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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 04-Nov-05


Friday 04-Nov-05

Political blunders and the power of the press

There's a strange and dysfunctional pattern into which politicians often fall, where they seem to think they play outside or above the rules. And it's a game that the press love to join.

Here in the UK, Cabinet member David Blunkett (Work and Pensions Secretary),  has just been toppled over holding shares in a company that gained government contracts and taking payments, albeit for a short period. As usual, he left 'voluntarily' after weeks of claiming innocence and trivializing the transgression ("Having investments and holding shares in modern Britain is not a crime, declaring them is imperative"). It was less that a year ago he was ousted over claims that he fast-tracked a visa application for his lover's former nanny. Some people don't learn, it seems.

The press will, of course, claim another scalp. It is sad how the unelected have such power. It's a part of the pattern of the British press that the more famous you are, the more they love to cut you down and cast you out -- especially if you've done a come-back trick. With increasing howls for resignation and determined muck-raking, they delight in destroying the high and mighty. It seems like a hangover from our class-driven past. A case of feudal retribution, perhaps.

Shame, really. David Blunkett is an amazing person, having overcome blindness to become one of the most powerful and respected people in the country. Even after a previous shaming and ousting, Prime Minister Tony Blair valued his services so much he recalled him. Love him or hate him, you cannot help but admire the man.

In the US also, politicians are wriggling as the investigation into who knew what about the starting of the Iraq war rumbles on, getting dangerously close to the top.

In some countries that purport to be democratic, corruption is so rife that true democracy is really a long way off and journalists live in well-founded fear. Politicians can do pretty much what they like and freedom of the press is a figment of the imagination.

France seem to have a nice balance. Political leaders are not wrong-footed by sexual scandals and news of a politician having a mistress are met with a typical Gallic shrug. The people and the press there have a healthy sense of nationalism and are quite protective of their leaders in matters that do not directly affect 'La France' or 'Les Fran?is'. Perhaps 'Vive la France' is the right principle, after all.

Your comments

FACT: In January of 1994 when in the first time in 40 years the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress average gas prices in the US was $1.00 a gallon. (Note: there was just a few months in 2002-2003 that Jumpin Jim caused a brief switch in the US Senate to the Democrats).

FACT: In January of 2006 when the DEMOCRATs took back control of both houses of Congress the average price of Gasoline in the US was $2.28 a gallon.

FACT: In "TWELVE" again, in 12 years of Republican Control of Congress gas prices rose 56.14%.

FACT: Right now under a DEMOCRAT led Congress gasoline prices in the US average $4.16 a gallon.

FACT: Since the DEMOCRATs took over both houses in Congress in January 2006 just "EIGHTEEN" again, just 18 months ago, gasoline has sky rocketed 45.19%!!!!! That is FORTY FIVE POINT NINETEEN PERCENT INCREASE IN AVERAGE GAS PRICES IN ONLY 18 MONTHS!!!

FACT: In 12 years of a Republican controlled Congress gas prices rose and average of 04.68% per year or 00.39% per month.

FACT: In 18 MONTHs of a DEMOCRAT controlled Congress gas prices rose and average of "30.13%" per year or 02.15% per MONTH!!!!

FACT: During the Carter years a DEMOCRAT Congress put off limits 98% of all US public lands to oil exploration.

FACT: A DEMOCRAT Congress put off limits BILLIONs of barrels of "KNOWN" oil deposits in a small 2000 acre coastal plain part of ANWR which is 19,000,000 acres in size.

FACT: A DEMOCRAT Congress put off limits the coastal shelf, an area with KNOWN oil deposits of BILLIONs of barrels of oil and TRILLIONs of cubic feet of natural gas.

FACT: A DEMOCRAT Congress put off limits the largest KNOWN oil shale deposits in the world which is in the Green River basin located in the western United States, which covers portions of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. About 70% of this resource is located on federally owned or managed land. Deposits in the United States constitute 62% of world resources which is in shale oil roughly three times the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia.

Question, how did this world energy crisis become President Bush's fault?

-- Danny E
[in July 2008]

Dave replies:
Hello Danny! Might I guess that you have a Republican leaning? I'm a 'safe' distance away in the UK, where US politics are but a worrisome entertainment. In my strange, British way, I can't say I'm enamoured with President Bush, but I also think the world's energy crisis is more than his fault. Though as the President of the world's most powerful country (for now) you might think he has had some influence in world events.

I also wonder how your most capital facts relate to the original blog (now in the halcyon days of three years ago).

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