Thursday, April 22, 2010

British leadership debate: Securing our future for the future

Second British leaders’ debate today. Gordon Brown wore a red tie, his party’s color, Nick Clegg wore a yellow tie, his party’s color, and David Cameron came so close, wearing a purple tie.

From Gordon Brown’s opening statement: “Like me or not, I can deliver that plan...” That noise you heard was several million British people all saying “Not” at the same time.

Nick Clegg (LibDem and it’s all his fault) defended the European Union (“Size does matter,” he actually said), while noting that it took 15 years to define chocolate (yummy?). He pointed out (correctly) that the Tories ally themselves in the European Parliament with “a bunch of nutters, anti-Semites, people who deny climate change exists, homophobes”.

Clegg again won the debate, by seeming like a more or less real human being who believed what he was saying. This is the advantage of being the one person there with no chance of being prime minister.

In the first debate, Brown and Cameron tried to go after LibDem voters by starting every sentence “I agree with Nick.” But that just it made it look like they were okay with the possibility of a hung Parliament and a coalition government and that it was therefore okay for people to vote LibDem. So this time, both of them 1) disagreed with Clegg, 2) pointed out whenever the other one disagreed with Clegg about anything. Brown said that Cameron & Clegg reminded him of his two boys “squabbling at bath time.” That noise you heard was several million British people all singing “Rubber ducky, you’re the one, / You make bath time lots of fun” at the same time while picturing Cameron & Clegg naked in a bath together. Later, Cameron said that the more Brown & Clegg quarreled, the more he thought everyone should vote for the Tories. Had he not thought that before?

Cameron and Clegg used the word “proper” a lot.

Brown, who again came with the most prepared (and over-rehearsed) lines, said “David is anti-European [he isn’t, I think, but much of his party is], Nick is anti-American [he isn’t]” and “David’s a risk to our economy, Nick’s a risk to our security,” the latter because Clegg sees no need to spend billions to upgrade the Trident nuclear missile system. Brown told him to “get real.” Cameron said that Trident is necessary for “securing our future for the future.”

Clegg said, “I’m not a man of faith.” That would never happen in the US. That was in response to a question about the pope, who is visiting the UK this year. No one was willing to take up the No Popery banner or say that they’d arrest him on sight.

Brown: “If you’re gay or straight, you have a place in British society.” Which will be news to Americans, who think all you guys sound gay.

All three (sigh) are in favor of the war in Afghanistan, although Clegg kept saying that in the next war Britain should bring “proper” weapons. Brown seemed to want to go to war in Yemen and Somalia. Did anyone even mention Iraq?

The fringe UK Independence Party was not represented in the debate, but I’ve been meaning to mention its election motto: Sod the lot.

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