. He immediately
distinguished himself in the Party by his industry and grasp of political issues. Labor Party was in opposition to the Conservative Party - popularly
called Tories - under first PM Margaret Thatcher and then PM John Majors holding sway in the UK from 1979 to 1997.
In 1994, Tony won the leadership post of the Labor Party and was able to have the Party’s constitutional Clause 4 repealed. This was the Clause
committing Labor to the nationalization of basic industry that had once been the cornerstone of socialism in England, but which had become an
impediment in the public’s eye.
After 18 years under the Conservative Party, the British people liked the newly “reformed” Labor Party, and in 1997, gave it a strong majority of
176 seats in the House of Commons. Tony Blair was chosen to be Prime Minister. He called an early election in 2001, held on June 7, and again won a
very comfortable working majority of 167 seats. After the Nine Eleven Event in the US, Mr. Blair promptly came to the United States and pledged the
full support of the United Kingdom.
America has always had a special relationship with England now known as the United Kingdom. There was never any real doubt which side we would support
in World War One. The inept German decision to sink passenger ships in an effort to blockade the British Isles fed into British plans to bring the US
into the war on the Allies side as opposed to what was called the Central Powers, Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottomans. The same situation
repeated in the late 1930s when as Churchill said, after the fall of France in 1940, “England stands alone.” But not really. The US through its
Lend Lease program helped mightily to keep England “afloat” until we entered War Two in late 1941.
Which brings us to 2006. The Labor Party is not the aggressive party in foreign affairs the Conservative Party is. Although the UK has not fully
joined the EU - European Union - and retains its currency, the UK is said to have one foot in Europe and one foot in America. Which raises a real
question. Can the EU survive without the full participation of the United Kingdom? But that’s for another thread.
We have all heard of the “Downing Street Memo” which many say “proves” the Bush43 White House had made secret early plans to invade Iraq and
was willing to lie to the US and to the world in order to get public and Congressional support. Said by many to be the “smoking gun” there has
been sufficient obfuscation of the “intelligence” over the WMDs - weapons of mass destruction - that Bush43 easily won re-election in 2004 against
a weak Democratic candidate.
Conclusion. Blair does not have it so easy over there. Due mainly to his close relationship to Bush43, and public discontent over the UK role
in the Coalition Force, Blair thought it wise to call an early election on May 5, 2005. Much to his surprise and chagrin, the Labor Party’s
majority was reduced to 60 seats, which in British tradition, is not a slam dunk majority on any major issue when the PM’s popularity is in decline.
It was a strong rebuke of Blair’s policies, mostly the unquestioning relationship with Bush43.
Blair has already lost one vote in Commons and not if, but when, he loses the second vote, he will be out. There have been local scandals, too, and
while Blair is glib enough for most, the proof is in the pudding and his (Labor’s) performance is not up to his words.
Should the British forces in Iraq suffer a large tragedy, that could force Blair out of office. It is generally accepted that he will not finish out
the term to which he was elected - 2010. Inexplicably and uncharacteristically, Tony made the same mistake Theodore Roosevelt made in 1904 when he
promised, if he was elected, not to seek a third term. That made him a lame duck and greatly reduced his power. (The 22nd Amendment makes every second
term president a lame duck.) Tony Blair is a lame duck prime minister.
[edit on 8/4/2006 by donwhite]