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November 14, 2004

Boris Johnson

Follow-up to Dick and Dom in da Bungalow from Esprit de l'escalier

Again! It happened again! I was checking today's news on the Guardian website to see that Boris Johnson had been sacked by the Tories. As I clicked on the link to see what my old mucker David Aaronovitch had to say about this whole kerfuffle, I thought, "what a bunch of cretins – don't the Tory leaders realise that the lovable tow-headed buffoon is the only thing they have going for them? I, a raging liberal, would even vote for him! They've really done it this time…"

And once the page had loaded, what was the headline? "Sacking could backfire on Howard [subtitle] Voters liked Boris. My guess is they will now like his party less." Exactly my thoughts – I won't even bother reading the rest of it now. As I say, me and the Guardian – we're like that [crosses fingers]. If that's not a reason for them to employ me, I don't know what is.

November 07, 2004

More analysis of the Presidential Election

Writing about web page,14259,1345385,00.html

As ever, Observer columnist Mr David Aaronovitch has a point. I admit that in the midst of the election aftermath, I and many liberal types set about proclaiming the US a theocracy, acting almost as blindly as Republican policymakers. But all that time, in the back of my mind, the statistics didn't really add up. So 21% of the electorate voted based on moral issues, and 80% of that gave their vote to Bush, which is like 17%: only 17% of the American population can be described as religious nutjobs. This is the main thrust of Aaronovitch's argument, an important point to raise. He goes on to say that there are many reasons why people voted for Bush. Fair enough, but that doesn't make the Bush adminstration a non-theocracy. My problem with Aaronovitch's argument is that he claims the American voters weren't misled by an ideology; rather the Democrats campaign was just a bit shit. But don't you see? Bush is an extremist but he wasn't going to be elected running on a fundamentalist platform, so he tailored his campaign to appeal to the secular majority. Of course, now that he's in power, without seeking re-election, he can do whatever the fuck he likes, especially with all that Republican support in Congress. So the American people aren't theocrats, the government is, and the 'secular' 34% who voted for Bush on reasons other than moral values were just misled by the Bush campaign/uninspired by the Kerry campaign (or want more tax cuts, or hate Arabs).

Democracy doesn't work.

November 04, 2004

Post–Election Blues

Follow-up to Georgie B vs Johnny K from Esprit de l'escalier

So, my thoughts on the presidential election now it's gone and happened and young George has gone and won, eh?

Balls, basically. I really did think Kerry had a good stab at the prize; he was in the lead in the polls all last week then on my return from bonnie Scotland yesterday, Bush had clawed back to tie the contest at 48% each. Then I slept on the sofa and set my alarm for 4.30 to catch the exciting bit of the election and Bush was way ahead. Not to worry, I thought, Kerry's still in with a chance! But the seeds of doubt were already sown. I reawoke at 11.30, it was all resting on Ohio, and despite Kerry clinging to any glimmer of hope there was, it looked pretty clear that the Republicans were whupping ass. So for the rest of the day, as the absentee ballots were counted, I tried not to think about it.

Of course, now I'm writing this, I kinda have to think about it. And I'll start from an objective, politics student stance. The thing with this time round is that it was pretty fair and square – no justified outrage from us would-be Democrats. We, well they, lost. In the end Kerry just couldn't convince the American people that Bush is both an arrogant cock and an extremist twat (both good reasons to kick a President out of office, I'd've thought).

It's a weird feeling: I can't really care less. This is probably due to three things.
1. I can't do anything about it now. Nor can anyone. We're stuck with Bush for four more years. He's going to do whatever he likes, and from our experience of his first term, there's no changing his mind about anything (obviously, Republican success in Congress reinforces this). I'm obviously kicking myself for not putting a bet on him when Kerry was still high in the polls, making my situation win-win. Ah well. I guess this is what apathy feels like.
2. I did Politics of the USA last academic year and to me the whole module was basically building up to this election. I had an intellectual stake in it. Now, having passed the course, I can no longer be fagged to analyse it. The farcelessness of yesterday's election has thrown up only one thing to marvel at: the neat geographical-based support for the two candidates: the north-east and west coast are blue, while the rest is red. Clearly, as the candidates were so polar, the country has split conveniently enough to warrant an actual secession of the Democratic states from the Union.*
3. This year I'm doing the module Comparative Foreign Policy and can now appreciate where the Bush administration are coming from with respect to their War on Terror. I still believe it's a crock of monkey snot, but I don't think there'll be a nuclear war any time soon.

So reluctant congratulations to George Bush Jr from this disillusioned student: you managed to convince the majority that the country was at (real) war (historically, war presidents have never been voted out of office); you've also managed to create the world's greatest theocracy, snatching the much-valued title from Iran. They must be gutted.

*Another issue raised is the slight problem of what is probably the most important election of our generation being decided by 136,000 hicks in a mid-west swing state who, thanks to Corporate News, have probably never heard of Abu Ghraib. But I'm not bitter.

October 20, 2004

Georgie B vs Johnny K

Well, now I've got that out of my system, a regular post (not 'regular' in the Spanish sense you understand, 'regular' as in not being about me and my trials and tribulations with angst; a rant, if you will)...

Is there a topic hotter at the moment than the American presidential elections? I think not. (What was that? The new series of Little Britain? Maybe later.) Now, like every rational person with an ounce of integrity on this planet, I want to see Mr Bush defeated in a fortnight's time. And here's why:

*George is a Christian fundamentalist – people are going to vote for him because he's more religious than the other guy! Sorry, secularists can be as honest and morally upstanding, if not more, than Bible-bashers. Plus, they aren't as blinded by the teachings of one book and can be reasonable. The religious fanaticism on both sides of the War on Terror aggravates and will not solve the conflict. Plus, any aid given by the US to starving and disease-ridden Africa is on the condition that it is not used to promote abortion or AIDS-preventing contraception. How sick is that?

*George is a bit thick. He sees things only in black and white – the whole with us or against us thing. I guess that's got to do with the above point (not wanting to imply religious people are thick, mind – my beef is with organised religion's influence in politics). George's reason for the terrorists fighting is because they're evil. Yes, maybe a little – they did murder a load of people after all; however, so did the US government – but they do have reason for it: the States' neo-imperialism in the Middle East. So begins a tangent with unlimited potential, which I'll cut of at its source and save for a later date…

*Okay, George's religion is the source of much of my resentment towards him. Just one more point: he's so homophobic, he wants to change the Constitution to prevent them 'marrying'. Fair enough, marriage is supposed to be about family, but surely give the gayers some rights? Let the individual states decide.

*He's also a corporate cocksucker (apologies for the lowering of the tone, I'm just a big fan of alliteration). His tax cuts are merely letting the rich get richer, while the poorest get nowt. If he gets re-elected he says he'll make this state of affairs Permanent! He also let the bosses of Enron get away with shafting their employees. I won't get bogged down on this issue either; I simply refer you to Stupid White Men by Michael Moore.

*I've heard it said that if Kerry gets elected, terrorism will step up and it'll all get worse. Why's that? Surely if Bush is in office for another four years, he'll continue to piss the Middle East off and terrorists will recruit more suicide bombers. Conversely, Kerry will most likely try and contain the threat, be reasonable with the Middle East and the Islamic fundamentalist cause will cease to have a valid case. What pro-Bushies do in this situation is to equate this weak-kneed liberal approach to appeasement. Oi! This isn't another Hitler we're dealing with. This is a new type of warfare, something that we cannot apply lessons learned in the past to to solve it. Give peace a chance.

Rant over, I think. Kerry for President. I'm not going to go down the road the Guardian did last week, which was the stupidest thing I've seen this side of the Atlantic. They got their readers to write to voters in Ohio to tell them why they should vote for Kerry. Of course, Fox News picked up on this and claimed that those homosexual communists in the UK were infringing international law by seeking to influence the election and there's been a big backlash. Normally a damn fine publication, the Guardian should've seen this coming but no, they've put a bit of a dent in our special relationship. Patronising a few hicks in the midwest is not going to swing the election to the side of all that is good and right. No, all we can do now is pray.

May 2022

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