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BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech

CarolC 02 Oct 01 - 11:17 PM
Amos 02 Oct 01 - 11:38 PM
DougR 02 Oct 01 - 11:51 PM
CarolC 02 Oct 01 - 11:59 PM
Peg 03 Oct 01 - 01:03 AM
Joe Offer 03 Oct 01 - 01:35 AM
CarolC 03 Oct 01 - 01:41 AM
GUEST,Boab 03 Oct 01 - 02:44 AM
Joe Offer 03 Oct 01 - 02:55 AM
CarolC 03 Oct 01 - 03:26 AM
Steve Parkes 03 Oct 01 - 04:06 AM
Lanfranc 03 Oct 01 - 04:56 AM
Bagpuss 03 Oct 01 - 05:17 AM
The_one_and_only_Dai 03 Oct 01 - 05:23 AM
Fiolar 03 Oct 01 - 05:37 AM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Oct 01 - 06:38 AM
CarolC 03 Oct 01 - 06:47 AM
The_one_and_only_Dai 03 Oct 01 - 06:53 AM
CarolC 03 Oct 01 - 07:04 AM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Oct 01 - 07:24 AM
Linda Kelly 03 Oct 01 - 07:46 AM
Paul from Hull 03 Oct 01 - 08:49 AM
Peg 03 Oct 01 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,What do we have 03 Oct 01 - 09:42 AM
Bill D 03 Oct 01 - 09:44 AM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Oct 01 - 10:01 AM
GUEST 03 Oct 01 - 10:05 AM
Steve Parkes 03 Oct 01 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 03 Oct 01 - 11:51 AM
Scotland the brave 03 Oct 01 - 12:14 PM
heric 03 Oct 01 - 12:44 PM
Ringer 03 Oct 01 - 01:02 PM
Ringer 03 Oct 01 - 01:06 PM
GUEST,Newsboy 03 Oct 01 - 02:56 PM
Gareth 03 Oct 01 - 04:26 PM
SharonA 03 Oct 01 - 05:20 PM
CarolC 03 Oct 01 - 05:21 PM
CarolC 03 Oct 01 - 05:44 PM
Bill D 03 Oct 01 - 06:29 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Oct 01 - 07:07 PM
heric 03 Oct 01 - 07:07 PM
Gareth 03 Oct 01 - 07:21 PM
GUEST,Boab 04 Oct 01 - 01:50 AM
CarolC 04 Oct 01 - 05:08 AM
Steve Parkes 04 Oct 01 - 05:18 AM
CarolC 04 Oct 01 - 05:27 AM
CarolC 04 Oct 01 - 05:31 AM
Steve Parkes 04 Oct 01 - 07:06 AM
Steve Parkes 04 Oct 01 - 07:27 AM
Gervase 04 Oct 01 - 08:16 AM
Whistle Stop 04 Oct 01 - 09:37 AM
Steve Parkes 04 Oct 01 - 10:36 AM
Scotland the brave 04 Oct 01 - 12:43 PM
Whistle Stop 04 Oct 01 - 01:12 PM
Paul from Hull 04 Oct 01 - 01:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Oct 01 - 01:30 PM
Whistle Stop 04 Oct 01 - 02:48 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Oct 01 - 05:26 PM
GUEST,General Patton 04 Oct 01 - 05:57 PM
CarolC 04 Oct 01 - 06:06 PM
heric 04 Oct 01 - 06:35 PM
CarolC 05 Oct 01 - 01:42 AM
Ringer 05 Oct 01 - 05:01 AM
Fiolar 05 Oct 01 - 05:14 AM
Ringer 05 Oct 01 - 07:22 AM
Steve Parkes 05 Oct 01 - 07:35 AM
Steve Parkes 05 Oct 01 - 08:08 AM
GUEST,Steve Parkes 05 Oct 01 - 08:13 AM
Whistle Stop 05 Oct 01 - 08:29 AM
Scotland the brave 06 Oct 01 - 06:30 AM
CarolC 06 Oct 01 - 08:18 AM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Oct 01 - 09:28 AM
Scotland the brave 06 Oct 01 - 09:47 AM
Whistle Stop 09 Oct 01 - 08:08 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 19 Oct 01 - 10:47 AM
Ditchdweller 19 Oct 01 - 11:18 AM
Whistle Stop 19 Oct 01 - 01:44 PM
DougR 19 Oct 01 - 01:55 PM
Whistle Stop 19 Oct 01 - 02:23 PM
DougR 19 Oct 01 - 05:10 PM
SharonA 19 Oct 01 - 05:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Oct 01 - 06:01 PM
CarolC 19 Oct 01 - 06:07 PM
DougR 20 Oct 01 - 12:05 AM

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Subject: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: CarolC
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 11:17 PM

I just watched as much of Tony Blair's speech as I could on BBC's world news. Would anyone in the UK be willing to tell me what you think of the speech so I can get some perspective on it based on your experience of him?


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Amos
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 11:38 PM

Eloquent and persuasive. But that's what they pay him for :>)

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: DougR
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 11:51 PM

I'm not from the UK, of course, but I was just wondering; you watched "all of his speech that you could," because: you didn't have time to listen to all of it? You were late for a gig? You were disappointed with the PM's message and just couldn't listen anymore? His delivery put you to sleep? Or other?

I'm not trying to be contentious, CarolC, I'm just interested in your question.

You didn't ask for responses from those of us in the U.S. that heard the whole speech, but I'll volunteer mine anyway. I thought it was "right on." The Brits have experienced much more of this kind of thing than we have, and I assume his remarks were based on the fact that they have seen terriorism first-hand. DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: CarolC
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 11:59 PM

DougR, we have experienced terrorism first hand as well. Remember the first World Trade center bombing? Remember Oklahoma City? Etc etc?

However, to answer your question... I watched as much of it as they showed. But I don't think they showed the whole thing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Peg
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 01:03 AM

I heard part of it on the radio this morning "live" and saw part of it on TV tonight.

His passion and emotion and eloquence were very affecting. A startling and refreshing lack of jingoism.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 01:35 AM

Click here for information on the speech from the BBC Website.
I really admire Blair - I suppose a lot of Americans do. He seems to be closer to my way of thinking than Bush is - or Gore, for that matter. From this side of the pond, we can't see his warts.
-Joe Offer-

The Video of the Entire Speech Is Here (click)


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 01:41 AM

Thanks Joe.

One of the reasons I was hoping to get some perspective from Mudcatters who live 'across the pond' is because I have been somewhat favorably impressed with Tony Blair from what I've seen of him, but I don't live in the part of the world that is the most directly effected by what he says and does.

And from what I've seen of the discussions about him here in the Mudcat, I have gotten the impression that he is not universally held in high regard in the UK.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 02:44 AM

He is a glory hunter. He is religious, and "knows" that god is on his side.He has some real concern for the underprivileged,which will endure just as long as that concern doesn't compromise the standards in his own cosy sphere. He was el;ected as a "New Labour" minister, and has surrounded himself with as many like-minded characters as he can; enough, in fact, in high places, to keep the real labour members of his government in thrall. His popularity has ridden on the high tide of growth and prosperity which affected the whole western world in recent years. He is strongly in favour of keeping up a "special relationship" with the USA. Not a bad thing, usually, but on occasion an unfortunate circumstance---the USA is NOT always doing admirable things. As he has shown, he is high on rhetoric, and can sway an audience readily. Unlike Mr Bush, he writes his own speeches, and is coherent in normal conversation. But, as I say, he is a glory hunter, and that can often be a deadly dangerous trait. [Please be assured that I am aware of the fact that the British have done their share of disreputable exploits!!]


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 02:55 AM

Well, Boab, I like Blair, but I have to say I can't completely trust somebody who will ally himself with the likes of Bush and Clinton. Since September 11, it has become heresy for Americans to question the President of the United States. I guess I'm a heretic.

I'm a Roman Catholic, and I question the Pope, too. Guess I'm just damned to hell.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 03:26 AM

Thanks Boab. Are you in England? I agree with you that the US is not always doing admirable things. Do you feel that Blair wants to increase the UK's involvement in the things done by the US that may be less than admirable?

One of the things that interested me about the speach was what he had to say about Africa. Do you think he genuinely cares about the plight of the nations that are in dire straits in Africa, or was there some way he could have benefitted politically from the things he said about it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 04:06 AM

It's a bit of a surprise to me to find non-Brits speaking in suport of Blair. I have to remind myself that support from the US isn't necessarily a bad thing! What do we know of England who only England know? I'm "old labour" myself, and don't approve of the rightwards shift that the party has taken in recent years, but I can try to override my prejudices and give him a fairish hearing. I just hope that it's not just rhetoric and righteous indignation, and that there is very good evidence to support what he's doing. I understand why he can't tell us the details, and I'd like to trust him.

Yes, we've suffered from terrorism for many years now; we've also suffered in the past from direct attacks on our country. These are things which haven't been part of American experience--thank God, nobdy deserves that--and coping with it will be hard. I think the spirit of Dunkirik and the Blitz hasn't faded completely over here, but it's a terrible pity that it only realy seems to arise in times like these.

I don't think I'm being too coerent just now; I'll come back later when I've woken up properly.

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Lanfranc
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 04:56 AM

If Blair could deliver, or be instrumental in delivering, only a fraction of what his speech promised, I will admit that our world would be a better place. What I beg leave to doubt is whether the action can match the rhetoric.

Blair is a control freak, albeit an eloquent one. Some of his early efforts to impose his political will, for example in the selection of the leader of the Welsh Assembly and the Mayor of London, were thwarted by the application of good old democracy. His current policy of imposing a mixture of public and private finance and operation for the London Underground flies in the face of the majority of informed opinion, but still he insists on it, to the considerable detriment of London's infrastructure. But these are parochial issues.

On a worldwide scale, Blair's speech yesterday was a bloody good sermon. The Vicar of the parish of St Albion did well.

But it will take more than high ideals to achieve the desired result. Some way will have to be found of changing the attitudes of a vast number of individuals, corporations and Governments with selfish vested interests. Or, as Bin Laden and the Taliban were threatened, if such attitudes can't be changed, those holding them will have to be eradicated.

Just because it will be difficult, doesn't mean it shouldn't be tried. There was once a man who preached a similar creed. Some called him the Son of God, which should have given him more authority than Blair, Bush or any other politician. Two thousand years on, his faithful followers still await results, while others pervert His teachings to justify their own prejudices and hatreds.

A few hundred years later, another, this time only claimed as a Messenger of God, came along with much the same ideas, but those who pervert his teachings committed the atrocities that precipitated the fear and instability we all now feel.

"Nothing to live or die for, a Brotherhood of Man"

I, for one, am not holding my breath in anticipation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Bagpuss
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 05:17 AM

I felt a bit uneasy when he was talking about morality. Remember Robin Cook's "ethical foreign policy" . Didn't last long with the ethical bit in it...

Also he seems to be using the current events as a lever to getting us into the single european currency. Not that I am against the Euro, but I just hate the way things are manipulated in politics in this way.

I think the way the US is seeing him is how Britain saw him a few years ago. All charisma and spin. People here are starting to see through him a bit now. Of course he is way better than the Tories, but that's no excuse for not being anything like what I expected and hoped for from a Labour government.

I much preferred Clare Short's speech (she's the minister for international development).

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: The_one_and_only_Dai
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 05:23 AM

Yes, I liked Alistair Campbell's speech delivered by Tony Blair.

I also appreciated the moderate tone in Alistair Capbell's speech delivered by Clare Short.

And it was rounded off nicely by some tubthumping in Alistair Campbell's speech delivered by Jack Straw.

(cynical? me? <g>)


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Fiolar
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 05:37 AM

Amazing how the critics come out of the woodwork. Tony Blair is damned if he says nothing and damned if he says what he feels. As a life long Labour supporter (and proud of it) I rejoiced when the Tories finally were given their comeuppance. All those who criticise Blair should be asked could they do any better? If they can, then they should stand for election for a party of their choice and stop the whingeing and moaning.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 06:38 AM

Here is the text of the speech.

Pretty good, and I think he hit the right notes. Something in there for everyone in a very carefully crafted speech. And there seems no doubt that it was his speech - at least the journalists who are close enough to now that stuff seem in no doubt about that.

Blair often reminds of the actor who said that the most important thing in acting was sincerity. Once you could do that, you'd cracked it. Blair does sincerity well. Well enough that it becomes real even for him.

He said the right things, and avoided saying the wrong things. I was pleased that he brought in the Crusades in their historical context, as something that Christians should be ashamed of, and use the occasion to point out the range of things that could be done if the wealthy nations used their resources humanely.

And he even nodded in the direction of environmentalists and "anti-globalisation" protest, and came out strongly for implementing the Kyoto agreement, and the importance of Public Services. I don't think he actually used the word Socialism, but he did bring in Keir Hardie's name at one time.

I half expected him to break into a rendering of Jerusalem at one point. It wouldn't have been out of place.

If Bush had made a speech like that I'd be gobsmacked and remarkably pleased. I still don't trust Blair, but then I don't trust any politician. But imagine the kind of speech Thatcher would have made in a time like this - the blood runs cold.

Living up to it and delivering on the inspirational stuff - now that really would be something.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 06:47 AM

Thanks everybody.

First of all, I can't tell you how refreshing it is to read a political discussion here in the Mudcat that is comprised of thoughtful, well reasoned comments rather than name calling and mudslinging. So thank you for that.

The_one_and_only_Dai, I think I understand your point and your humor, but could you please tell me who Alistair Campbell is?

Steve Parks, it seems to be a common misconception that the US hasn't suffered terrorism on its own soil prior to 11 September. In fact, terrorism has been alive and well here, and this nation has suffered greatly from it for many years. It is true that we have not been attacked by an enemy government during wartime with the exception of Pearl Harbor.

The main difference is that we grow a lot of our own terrorists here, so many of the terrorist attacks in the US have been committed by US citizens against US citizens. Several hundred people lost their lives in the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma city. And there was a previous bombing at the World Trade Center a few years ago with casualties. (That one was not by a US citizen.) And also the bombing at the Olympics in Atlanta.

And there have been many instances of bombings and other kinds of terrorist acts on a much smaller scale, such as the bombings of aborion clinics and things like that. And of course, the tragedies in which kids engage in wholesale slaughter of their fellow students in the schools here. Maybe technically not terrorism, but it sure feels like it.

Many of the terrorist attacks that have been committed by people who are not from the US have happened in our embassies, on one ship last year, and of course, quite a few airplane hijackings that did not end with the destruction of the plane.

Anyway, I hope you'll carry on with this very interesting discussion despite my blatant thread creap. I just felt that was worth saying.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: The_one_and_only_Dai
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 06:53 AM

Alistair Campbell is the Prime Minister's 'Official Spokesman'. He's a media specialist (spin doctor) and quite a controversial figure over here because of the apparent influence he has over the hearts and minds of the cabinet (based on populist expediency rather than political commitment, IMO).


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 07:04 AM

Ok. I understand. We've got one or two "Alistair Campbells" over here also. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 07:24 AM

Continuing thread drift - though not without its relevance.Here's more about Alistair Cambell especially his past exploits in the porn business, which are quite true - (Mark Thomas whose page this is does the same kind of TV stuff as Michael Moore).


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 07:46 AM

I found it an extraordinary and visonary speech. I do not believe Blair is without his faults but I do believe he has the ability to see the bigger picture whilst the rest of us are milling around wondering what the small picture is. Who writes his speeches I care not -his power of delivery is exceptional especially when compared to Bush. I have been a Labour Party member for twenty years and stopped being an active member partly because of the inability of my comrades to see beyond their own 'class struggle' so that nothing ever got done-perhaps I was never a socialist but more of a democrat who knows ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Paul from Hull
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 08:49 AM

Can't say much that hasnt already been said, but Blair, to me, looks like he is capable of 'steering our Ship of State'' in the current situation...Imagine how John Major would have looked in a similar situation...as has been said, imagine Thatcher in this context... *shudders*....& as for William Hague, well, I cant imagine how HE would come across...

I cant particularly get my head around where New Labour is and/or seems to be going with their policies however... I always have seen myself as more of a 'Liberal', but dont feel 'in touch' with Labour at all even though the present 'slant' is, in theory, nearer to my standpoint than 'Old Labour' ever seemed to be....

..but I will say again, to me Blair LOOKS like he is capable of playing a part on the World stage... I can see why he looks good to the Americans, et al, who dont really know him.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Peg
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 09:27 AM

well look at who WE got over here Paul!!!

:)


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: GUEST,What do we have
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 09:42 AM

Well, Peg, just what do WE have over here? A President who is performing admirably in a time of great crisis. The partisan "digs" at Bush are getting more and more childish and irrational. Get over it....


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 09:44 AM

It seems to me that any public figure like Blair has the job of projecting his countries current (if temporary) position on current affairs. That being granted, Blair said a lot of things which play well in the US right now. How well it works out, and how he integrates this stand with the rest of his policies and how he rates with his UK constiuency is beyond my ability to predict or understand.

I DO admire his ability to argue, explicate and hold his own in discussions..(we here in the US can see the appearances before the House of Commons where debate of a type unkown here rages....and where G.W. Bush would be eaten alive if he tried to emulate Blair's style!).....

in any case, it is nice to see a developing soldiarity on opposition to the Taliban from many quarters in the world, and I am happy that the UK is a leader in that regard.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 10:01 AM

Well, I hope the stuff about the importance of Kyoto and fair trade and the importance of defending Public Services, and not going for tax cuts when money is needed to improve them, went down well. I imagine they well might with a lot of Americans, but maybe not so much the ones in power.

But in the sound bite culture that we share those kind of things might perhaps have been left out in the media coverage.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 10:05 AM

>>>>I DO admire his ability to argue, explicate and hold his own in discussions..(we here in the US can see the appearances before the House of Commons where debate of a type unkown here rages....and where G.W. Bush would be eaten alive if he tried to emulate Blair's style!)..... <<<<

When Blair's on C-SPAN, I can't turn it off. Not only does he hold his own in those debates, he always shines, AND does it while appearing to be the most likeable fellow who ever walked the planet. I only caught a bit of his speech yesterday, but the immediate impression I had was: "He wrote that himself, didn't he????)"

As to the specifics and subtleties of domestic policies and politics, I know very little, but on the world stage, he is a superstar. I'm sorry to hear he may be a glory-seeker, but in any event, he does get the glory.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 11:42 AM

Well, whatever we may think of Blair as a man, or as a politician, or as a Party leader, we're all agreed something has to be done about the terrorists. Given that we can't do a lot to influence his actions anyway, I'm ready to see if he's as good as his word. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool cynic where politicians and their promises are concerned, but I shall be delighted if he turns out to be a good 'un. I'm with Ben Franklin on pessimism. Churchill (yes, I now it's a bit early for that kind of comparison!) was a real driving force for Britain in WWII, but he was a right pain in the arse in peacetime. If Blair--and Bush, for that matter--turns out to be up to snuff in a real crisis, there's hope yet.

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 11:51 AM

Whilst not wanting to detract from Tone's fine speech. He really is an international statesman of some authority now and his internationalist ideals did have vision and humanity. However I am worried that the current situation will serve as an excuse to stifle debate on a whole raft of issues. For example notice how the public services/private initiative debate has been side lined with the 'it's going to happen hard luck'. The trouble with wars/conflict is that it gives someone like Blair an excuse to deflect the debate by crying out about 'our boys making sacrifices' so therefore one is not allowed to comment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Scotland the brave
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 12:14 PM

I'll admit that Tory Blair is a good speaker, I was just wondering if his son Ewan will fighting over there? I mean he is the right age for the armed forces. It's all right with this "We'll fight them on the beaches" because Tony Blair and his cronies won't be going and yet he's willing to send young men and women to their deaths because America says Jump and he says how high? I mean were was America when Britain was being bombed during the blitz, did they offer to help us, stand shoulder to shoulder with us, the only reaso that they came into the second world war was because Japan bombed Pearl Harbour, before that the Amercans said that it was a European war and that they should get involved with Britan, and yet when AMERICA gets bombed, Tony Blair he's right in there saying we'll help America in anyway we can. As far as I'm concerend it's America's war and no one else's. If you don't agree with I've said then that's choice.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: heric
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 12:44 PM

Braveheart: It would be an acceptable position for Britain to say it's your deal and we stand behind you. But that's what's so incredibly impressive about what Britain has done. Britain has stepped front and center on the world stage, IN FRONT of the U.S., which is the directly aggreived party. It doesn't give the appearance at all that they are jumping at directives from the U.S.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Ringer
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 01:02 PM

But that's what's so incredibly impressive about what Britain has done. But we haven't actually done anything, have we? We've postured a lot and said more, but posturing and talking are cheap. TB is good at talking the anti-terrorist talk, less good at walking the ditto walk (he's just let 400-odd Irish terrorists out of gaol, f'rinstance).


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Ringer
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 01:06 PM

On reviewing what I've just posted, I fear I may appear more jaundiced than I meant. I think TB has done a good job since Sep-11th; I just think that we haven't been put to the test yet.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: GUEST,Newsboy
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 02:56 PM

Let's face it Tone's done his usual - reached for the most gung-ho reactionary leader writers and followed what they've said. The bits about Africa etc were there to give the impression he has a soft cuddly side but can be hard when he has to be. if he was so concerned then why did he sit back. No wait for someone else - be it George Bush or the editor of the Sun or Dailly Mail to set the pace and our Tone will try to outrun/outdo/outfight them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Gareth
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 04:26 PM

Scotland the Brave - I fear you are being rather unfair to the Us of A regarding thier attitude between 1939 and Decmber 1941 Lend Lease ? The "Neutrality Patrol" ( Does the "Ruben James" ring a bell ?) The "training" personel flying with the Fleet Air Arm and RAF Coastal Comand. The Destroyers for bases deal?

My Grandfather was picked off a raft in mid Atlantic in the summer of 1941 by a US Coast Guard Cutter coincidentally following a UK bound convoy, and depth charging any contact made. I still have the jacket he was given as survivors clothing - damn good quality.

FDR may have been constrained by political reality, as you are in a democracy - but can you fault his support pre Pearl Harbour ?

No - there may be many things to critise about America, but their generosity, and sacrifice in the past, is not to be ignored.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: SharonA
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 05:20 PM

CarolC: Thanks for starting this thread. I'd heard part of Blair's speech last night on ABC's "Nightline" and was interested to see and/or read the rest. I was going to start a thread requesting a transcript but the Mudcat beat me to it by a mile! Thanks to all who have posted links and have discussed Blair's strengths and weaknesses. Up to now, I've really known nothing about the man, but the times they are a-changin' and I have some catching up to do with The World and Its Leaders... so I'll just keep reading what you all have to say about this one! Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 05:21 PM

Thanks everyone, for contributing your thoughts. I feel a bit more informed now.

I admit that when I saw and heard Mr. Blair speaking, I rather selfishly felt relief to see the leader of another country acting front and center in this situation.

My possibly overly idealistic opinion is that it's time for the US to stop regarding itself as the "leader of the free world" and start acting like an equal among the many nations who comprise the free world. Maybe we will have no other choice now. And it's good to know that you in Britain have a man who, at the very least, can be good statesman.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 05:44 PM

I especially like this part. I long for the leadership of my country to adopt a position as thoughtful as this one...

"They don't want revenge. They want something better in memory of their loved ones.

I believe their memorial can and should be greater than simply the punishment of the guilty. It is that out of the shadow of this evil, should emerge lasting good: destruction of the machinery of terrorism wherever it is found; hope amongst all nations of a new beginning where we seek to resolve differences in a calm and ordered way; greater understanding between nations and between faiths; and above all justice and prosperity for the poor and dispossessed, so that people everywhere can see the chance of a better future through the hard work and creative power of the free citizen, not the violence and savagery of the fanatic."


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 06:29 PM

*looking directly at Scotland the Brave*..."America's fight and no one else's,"...hmmmm, it seems these terrorists came from several countries, trained in Afganistan and in Germany, held meetings in Britain, and have cells in practically every country in Europe, as well as the middle east...so, if they decide the next "American" target is the American embassy in London?...or some ship docked in Scotland?...or they just get angry at Tony Blair for his speech?

Take from the experts....the USA tried isolationism, and found it was a big mistake in this modern world. The world today IS tied and connected, and calling a situation "YOUR problem" simply ignores reality. I doubt anyone except the US will be committing troops soon, but people who think like these terrorists will MAKE it 'other's' fight in due time. A little help solving it will bode well for everyone.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 07:07 PM

Hardly a domestic American problem when hundreds, maybe thousands of the dead were from other countries. And I was looking through the list of the dead firefighters, and over 70 of them were Irish names.

And if the wrong kind of response gets made, and it ends with massive civilian deaths in Pakistan and Afghanistan, that's going to mean the families of people I know getting killed.

One way and another, we are involved.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: heric
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 07:07 PM

Don't we all believe the news reports that SAS personnel are operating in Afghanistan? That's no small thing, if true.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Gareth
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 07:21 PM

I,hurricane - To quote George Orwell

"Just because it's printed in the Daily Telegraph does not mean it's untrue"

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 01:50 AM

Carol C.----I arrived on Vancouver Island some 10-11 years back, and like the place. That said, I am a Scot to my toenails, and a Nationalist with a big capital "N" of the left-of-centre variety.I find the views as stated by "Scotland the Brave" [ a vacuous term] a wee bit disconcerting by virtue of the fact that no-one on this forum has been trying to overblow the American trumpet.I don't admire US foreign policy, but know the sterling quality of the folks in the States---I'd better acknowledge that---I'm married to one! Cheers---I'm gone to a music thread!


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 05:08 AM

I haven't been to Vancouver Island myself, Boab, but I am pretty fond of Canada. Sounds like you picked a good spot to settle in.

Can anyone provide a link to the text of the speech Mr. Blair gave today in the House of Commons? I heard it, but some of it went by a little too fast for me to remember.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 05:18 AM

Carol, you really ought to read the thread from tha beginning! I've copied two links from earlier posts: here's the text of the speech, and here's a video of the speech.

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 05:27 AM

Thanks Steve. I'm talking about the speach he gave today. This was a different speach. In this one he gave details about prior terrorist activity that is being linked to Bin Laden, and also some of the evidence that he has seen that he says implicates Bin Laden. I just saw it on CNN about a half hour ago.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 05:31 AM

They're even saying that Mr. Blair may meet with some members of the Taliban soon.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 07:06 AM

Sorry Carol! I thought you might have meant that (after I clicked 'Submit', of course!) so I had a look to see if I could find it. Then I thought you must have meant yesterday, because it was so early in the morning. I suppose he's getting up pretty early at the moment.

I couldn't find the text of anything from today, but there is plenty of comment in this morning's Guardian, which you can find from the "text" link above. The BBC will have something too.

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 07:27 AM

I see Mrs Thatcher has been stirring it up too. Good job that woman isn't PM any more; I reckon she qualifies for locking up under Blunkett's proposed "religious hatred" legislation. For those that haven't heard, she claimed that muslim leaders in the UK were at fault for not protesting strongly enough!

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Gervase
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 08:16 AM

Interesting - the old bag has kept remarkably quiet since September 11. I can't have been alone in wondering when she'd poke her wizened neck above the parapet, and now she does so with her usual spectacular lack of tact.
Amen to Steve - thank gawd she's no longer in a position to do much damage, and merely remind us what a raving lunatic she was when in power.
But Blair's worrying.
Sure the speech was a fine piece of rhetoric. It even had a few verbs. But when I hear politicos claiming the moral high ground I have to pinch myself.
Any leader who claims a higher authority for his or her actions has got to be dubious, and Blair's moralising in that respect is little different to Lil' Dubbya's eulogising of Billy Graham.
Personally I'd rather have a rational humanist deciding what to do than a crusading zealot of any stripe.
And as for the grand global vision - yeah, it's luvverly cuddly stuff, but in terms of how much influence the man has, I fear the speech may rank with those of the Miss World contestants who yearn for world peace between fluffy animals.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 09:37 AM

I'm an American, and I thought Blair's speech was quite eloquent and appropriate to the situation we find ourselves in.

A number of people on this thread, and on the thread(s) about Bush's speech to Congress, have made dismissive or disparaging remarks about "rhetoric". I don't think the importance of rhetoric should be underestimated. I believe that one of the most important things that Bush and Blair can do at this point is to articulate the rationale for the actions we are preparing to take, and their vision for the world that we will strive to create out of this crisis. I think both have done this admirably.

Some of the most significant accomplishments of our greatest leaders of the past were the speeches they gave in times of crisis. This is certainly true of Lincoln (Gettysburg Address, Second Inaugural), FDR (Day of Infamy, Four Freedoms), and Churchill (take your pick). Leadership starts with communication, and while our response should not be limited to speeches, they are essential to any effort like this.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 10:36 AM

Good point, Whistle Stop. I think maybe we're just too used to hearing rhetoric used to make mountains out of political molehills, and we automatically respond in the same old way when we hear it, without much regard to circumstances. If Blair means it, it's good to hear hime sound as though he means it, rather than sounding like a soulles spokesman performing the chore of reading out a statement prepared by a faceless committee.

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Scotland the brave
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 12:43 PM

Gareth,

The only reason that America came to help Britian as I said was Japan bombed Peral Harbour, I think that F.D.R. said that the second world war, 1939-1941 was "Europe's war" and that Ameria should stay out of it, I'm not saying that all Americans were had that put of view, it just some, and as for the first world war, that also was "Europe's war and not America's" and the only reason that America came into that war was because a German submarine blew up an American ship.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 01:12 PM

Scotland the brave, the USA had a substantial role in WW II prior to Pearl Harbor. Lend-lease, the "Good Neighbor Policy," convoys and the like were in operation well before December 1941. FDR had to perform a delicate balancing act, providing assistance to Britain before without seeming to be too anxious to jump into the fray. And he had to be somewhat duplicitous about it too, particularly during the 1940 elections when he had to make sure that he didn't allow his opponents to paint him as the President that would send America's sons to die in another European war.

Eventually, of course, Pearl Harbor came along and helped our country sharpen its focus -- and Hitler helped by over-ruling his advisors and also declaring war on the USA at that point, making it clear that the USA had to fight both Germany and Japan. After that we were fully engaged, with men and materiel. But it's wrong to say that we didn't help Britain before then; if we really hadn't, it's likely Britain would have lost the war before the Japanese helped us make up our minds.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Paul from Hull
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 01:24 PM

StB, you dont seem to realise that once the USA entered WW2, the emphasis was 'Germany 1st'..... not a great deal to do with Pearl Harbour, that....


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 01:30 PM

It's important when making any speech to be aware of who you are talking to. In a situation like this, the most important audience isn't the people in the hall, or the people in the country, but the rest of the world.

Blair's big speech appears to have taken that into account more than Bush's, which seems to have been primarily for domestic consumption.

As for Thatcher - not only did she falsely and irresponsibly accuse Muslim clerics and mosques of failing to condemn the terrorist attack, but she also referred to them as "priests" which will be taken as insulting, as well as demonstrating ignorance. It's equivalent to referring to the Chief Rabbi, or Ian Paisleyas "priests".


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 02:48 PM

McGrath, I won't defend Thatcher, but I have to disagree with you about Bush. It was extremely important for him to address his own country first, the rest of the world second. I think he managed to do both, but some people seem to feel that he should have weakened his statements to Congress in order to make them more palatable to people in other countries. Again, I disagree -- the USA was on the receiving end of a vicious attack, and Bush's speech needed to be appropriately vigorous to match the scale of the attack.

In fact, I think the rest of the world would have responded less favorably if Bush's speech had been less vigorous; both our enemies and our friends needed to hear a message of strength and determination. Bush needed to let Americans and others know that we would respond to this attack with intelligence, determination, and strength. I think he hit it just right.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 05:26 PM

And it seems fairly clear that he did, for most Americans. But I disagree about seeing them as the only people he was supposed to be talking to. He'd got them on side already, without opening his mouth. The terrorists had done that already.

One think worth noting about Blair's speech - at no stage did he feel it necessary to refer to what is happening as "a war". That was no accident, and in my views it's a pity others didn't do the same. Avoiding the word in no way softens the action, but using it certainly doesn't help keep heads clear.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: GUEST,General Patton
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 05:57 PM

Scotland the Brave has a rather convoluted perspective on history. I am glad to see that several people have clearly demonstrated that the U.S. did support Great Britan well before Pearl Harbor. The same is well documented for WW1. On a related note, if Great Britain had taken a stronger stance toward Germany's re-arming and aggression in the mid-1930s, there probably would not have even been a WW2.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 06:06 PM

Well, it hardly seems constructive to turn this thread into a debate about who did what during the last two world wars while we're trying to see what we can do to stave off World War Three.

Scotland the Brave, would you be willing, as a Scot, to join me, a US American, in hoping for a better future for all of the people of the world?

Thanks, Steve Parks, for the heads up about where I can get info on today's speach.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: heric
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 06:35 PM

Great big pile of transcripts of recent speeches and interviews at http://gwis2.circ.gwu.edu/~gprice/speech.htm


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: CarolC
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 01:42 AM

That's a great resource, Dan. Thanks.

blicky for transcripts


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Ringer
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 05:01 AM

I find it a bit sad that we don't seem to be able to have any thread associated with British politics that doesn't involve "Thatcher bashing". No, she wasn't perfect, and towards the end seemed to lose her way, but in 1979 she was just what this country needed. You lot seem to have short memories; don't you remember the "English disease", the "Winter of Discontent", "Red Robbo", the IMF pulling Dennis Healy off that plane (I speak loosely) in the latest of many "Sterling Crises", not being able to take more than 50 quid on holiday, inflation at nearly 30%, etc, etc? We were a basket-case, the laughing-stock, certainly of Europe, probably the world.

The current strength of the economy, that allows George Brown (foolishly, in my view) to pour more money into health, education, social services, etc, is her legacy: do you imagine that, with "more of the same" in 1979 and afterwards, we'd be where we are now? If you think anything (manufacturing, the list of infrastructures above, etc) has suffered in the last 20 years, it would now be much worse if Mrs Thatcher hadn't been.

And why, I wonder, do you all seem to think that she would have reacted so differently to today's crisis than Tony Blair has (your implication is that she was a warmonger). She certainly took us to war with Argentina: which one of you thinks that was unjustified? And she supported Bush père with troops and materiel when Iraq invaded Kuwait; again, was that unjustified? Just remind me in what way she was a warmonger, please.

Mrs Thatcher did things. What she did (reducing the power of the unions, de-nationalising etc) might not have suited your liberal inclinations, but did increase general wealth, and that's a pre-requisite for the improvements to all the other areas you deem so important. Her successors seem to have had as little success in the latter. TB has been in power now for four and a half years; do hospitals, public transport, education, social services, etc, show any improvement in that time? I think not; the reverse, if anything. That's because improving them is not just a question of pouring money in; but to do anything else requires political balls. And that brings me back to my previous post in this thread (and also to the subject of the thread), because, so far, Tony Blair hasn't shown that he's got any.

Standing back, waiting for the explosion...


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Fiolar
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 05:14 AM

Yeah - she did things alright. Abolishing school milk for one which one of the few things poor children had. Remember "there's no such as society."? And by the way I presume you mean "Gordon Brown"? George Brown died in 1985.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Ringer
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 07:22 AM

Quite right, Fiolar, Gordon Brown I meant (funny how the fingers run ahead of the brain, isn't it -- even you suffer from similar effects in your post above); sorry for that.

As to "no such thing as society", here's what Mrs Thatcher actually said: ... I think we've been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it's the government's job to cope with it. "I have a problem, I'll get a grant". "I'm homeless, the government must house me." They're casting their problems on society. And you know, there's no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours. People have got their entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There is no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation... In context, it doesn't seen exceptional to me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 07:35 AM

OK--let's carry on the Thatcher discussion elswhere.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 08:08 AM

Anyone remember a short story by H G Wells (The Phial??) about an anarchist (the Victorian equivalent of today's terrorists) who steals what he believes to be a phial (vial, if you prefer) containing a deadkly bacterium and goes out to infect the city? And two or three guys, also anarchists, went to prison about a hundred years ago for making bombs in my home town, Walsall. Seems like there have always been extremists whose ends justify any means. Only the possible scale has got worse ...

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: GUEST,Steve Parkes
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 08:13 AM

Oh b88g8r! Sorry, ignore my last post about anarchists--it somehow got into the wrong thread. Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 08:29 AM

McGrath, we can agree to disagree. As a point of clarification, I never said or implied that Americans were the only people Bush needed to be talking to; I just felt that it was important for him to communicate with Americans as well as people in other countries. And a tepid speech would not have served any of us well under the circumstances.

I think the word "war" is entirely appropriate, and I am pleased that Bush has continued to characterize it this way, despite receiving some criticism for it. Sure, it's a different kind of war, as we were attacked by a non-state entity (although one that appears to receive substantial support from a number of established governments with a range of international "legitimacy"). But the use of the word "war" recognizes that our country was attacked by an armed foreign power intent on weakening or destroying us -- their aims are not entirely clear, but certainly they meant to do us great harm. And it suggests that we must be prepared to commit substantial resources to fighting back aggressively in a campaign involving military force (as well as other mechanisms), in which there will be bloodshed, in which some will win and some will lose, for which the people of the countries involved should anticipate real sacrifice, and from which will emerge a realignment of governments and alliances. Choose another euphemism if you wish, but it sounds like war to me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Scotland the brave
Date: 06 Oct 01 - 06:30 AM

I do want a better world, and going to war is not the best way. There are lot of other countries who've all had their Sept the 11's and were was America and Britain then. And as for America going to war on terriorists, and that any country harbouring them will be targets, does that mean that America is a target because you harbour Republican terrorists, you raise funds for them, and also for the orange lodge, as well. So before you start to bomb the Bin Laden and his pals, I think that you should sort out your own terrorists first as we have to do here in Britain.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: CarolC
Date: 06 Oct 01 - 08:18 AM

Scotland the brave, I'm an American, and you'll get no argument from me on any of those points. I wish my country wasn't using so much 'war' rhetoric. I wish my government was more oriented toward justice in a world court, and working in non military ways to try to eliminate terrorism everywhere, including terrorism that we have sponsored ourselves.

I wish my country was more concerned with "Freedom and justice (and prosperity) for all" for everyone in the world, and not just for the ones we think deserve it.

That's the sort of better world I'm hoping for. Will you join me in hoping for that?


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Oct 01 - 09:28 AM

Yes, we disagree, but politely, Whistle Stop. As Mudcatters ought to.

Getting your mind into gear before you start speaking isn't the same as "tepid". Or rather before you hand the final draft to the man who is going to deliver it. Or before you deliver the speech handed to you if you are that man.

Obviously the speech was intended for Americans, but it came across as intended only for Americans.

War is a word that should be restricted to actual states of war. Using it as a metaphor, which appears to be the case here, since there has been no declaration of war, just invites panic, for example increasing the number of dead refugees. Also it invites comparison with other metaphorical wars like the "war against drugs" - in which case it's a very unfortunate association. If the "war against terrorism" goes as well as the "war against drugs", its only effect will be to vastly increase the amount of terrorism.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Scotland the brave
Date: 06 Oct 01 - 09:47 AM

Carol c.

Yes I do Agree with you in everything that you've said, at lest you can see sense.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 09 Oct 01 - 08:08 AM

I appreciate the politeness, McGrath.

My feeling is that, unlike the "war on drugs," this is a real war, with real planes, ships, bombs, guns, soldiers, and battles. Like other modern wars, it will not be fought only on the battlefield, and in fact non-military engagements may constitute a substantially larger element of this one. But I DO want my country and others to view this as a war, with all that implies. One of my biggest fears is that the shock of September 11th will wear off before we make any headway with this, and gradually it will lapse into an uneasy stalemate like those that exist in other theaters -- the Palestinean/Israeli conflict, Northern Ireland, etc. Not war, not peace. I would prefer that we use terminology that is appropriate to a sustained, determined, and violent conflict, so there is no misunderstanding about our intentions.

I strongly disagree with those who feel that we should be pursuing this on other than a war footing. As I probably said before (in this thread or another; one loses track), I believe it is wise to look for the root causes of people's frustrations throughout the world, and to the extent the US exacerbates their suffering, we should find ways to change our behavior (however, not all suffering in the world should be presumed to be caused by the US). But the terrorist attack on September 11th was out of bounds, as are other terrorist attacks that have been launched at the US and other countries. In my view the people who did this have to be defeated, and decisively; then we can continue to look for ways to improve matters. We may even go so far as to launch a "Marshall Plan" in Afghanistan after hostilities cease. But just like Nazi Germany, we have to beat them first.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 19 Oct 01 - 10:47 AM

Whistle Stop, it is surely beyond argument that the hijackings were criminal acts against a democracry. That's how the Brits always categorised the unrest in N Ireland - rightly refusing to go along with the IRA labelling it a war.

You may remember that this little matter of definitions became quite important for some people (notably the hunger strikers). If wrecking the towers was an act of war, then it wasn't criminal, and the perpetrators if caught would be POWs. Is that what you want?

Just a detail, but Boal is wrong if he thinks Blair writes his own speeches. Usually he does not. The cringe-making speech under discussion here was a notable exception.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Ditchdweller
Date: 19 Oct 01 - 11:18 AM

My fears about Tony Blair stem from the fact that he is a nice person. Why is this dangerous? Well, TB and his closest friends are all nice and they all have a good idea of how nice they are. Being so nice, they obviously have nice ideas and, being nice ideas they are also the correct ideas. It is obvious from that, that ideas that they do not agree with are not nice and must be the thought of people who are not nice. So anyone who disagrees with TB and his friends can not be nice and are, therefore, not only to be ignored, but are to be discouraged from putting their ideas forward. As an example of this, anyone who disagrees with TB's ideas on race must, by definition, be racist and shouted down every time they open their mouths. Beward of rule by "nice" people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 19 Oct 01 - 01:44 PM

Fionn, you are right that this definitional issue isn't new, and that the semantic distinctions have been important in a number of other conflicts for a variety of reasons. In fact, we in the US have gotten used to our wars being called something else (I believe Korea was a "police action," and Vietnam was a "conflict"), while non-wars are called wars (the "war on poverty," the "war on hunger," the "war on drugs," etc.). Probably none of these words is a perfect fit, because all are defined to some extent by precedent, and this situation departs from many of the established precedents.

Still, for what it's worth, I think "war" is the right word to use. We have an identified foreign enemy that is inextricably linked to (and supported by) a foreign government. That enemy attacked us on a scale that is not typical of any of the usual "crimes" we are familiar with -- as much as smaller-scale acts of terrorism have become a distressing fact of life in many countries, I know of no other example in world history where over 5,000 people were intentionally killed in the course of a single hour and it was NOT considered an act of war. We are responding with the tools of war: armed forces, high-stakes diplomacy, international alliances, a high-tech economic blockade, dramatically increased home-front security measures, etc. True, we might employ some of these tools in a more traditional crime-fighting context, but when they are used together, on this scale, it sure looks like war to most of us. You know the saying: if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck. Well, what does this look like to you?

And as much as some have tried to couch our aims in more limited terms, it is becoming increasingly clear that our objective is the destruction of our enemy. That doesn't necessarily mean that we'll kill them all -- hell, even at the end of World War II (I trust that we can agree THAT was a war), we imprisoned some of the senior Nazis rather than executing them en masse, and left the Emperor of Japan on his throne. But it does mean that we are using the tools of war in order to achieve more-or-less traditional war aims. Given that our enemy is not only al Qaeda, but also the Taliban, I think it is fair to say that we are seeking to destroy the Taliban, and allow it to be replaced by another government (at some point they may sue for peace and we may consider modifying our goals, but for the time being we're out to get them). The destruction of a foreign government is also something that most people would associate with war, rather than with law enforcement.

Most importantly, though, we need to call this a war because we need to make sure that people all over the world recognize it as a war. We're not in Afghanistan to arrest a bank robber, or even a murderer; we're there to kill people and break things until the existing (although unrecognized) government either surrenders or collapses, after which we can have a free hand to dismantle/destroy the offensive force that was employed against us. It is likely to result in some additional actions against us, by a foreign military force, using both conventional and unconventional means. And it will require sacrifice, and resolve. The word "war" lays the foundation for that better than any other term I've heard used. It's an ugly word, but then it's an ugly situation: I still prefer to call it what it is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: DougR
Date: 19 Oct 01 - 01:55 PM

Hear, hear, Whistle Stop! Well though out post.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 19 Oct 01 - 02:23 PM

Thank you Doug. You and I haven't always seen eye to eye on all issues, but I get a sense we're very much in agreement on this one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: DougR
Date: 19 Oct 01 - 05:10 PM

Yep. No doubt about that. I want to live to an even riper old age, and I don't think I would be able to do that if the nay-sayers were to get their way.

On the other hand maybe their plan is to talk the terrorists to death! *BG*

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: SharonA
Date: 19 Oct 01 - 05:33 PM

I agree with Doug: very well put, Whistle Stop. I concur that a "war footing" absolutely is the way for the US to pursue "our intentions." This isn't the time for wrist-slapping and kid gloves.

Fionn says, "If wrecking the towers was an act of war, then it wasn't criminal." Who says an act of war is not also a criminal act? The perpetrators of acts of war are, when brought to justice, tried under the law, and those who are pursued are referred to as "war criminals." The aim of the US is to bring down the Taliban, but bin Laden and others also have prices on their heads for the atrocities they themselves have committed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Oct 01 - 06:01 PM

If wrecking the towers was an act of war, then it wasn't criminal

Not so. If it was an act of war it was a criminal act of war, and should be treated as such. As should all war crimes, whichever side carries them out.

And yet I understand that there is still opposition by United States to there being set up a standing Internationbal War Crimes Tribunal.

People who are responsible for war crimes are the enemy, whoever they are and whatever flag they may have brought shame on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: CarolC
Date: 19 Oct 01 - 06:07 PM

Not so, McGrath. We (the US) make all of the rules. And we can, if we want, make one set of rules for ourselves, and an entirely different set of rules for the rest of the world.

Why can we do this? Because we have the power and the ability to destroy anyone who disagrees with us.


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Subject: RE: BS: Politics: Tony Blair's speech
From: DougR
Date: 20 Oct 01 - 12:05 AM

Gee, Carol, I didn't know you felt that way! And here I thought you were a real softie!

DougR


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Mudcat time: 11 July 2:54 PM EDT

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