British Politics | PSC
302: Comparative Government
Documentary Videos on British Politics: NotesSlightly revised 5 Jan. 2016, compiled by Jeremy Lewis .
C-SPAN videos useful for research:
32,000 IRA bombs since 1972.
Felix Training Centre inside army house.
1984 Brighton Bombing, Cons party conference: 5 dead, many injuries.
Mortar bombing of No. 10.
1972 Bloody Sunday
Shane O'Doherty, convicted IRA bomber of Derry who wrote apologies to victims from inside prison; lived in fantasy world.
Col. W. cat and mouse game or leapfrog game, losing operators on road to developing skills and techniques.
Escalation:short fuse nail bomb
anti handling device
screw down wooden box -- but soldiers used fishing line and small detonator to open up.
car bomb to kills disposal experts -- they smothered with foam (but hard to defuse by hand)
robots followed, with small disruptive charge; then radio controlled (but bombs then radio controlled), then water gun to disrupt bomb; water bomb to disrupt car boot/beer keg bomb.
O'Doherty blew himself up in Derry with an own goal bomb -- then asked by IRA to head to London.
letter bombs in London (O'Doherty.) -- many defused by Peter Gurney who also defused mortar bombs in No.10. (red hot -- only to find their contents had burned away.
Hostage bombs with driver attached to car -- forced disposal officers to race.
Future? Virtual reality glove to guide robots
Secondary bombs set to kill disposal men -- fishing line to trace trip wires.
South Armagh rail line: primary bomb and two secondaries, then a fourth discovered, using rails themselves as command wire. W.O. "K" blown up but returned, blew up rails to prevent explosion.
1996 Canary Wharf bomb -- large scale.
This would strengthen Adams in keeping his troops with him, especially over touchy issue of decommissioning arms.Blair landslide, 1997. New Labour government owed no debt to Unionists -- unlike Major's divided government.
Major is pressed by reporter on whether Clinton shook hands with Adams on Falls Rd -- unaware of fragility of peace.
But Docklands bomb soon, caused $150 M in damage. 17 months of ceasefire had ended.
Tony Lake (US NS adviser) says PIRA's Adams gave quick warning -- but McGuinness denies Sinn Fein knew in advance. McGuinness and Adams lost authority -- but were elected MPs during:
[Good Friday Peace Agreement, 1998. PIRA to decommission arms in secret from British intelligence but under watchful eyes of international commission. Power-sharing institutions. Recognition of interest of Irish Government in northern affairs.]
Amanpour Reports, CNN Special Investigations Unit, “The War Within”
-Religious Extremism in Britain-
By Jeremy Lewis, Shane Stinemetz and Todd Adams (combined notes), Spring 2008
Christiane Amanpour interviews or shows [this section noted by Jeremy Lewis]
• “Blowing up people is ‘Cool’,” says one Muslim.• A suicide bombers personal video tape account shows the bomber justify his actions through the Koran’s teachings
• 13% of [young muslims] polled believe 7/7 bus bombers in London are martyrs.[ -- poll in The Times]
• 49% polled believe 7/7 bombings were related to British involvement in Iraq.
• Does the Koran really back suicide bombings?• Radicals are building underground networks, targeting young disillusioned males to join their cause.
• Enemies within Islam are causing problems• Are suicide bombings hurting radical Islamic followers reputation?
• British radicals blame American foreign policy to justify their actions.
• Extremists consider all fellow Muslims “brothers” including Al Qaeda
• 13% of consider suicide bombers martyrs
• What image is this presenting for the younger generations of Brits?• Religious radicals are attempting to communicate to the younger generations
• Some Muslim’s express their oppression through art rather then violent activity. They are still able to get attention (media etc) through their artwork.• Young generations of Muslims are tired of racial profiling and being labeled “extremists” by their peers because of the reputation of previous generations
• Rap video about building a dirty bomb• British muslims want their children to have the same rights as natural born Britons.
• Graffiti becoming an outlet to express Islam peacefully
• Some Britons are not supportive of the mega-mosque being built on the East End.• The Muslim culture in Britain feels under siege by Caucasian whites and feels they deserve the same opportunities to build a new house of worship despite Muslim extremist actions over the years.
• Group which commissioned the mega-mosque is very secretive and fundamentalist.
• Some Britons believe this mosque will recruit homegrown terrorists.
• “Do not interfere with Muslims and You will be safe.”
George V in 1935 celebrated 25 years on throne.Abdication crisis:
Issue of adaptation and survival, contrast with other European monarchies after WW1. "A knack of getting things right." Patriotism and family life.
Grandson of Queen Victoria, whose family inermarried across Europe (Germany and Russia ruled by cousins) -- linked haunted him.
George not brought up as heir, not good student -- older brother Eddie a hopeless student, dogged by sexual scandals, died suddenly of pneumonia.
George inherited Eddie's fiancee, German princess, cold & stiff but left love letters.
1910 succeeded as King of UK and Emperor of India
1911 Delhi Durbar staged meeting, with invented traditions, spectacular ceremonies (like other European royals).
1914 witch hunts and spy scares against Germans and German culture. Press intensified hysteria.George's cousin, Admiral Louis Battenburg is hounded out of navy. Royals are "alien and uninspiring court."Irish republicanism rising but not spreading.
Need to reinvent monarchy as British, changed name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (or others) to Windsor
Battenburg changed to Mountbatten, and German relatives cut off.
King cut off relations with Nicholas II, though, with consequences -- advised not to offer sanctuary to Tsar, abandon cousin
Empire exhibition in Wembley stadium, with exhibits from many countries. Grand spectacle combined with appearance of middle class domestic virtue and decency. Lived in York cottage instead of main house. Shooting and stamp collecting. Rigid routine, didn't go out to entertainment (frustrating Queen Mary).
Queen Alexandra died without ever accepting that her children had grown up.
George intimidated by own father, passed that down to own children. Mary also unable to hug children.
Edward obsessive in exercise and Bertie developed terrible stutter
George drank, womanized, but not exposed in media.
Edward developed star quality with public - but harbored severe internal doubts. Successful trip to Australia, mobbed by fans -- but George only offered petty criticisms. Edward had affairs with married women, a form of rebellion.
George saw role as referee above the football teams of political parties, seek unity in crises.
Great Depression.KIng advised Ramsay MacDonald to form national coalition government -- but then lacked official Opposition for a decade, left opposition only on streets.Edward succeeds to throne, but a controversial first year. Character had not been developed, had little sense of identity. Baldwin described him as half boy, half genius. Paramours included American, but Wallis Simpson (quick, smart, social climber) stole him away. Divorcee socially unacceptable at court. Began King's flight. Survived bomb thrower in crowded parade, continued on horseback -- but courtiers had lost confidence in him.
King successful 1932 with Christmas radio broadcast.
Jubilee successful -- but Edward flaunted Mrs. Simpson, American, at ball. Unsuitable for the heir.
Euthanasia: King's life ended before midnight with injections of cocaine and morphine to jugular vein by Lord Dawson. Allowed for publication in Times next morning rather than by gutter press.
Duke of York happily married, a contrast.
Edward admired Hitler's road building and 1936 Olympics, did not realize how dangerous he was. Prince of Saxe-Coburg came in Nazi uniform to George V funeral, tactless. Edward saw himself as superior to the PM, Baldwin. Edward opposed to war over Rhineland -- interfered in politics. Mrs. Simpson leaked cabinet discussion to Ribbentrop, who discussed it at a party the same day.
Edward cruised the Med with Wallis Simpson
Wallis Simpson getting divorced, but would only leave two weeks before coronation of Edward VIIIElizabeth II
Queen & cabinet advised against marriage, Church of England opposed, public opposed when (belatedly) informed of the divorce.
Mrs. Simpson fled to South of France
Dominions opposed to marriage or to consrt status
Edward went like a lamb, avoiding constitutional crisis, 1936 -- unable to carry the burden of King without the support of the women I love.working class cockneys responded favorably, contrast with upper class assumption that throne meant so much more than loveYounger brother Bertie (George VI) speaks shyly and with stammer. Unable to compete with Edward for publicity.married Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, publicized by Cecil Beaton images as glamourous yet wholesome.Appeasement by Chamberlain failed
glamorous Edward impressed by Hitler
KIng & Queen accepted invitation to visit FDR, in a neutral country -- where sympathetic to Edward & WallisQueen alledgedly dowdy compared to Wallis -- but showed well in US, won crowdsBritain declared war on Germany, if isolated by Germany's control of continentChamberlain out of office, Churchill in -- so George VI loses his trusted PM and gains one who championed Edward.Princess Elizabeth married to Mountbatten's nephew, Phillip
Buckingham palace hit by a bomb -- royals refuse to be evacuated, greatly improved public approval
Edward, Duke of Windsor, fobbed off with staff job in France -- but had to flee to Spain, where Germans tried to gain his public sympathy.
Duke sent to become Governor of Bahamas, avoiding German kidnap plot
Duke of Windsor and German relations all cut off by royals -- Edward has permanent vacation
Death of King to lung cancer -- burden fell on 25 year old Elizabeth II
notes by Liz Arnett, Fall 2004
In the 20th century, George V rebuilt the monarchy. In order for the monarchy to survive, it needed to create public support. In order to sound more English, the Royal family changed their name to Windsor.
The video demonstrates the change of the royals in personality and with their personal duties from the time of George V to present. All the way to Queen Elizabeth, the royal family has made their country their top priority. However the newer generations have played different roles by their personal scandals and are becoming more like Hollywood celebrities rather than being leaders.
In May 1935, George V celebrated 25 years on the throne. During that time the royal family represented the ideal picture of a Britain and made their people feel proud of their heritage. An example is King George V and how he led Britain through WWI, when other monarchs elsewhere failed. George V soon represented what ever Britain wanted to be. George V was not even supposed to be King, his older brother Eddie was to take the throne. Unfortunately Eddie was not smart at all, and he had many sex scandals. Eddie passed away, and George took the throne along with his brother's fiance. Prudence, loyalty and discipline are the three characteristics that George pushed as important British traits.
Almost all monarchs during this time were related in some form, and even these family ties could not stop the war that broke out between England and Germany. In 1917 people began to claim that King George was a German. As mentioned above, George changed the family's last name to Windsor so that their loyalty to Britain would not be questioned. July 1917 was when the proclamation of the house to be known as the house of Windsor.
After this, Russia and Britain became very close due to Russia's help in the war. King George ruined this relationship by not allowing the Czar's family to seek refuge in Britain, and due to his decision, the Czar's family was soon captured and all shot. This is when Britain started to go through a rough time and troops had to keep the peace. George V used the crown to strengthen Great Britain. The Exhibition was a success in promoting the empire. George V made news reels to show the public that they were just like the middle class, but this idea did not work. Winter of 1925, Queen Victoria died. Due to George's fear of his own father, he felt like that should be the way it was between him and his own son. Queen Mary was not very
lovable either and did not go out of her way to love her children.
Prince of Wales was then sent out to strengthen relations with the crown. He had "star" quality unlike his father. But even though he was doing well, he was actually very depressed. The King soon fell ill and the Prince was urged home. During this time, the King tried to push people and political parties together. In 1932 the King had his first radio broadcast.
Due to the King having two shots, one filled with cocaine and the other with morphine, he soon passed away. This was unreported for 50 years.
Many were worried about the Prince of Wales taking over, and this pitted brother against brother in the fight for the throne.
PBS, Elizabeth R (filmed in 1991)
African leader, due to make an official visit, is deposed and replaced.
Marginal by-elections in Scotland linked to official visit
New PM is an old college chum of "Charlie", the new leader.
On sleeper train to Scotland, Minister is presented with advance copy of speechradical left, anti-colonial language, inflammatory for ScotsEveryone has his price.
Sir Humphrey presents possible options, up to gunboats and declaration of war
Jim and Sir Humphrey try to persuade Charlie to alter speech
He asks for L50 M in loans to buy oil rigs built on Clyde in western Scotland
first question refers to Scott Report, on secretly approved private arms sales to Iraq in years before Gulf WarThursday:[Matrox Churchill sold arms with connivance of ministers, embarassed when UK went ot war with Iraq][issue of ministerial responsibility]
Tony Blair, as leader of OppositionScott: ministers agreed to sell non-lethal equipment to Iraq and keep quiet about change in guidelinesQuestion on social chapter of EU [unemployment benefits and restrictions on firing]
Para 442: ministers breached duty of ministerial accountabiility to P by not informing the House
Major quotes Report that jobs were the reason given for secrecy
Blair: must hold ministers to account -- Report set up by PM himself  -- or Conservatives will remain "knee deep in dishonour"
Labour, previously, "policy of the nation not to reveal supplying arms to other countries"
Major: If he had a shred of honesty himself, would admit charges untrue and withdrawn
Major: British guidelines were stricter than other countries
Ashdown: ministers criticized but allowed to hold on to their jobs
Major: whole report shows charges have been laid to rest.
Major: was himself first voluntarily to publish guidelines
Major: recent bombs in last ten days should not recent sympathy even in Ulster
Major: no other country in Europe has lower unemployment than ours.
Bhoutros Ghali, Sec. Gen. of UN, criticized on UN inefficiency -- Major calls for greater efficiency in UN bodies
Major: Scott Report's main charges were not confirmed, minister responsible will lead debate, not the PMBlair: was P misled, and are mins to blame? Does PM accept P was misled?Major: social chapter would cost growth, unemployment -- no intention of making those mistakes
Major: Scott found Saddam Hussein was not armed and improper certificates were not issued. No minister intentionally misled P.
Major: no intention whatsoever to mislead P.
Blair: PM walks away from key findings. Textbook case of Majorism. Govt unable to distinguish between true and false.
Major: Opposition have blackguarded the government, to find deceit when there was none.
Labour: Scott found AG resonsible for for keeping Public Interest Immunity Certificate from defense.PM: PIIC was given to judge and then disclosed to defense.Govt's policies of investment
Labour: why scared of allowing Commons vote on future of two ministers?PM: some shortcomings but confidence in two colleaguesScott later remarks his comments have been taken selectively by ministers.
all night session with Press Sec, to find the words for a public emotional eventMay 1, 1997, Blair swept to power, largest Parliamentary landslide ever, after almost two decades of Conservative rule
took risk with emotional delivery, "People's Princess", untraditional
gave good advice to Queen to override tradition in half-mast Royal standard
Stan Greenberg, pollster: Blair approval reached 80% after this
"New Dawn has broken" victory speechNew sort of leader for Labour party: middle class Scottish family, private school, Oxford, Ugly Rumours student band
Married Cherie Booth, also a lawyer -- unclear which would enter politics first.Queen's Speech, opening of Parliament
1979 Blair's first, failed campaign for Parliament -- Labour at low ebb
civil war between radicals and moderates like Kinnock, Blair and Brown
Kinnock: Labour experience of having to squash militants to preserve the party's credibility
Blair: "Labour is the party of Law and Order in Britain today"
Cherie actually tried to persuade Blair to run for leader.
Brown valuable partner, Blair was number two in early years to him
Restaurant deal (1993?): Blair to run for leader first, but giving Brown economic and other portfolios
rebranded party as New Labour: responsible, middle of road, forward looking
"shall not rest until the destinies of our people and our party are joined again"
Hosue swap: Brown family moved into No.10 and larger Blair family into larger No. 11 apartment.
Problem of managing large numbers of unvetted, lower-ranking MPS, elected afresh in landslide
Promises: rebuild national health service and education system
fiscally conservative yet socially liberal, Clinton model.Interest rates no longer set by politicians but by Bank of England
modernization of institutions of stuffy country.
-- done quickly, without discussion by cabinetInexperience: First PM not to be a previous member of a government
Robin Butler, cab. sec. -- not even a cabinet meeting in time for decision
centralized control in No.10, impatient with pace of changeMedia and Manipulation
same criticisms as with Mrs. Thatcher -- but he did not relish confrontations
all things to all people:identifies with fish & chips in Co. Durham constituency -- but fancy food in trendy Islington
Daily grind in No.10 of media eventsPeacemaking efforts in Northern Ireland
President Clinton visited, facing scandal, helped out by Blair's endorsement
Christopher Meyer: priority on Northern Ireland -- unlike US presidents who had avoided itRift between Blair (PM) and Brown (Chancellor)
March 1998, Sen. Mitchell announced all party talks in NI, deadline of Good Friday
Irish & Brit Govts, Sinn Fein and Prot leaders.
David Trimble, Prot, forced crisis
Blair flew to Ulster "feel hand of history upon our shoulders" -- to finish negotiations
strong leadership of Blair with Prots and Bertie Ahern with Catholics
brinkmanship, extracting concessions at last minute
Blair asked Clinton to talk to Sinn Fein on demands for release of prisoners & reductions of arms
Blair agreed to modify agreement later for Prots if decommissioning of arms did not proceed.
Huge risk -- and huge success
warm, friendly photo ops to cover the splitIssue of Europe
Blair tried to prevent Brown bringing staff to meetings with Blair
Strategic Defence Review under attack at eleventh hour
large budget cuts proposed suddenly
Blair reluctant to confront Brown, felt PM and Chancellor had to get along.
Blair "want people's Europe" -- for Euro, but not without referendumConfrontations with Brown
Gordon Brown and Treasury opposed to Euro -- would not seek membership in 1999.
Ashdown: Blair paradox of moral fervour in international affairs but not in domestic affairs
Brown immoveable -- so offered him more power in return for more power running countryBalkans: a new outbreak of warmessage sent via Clare Short -- but Brown felt
Peter Mandelson -- fixer and thinker, but totally unable to work with Brownfired after campaign finance scandal, later acquitted, then fired againBlair able to shut out a close friend, but not to stand up to Brown
aide, "dysfunctional marriage" between Blair and forceful Brown
Serbs renewed campaign of ethnic cleansing in former YugoslaviaCampaign promise to modernize Britain's public services
"Daylight pounding" until Serbs capitulate, promised with Brit and US planes under NATO
strong moral convictions of Blair
poor country, cold winter, hard for refugees by spring 1999
Blair visited camp on Macedonian border, "our mission is clear: to make sure they return to homes"
Threaten ground invasion in difficult terrain through Albania to Kosovo? But US opposed.
April 21, 1999, Blair flew to Wash DC to talk with Clinton.
Blair made case for plans for ground invasion.
Speech for moral interventionism, proposal to insert Brit 50,000 troops -- and Russians told Serbs would not defend them.
Clare Short: "Tony as tough and he was right"
Meyer: "gave him great confidence for what was to come."
Blair emerges as a leader
Sierra Leone, next crisis, sent 1,000 paratroops [to intervene, rescued UN troops taken as hostages in gang crisis]beginning of Blair interest in African issues and poverty
progress elusive after two years11 Sep 2001, the attacks on WTC and Pentagon
abundance of vision but lack of interest in practical detail
Blair's "gone" look during discussions of nitty gritty
but unemployment down, peace made in NI and international
2001 election: second landslideShort: Tony Blair much more in control in second term, never sure what direction but wanted to have one.
Second term: new US President
Camp David meeting with new President Bush -- quickly developed chemistry, sense of humour.
scheduled speech to TUC never deliveredPlans for war in Iraq
Blair instantly understood UK about to enter long war, his speech delivered hours before Bush's
"perpetrated by fanatics" ... "democracies are going to have ..."
Blair quick to visit US to offer support but also teh ensure moderation (Chris. Meyer)
"when you in mourning you want to see your friends." -- Condi Rice
Blair learned at dinner with Bush about plan to attack AQ in Afghanistan, but Iraq would be left to another day.
Blair had launched air strikes with Clinton before -- but neocons in WH a new factor
Blair had preached dangers of Saddam Hussein for some years -- a true believer.
Blair 54 meetings with world leaders, 40,000 miles -- could reach those Bush could not reach, and faster because did not need large retinue ("footprint").
By Mid November, Taliban driven out of Kabul.
High point of Blair's foreign policy -- but now pushing a more liberal international agenda
"re-order this world around us." Secretly Blair's aides were learning of US plans from their counterparts there.20 March 2003, war began in Iraq. Quickly over, but then looting and sectarian killing.
Problem of US plans not being thorough, US underestimating difficulties in Iraq
Crawford TX meeting -- would assist US in Iraq, but only if Israeli-Palestinian issue dormant
Disquiet with war with Iraq spread among allies -- and in UK, even among Labour leaders and Blair friends.
Blair speech: Iraq presents a serious threat; innocents may die; we must live with consequences; "WMD program is not down; it is up and running now."
Clare Short: Cabinet intelligence committee did not meet.
On Blair's sofa, chats but not decisionmaking.
Blair became unpopular -- his reaction was to wonder why they couldn't see his point of view.
Blair as barrister, used to rational arguments, but not understanding emotional response.
Blair held town meetings to listen to opposition -- aides called it "masochism strategy"
Blair sought UN Resolutionbut Chirac held veto in UNSC, and relations strained. Chirac veteran of Algerian war -- understood problem better.March: PM under intense attack in Europe, said to Bush wanted regime change in Iraq, not London
Ashdown: Blair's charm powerful weapon but not so much as he thought
US offered to attack without UK troops, not needed for military victory but for international politics
Blair insisted on continuing, having come that far.
Suddenly Parliament became essential to policy, needed two day debate and to win a majority of Labour votes, not just Conservatives.Blair insisted on retaining line about appeasement of 1930s.
Ashdown: Blair when in open-ended situation does not know which way to go -- but when backed to wall is magnificent.
Parliamentary speech was his best -- won motion 412-149.
Blair admitted to Parliament 15 months later that WMD had not been found. Shattering to reputation, based on moral high ground.The Battle at Home
Greenberg: bond of trust broken.
spring 2004, lowest ebb.
Competition in hospitals and schools to drive up standards
Blair: charter schools and (others) have performed better -- but Brown disagreed with these reforms.
Showdown over college tuition, previously only a nominal charge -- offended Labour over the working class studentsEducation Sec Estelle Morris resigned because Brown & Blair deadlocked.Blair announced resignation in advance -- a first -- to give Brown sense he would not stay indefinitely
Replacement Sec. Clarke found many last minute amendments from Brown forced upon him.
160 Lab backbenchers signed petition against top-up fees.
Jan 2004 Commons debate -- needed to persuade Opposition parties and own Labour MPs.
Won with Brown's support, only by 316-311.but then a lame duck, would limit himself to one more electionLondon bombings 7/7/05, triggered COBRA committee emergency plan -- during G8 summit
won unprecedented 3rd victory 2001 for Labour -- but lower vote and lowest share for a victory ever.
People merely willing to tolerate Labour and didn't fancy Conservatives.
Flew to Singapore to support London's bid for Olympics.
Returned to host Gleneagles summit of G8, victoriousPM had to return to London but summit would continue.The Long Goodbye
Confronted with home-grown suicide bombing for first time.
Blair's leadership a success -- but made UK seem less safe because of Iraq war.
Terrorism prevention measures -- reduction of civil liberties.Brown supporters wanted a date of retirementParty Conference
7 junior ministers resigned, attempted palace coup
Blair agreed to leave by party conference, Sep. 2007
Blair served with eviction notice by own partyBrown praised Blair at conference -- longest relationship of PM and CH. in modern British history, and a privilege.Blair then questioned by police in party corruption case -- a first for PM
Cherie overheard saying that's a lie.
Blair laughed off -- "at least I don't have to worry about her running off with the bloke next door."
Emotional party, attached to past, Tony brought us over a bridge to the 21st century
Blair "You're the future now -- so make the most of it."
Economy continued to grow, social confidence grew, historic settelment in NI, AFghan and Iraq wardd unresolved.
July 2007 new PM.
Blair re-made British political landscape
Fatally undermined by tragedy of entering Iraq
Ashdown: one of the best PMs, but fell short of greatness.
-Chancellor of the Exchequer since 1997. Became Prime Minister following Tony Blair’s resignation in June 2007. Campaigning on “a future fair for all,” his own success in handling the economy, the Labour Party’s role in creating the NHS, his pledge to make the NHS more “patient-centered,” “Sure Start” education, energy independence, controlled migration, and his/Labour’s overall record over the last 13 years. The website is highly specific with figures and focuses primarily on the past and what Labour/Brown have done. Interestingly, Labour has the least information regarding their foreign policy stances.Nick Clegg (Liberal-Democrats)
- served as MEP, MP, and member of two Shadow Cabinets before being elected leader in December 2007. Attempting to reach new voters. Campainging on “change,” “different,” and a “commitment to fairness.” Emphasis on being “green,” “cutting taxes from the bottom up,” regulating interest rates, “crack(ing) down on big business,” ending waste in the NHS, free university education, international cooperation etc. His website is focused on bringing new ideas and fresh change to Britain as one would expect from a party that has had little impact on government.David Cameron (Conservatives)
- MP for 4 years prior to his surprise election as leader in December 2005. Previously worked in business, public relations, and as a special government advisor. Campaigning on “Quality of Life,” reduction of taxes and “red tape,” “cut(ting) carbon emissions,” reform of the banking system, reduction of the deficit, refusing to “allow Britain to slide into a federal Europe,” tackling extremism which leads to terrorism, raising school standards etc. His website is highly personal, oriented around bullet points and brief explanations, focused on change and the difference between Conservatives and the other parties. Interestingly, it seems to cover the most amount of issues (though perhaps with the least depth), and also makes clear attacks against Labour.Notes from the first PM debate, held April 15, 2010
- First ever debate on British TV among party leadersOpening statements
-Clegg- things are not how they ought to be. Choice not simply between “two old parties.” Wants to “do things differently.”Q: What key elements need to be put in place for immigration?
-Brown- moving from recession to recovery and a road to prosperity. We need to make right decisions now in order to have a strong economy. Wrong decisions can lead to another recession. Labour will make right decisions while protecting services. Brown knows how to handle these things
- Cameron- believes debates can lead to more openness. Apologizes for the scandles. Politicians have let the people down. Believes Britain can do better while avoiding “jobs tax.” We need to come together. Labour has done good things, but we need change.
Brown- control and manage. Points system where no unskilled worker can come from outside EU. Work to make sure right people go to right areas. Net inward migration is falling. Bringing in border patrols. ID cards for foreign nationals. Precise and specific action. Arbitrary cap won’t work. Net migration will continue to fall under Labour. Train young people and we will need less immigration.Q: What confidence can you give that you can make towns safer?
Cameron- immigration too high and needs to come down. Puts pressure on services. A limit on migration, not simply a point system. Transitional controls for new EU countries. Get it down to levels of the past. Cap IS necessary. Concrete steps must be taken. We let down the citizens if we don’t address the issue. We need proper border police force. 13 years of a government that is only starting to address the issue. Very big numbers under Labour government. We need to reform welfare to make sure those able to work are working. How can we rely on regional approach?
Clegg- tough talking, but complete chaos in administration. Know when they are supposed to leave. Only allow them to go to places where they are needed. Good and bad immigration. Good immigration helps services. Arbitrary cap won’t work. Both major parties have failed to deliver with regards to immigration. System just needs to be fair and workable. Regional approach is best. Work permit would allow them to only work in a specific region.
Cameron- not enough police, not catching enough criminals, not enough convictions. We need to keep criminals in prison. Get rid of paperwork/bureaucracy and get police on the streets. Keep criminals in for a long time. Drug addicts must get off the streets and into treatment. Get them to lead drug-free lives. Focus on getting more out of our money rather than throwing money at the problem. Money not being allocated properly. We are not allocating funds to get police on the streets adequately. Liberal-Democrats don’t have appropriate prison sentences. Brown cannot pay for everything he says he is going to.Q: How will you reestablish credibility of MPs in the eyes of the electorate considering recent scandals?
Clegg- More police on streets. ID card $ would be better spent on more police officers. Too many young offenders who become hardened criminals. We need preemptive action with these young people. Prisons are overcrowded colleges of crime. 9/10 that go in prison go back. Get the young people who are nuisances before they can become real criminals. Other parties have talked tough but haven’t fixed problems. We must do something different. Major parties don’t have enough figures in their manifestos.
Brown- Crime falling, but we need to do more. Effective policing with 80% of time on the streets. Parents must accept responsibility for children. Injunction against police forces. Get young people off the streets and doing purposeful activity. We have more police than ever before. Local police forces must be accountable. We are working on programs for young people to bring down reoffending rate. Conservatives won’t match our funding of the police.
Clegg- no politician deserves trust until everyone comes clean. People have not taken responsibility. MPs profited from taxpayer dollars and the system. No Liberal-Democrats participated. Words sound great, but what you do matters. Liberal-Democrats at reform have been blocked. People deserve right to “sack” MPs. Lib-Dems exonerated from wrongful money. We cannot allow rotten system where MPs essentially have jobs for life in “safe seats.” Labour is not trying to make real reforms. Real change has to be made in the House of Lords and Labour hasn’t done that. Has attempted reforms, but has been blocked by Labour despite their claims to the contrary.Q: What will you do to improve education?
Brown- was appalled. Right of recall for misbehavior and corruption. Right to petition Parliament. Reform House of Commons and House of Lords (elected). New system of election. Cutting the number of MPs won’t work. Cut House of Lords by 50%. Conservatives voted against reform of House of Lords. We have got to take action in the future. MPs must be elected with more than 50% of the vote.
Cameron- Issue not finished. People don’t pay taxes for abuse of the system. Conservatives paid back money and apologized first. Cut size/expense of politics. Lower salaries and 10% cuts on numbers of MPs and Lords. Better value for money plus cleaner. House of Lords ought to be elected. Labour hasn’t done anything for House of Lords in 13 years. This talk is an electoral ploy. We must get more for less, just like real families and businesses. Liberal –Democrats are “holier than thou,” politics has long been in a state of disarray. 3 Labour MPs in court, Lib-Dems in trouble, Labour too reliant on unions, Conservatives too reliant on rich donors, Lib-Dems haven’t paid back money from criminals. It IS time for recall if MPs break rules.
Brown- we will improve education as we have done. We need better teachers and more willing students. We must start earlier. Highest of standards. Look at different types of exams. World-wide competition and we must be able to compete with others. Every school needs to be a good school. Allow federations/academies to take over under-performing schools. Spend enough. No budget cuts. Cuts in budget will cut numbers of teachers. Conservatives are a risk to service.Q: How certain can you be that your parties policies can address the deficit yet not hurt the economy?
Cameron- education over good grades. System is too bureaucratic. Spend too much on quangos rather than on the “frontline.” Own children are in the system and it needs to improve. Trust teachers. Good discipline needed in schools. Head teachers should be able to exclude troubled students. It’s not all about what we spend. It’s about how/where we spend. Money must go into schools, waste must be cut. Jobs tax and be cut if we end waste. Government can save money by cutting waste.
Clegg- national curriculum is too long. Teachers receiving too many instructions. Reinstill enthusiasm. Education Freedom Act which bans government from micro-management. Discipline and creativity are important. Smaller class sizes. Support individual children better. We have to save from waste in order to provide for more teachers.
Cameron- vital question. Stop jobs tax which will derail recovery. Businesses agree. Start cutting waste now to avoid the tax in the future. Cut six billion and we won’t have the tax. Waste is evident, particularly in the civil service that is easy to remove. Giving up waste would be good for the economy. Liberal-Democrats don’t have the money for a tax cut. Businesses are clear about risk of Labour’s job tax.Q: What assurances can you give the armed forces that things will improve (troops dying, under-equipped)?
Clegg- remove tax credits through top 25%, put cap of pay increases. Make long term choices. We can’t afford nuclear program. Cutting waste won’t be enough. We need to be clear and open with the electorate. 10% tax on profits of the banks. Can’t get obsessed about amount of waste. Liberal-Democrats are the only party being straight about cuts. Money would come from making tax system fairer. We can’t afford certain things. We must get politicians together.
Brown- terrible recession that has required difficult choices. We can’t take money out of the economy now. Conservatives solution won’t work. Government has kept economy going. We have to keep money in the economy. Conservatives are a risk to the economy. We have to invest in the economy THIS YEAR. Pulling out money will jeopardize jobs.
Clegg- too many bureaucrats, too many “top brass.” We shouldn’t spend so much on nuclear defense. We should increase pay. Same pay as firefighters. Must cut spending elsewhere. The kind of equipment provided is important. Pay for more equipment that will protect soldiers. Use British manufacturers. We should have a review. World and threats are changing. Major parties rule out changes to nuclear program. We aren’t in a Cold War any more.Q: What are the parties’ visions for health care, particularly rising costs?
Brown- pride for armed forces. We must do good by families of soldiers. We must do right by the troops. Increase spending on equipment. We meet requirements of soldiers. In Afghanistan to attack terrorism. Must build up Afghan army and police force to allow troops to come home. Pay must rise. Proper services for veterans. Taliban has changed tactics. We must work together and he’s had to deal with nuclear countries. We can’t make a unilateral abandonment of nuclear deterrent while we have aggressive enemies. Lack of helicopters is due to change in tactics. We are best equipped that we’ve ever been.
Cameron-thanks for the forces and to the specific soldiers. Our soldiers are “brilliant.” We don’t do enough for them. Fought budget cuts for training for territorial army. Progress being made in Afghanistan. Fundamental defense review. We can’t give up nuclear deterrent as that is most important job of PM. We need review to get everything required in front line. I’ve been to Afghanistan and they don’t have enough helicopters and it’s the fault of Labour government.
Brown- we need to allow people to be treated at home. Priorities are to give personal guarantees. Accelerate time tables. Public services are essential. More nurses and doctors. Conservatives won’t give personal guarantees. We have improved screening. Inheritance tax cut is totally unfair.Q: When will you introduce fairer system for supporting elderly?
Cameron- thanks for service. NHS is wonderful thing. Dedication of workers makes him incredibly proud. Grow budget of NHS. We must improve and expand it. More choice. Cancer drugs must be available for everyone. Managers going up faster than managers and government hasn’t fixed problems over last 13 years. Cancer drugs unaffordable. Labour will raise costs. Guarantees aren’t right because sometimes they don’t meet needs. We are making spending exception to NHS. Only budget that needs to go up. Cancer death rate is worse than Bulgaria. Outcomes are not improving. Brown will take money out of NHS. Clegg promising massive tax cut, whereas we want to cut waste and put more money in NHS.
Clegg- We must protect it even though money is tight. We must re-prioritize. Spending too much money on computer systems and bureaucracy and closing hospitals. We can’t judge it by money. Conservatives can’t cut deficit, taxes, and give money to NHS. Strip layers of management. Let’s be honest in this debate. We would stop loopholes and make rich pay more. Give people relief on pension contributions.
Cameron- it’s unfair to have people who have done the right things to have to be drained financially when they are elderly. Not all care can be free. We can guarantee care to those who have saved. It’d be a good start. A major problem in the system. We need to be able to spend as long at home as possible. We need to help the carers. Let’s provide them with a break. More control for individuals. Make their own decisions. Let’s make direct payments easier.Closing Statements
Clegg- issues is so big and it affects everyone, we need to set aside differences and come up with universal solution. Use money for carers to give them a respite. Give carers at least a week off. No one has the perfect solution, and we should stop playing politics.
Brown- elderly shouldn’t have to choose between home and care. More comprehensive system. We need consensus. Introduce respite.
Clegg- thanks for “Sticking with it.” Liberal-Democrats are a good alternative. They are not typical politicians. We can answer questions and rise to challenges if we say yes to something new. We can’t trust the major parties because they make the same mistakes. We can have a better, fairer country. Choose something different.Debate Scoring (in my opinion):
Brown- Glad they are not up against the X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent. Struck with a number of questions. Make a decision about economy and its recovery this year. Must make sure money is in the economy. We must be fair to services. Cameron can’t guarantee cuts won’t be made.
Cameron- repeated attempts to frighten you about Conservative government. Choose hope over fear. Conservatives have great vision. It has been shown that wasting for recovery is wrong. Values are important. If you work hard, want to raise a family, and when you are old Cameron will be behind you. We will work together.
Opening statement: Clegg did well at grabbing attention and making sure that he would not be a side note throughout the night.Overall:
Immigration: Draw between Brown and Clegg. Cameron articulated well but took hits from the others. Clegg scored points by mocking ID cards, Brown came across like he had a strong handle on the issue.
Crime: Cameron came across as the most in touch with the issue and the one with the best plan for effectiveness.
Corruption: Clegg came across as the real reformer. Cameron was clearly in second on this issue, and Brown came across as a talker, not a doer.
Education: Clegg with Cameron again in second. Brown comes across as the least sincere and most politically motivated.
Deficit: Cameron came across as the clear winner on this question with Clegg in second.
Defense: Draw. Brown’s experience played favorably, Cameron came across as strong on defense and sincere in his appreciation for the armed forces, and Clegg’s positions seemed the most divergent and will likely appeal to many non-hawkish citizens.
Health: Cameron came across, shockingly, as the strongest proponent of the NHS.
Closing Statements: Cameron connected really well and seemed to make his points clearly. Clegg did a nice job of making himself relevant and the Liberal-Democrats viable.
Draw between Clegg and Cameron. Cameron’s goals seemed to be to articulate the failures of Labour and the ineffectiveness of Brown’s leadership, while offering a clear, gentle, friendly conservative vision. For the most part, I believe he was successful. Clegg’s main priority seemed to be getting the Liberal-Democrats and himself from beyond minor party status and become legitimate contenders. He seemed to do that remarkably well. It will be interesting to see how he will play the expectations game. Brown’s job was to make Conservative government seem frightful, “buddy up to” the Lib-Dems, and make his experience a positive. In my opinion, he failed in all three objectives. Cameron out-maneuvered Brown and made Brown seem like a fear mongerer and someone desperate to keep control. He constantly attempted to draw similarities between Labour and the Liberal-Democrats but seemed surprised at Clegg’s attempts to assert himself and his party as a force in their own right. He also seemed defensive rather than reassuring about his leadership and seemed most disingenuous.Side Notes:
Cameron highly Reaganesque in his use of anecdotes. He attempts to make himself more common and provide real examples by talking of the people he’s met and places he’s been on the campaign trail and the problems they are facing.
Brown appears to be relying very strongly on a defense of his and his party’s record. He also takes the authority position and talks down to the other candidates.
Neither Brown nor Cameron are addressing Clegg seriously. They challenge only each other. Cameron almost seems to ignore the fact that Clegg is on the stage, while Brown treats him kindly and not as a threat. Could this be posturing for a possible alliance?
Clegg running against both parties hard/calling for change at every point.
Clegg made, in my opinion, a smart move by making an audible laugh at Brown when he said I agree with Nick. He had attacked both parties for talking a good game and his laugh highlighted the fact that he believed Labour was attempting to articulate his ideas, while failing to put them into practice. There are several times where Brown attempts to show similarities with Clegg and Lib-Dems but is rebuffed. This shows Clegg is serious about not being a third party, but instead vaulting the Liberal-Democrats into serious contention.
Brown comes across commandingly in his initial response to the question regarding defense. It drew a contrast between the tough choices he has had to make and the naïve nature of his opponents.