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The Cameron revolution

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Robin Lustig | 13:54 UK time, Friday, 30 July 2010

Do you think David Cameron might be a secret revolutionary? I know he calls himself a Conservative (albeit a "liberal Conservative"), but I'm beginning to wonder whether beneath that fresh-scrubbed exterior, there beats a truly revolutionary heart.

Consider the following evidence: he's put together a government coalition unlike anything Britain has seen for more than half a century. He's proposing the biggest cuts in government spending in modern British political history. He's proposing major changes to the way English schools are run; an overhaul of the way the National Health Service is organised in England; reform of the way the police are organised; and changes to the way we elect members of the Westminster parliament that would almost certainly change the shape of UK politics for generations to come.

Overseas, he's told President Obama he wants a different kind of relationship with Washington; he's started wooing Turkey and India - and upset Israel and Pakistan in the process.

There's more, but that's probably enough for now. (This morning, there's news that Iain Duncan Smith wants to tear up the benefits system and start again.) My mind starts spinning just thinking about it all. Is this what voters expected when they went to the polls last May?

And one more question: how much of it will actually happen? Because, let us not forget, he needs parliamentary approval for each and every one of his proposals - and there are already rumblings of discontent.

The Labour opposition are planning to vote against his idea of a referendum next May on voting reform. (Which is deliciously paradoxical, you might think, given that before the election, Labour were the only party to come out in favour of the system that Mr Cameron and his Lib Dem colleagues are now proposing.) A few dozen of his own MPs are threatening to join them.

Tory backbenchers aren't wildly enthusiastic about his NHS reforms, nor about his scrapping of the schools building programme if it means that school improvements in their own constituencies now won't happen. And there's a nasty row brewing over defence cuts as well. Stand by for a scaled-back Trident nuclear weapons programme and squeals of anger from the defence lobby.

The Lib Dems are finding it hard to swallow the proposed increase in value added tax rates, nor do they like all Mr Cameron's talk of capping immigration from outside the EU. (Business leaders don't seem to like it much either - they're worrying about where they're going to get all their IT people from.) Conservative backbenchers are equally dubious about increasing capital gains tax, which would hit owners of second homes, most of whom probably vote Tory.

So how many MPs actually share the Cameroonian revolutionary vision? Is he leading his troops bravely into battle, shaking up a country that needs an injection of new vigour after 13 years of Labour rule? Or as he turns around and looks behind him, will he find sullen foot soldiers, reluctant to budge, unconvinced that these are battles they want to fight?

I have to admit that there are times when I feel I need a mirror to make sense of it all, because everything is beginning to look back-to-front.

Is Labour really accusing the Tories of being soft on immigration as they loosen the restrictions on foreign students? Soft on terrorism because they've scrapped the stop-and-search provisions of the Terrorism Act? Soft on crime because Ken Clarke is wondering whether short prison sentences are a good idea and Theresa May is about to get rid of ASBOs?

I wonder whether there's a danger that Mr Cameron is trying to do too much too quickly. We know that he doesn't want his government to acquire a reputation as a slasher of government spending and little else. We also know that he believes governments need to act quickly if they hope to make real changes.

But here's the thing. Has he bothered to explain to his own party what he's doing? Has he considered that they may not be as impressed with his ambitious agenda as his Lib Dem deputy, Nick Clegg? And what does he intend to do when one or more of his reform proposals gets bogged down in the House of Commons?

History teaches us that revolutions often turn in on themselves. Sometimes they devour themselves with ugly consequences. If over the next few months there's growing unrest among public sector workers as thousands of jobs are cut - and if the economy splutters to a stand-still, or tips back into recession - how much appetite for revolution will Mr Cameron's followers still have?

He has set himself a mighty task - and if he does pull it off, it's just possible that he may earn himself a place in the history books as a more radical prime minister even than Margaret Thatcher. But there's still a long way to go ...


  • 1. At 3:55pm on 30 Jul 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    After both the Tories and Labour facilitated the great banking theft and tranfer of wealth upwards, he has little choice but to cut services because of the reduced taxes as a result of those earlier action, more correctly, non-actions. The reorganization of the various governmental services are only a result of the cuts and not some great intitative of policy and will probably result in little. Most of what is being done is caused by what was not done, regulating the banks and financial services and what was done, bailing out the banks...options are few. Of course going off to Turkey and India with hat in hand can hardly be viewed as a great stroke of diplomacy. As he postures to protect the tax exemptions of the wealthy and create greater hardships for everyone else it is hard to view this as great political stradegy....more like politics as usual.

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  • 2. At 6:10pm on 30 Jul 2010, dceilar wrote:

    Robin, given the short life span of coalitions in the UK, I think Cameron is trying to get as much out into public debate as possible. Whether the make-up of Parliament is going to remain in the Coalition's favour remains to be seen. Personally I can't see this coalition surviving the AV debate in May next year; so perhaps what Cameron is doing is laying out what a future Tory government will do after this coalition collapses.

    He'll need all the help he can get in my opinion because I think the Liberal-Democrat vote will collapse because of their involvement with the Tories which, in turn will result in Labour getting more of the anti-Tory vote. Also, the Tories will be facing a renewed Labour Party after the election of David Miliband. Let's not forget the narrowness of Labour's defeat with the unpopular Gordon Brown as its leader.

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  • 3. At 6:25pm on 30 Jul 2010, quietoaktree wrote:


    I agree completely, there is enough money of the privileged in the UK still to be taxed BEFORE the under-privileged (already taxed to the hilt) are carried to a paupers grave.

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  • 4. At 7:44pm on 30 Jul 2010, TrueToo wrote:

    Looks like David Cameron is going to save the world, starting with the Israeli-Arab conflict. That's a cinch, all that's needed is to denigrate Israeli commandos for defending themselves against "peace activists" armed with metal clubs and knives and be the 350 000th original thinker to loudly repeat with glazed eyes the standard chant:


    Right, problem solved, now let's move on to being an ambassador for Turkey, keener for the Turks to join the EU than the Turks themselves. Towards that end, let's bash anyone who might have qualms about the automatic entry of tens of millions more Muslims into Europe and insist that all will be sweetness and light with Turkey as a part of Europe.

    Oh, and it's also a good idea to inform the US of A that Britain was the "junior partner" to the US during World War II, ignoring the gasps of amazement from everyone who heard that one and the rustling of Churchill turning in his grave.

    Not exactly clear how Cameron intends to save the world with that statement - perhaps he thinks it's only fair that if Blair was Bush's poodle then he should be Obama's poodle - but I guess he knows what he's doing and all will become clear in time.

    Then on to India, where he bashed Pakistan for supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Well, that was appropriate and appeared to be a sign of gutsy leadership but then he had to spoil it all later by saying he wasn't talking about the Pakistani government. A great opportunity to save the world missed there.

    It's turning out to be a bit tougher than Cameron envisaged, this world-saving quest. I guess he might run the risk of spreading himself a bit thin and move on to China and Tibet. Perhaps he will wave a magic wand over that old conflict and try to get them to hold hands and sing Peter Paul and Mary songs. While he's banking on that he'll perhaps try to get China to stop pointing missiles at Taiwan, although I guess even Cameron might realise at that point that he's he's taking on a bit too much.

    Of course, there's also Africa, prime destination for all world-savers with its abundant conflicts, brutality, poverty and war. He's going to be a busy man for the next few years.

    Perhaps someone will gently remind the British PM that he has a Foreign Secretary and it is his job, not the PM's, to go blundering across half the planet with his foot in his mouth abjectly apologising for being British.

    He also needs a gentle reminder that there is no shortage of problems at home after 13 years of what was arguably the worst government Britain has ever had.

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  • 5. At 8:24pm on 30 Jul 2010, dceilar wrote:


    Would you believe me if I say that Cameron calls himself a Zionist!

    You should also look up the Conservative Friends of Israel!

    Cameron supports Turkey for different reasons.

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  • 6. At 10:17pm on 30 Jul 2010, quietoaktree wrote:


    There are some Jews who believe Israel is too important to let the Israeiis do what they want in their name.


    The BBC has just reported that an Arab Israeli postman is facing prison for having sex with an Israeli woman because he did NOT say he was NOT Jewish.

    There are MANY different Jewish views towards Israel and it would help if both yourself and Marcus recognized this. The richness of Jewish political discussion --- has never included oppression or Fascism as ideals.

    Both Britain and Turkey are only two of many who are questioning Israels direction --the others are Jews themselves.

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  • 7. At 10:19pm on 30 Jul 2010, TrueToo wrote:

    5. dceilar,

    This is the problem - Cameron is a Zionist when addressing supporters of Israel, a Muslim-friendly anti-Israel activist when in Turkey, an outspoken critic of Pakistan when in India and a shame-faced British poodle when in the US.

    The guy is making me dizzy. Will the real David Cameron please stand up?

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  • 8. At 10:42pm on 30 Jul 2010, TrueToo wrote:

    6. quietoaktree,

    Your link is to the wrong article.

    No, he is not "facing prison for having sex with an Israeli woman because he did NOT say he was NOT Jewish," he is facing prison for deceiving her into believing he was Jewish. He knew she wanted a relationship with a Jewish man and he knew very well what he was doing.

    Anyway, this was definitely not rape and I'm sure the verdict will be overturned on appeal.

    I am well aware of the many and varied views from Jews about Israel. There are even Jews who went over to the despicable Ahmadinejad to rejoice with him in his Holocaust denial conference a few years back in Teheran, such is their antipathy towards Israel and their fellow Jews.

    I'm wondering who or what It would help if Marcus and I recognised the varied views. (You said, "It would help.")

    I reserve the right to hold in contempt the many Jews who plot against Israel and their fellow Jews.

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  • 9. At 10:54pm on 30 Jul 2010, TrueToo wrote:


    I see I got that wrong and your link was not meant to refer to the "rape case.

    The Israelis are not "doing what they want," they are doing what they have to to survive. It's about time you and the other thousands of Israel-bashers on the Internet turned your attention to the Arab side of the Israeli-Arab conflict and tried to understand what it is that the Arabs are aiming for.

    But as Marcusaurelius says, it's not possible to educate the Israel-haters.

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  • 10. At 11:05pm on 30 Jul 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Cameron appears to be in a catch 22.

    A large portion of the public cry tears that Britain is no longer a world power --yet expect their leaders to push for the past ´glories´

    Another portion have accepted the reality of a changing world order, with Britain playing a very minor role and see Britain as ONLY as a part of Europe, nothing more.

    His international hosts probably also hold this view.

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  • 11. At 11:49pm on 30 Jul 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #9 TrueToo

    OK add racism to the list.

    BBC radio -- no link found.

    As I said, Kahane Fascism is NOT an ideal. If you are using it to justify Israels actions -- both yourself and Marcus have more Jewish enemies than you bargain for.

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  • 12. At 04:13am on 31 Jul 2010, javascriptbanner wrote:


    No legitimate steps can be taken to curing an illness (in this case rectifying the causes of egregious international problems) until, first, the 'illness' (IE: the cause of a widely agreed 'problem') is approached dispassionately and EXPLICITLY identified (and in this case, discussed without repeating years of counterproductive euphemisms and gross public-intellectual dishonesty!!)

    India's legislature, cities and other places have been regular victims of acts of terrorism- originating from Pakistan for many years...

    To not acknowledge this truth publicly, forcefully and without pulling any punches only cultivates the very factors that this 'disease' requires to continue propagation and wrecking havoc both within Pakistan and internationally...

    Speaking of WWII-

    during the lead-up to Sept-1939 and the start of WWII and into 1940 it was the 'intellectually dishonest' AND COWARDLY unwillingness of many UK politicians and politicians of the UK's most capable international allies' to acknowledge a plain- but difficult to discuss- truth that allowed and enabled Hitler and the Nazi's to prepare for and launch their attempt at 'world enslavement'...

    Only once the U.S.'s most unprincipled, 'willfully blind' politicians and civil servants openly-recognized the unmistakable and ever increasing likelihood of their own country being devoured by Nazi Germany- if the U.K. was defeated- did the U.S. begin, in 1940, to fight, albeit indirectly*, against Nazi Germany in part via the U.K. trading many of its international bases to the U.S. in return for U.S. military aid (warships, etc) ...

    * through the the Destroyers for Bases Agreement and providing massive amounts of materiel, weaponry, foodstuffs, consumer goods, raw materials and the like to the U.K. cheap and on-loan...

    U.S. president Roosevelt's fireside chats of 1940

    are highly illustrative of the massive sabotage of and damage to a country's foreign policy efforts and interests that can be caused by a small- but influentially placed' few 'who chose to not see and who refuse to openly acknowledge what is plainly evident to all':

    May 26-1940:

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=15959 -

    ".. There are some among us who were persuaded by minority groups that we could maintain our physical safety by retiring within our continental boundaries—the Atlantic on the east, the Pacific on the west, Canada on the north, and Mexico on the south. I illustrated the futility—the impossibility—of that idea in my message to the Congress last week. Obviously, a defense policy based on that is merely to invite future attack.

    "And, finally, there are a few among us who have deliberately and consciously closed their eyes because they were determined to be opposed to their government, its foreign policy and every other policy, to be partisan, and to believe that anything that the Government did was wholly wrong..."

    "To those who have closed their eyes for any of these many reasons, to those who would not admit the possibility of the approaching storm—to all of them the past two weeks have meant the shattering of many illusions... "

    December 29-1940:

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=15917 -

    "... Never before since Jamestown and Plymouth Rock has our American civilization been in such danger as now...

    "For, on September 27, 1940, by an agreement signed in Berlin, three powerful nations, two in Europe and one in Asia, joined themselves together in the threat that if the United States of America interfered with or blocked the expansion program of these three nations- a program aimed at world control—they would unite in ultimate action against the United States...

    " The Nazi masters of Germany have made it clear that they intend not only to dominate all life and thought in their own country, but also to enslave the whole of Europe, and then to use the resources of Europe to dominate the rest of the world..."

    During the last decade, how many radicalized Muslims in and their organizations with a presence within Pakistan have not used and espoused similar language regarding their intentions for the U.S., U.K., India and the wider developed world??

    Rectifying a self-evident, urgent problem only starts when 'the problem' is honestly and accurately identified and "openly" discussed...

    Roderick V. Louis,
    Vancouver, BC, Canada

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  • 13. At 07:03am on 31 Jul 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Do you think David Cameron might be a secret revolutionary?"

    No, I think I think Victoria Station's worst kept secret is that "The Macaroon" is an out and out fool.

    "Overseas, he's told President Obama he wants a different kind of relationship with Washington"

    I'd like to see one too, a severed relationship. He can take up where his predecessors left off with the release of Megrahi. That crime has done far more damage to the connection between Washington and Whitehall then even Obama imagaines. The British are cluelss about what they've done to themselvdes. British Petroleum was just the icing on the cake.

    "he's started wooing Turkey and India - and upset Israel and Pakistan in the process."

    He's done more than upset Pakistan by questioning its commitment to fighting the Taleban and al Qaeda in public, especially considering how many people were killed by the Taleban in Pakistan. What a nuanced performance The Macaroon gives, kind of like a sledge hammer. And he's alienated much of the EU who does not want anything to do with Turkey's membership. For many reasons, from Austria to Germany to Greece to Romania they will have none of Turkey in the EU.

    The Macaroon got a lot of people angry and accomplished absolutely nothing of benefit for it. Is that what you call a revolutionary Mr. Lustig?

    As for the Arab Israeli conflict, more than one government around the world has crashed its ship of state on the rocks of trying to solve what has clearly been an impossible to resolve conflict. The more time and energy they waste at it, the less is left for the important things they can do something about. BTW, now that the cold war is over, that conflict has really little if any importance to the world at large. Even the Kurds present a far more dangerous challenge. The Macaroon had better start thinking about what he's going to do about Iran. London like New York City and Washigton DC is on the Islamic Revolutionary list of high priority targets for whatever weapons then can acquire.

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  • 14. At 09:58am on 31 Jul 2010, dceilar wrote:


    This left winger thinks Cameron is actually being consistent on the issue of Israel. The J-Post article I linked (@ post 5) on Cameron quotes him stating his commitment to the Jewish State of Israel whilst supporting the two-state solution.

    Cameron said he understood the need to build a security fence, but that he was worried it would "make a two-state solution more difficult." He said he realized that this was not necessarily a popular observation, but that being a "true friend to Israel... [meant] being a candid friend and saying when you think that mistakes are being made."

    Cameron criticises the 'security fence' in that article because it hinders the two-state solution; so it would be logical to suggest that the closing of Gaza does the same.

    Robin's previous blog post suggests that the two-state solution is the majority view of British Jews, and I don't think it controversial to presume that it is the majority view of Britons. Let's not be surprised if it's the same for Turkey too?

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  • 15. At 1:04pm on 31 Jul 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    As Europe and the Arabs continue to blow the issue of Israel and the Palestinians far out of proportion to its significance to the world, they ingnore far more serious issues like Sudan, Burma, Venezuela, Cuba, Ivory Coast, the Congo, North Korea, Iran, and I could list dozens more. For the Arabs it is a way to divert attention from the fact that every one of their countries is a primitive failed state including the oil rich ones where women are not allowed to drive a car. For the Europeans, it is a way of keeping their congenital anti-semitism alive and kicking. Yet as the Arab Israeli conflict is unimportant except to the Arabs involved and Israelis themselves, Europe is also unimportant to the world anymore. The real heavy hitters in the world are in North America and east and south Asia. If there was any lingering doubt, Copenhagen proved it.

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  • 16. At 10:18pm on 31 Jul 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #15 MarcusAurellius

    You do not expect any sensible person to answer the #15 babble, do you ?

    As the great majority of World Jews long for a solution to the Israel-Palestine problem, it it time to include fair reparations to the Palestinians in Israeli statements.

    As NATO sees much of Israeli behavior detrimental to its interests ( from both sides of the pond), it would be seen as at least one step in a positive direction if done honestly. It would also give the ´land grabbers´ and their supporters (as yourself) pause for thought.

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  • 17. At 10:56pm on 31 Jul 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    acorn, I can only guess but I'd think that depending on what degree of involvement particular individual Jews around the world have with Israel, they may be concerned with Israel not being attacked or threatened by their neighbors but fewer and fewer of them seem to care much anymore what becomes of the Palestinians. As an American I never did. The Israelis have the means to defend themselves against any conceivable attack, in large part thanks to America. This may be one reason Europeans hate America so much. Whether they have the will to use those means remains to be seen. They didn't in the war in Lebanon and they have not rescued their captured soldier.

    As I understand it, Israel is seen by Jews as the one place in the world they can count on not to be discriminated against, beaten, robbed, or killed simply because they are Jews. It would be small wonder then given their history that they'd be concerned for its welfare. Previous efforts to come to some kind of accomodation by offering land for peace only brought the Israelis more attacks, more wars. Clearly that strategy won't work.

    In the case of Iran, I see Iran as a major threat to the US. I'm hoping the IDF will do our dirty work for us and take the heat for it. But in the end, if Iran appears on the verge of obtaining the ability to manufacture nuclear weaopons, one or the other of us will have to act using whatever means are necessary to prevent it and without regards for the consequences. I just hope they do it for us.

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  • 18. At 11:54pm on 31 Jul 2010, javascriptbanner wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 19. At 00:04am on 01 Aug 2010, javascriptbanner wrote:

    (re the 30_07-2010 programme's UK Strategic Defence Review topic):

    PART 2:


    The UK's desired world-profile, roles & foreseen duties along with its required future Defence Industry and Defence-related technological capabilities (during the coming 3-4 decades) ought to underpin any and ALL discussions AND policy decisions regarding the Vanguard class successor submarine & Trident replacement programmes....

    The same can be said for discussions and policy decisions regarding the future force structure & capabilities of the Royal Navy generally... IE: whether or not to commit funding for:

    1a) the 'FULL' fitting out- with weapons, communications* and defensive systems*- of the 6 currently undergoing construction/sea trials Type-45 Destroyers- instead of continuing with the hugely dangerous, absurd previous Labour govt plans of commissioning these urgently required vessels into service as barely 20% equipped 'shells', IE: without 80% of the basic, industry-standard types of weapons, communications* and defensive* systems that their designers originally intended;
    * "Cooperative Engagement Capability" sensors, computer, communications and related hardware:


    http://www.janes.com/news/defence/jdw/jdw091201_1_n.shtml :

    "... The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) will decide in 2010 whether to acquire the US Navy's Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) for integration into selected Royal Navy (RN) surface ships after concluding a third tranche of Assessment Phase (AP3) studies.

    "This comes five years after initial plans to integrate the UK CEC system into Type 23 frigates and Type 45 destroyers were brought to a sudden halt as a result of budget pressure.... "

    http://www.janes.com/news/defence/naval/idr/idr080611_1_n.shtml :

    "In 1982 the Falklands (Malvinas) conflict provided a stark reminder of the vulnerability of surface forces operating in a hostile air environment without AEW support.

    "The absence of such a capability in the face of sustained air attack gave the UK Royal Navy (RN) insufficient warning to counter threats at long range, and directly contributed to the loss of several ships... "


    1b) the urgently needed 12-additional 'FULLY EQUIPPED' Type-45 Destroyers- (12 on top of the 6 presently undergoing construction/sea trials);

    2) properly designed** 'big deck' Aircraft Carriers;

    ** IE not continuing with the previous Labour govt's 'make work project for votes' programme...

    This due to the planned, new 'big deck' carriers being designed- and now undergoing construction- without vital, industry-standard communications, weapons & defensive systems- and, highly dangerously without weapons guidance radars; aircraft-launch catapults and damage control systems equipment; and to make matters far worse- not nuclear powered...

    Conventional, fossil-fuel powered propulsion enormously limits- if not outright prohibits- the UK's planned, new 'big deck' aircraft carriers' future upgradeability and capacity to operate next-generation anti airborne threat weapons such as 'Directed Energy Weapons' (DEWs) (DEWs are in late stages of development by several non-UK countries);

    3) 10 Astute class submarines rather than the ludicrously inadequate 5 that the previous Labour govt committed funding for..


    Both the United States' Senate and House of Representatives Defence and budget-related Committees are deliberating proposals to substantially downsize their country's navy and how budget reductions can be implemented in all of their country's armed forces branches...

    This while the UK is struggling to find ways of financing major- but very needed- military acquisition programmes, particularly for the Royal Navy and ancillary services...

    Could a productive strategy to perhaps partially meet both countries' objectives be the US 'gifting to the UK' several of its most recently built fighter aircraft & helicopter carrying naval vessels (along with their aircraft + weapons) that could be inducted into the RN in place of the UK's planned- but, due to budget constraints- enormously counterproductively lacking in capabilities- new 'big deck' aircraft carriers??

    The UK could sell its 2 partially completed, impractically-designed 'big deck' aircraft carriers to reliable countries
    such as India, S. Korea or even Brazil; work with the buyer(s) to 'custom fit' these vessels with radars, communications, armaments, etc; and could commit future years' funding to a 're-design' of the botched-by-the-previous-Labour-govt' big deck' aircraft carrier programme...


    1) http://www.navy.mil/local/lhd8/ -

    2) http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4200&ct=4&tid=400 -

    3) http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/navy/lhd-8.htm

    4) http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/cvn-21/

    5) http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/cvn-21/cvn-213.html

    6) http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/cvn-21/cvn-214.html

    7) http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/cvn-78-specs.htm

    Despite times being tough- and balancing the country's annual budget deserving high importance- it could only benefit the United Kingdom's future political, economic and strategic interests if, as a result of the current Defence Review, that an unequivocally articulated 'statement' was made by the UK regarding what its intended future world roles & duties are and what UK military/crisis intervention capabilities can be counted on- by the broader world community- during the coming 3-4 decades...

    Roderick V. Louis,
    Vancouver, BC, Canada

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  • 20. At 05:02am on 01 Aug 2010, javascriptbanner wrote:

    (re the 30_07-2010 programme's UK Strategic Defence Review topic):

    PART 3:

    Speaking in lock-step, the UK govt is needed to articulate to the UK public the dire consequences of the UK govt not (delineating and) setting-by-legislated 2-decade or longer policies

    1) UK national Defence capabilities objectives 2010-2030; and

    2)UK Defence-related technology industry capabilities 2010-2030

    ... objectives that would act to anchor the UK- for decades- into the top-table club of influential industrialized countries...

    A UK booted off of UN's permanent member Security Council membership and whose present extensive world-wide (news, social/human interest & entertainment) media presence (mainly through the BBC & C4) was reduced to that of an Italy, Holland, Romania, etc would be a country that was perceived worldwide as irrelevant and of no productive use or needed purpose... a place that very few- if any- companies and persons would have inclinations to do business with or invest in...

    France has recently put in place policies keeping their Defence spending at and slightly above this year's from now until 2014...

    France also has recently put policies in place to not only:

    a) maintain its (newly developed & built class of) nuclear submarines + their (newly developed) nuclear-armed ballistic missiles (IE: one of France's TWO nuclear deterrent platforms); along with

    b) expeditedly rolling out dozens of their newest-design air-launched nuclear-tipped missiles simultaneously with the construction-and-induction-into-France's Airforce of that country's newest (France-designed & France-built) Fighter/Bombers...

    Which country- the UK or France- is more likely to continue to be viewed around the world as a major player and a country worthy of retaining its privileged & highly powerful- lucrative- places on the UN's permanent five Security Council and other international Defence, military, trade, human rights, economic bodies??

    Despite times being tough- and balancing the country's annual budget deserving high importance- it could only benefit the United Kingdom's future political, economic and strategic interests if, as a result of the current Strategic Defence Review, that an unequivocally articulated, boldly pronounced 'National statement' was made by the UK regarding what its intended future world roles & duties are and what UK military & crisis intervention capabilities can be counted on- by the broader world community- during the coming 3-4 decades...

    Roderick V. Louis
    Vancouver, BC, Canada

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  • 21. At 05:43am on 02 Aug 2010, javascriptbanner wrote:

    (re the 30_07-2010 programme's UK Strategic Defence Review topic):

    PART 4:

    Trying to get along and work cooperatively with the French of course ought to be an objective of every UK citizen and the govt...

    But, 'The French Ego' is alive and well...

    Its resulting effects on France's objectives and actions within the EU and wider world's structures; on France's domestic-industrial, trade and foreign policy objectives; & on France's Defence spending- warrant being closely evaluated by countries- such as the UK- that are in potential competition- whether friendly or unfriendly...

    Compare France's TWO platforms of nuclear deterrent- and its resulting impression worldwide- to that of the UK's should the Vanguard class successor/Trident replacement programme (and other UK Defence mega-projects) be cancelled:

    As stated in a previous comment, France plans to maintain its current Defence spending until at least 2014... despite running an 8% budget deficit for this year and despite no substantial reductions in their budget deficit projected until 2016...

    France has approved-funding to replace most of its Navy's outdated Frigates with 16 of the France/Italy 'FREMM' project Multi-Mission/Multi-role Frigates over the next 12-years...

    Even today, for the first occasion since the 1600's, France's Navy has a larger escort combatant vessel fleet than the UK's Royal Navy!!!;

    France's new 'Rafael' Fighter/Bombers are undergoing continuous production, with many armed with new (Air-Sol Moyenne Porte'e Amelioree- improved medium-range, air-to-surface) ASMP-A missiles that are each fitted with France's new 'TNA' (tete nucleaire aeroporte) thermonuclear warheads.

    The ASMP-A missile missile has a 350 mile range;

    France has 4 of its newly designed Le Triomphant class nuclear ballistic missile armed submarines (SSBNs) currently in service with the FOURTH of this class- 'Le Terrible'- this year testing France's newest submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM), the M-51...

    Similar to the UK's current FOUR Vanguard class Trident missile subs, each of France's Le Triomphant class boats are constructed with 16 missile launch tubes and armed with 16 (in France's case: M-45) submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

    Each M-45 missile capable of being armed with six TN-75 nuclear warheads...

    France plans to progressively replace its M-45 missiles with MBDA's new M-51 SLBM.

    The M-51, reportedly weighs about 54 tons; has a range of up to 10,000 km; and can be armed with six to ten independently-targetable thermonuclear warheads...

    All SIX of France's former SSBN fleet, the Le Redoutable class, have been progressively decommissioned, with the final vessel, L'Inflexible, completing its last deployment in 2007...

    Plans originally called for the procurement of SIX Le Triomphant class subs to replace the Le Redoutables, but this number was decreased to FOUR.

    Since France decided to dismantle its land-based Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) in 1996, its SSBN force is 1/2 of the country’s strategic nuclear deterrent- with the other half France's TWO Fighter/Bomber squadrons that are charged with delivery of air-launched ASMP-A missiles- fitted with 'TNA' thermonuclear warheads...

    France maintains a continuous at-sea presence of its Le Triomphant class nuclear ballistic missile armed submarines...

    Unlike France, the UK does not have a Fighter/Bomber nuclear deterrent- and has no plans to develop one...

    Members of the UK MoD and other persons are closed-mindedly lobbying to cancel the underway Vanguard class successor/Trident SSBN programme, despite zero defined- or postulated- proposals for any type of replacement UK nuclear deterrent system...

    Even if built, as currently planned the UK's Vanguard class successor/Trident SSBN programme will result in boats with only 12 missile tubes each: today's 4 Vanguards and France's 4 Le Triomphant class boats are each constructed with 16...

    Roderick V. Louis
    Vancouver, BC, Canada

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  • 22. At 05:44am on 02 Aug 2010, javascriptbanner wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 23. At 11:46pm on 02 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #17 MarcusAurellius

    ´---- they can count on not to be discriminated against, beaten, robbed or simply killed because they are Palestinians´

    The dream of the Israeli ´Shangri la´has been destroyed and perhaps it was only a dream. There are many Jews both inside and outside Israel attempting to salvage and reverse (with humanity) what can be saved.

    As I have said (#16), your ´land for Peace´has only meaning if honest Reparations are paid for that which is not returned.

    Reparations were rightly requested and given from Germany -- both Israel and AIPAC have inferior ethics ?

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  • 24. At 00:33am on 03 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "As I understand it, Israel is seen by Jews as the one place in the world they can count on not to be discriminated against, beaten, robbed, or killed simply because they are Jews."

    How you do take my words out of context acorn brain. Actually the palestinians were able to get jobs in Israel and conduct business with Israel and with the rest of the world until their national heroes the terrorists wrecked it for them. Now they are reaping the rewards of what they themselves sowed. Within Israel I think the Arabs who are Israeli citizens probably enjoy more freedom and democracy than Arabs anywhere else in the Middle East. But who cares anywy, I surely don't.

    Acorn, why don't you take up a collection for reparations. Only be careful your payouts are not construed as donations to terrorists by the US government or you may be prosecuted as a terrorist yourself.

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  • 25. At 00:56am on 03 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #24 MarcusAurellius

    No, not out of context --just showing your lack of intelligent discussion.

    National heroes of terrorism --- The Stern gang ?

    Now they are reaping rewards of what they sowed --- Israel with almost rogue international status ?

    Within Israel I THINK --- Get INFORMED !

    So Israel is based on thievery ? --how else can one interpret your last remark ?

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  • 26. At 01:27am on 03 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:


    Do not denigrate ´Shangri la´ into ´Brigadoon´

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  • 27. At 03:09am on 03 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:


    Israel may not be Shantri la but it's a lot better than anything else the Jews have had in the last 2 or 3 thousand years. I for one am happy for them. It would be better if they weren't surrouned by Islamic terrorists but that's a problem the whole world now has to live with too. Your friends on the other hand have created a living hell hole for themselves...and on the very same land just a matter of a few miles away. Funny how people can make a dump appear out of nowhere just by the way they act.

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  • 28. At 11:29am on 03 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #27 MarcusAurellius

    As I said --GET INFORMED !


    Settler Permits ?


    Did YOU write this ?


    Paradise Lost ?

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  • 29. At 1:15pm on 03 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:


    Israeli policy that forbids foreign workers from giving birth in Israel and deportation.


    As far as I am aware, you have not condemned Kahane Fascism ?

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  • 30. At 1:20pm on 03 Aug 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    acorn brain, do you think I give a damn what happens to the palestinians? Those people are just lucky they're alive. Could you imagine what would happen to people in any other place under comparable circumstances? What do you suppose would happen if there was a constant hail of missiles directed at Russia, America, or China and a stream of suicide bombers all aimed at killing its civilians and overthrowing its government? All of this coming from a neighboring territory where these criminals are considered heroes and are not only tolerated by protected? If I have one criticism of Israel it is that they are too soft on the palestinians reacting with far too much restraint. Were I on the receiving end of those attacks by terrorists I'd demand far more decisive action by my government to make it stop no matter what else happened.

    I have nothing but contempt for Europeans and I don't care what happens to them either, why should I care what happens to palestinians. I've come to realize that my caring for humanity ends much closer to home. I'm not interested in saving the world. Not only don't I care if the world is saved or not, I don't think it deserves it. It may not be an ideal world but for my purposes it is fine just the way it is. I think those who tried to change it just made it worse. My message to Israel...cary on.

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  • 31. At 00:31am on 04 Aug 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Fascism with any other name, would smell as sweet.

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  • 32. At 03:13am on 04 Aug 2010, sayasay wrote:

    Regarding PM Cameroon “he wants a different kind of relationship with Washington; he's started wooing Turkey and India - and upset Israel and Pakistan in the process”
    Conversing in the English language, I found that English and US Americans are the hardest to wind up. But this PM knows a good conversation piece makes better attention getter.
    Here are some personal samples involving Europeans whom I was acquainted with. Tested ‘in English language’ stuff and never fails to make their eyes bulge.
    The Spaniards. ‘I think General Franco had the biggest pair of ----- in Spain, till he died in 1975, and since then nothing larger than his’. And you could add any reasons you like to substantiate it. Mine, ‘Did you notice all South American general-dictators want to be like this Madrid alpha-male’.
    The French. ‘How come the English always had to rescue you lot from both your internal and external foibles?’ Go ahead and cite: Napoleonic Wars, WW1, WW2 etc.
    The Germans. ‘I prefer Toyota Corolla to Mercedes E-class.’ But this is probably for petrol heads among us, as I would add, ‘Terribly expensive servicing charge for what looks DIY level-work’ and most likely, the German would snigger, ‘That’s because the Merc is for the very fastidious rich.’ I countered, ‘I am very glad Toyota doesn’t like to make poor folks poorer.’
    The Dutch. ‘All Indonesians still dislike you.’ And they will blah, blah about the good that they had done in Indonesia. Nodding my head vigorously, I said, ‘Sounds exactly like the stuff taught to my grandfathers, mother, father, uncles and aunts in Dutch-ran schools.’ I am Indonesian-born.
    I am afraid after posting this; we can expect nonchalance from them.

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  • 33. At 05:09am on 05 Aug 2010, U14575877 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 34. At 05:10am on 05 Aug 2010, U14575877 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 35. At 05:49am on 05 Aug 2010, U14575877 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 36. At 06:16am on 05 Aug 2010, U14575877 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 37. At 01:19am on 06 Aug 2010, cping500 wrote:

    Yes we do have to take notice of what its happening the the world's smallest nuclear power.

    But to return to the question. David Cameron intends a revolution. He has said on several occasions that in five years time things will be very different, and today he said the cuts will not be restored and Francis Maud the chief policy wonk who heads the Prime Minister Department said the other day they that they were going faster(and further?)than Thatcher.Gradually those informed are realising that he intended to hand over the management of public services to commercial companies while pretending that parents or GPs or local authorities run them and down the line he will switch from taxes to charges. Much of this was anticipated by Tony Blair's policy. There are Labour approved and paid for Free Schools, there was talk of co payments in Health and there are even Labour style great society funding.

    Of course most people did not vote for this.... and certainly Lib Dem voters did not. But revolutionaries don't normally bother about votes.

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  • 38. At 10:54pm on 15 Aug 2010, smartsceptic wrote:

    At the last G20 summit in Toronto, President Obama was isolated in his view that the world economy was facing a critical juncture in the face of continuing fragility and uncertainty created by the financial crisis of 2008. The overwhelming sentiment expressed by the other leaders was the need to reduce government deficits as a result of lost revenues due to the financial crisis. They called for the members of the G20 to reduce spending not just on non-essentials but on vital services such as health, education, and pensions. Obama disagreed citing the need for further stimulus and other growth enhancing measures. The new prime minister of the UK David Cameron has accepted the majority view by "proposing the biggest cuts in government spending in modern British political history." How this shift in economic policy affects people in the largest developed economies will be one of the big stories in the next few years. Just prior to writing this comment, I ran across the following article by Ellen Brown, author of "The Web of Debt", on the Counterpunch blog site, which is a huge collection of alternative opinion, edited by Alexander Cockburn. The article titled, "Deficit Terrorists Strike England," was published on the weekend edition of June 18-20. In the article, Brown accuses the financial sector of "shrinking the money supply intentionally, in order to increase the demand for its own products. Bankers are in the debt business, and if governments are allowed to create enough money to keep themselves out of debt, lenders will be out of business.... For the financial business to continue to boom, governments must not be allowed to create money themselves, either by printing it outright or by borrowing it into existence from their own government-owned banks....Today this financial goal has largely been achieved. In most countries, 95% or more of the money supply is created by banks as loans or credit. The small portion issued by the government is usually created just to replace lost or worn out bills or coins, not to fund new government programs. Early in the twentieth century, about 30% of the British currency was issued by the government as pounds sterling or coins, versus only about 3% today. In the U.S. only coins are issued by the government. Dollar bills (Federal Reserve notes) are issued by the Federal Reserve, which is privately owned by a consortium of banks.....The financial sector, which controls the money supply and can easily capture the media, cajoles the populace into compliance by selling its agenda as a 'balanced budget' or 'fiscal responsibility,' and 'saving future generations' from a massive debt burden by suffering autsterity measures now. Bill Mitchell, Professor of Economics at the University of New Castle in Australia, calls this 'deficit terrorism.' Rather than 'providing for the general welfare,' the purpose of government becomes to maintain the value of the investments of the government's creditors....England's new coalition government has just bought into this agenda imposing on itself the sort of fiscal auterity that the International Monetary Fund has long imposed on Third World countries, and has more recently imposed on European countries including Latvia, Iceland, Ireland and Greece. Where those countries were forced into compliance by their creditors, however, England has tightened the screws voluntarily, having succumbed to the argument tht it must pay down its debts to maintain the market for its bonds." The reason I submit this extended excerpt from Brown's article is because this counterintuitive argument is not often heard, perhaps because the banks so extensively control the media as Brown has accused them of in the article. The argument I run across more often is the one that claims we face hyperinflation in the future because governments have been printing so much money in recent years though evidence in the US at least points to a shrinkage of the money supply over the past year. The role of the Federal Reserve is a controversial one in the U.S. and Brown voices a similar concern claiming the the Fed is a preserve of private banks not a government entity as most people believe it to be.

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  • 39. At 06:40am on 16 Aug 2010, smartsceptic wrote:

    To see how dangerously incompetent and irresponsible major bank management can be listen to the interview of Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling by BBC Radio 4 regarding the bailout of the Royal Bank of Scotland, one of the biggest banks in the UK. Darling relates how he received a frenzied call from a senior executive at RBS telling him that "it was clear that the bank was going to fail in a couple of hours and he said 'what are you going to do?'" RBS is majority owned by the UK government today at around 80%.

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  • 40. At 11:02am on 03 Sep 2010, smartsceptic wrote:

    This much delayed comment on economic policy controversies in the UK is being posted because of its relevant importance and because this topic is undoubtedly of interest to readers of this blog who are likely to live in the UK or have an interest in UK politics. An article in the Guardian today September 2 caught my eye because of the upcoming party conventions in the UK this or the next month. The headline is titled, "David Miliband rejects Tony Blair's prescription on the economy." As you know, David and his brother Ed Miliband are the two leading candidates competing for the position of prime minister nominees of the Labour party. The winner of the PM contest will be the challenger of the recently elected Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition government at the next election. The austerity budget program adopted by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition raises a red flag for many in the Labour party which is closer to the working class than the ruling parties. According to the article, Tony Blair has come close to adopting the essence of the Tory-Lib Dem austerity program on the eve of the Labour party conference showdown between the leading candidates for PM nominee. It appears that David Miliband has explicitly rejected Blair's endorsement, saying that the Labour party must have its own approach to the economic problems facing the UK, which is less damaging to the working class than the current policies adopted by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition. He in effect has rejected the New Labour mantle associated with Tony Blair's governments of the past. Since his brother Ed is thought to be to the left of David Miliband, it is almost certain that this will be Ed's position on economic policy as well. This is also significant because "...the short life span of coalition governments in the UK..." referred to in comment #2, means that the next election may be much closer than is presently anticipated.

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