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On Senator John McCain’s stone cold revenge on President Trump…

The dramatic scenes on the Senate floor in the early hours of this morning are ones that Democrats and all those that believe in health care will play over and over again on YouTube. With a majority of just two, the Republicans could absorb the two rebels who had already made themselves known, Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. The Vice President was lurking in case of a tied vote to cast the deciding ballot. So it was all eyes on Senator John McCain whose vote had been on a knife-edge seemingly all day.

What happened next changed the course of the Trump presidency. That is not over-egging what happened last night. The fact that after yet another run at getting rid of Obamacare, the President was unable to get anything done. As the senator from Arizona strode in to vote, all eyes were on him. He outstretched his arm and then paused for what seemed like an entirely but was in reality barely two seconds before saying ‘No’ and putting his thumb down. It was over.

This wasn’t just about ObamaCare. This was also about stone cold revenge and a message to all that people have long memories. The President had been absolutely vile towards the former Republican Presidential nominee. You can not like someone and speak about it openly if you want to but actions also have consequences. Trump may have ascended to the top job in the land but McCain was still one of just 100 senators who have the power to hold him to account and subsequently scuttle his legislative agenda. With a majority of just two, you can’t afford to alienate people and this is where Trump’s lack of knowledge of politics comes to bite him in the butt.

In the business world if you don’t like someone you don’t necessarily have to deal with them. You can get your bricks from another supplier. You can get your concrete from another supplier. You can get your windows from another supplier and so on. In politics you have to deal with the same people for a finite amount of time until their term is up and they go for reelection. This means you have far less wriggle room and if you shaft someone, they will remember and wait until the time is right to put one back over on you.

Whether Senator McCain was thinking about this during proceedings this week, who knows? He was the deciding vote that kept this debate going throughout the week, dramatically flying back to vote for further discussions on the bill. Could he have simply been wanting to up the drama knowing all the while that the longer it continued, the more likely it was to succeed and Trump’s confidence would’ve grown, all the while knowing he was set to scuttle it? Makes for an interesting theory doesn’t it?

The long and short of it though is that McCain, along with his two Republican colleagues in the early hours of Friday morning voted to essentially torpedo what was arguably the top line of President Trump’s campaign.

The Senate had already voted not to repeal and replace ObamaCare but to repeal it and kick it into the weeds for two years was on the table, which would essentially allow the President to claim victory and take 15 million people out of health insurance next year with another 16 million by 2026 and up premiums by 20% according to a Congressional Budget Office report. It stunk and was all about ‘winning’ and not about doing anything that was good for people who need ObamaCare.

At the start of the week Senator McCain was vilified by the liberal media as the person who was ready to bring down ObamaCare. Before the week was out, he was the person who cast the deciding vote to keep it. As they say a week is a long time in politics and revenge is a dish served stone cold.

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On the ‘special’ relationship between Trump and the UK…

Since Donald Trump has been elected as the 45th president of the United States and the rest of the world watched that hand-holding moment between Theresa May and Trump during her visit to Washington, it’s safe to say that there have been some awkward questions posed about the ‘special relationship’ between the UK and US. As a country, it is safe to say that Britain has found it hard to come to terms with Donald Trump, TV personality and thin-skinned businessman, being elected for president. His win (not by popular vote, mind!) came as a particularly damning blow when there was repeated evidence that he did all manner of terrible things that would, in any other situation, be deemed completely unacceptable. So what does a future of working alongside Donald Trump look like for the UK?

One thing that has caught the attention of so many people is the similarities between UK’s Brexit and the US’s decision to make Trump president. It seems that there is a growing frustration amongst certain groups of people in both countries – mainly those from a working class background and who are white – that feel underrepresented and disheartened with their country. This begs the question of whether the US and Britain will find a common purpose and look to solve issues that have previously been ignored by other governments?

In fact, people seem to feel so disheartened with the election of Donald Trump, that there has been an abundance of online and offline mockeries regarding the President. Firstly, there are the memes found across social media on a daily basis, and then there’s a number of online games like the Ladbrokes Trump White House game where you can actually paint the White House and have an apocalyptic background – all created in ‘honour’ of the new President.

A vision of Trump's White House come 2020...?
A vision of Trump’s White House come 2020…?

Despite the May-Trump alliance however, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is set to snub Donald Trump during her visit to the US, and the UK has already created a number of mocking murals regarding the ‘special relationship’ between Trump and the UK Prime Minister.

Many people are also wondering what the special relationship between the UK and US will mean for the Special Forces, nuclear weapons and intelligence services in the UK. It is wondered whether the relationship between Trump and May will remain strong when it comes to something as tentative as nuclear proliferation and war, to name but a few. With Trump also being hinted as being in close communication with Putin and the Russian government, this could cause massive problems when it comes to developing improved relations between the UK and US.

Some are labelling the ‘special relationship’ between the UK and US at the moment as a way of ensuring Britain’s security when it comes down to trade post-Brexit. Many people are fearing that the lack of definitive deal making between Britain and the EU when it comes to trade agreements means that the UK is fearing what this will mean when it comes down to our economy and place in the world when it comes to selling our goods and services. Uncertainty has proven to be a massively powerful tool when it comes predicting the future of the UK and, with the value of the pound falling, it seems we have more reason to cling on to America’s support than ever before.

Diving Into The Deep Unknown

Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of the special relationship between the US and the UK is that many claim that we are jumping into the unknown. All that we know about the President of the United States thus far is based from what he has said and what he had done in the last few months. As Trump is proven to be easily angered and erratic in his behaviour, it is difficult to know what steps Theresa May, for example, should be taking.

Ultimately, Britain needs to be keeping a close eye on its future, which gives rise to the significance of the relationship between Trump and May. It seems best, at least for now, to watch how President Trump goes about his presidency and watch his every move rather than disregard him entirely. As they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer…

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On the radicalisation and the ‘us’ and ‘them’ nature of modern politics…


That is how I describe modern day politics all over the world. Can it be just eight years since a black man was first elected as the leader of the free world? That win was born out due to both hope and disappointment in the other choice. A landslide victory in a two-horse race doesn’t solely come down to people liking you, but in people liking the alternative less. We are seeing the same thing happen in the States now but instead of two politicians going at it, an angry man is fanning the flames of hate in an attempt to gain power and whether he’s ultimately successful or not, the fact that he’s in the race in the first place says everything.

Here in the UK we don’t have a two-party system but the truth is people are becoming radicalised and instead of progress they want change. People who want change think that the game is fundamentally wrong and the only way to change it is by doing a complete u-turn. For generations the major party closest to the political centre has won because that is where the majority of the voters lie and here’s the kicker, they still do but the activist bases are increasingly moving further and further apart.

Jeremy Corbyn has essentially won the soul of the Labour Party by tapping into this base of people who think the game needs to be changed. The game is rigged against them they think and he’s the man who speaks up for them. They are supercharged and energised to fight for him and for what he believes in. They do not believe he can do anything wrong and wherever he’s erred according to the media, it is the medias fault for highlighting it. By vetting him on his actions it proves that they have bias against him so goes the logic. It just dumbfounds me.

The people in Labour should rally behind him and back him. If they don’t like him as leader then they should get out. Yet when it is pointed out that he himself rebelled against his previous leaders more than any other Labour MP during the 1997-2010 Labour government, it is stated that he is principled and fighting for what he believes in. You can’t have it both ways yet many believe that you can. You can call Jeremy principled for standing up for what he thought was right under a previous leader because he is just one man but when lots of people disagree then that is just plain wrong. You have to laugh.

As a sidebar anecdote, as many of you know who read this I am hilariously unattractive and one of the worst human beings on the planet in terms of potentially forming a relationship with (true story) but I potter around on dating websites from time to time and on around a third of the profiles I click on on OkCupid, they’ll be some form of line saying something like ‘don’t message me if you are a Tory or ever voted for them’ or ‘Tories are evil’ something along those lines.

Now I’ve never voted Tory nor ever considered voting for them but if I found an amazing woman who had voted Tory or even still did, would that automatically mean that I wouldn’t want to date them? Hell no. That type of shallow shit is furthering the ‘us’ and ‘them’ narrative that I fear is taking over many people’s thought process.

This goes to another issue that I think has helped causes this division between people. The social media era. I got involved in a Facebook thread last week (which I try not to do because they are a distraction from the important things in my life – MasterChef Australia) but one thing I brought up that people disagreed with was that in this social media, we can talk to many more people than we would before it and we tend to talk to people who broadly agree with us. People who we find we disagree with regularly we tend to block or disconnect with. We don’t like to have our opinions questions, we prefer to have them confirmed.

I firmly believe that if you surround yourself with people who think like you then you are bound to become more cock-sure that you are correct. Most of us will have friends on Facebook from school who say voted radically different to us in the EU Referendum. We’ll have been shocked by it and wonder where they went wrong. Back in the day when you went to school with them you won’t have cared that they had differing political views than you. Some won’t care now. Yet I bet you a significant number of people who are extremely politically motivated will resassess those friendships with those who thought differently to them on such a passionate issue.

As people we want to be right and if we are to be right then those who disagree with us must be wrong.

The problem with that sentence is of course that if we are to believe that then we have to believe that everything is a black and white issue. Right and wrong. In reality that is very rarely the case in any form of life except facts. An opinion can never be wholly right or wholly wrong. The thing is the ore we surround ourselves with people with the same opinions, the easier we’ll see our opinions as facts and fall into groupthink.

Across the world we are seeing radical people and voices rising us because they feel emboldened by having their views re-enforced by others on social media. It is more accepted to have a strong view that goes against conventional wisdom because you can easily find many more with the same view. Donald Trump is pretty clearly a misogynist and a racist. Put those two things together and you can’t see how he’d ever gain political traction but yet here he is. He has gained traction because he is exploiting those fears that the Leave campaign exploited in the EU Referendum. Emotional fears based not on facts but on opinion. With more and more people being able to share opinions, the groupthink net widens and voila, here we are.

In the Democratic nomination process Bernie Sanders would likely have won had he not had such a slow start. Had he been able to gain traction say two-three months earlier or at least put together a real plan that he’d run a year or two before he did then he likely wins. It is because party members want it all. They don’t want compromise. They want to be 100% right.

Bernie of course also did very well with independents because he appealed to those who thought with ideals instead of electability. The middle ground is no longer a safe place politically (bugger) because you are right or you are wrong. Had the Republicans nominated John Kasich against Hillary Clinton then Kasich would have likely won in a landslide. He was the candidate that people wouldn’t have to hold their nose for, would have appealed to the broad independent base and even Reagan Democrats. He was a slam dunk winner but remember, political leaders aren’t voted for by the electorate but by the membership.

That is what Labour here in the UK have to understand. Yes Corbyn has won two internal elections of Labour members but does that automatically translate into a wider electoral success? No it does not. If there was a vote within my own family as to who the person was who’d make the best next England manager, I would win in a landslide. If I open up that vote to include non-Monnery candidates then I think I might struggle. That is of course an extremely analogy but winning an internal vote amongst people who are energised by you does not equate to winning over the larger electorate who are deeply sceptical.

Yet if you speak to a Corbyn (or a Trump) supporter you’ll often make them saying very similar things. The media is out to get them. Their man is right and everyone else is oh so wrong. They don’t see nuance and they don’t question their leader on any level. The extremes of politics say exactly the same thing regarding their electability, they have exactly the same excuses when they get negative press and they both not only worship their leaders but also believe anyone who disagrees is not only wrong but also a bad person who they don’t want to associate with.

The extreme left and extreme right aren’t very different when it comes down to it. They both want someone to blame and someone to hold up as the gold standard. The more politics (and indeed society) goes down the route of ‘us’ and ‘them’ the more the human race goes back to a period I had hoped was in our past. I wrote a few months back that the older I get the more I realise that life is less black and white than I thought when I was younger. I fear that for many the opposite is true and that is not good for anybody.

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On remembering the six gay weddings in the USA in 1975…

How many of us have heard the story of the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Clela Rorex and what she did in 1975 by issuing wedding licenses for two men to get married? I suspect not many of us. I know I hadn’t until I was pointed in its direction last night but it is a quite wonderful story and I’ll allow Clela to recount it in her own words via NPR:

The couple came in. They asked for a marriage license. And it’s the first time I met openly gay people. I said, I don’t know if I can do this. And at that point, I went to the district attorney and he said the Colorado marriage code did not specify that marriage had to be between a man and a woman, and therefore, I did it. I honestly did not anticipate the degree of hate. It was threats, people needed to kill me for doing this, and that kind of stuff. And I had entire church congregations writing me that it would be Sodom and Gomorrah in the area. I had a small son, he was about 8, and people would call on the phone and if he answered, they’d spiel their hatred to him. And one day, I walked into my office.

I was standing and looking out my window and this horse trailer drives up and some media vans. This cowboy gets out. All of a sudden, it just dawned on me – he was going to ask for a marriage license for his horse. My deputy and I were flipping through the marriage code like crazy, you know, what are we going to do? So the cowboy comes in and asked for a marriage license. And I started taking information. I ask him his name and Dolly’s name – Dolly was the horse – and I said, and how old is Dolly? He said, 8. And I put my pen down, calm as could be, and said, well, I’m sorry, but that’s too young without parental approval.

This woman to be frank is an unsung hero. She just looked at people and looked at the law and saw nothing on the statute that prohibited a wedding between two people of the same gender. She wasn’t afraid of the unknown, she issued the wedding license and got on with things. She would issue five more before the lawyers and the Colorado Attorney General made her stop. Sadly for her she had to leave office before her term was up and she knew she would never have won re-election.

The whole question of whether the government should ever have been (or indeed still should be) involved in weddings is a legitimate one to raise. I think it is clear that as a society we are evolving at a rapid rate and the speed that gay marriage has been accepted throughout the western world shows that public perception is changing on homosexuality. Love is love is one of my favourite sayings. Whether it is love between people of the same gender, people of wildly different ages, who cares? Life is so short and in large parts miserable, I never understood why some people thought that if others didn’t follow life via the convention that they believed was right, that they were wrong.

The friend who pointed me to the story did so following telling me about a gay proposal at a Houston Astros game he was at that came up on the big screen. Texas is about as red as red can get (bar Austin) and the crowd went wild and cheered as the embarrassed person being asked said yes. If the vast majority of a baseball crowd in redder than red Texas is cheering for a wedding proposal between two men then progress is more than considerable on this front.

40 years ago Clela Rorex saw two men wanting to get married, she didn’t see anything in the law that said they couldn’t so issued the marriage license. Considering Kim Davis is still sitting in jail having been found guilty of contempt of court in Kentucky for failing to issue same-sex marriage licenses, we aren’t at the finishing line yet where it just isn’t an issue full stop. Still progress is clear and people like Clela Rorex show us that even the best part of half a century ago, some people didn’t just see gender, they saw love and as we move forward I think more and more people are not looking at partners and seeing gender first and foremost but seeing love and happiness ans isn’t that in the end what it is all about?

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On Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘Tea Party’ issue for Labour…

Jeremy Corbyn. Wow. Seriously what a run this is. This is a bit like the time Michelle McManus came from a 50/1 outsider to storm through and win whatever Simon Cowell show she won, was it Pop Idol?

He got on the ballot in a blaze of MPs feeling guilty and wanting to have a proper debate about where the party were and where they were going. Now he is third favourite but coming in at a rapid pace on Betfair and indeed in the first poll (YouGov/The Times) it was predicted that he would actually win the Labour Labourship contest. Holy Shit.

Still, I still find it unlikely that he can actually win but lets play the game because the title of the post actually does have some merit and brings up a legitimately interesting question/point.

I think it is very hard to win an election in any modern democracy from the fringes unless you are in a time of deep recession or rise of national identity. People generally like parties and politicians who are somewhere around the centre. Whether they are centre-right or centre-left doesn’t really matter and the majority of voters can sway with the wind between these ideological viewpoints.

The word in the previous sentence that is key is the word ‘majority’ for you see you only win if the majority of people vote for you. Tony Blair’s three victories came from the centre-left ground and Ed Miliband decided to throw the blueprint of victory away and move the party further to the left. This of course solidified the core vote but it left the floating voters with a long way to travel to vote for him.

Jeremy Corbyn is coming in and lets be honest, saying a lot of things that people want to hear. The thing is many look at socialism and see it as a good thing but does socialism lead to people aspiring to do better and more importantly is it a position where the majority of floating voters will really gravitate towards? Modern political history says that it does not but it will once more solidify the core vote.

Labour’s recent political success all came when the party spoke to those who wanted to get further in life. Blair knew that people wanted a helping hand and not a hand out. Blair proved that you can not only win from the Centre-Left but you can win in a landslide. Now there is a surge of people within the Labour party who seemingly want to forget the good times and go back to the time when they stood for a small proportion of the electorate but really bloody stood for them. They didn’t win and therefore couldn’t help that section of the electorate but that didn’t matter.

I had a conversation with someone recently on this and they said they thought Jeremy Corbyn was principled and that is exactly what the country needs as no-one else was principled. I don’t know his voting past or his voting intention but he seemed enthused by Corbyn. He may be a swing voter but many of the newer Labour members do seem very enamoured by Corbyn’s words and don’t seem to look at how he can actually deliver what he wants.

The policy that anyone earning over £50k a year should have a 7% tax hike to pay for free education for students is not going to win over the people that you need to win over to win. 7% is quite the tax hike for a lot of people who don’t even consider themselves as that well off.

Nuclear disarmament sounds good and is something I would personally see as a good aspiration but is JC doing to dismantle all our nuclear weapons without getting the rest of the world to do the same? That leaves us kinda vulnerable, no…?

How much money is he going to borrow to renationalise all the utility and transport companies that he wants to? That seems to be something that would plunge the country back into a state of deep national debt and that doesn’t sound like a good thing.

He also wants to reunite Ireland and that is an interesting one. I don’t think that I’m going out on a limb here to say that might be rather hard to get over the line.

So he has lots of policies that’ll be extremely tough to actually make happen even if he wins the leadership contest and then a General Election. The issue is again look at these and how are the party going to win over the moderates that they need to actually win?

And this my friends is where the link to the Tea Party comes in. The Tea Party as we all know is the very vocal and furthest mainstream part of the Republican Party. They get a lot of air time and the Republicans keep moving further right to appease this section of the party but in doing so, all they are doing is making it even harder for the moderates to go out and vote for them. There are millions of American who believe in the small state that is at the heart of Republicanism but can’t bring themselves to vote for a Republican Party that are drifting further to the right and away from the centre, instead choosing not to vote for voting for a moderate Democrat.

I’m a Hillary guy and think she would make a superb President of the United States but her chances of winning against a moderate Republican aren’t as slam dunk as many of us outsiders are led to believe. In the electoral system in the US you really have to dominate the larger states in the Electoral College and in recent years the Republicans have struggled in many of these (Texas/Florida being the large states that seem solid in). If the Republicans find a moderate then they can be competitive in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana and the like but they won’t vote for an extreme and this is what Corbyn followers have to look at.

Jeremy Corbyn might speak to you but will he speak to enough people to actually win an election? If the answer is no then surely you have to vote for someone else who can. If you think that politics is all about principles and standing up for what you believe in but not getting anywhere to actually act and help those you want to help then Corbyn is your guy. If you want to do some good for those people but not get everything you might want/believe in then you have to be more moderate.

Winners come from the moderate ground and to win you have to be there. Being idealistic but getting nowhere seems noble but also seems pointless. There is a reason the Tories and Lib Dems are cheering Corbyn on from afar and that isn’t because either of the parties think he’ll eat into their support. Putting significant ground between Labour and the centre ground will leave a lot of voters sitting on their hands or going somewhere else.

My last analogy (and if this doesn’t worry Labour voters I don’t know what will) but a Labour General Election victory is actually less likely than me having a successful date whilst wearing my new tie-dye fleece. Yes folks it is just that unlikely.

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

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

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.

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

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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Feminists rejoice – Sarah Palin decides not to run in 2012

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.

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