The Rambles of Neil Monnery

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Archive for the ‘us politics’ tag

Wendy Davis and her Herculean filibuster (now that would be a good title for a book…)

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Over the weekend I was in one of those scary positions for any person who is attached to the modern way of living. Yes you guessed it. I was internetless. You see as much as I love my sister her world does not include the internet so when I go to visit I am cut off not only because of her lack of access to the information superhighway but she also lives somewhere which isn’t covered by 3G. Disaster.

So on Saturday morning with both a lack of internet and a lack of Sky television (seriously I am addicted to all the mod cons) and my sister having left to go and pick up her husband from work. I sat down at the kitchen table and actually read the newspaper. She had bought i. So I was flicking through and then I came across a story I had missed from the previous week. The story of Texan Democrat Senator Wendy Davis speaking for just over 11 hours to ensure a vote on a bill on abortion could not happen and therefore collapsing the bill. Here is a link to the online version of the story I read on Saturday.

This story focuses not on her efforts but more about the possibilities of a potential run at the White House. That might be a few steps away yet but this 50 year-old has essentially come from nowhere in terms of a national profile to become a very realistic prospect to run for the Governor’s office in Texas next year. Now to outsiders we see Texas as a proper Republican stronghold but the reality is that the top position in Texas had been more blue than red although no Democrat has lived in the Governor’s mansion since 1995. It should be noted however that between 1874 and 1979 no Republican was voted into the top job in Texas.

The reason why I decided to blog about this though is that it shows that someone with principles can do what they believe is right and it can have an effect. The bill will pass after Rick Perry called for an emergency 30-day session and the likelihood of the Democrats being able to filibuster their way through that is pretty darn low but the seeds have been sown. Her performance aided by a tweet of support from the President has put her on the fast track to national attention.

There will be those who say her performance was undemocratic and used a technicality to stop the vote from happening and in a way I can see that. However she played within the rules as currently written and her performance was out of this world. It showed passion and tenacity. It also showed that even when the odds are heavily stacked against you that you can come through. Whilst she won the battle she will in all likelihood lose the war but in doing she has given herself a chance to win other battles and other wars which can influence the lives of people within her state and you never know across the whole of the USA.

For now though she is the darling of the Democrats – and quite rightly so.

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Written by neilmonnery

July 2nd, 2013 at 10:05 am

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Why I’m rooting for Obama tonight – and it isn’t just a Republicans are evil rant…

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I woke up this morning knowing that by the time I did that again (well unless I have an afternoon nap obviously) that the self styled ‘leader of the free world’ could be a different man. The US electorate goes to the polls today (well actually around 30million have already voted) but the rest are going to the polls and they have a straight decision to make. Do they trust a man with no viable plan or do they trust a guy who hasn’t delivered all the hope that led him to sweep into power four years ago?

I’m trying to look at it from their point of view and not an outsiders point of view. If you aren’t in the States then you probably hope for an Obama victory because to do otherwise is tantamount to declaring your love for China being the new world leader. A victory for Mitt Romney will basically make the USA an unstable country financially and would certainly at best just widen the divide between rich and poor in a country where the gap is already astronomical.

This election will also be a precursor for us here in the UK as we have one candidate whose whole election campaign has made big claims that don’t add up financially but his motto is ‘I’m not that guy’ and that is what I fully expect to see in 2015 from Ed Miliband and the Labour Party. Do an electorate actually want a viable (if hard to swallow) plan or do they just think change will save the day?

My bias is pretty clear but it should be noted that I was very much a Hilary guy and continue to be so. I do not believe Barack Obama has been a great President of the United States of America but he has had his moments. ‘Obamacare’ as it has been dubbed is a wonderful piece of legislation and look he did authorise taking out his biggest issue on the terror front. That is something his predecessor failed to do despite starting two wars. However the problem Obama has he is promised too much and in the economic climate the world found itself in it was hard to deliver and with the collapse of Lehman Brothers just six weeks or so before the election then the talk should have changed to become more realistic.

For example when you are a kid and your mum says you are getting Chinese takeaway as a treat you get extremely excited but if she changes her mind and you get a home cooked curry you are slightly disappointed. On the other hand if you are told you are getting a home cooked curry when you get in from school then you are excited as your hopes had never reached Chinese food status. This is where Obama went wrong. He promised the Earth knowing that he couldn’t deliver and people remember that and can use it as a stick to beat him with.

If I was an undecided voter I’d struggle to believe Obama. I really would. However the rational part of my brain would also look at the world as a whole and the figures and I’d realise that Romney’s promises simply cannot be delivered and this time Obama’s goals seem far more realistic. I am (like most liberals) a Utopian at heart but a realist when it comes to my head. I know Obama has far more chance delivering what he says he can deliver than what Romney says he can. I also know that if Obama fails then America is in a bad place but if Romney fails then America is in a terrible place.

I won’t go as far as to say that Obama is the lesser of two evils as I think Obama is clearly the better man for the job but if I were an undecided voter then that is what the rational part of my brain would tell me. Obama is not as great as the hype told us. He hasn’t dealt very well with the economy but it could be argued ‘who would?’ considering what happened weeks before he was elected into office. Should the Republicans be given a pass for the Bush administrations decision to let Lehman Brothers collapse and not saving it at all costs? I don’t think that they should. It was one of the worst economical decisions the modern world has seen from a major power.

Hopefully Barack Obama holds on and becomes a two-term President but I am fearful that America will vote for change believing that change is better than the path they are on right now. The grass as they say is not always greener but I’ll tell you this. If Obama promised me that on his way home he’d bring me a battered sausage, saveloy, chips and a curry sauce from the chippy then I’d be happy and believe he could see it through. If Romney promised me that he’d swing by the Chinese and be bringing home from Crispy Seaweed, Special Curry (no mushrooms – extra water chestnuts), Singapore Fried Rice and a side order of Sween n Sour Chicken Balls then I’d be elated but I’d fear a Tesco Value microwave Shepherd’s Pie would be what he walked through the door with instead.

Obama is the choice if you don’t want to roll the dice on America’s future knowing that only two sixes will do. Romney is a huge risk and who wants huge risk in this climate? Not me that is for sure.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

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Written by neilmonnery

November 6th, 2012 at 10:49 am

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Should politicians decide whether or not free refills of coke are legal or not? Well one politician thinks so…

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As much as Baroness Ros riled me up last night in believing that bankers are in fact one entity she wasn’t the winner of my own version of ‘stupid politician making a stupid statement of the week’ award. That dubious honour fell to a mayor in the United States of America.

Cambridge (Massachusetts) Mayor Henrietta Davis wants to make free refills of sugary beverages illegal because they aren’t exactly that good for you. You can read the full story on CNN behind the link. Speaking as she unveiled her proposals she said, “Our environment is full of way too many temptations, this is one temptation that isn’t really necessary.” Well she is right. Many temptations aren’t ‘necessary’ but I don’t recall a lot of things being banned either. I don’t recall a ban on buying a whole box of Krispy Kreme donuts in the city. I also don’t recall a ban on buying pitchers of beer. I also don’t think smoking tabacco is illegal. So why on Earth would free refills of fizzy pop be deemed as illegal?

Cambridge is best known as the home of two of America’s finest higher education establishments with both Harvard and MIT calling Cambridge home. So a significant number of the population are students who in general like the free refill option when they go into a place to eat. It saves money and they are big enough and ugly enough to make up their own minds – as is everyone.

The idea of banning free refills of sugary beverages doesn’t concern me as much as the actual premise of a politician thinking that she has the right to decide whether it is legal or not. It is up to individuals to decide what they might consume as long as the beverage is deemed legal. It is not illegal to get drunk. Being drunk is perfectly legal but if you behave badly when you are drunk or attempt to drive or many other things then that is what makes it illegal. So surely sugary drinks shouldn’t be dealt with at a harsher level than alcohol?

I understand why the proposal is on the table and it might help with obesity levels but it will also affect those who aren’t obese. It would be totally unfair on those people. It is different to the smoking ban in public places because smoke can affect others but drinking lots of coca-cola or sprite or 7up or whatever doesn’t adversely affect other peoples health.

It is just another example where elected officials want to play God as they deem God should be played. It goes against my core beliefs that the state should never intervene when no-one else is being directly affected by someone’s actions. Free refills are an individual choice and not that for the law makers. To think that they have the power and the right to make such decisions is to be frank beyond the pale.

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Written by neilmonnery

July 1st, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Posted in Politics

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Feminists rejoice – Sarah Palin decides not to run in 2012

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So Sarah Palin has decided not to run in 2012 for the Republican nomination to run against President Obama for the White House. This wasn’t a surprise to most considering the likelihood or her winning was low but it was greeted with disappointment around the twittersphere last night – mostly from people like me who saw her running as spicing up the field and making it semi-interesting. The 2008 democratic race was fantastic with the ebbs and flows of the campaign from Hillary’s stunning third place in Iowa to her dazzling late comeback in New Hampshire to the Super Tuesday non-event and then Hillary’s big leads in Ohio and Pennsylvania slowing swindling. It was politics at its best.

Anyway this news also disappointed my friend Kelly over at Political Parry who posted a blog entitled Women and Western Politics this lunchtime which flirted with words about Yvette Cooper (which we agree on – fantastic MP who’d be so much better if Ed Balls had actually allowed her to run for Labour leader – she was the second best candidate behind David Miliband for me but hey) and words on Theresa May (which I disagree with as I think she’s a pretty poor MP) but what interested me were her words on Sarah Palin’s decision not to run.

‘In America, too, there has been a rise in female political figures. Today’s news revealed Sarah Palin will not be standing for presidency. What ever your political standpoint on Palin, and I’m not a huge fan, you have to admit she is as much a master of PR as Tony Blair. I’m actually saddened to here she won’t be standing for presidential election, as it indicates she may not be as ‘ballsy’ as she appears. Like Yvette Cooper, she is true to her (skewed) values, and that is admired in politics. It creates the sense of purpose and direction voters identify so strongly with, and is therefore very persuasive.’

I have written in comments:

Guessing Odone has never heard of Hillary Clinton then who might not just be the most impressive female politician around in western politics at the moment but the most impressive politician full stop. She’s doing an amazing job as Sec. of State and is surely lining up a bid for the democratic nomination in 2016 which in all likelihood she should win – and will win.

However are you really disappointed that Sarah Palin isn’t running? I mean really? Sit back and think about how it would play out (note I said would – not could, not should but would).

She would be a laughing stock in every state but the redneck states (and Alaska). She would lose big and would surely set back the female politicians in the States for years and her running might even have harmed Hillary in 2016.

If I was a woman desperate to see a woman in the top job stateside I’d not want Palin anywhere as all she can do is harm female politicians. Sure she’d get some support as a crackpot candidate but can you imagine the people of New York, Florida, California et al going into the voting booth and seriously voting for Sarah Palin?

No. No you can’t as they wouldn’t. Now they would and will vote for Hillary in 2016.

Be delighted Palin is not running and get aboard the Hillary for President in 2016 bandwagon. That is the train that feminists and anyone who wants to see a great politician (gender not withstanding) in the oval office.

It is no secret that I’m a huge Hillary fan. I think she is possibly the most impressive politician I have seen since her husband bizarrely enough. I always wonder how the world would have been different had 9/11 happened under Clinton’s reign. I really do think we’d be living in a very different world but that is just my hypothesis. To get back on subject…

If I were a feminist (apparently I am as I believe in equal rights for all but most feminists I read or speak to believe that the world is so anti-women it is insane – I do not agree with this – so I think whilst I am a by the book feminist I think most feminists aren’t by the book – therefore I can’t identify with them). Yep I think that has straightened that one out. No more abuse for Neil…*ducks*

Anyway yes. If I were a feminist I’d be delighted Sarah Palin is not running as all she can do it set back the cause of women. She can’t win. Not because she’s a woman but because she isn’t credible in the states were she would need to win. She can play well in the deep south and through certain parts of the mid-west but is Palin going to go into New York or California or Ohio or Pennsylvania or Florida and pull out the win against Obama in 2012 (and presumably Clinton in 2016)?

No. No she isn’t.

It is all well and good having a brand but it has to be the right brand at the right time and her brand will not play out where it matters for her as she has no track record on the economy. Her highest profile job was the governor of Alaska. That isn’t going to play out against whoever the democrats put up and more importantly it won’t play out against the likes of Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann who is actually a top and the Republican polling in Iowa at the moment which as we all know is the first state to have a caucus – and guess what – she’s a woman!

If feminists or people who just love women in politics want some joy in 2012 then rejoice that Palin isn’t going to be on a ballot and back Michele Bachmann. I’m not sure she can win but she’ll play out far better in the states she’d need to win in a Presidential run than Palin will and that is the most important thing. Whatever happens I fully expect and hope Hillary Clinton in the President by the time my 33rd birthday comes around but for 2012 she’ll be quiet. For the women out there it’s Michele Bachmann and not Sarah Palin and trust me folks – that is a very good thing indeed despite Bachmann’s Tea Party links. Palin’s brand won’t play out where it is needed and Bachmann whilst singing from the same hymn sheet isn’t dug into the minds of the voters as yet.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

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Written by neilmonnery

October 6th, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Posted in Politics

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