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        « Who is your favourite Labour MP? | Main | "Leftish" »


        The Precinct Chair

        And you have precisely my problem with TB encapsulized in your post above.

        In a sense, Tony Blair's support for the war and the subsequent credit Labour gets for that support is akin to the credit that LBJ and the Democrats get for the major civil rights legislation in the mid to late 1960s. That legislation was passed with overhwhelming Republican support and many Democrat defections, but President Johnson and the majority party Democrats took the credit. I've witnessed the same thing happen "on the other side of the pond" regarding Iraq. For my part I thank him, but still wish to see the Tories prevail over Labour.

        Frogg, USA

        I am an American who admires Blair. I am fully aware his own party did not support him about Iraq and it was conservatives who gave him the vote on Iraq. However, you have to remember....foreigners view PM's, Presidents, etc from other countries based on "foreign policy". Domestic policy, on the other hand, is probably more important in your own elections. You do make a point, however. Many conservative issues are becoming "global". Perhaps I should pay more attention.

        Mark Noonan

        It may be a bit presumptuous of me to claim to speak for American conservatives, but I think we see your point. Tony Blair = Good man regarding Saddam; Tony Blair = Typical liberal/left disaster on everything else.

        I just happened across your blog and I think it is a great place; we at Blogs for Bush had a lot of fun and learned a lot during the 2004 American election and we suspect you'll do the same here.

        We look forward to hosting Tony Blair, good friend that he is, during his upcoming American speaking tour after his retirement from politics in May.

        eddie reader

        This question ought to be - 'Do you know the British people the way we do?'
        Churchill once commented that the UK and the US were two peoples seperated by a common tongue - far more seperates us these days.
        Britain (like much of the rest of Europe) is a deeply secular country that looks at the American religous right with a mixture of incredulity and disgust.
        Britain is a deeply conservative, unimaginative, self-conscious society where the clock stopped sometime between 1940 and 1947. The only upside to this being the music it generated from Pink Floyd to the Clash.
        America is a land dedicated to success. Not all Americans are rich, but failure is not seen as a barrier to future success. Lincoln was a bankrupt, Ford a serial failure.
        Britain is a land committed to failure. The Conservatives admire failure. That is the success of a few academically (big deal) who then tell all the other 'failures' what to do. So successful is that strategy that it has a health system that wouldn't be out of place in the old Soviet Union and its only success is supermarkets - Napoleon's jibe about being a nation of shopkeepers finally coming true.
        The Conservatives yearn for a deferential country headed by a disfunctional Royal Family. They have nowhere to take Britain. Europe has been a great success story - and will continue to be so. The Conservatives are too small minded to see the opportunities this presents individual Britons. But then they are not a party of the individual any more than Labour


        Churchill once commented that the UK and the US were two peoples seperated by a common tongue

        No he did not - neither did he sing "White Christmas" or box with Max Schmeling.

        George Bernard Shaw said the US and Great Britain werec "divided by a common language"..............

        Britain is a deeply conservative, unimaginative, self-conscious society where the clock stopped sometime between 1940 and 1947.

        Funny that I had the distinct impression it was degenerating faster than the US by importing the disastrous educational system from the US - the High School - and that it had imported all the very worst aspects of US society with none of its redeeming features.

        I am pleased to hear it is "deeply conservative" - who do you base this assertion on ?

        So successful is that strategy that it has a health system that wouldn't be out of place in the old Soviet Union and its only success is supermarkets

        I bet the USSR wishes it could have a health system as good as the NHS - I bet lots of Americans do too instead of HMOs...............I bet GM does too as it is liquidating itself to support geriatric car-workers with bloated health insurance.

        Just why does the US Government spend a greater proportion of GDP on Healthcare than Great Britain and yet cannot cover 100% population ? Why does the US have Third World infant mortality levels in the South ?

        Why are VA Hospitals such dumps ? Don't US soldiers deserve better ?

        The Conservatives yearn for a deferential country headed by a disfunctional Royal Family. They have nowhere to take Britain. Europe has been a great success story - and will continue to be so

        So the Tories told you their policy ? If they would tell voters here they would be in great shape. Still you have your very own Wiccan, Gay, Muslim, Feminist Episcopalian Church in the US with FRank Griswold and Vicki Robinson
        and noone else wants to associate with the Heretics......................

        Leave the Royal Family alone - you blew your chance in 1776 and we won't take you back


        I am an American who admires Blair. I am fully aware his own party did not support him about Iraq and it was conservatives who gave him the vote on Iraq.

        He did not need his Party support - under the British Constitution War is declared by Order in Council not a vote in Parliament. Blair held a vote because he is frightened of his Party; Chamberlain was a strong leader who controlled his and declared War using Order in the Privy Council.

        Blair is weak. He tells lies and tells people what they want to hear, he wanted to play both sides of the fence - with Chirac and with Bush - but Chirac hates him and Tony wants Chirac to love him.

        The International Criminal Court means British soldiers must be charged with murder to avoid the ICC haviung jurisdiction - how the poor squaddies do their job beats me..............and to fail to equip an army with flak jackets and live ammo despite having 6 months to prepare is pathetic.............all because he was afraid of his party finding out.

        Blair is a fraud, he is an actor who reads his script rather than learn his lines...............stand up to him and he wilts. He would not have dared do the Falklands alone like Thatcher; he is basically over-awed by the Presidency and wants a bit of was right to back the US over Iraq...............but Blair botched it from top to bottom and is busy cutting the Defence Budget while telling us about Security !!


        I'm an American blogger who detests Tony Blair for exactly the reaons you name. Sure, it was a good thing that he stuck by us in Iraq, but he's a lib, darn it!

        eddie reader

        You have more chance of getting ill in a NHS hospital than anywhere else in Europe. Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands have 1% of their hospital population infected with MRSA. The US 5%. Spain the worst in Europe (except the UK) 28% - the UK 43%.
        Conservative party posters claim this is the fault of Labour being unable to keep hospitals clean. If they do believe that it means that the Conservatives do at least recognise how bad British management is - NHS management can't even handle a cleaning contract.
        In truth it's down to the NHS budget going on salaries not assets - beds. I know this is rocket for science for the Brits but when you have an infected patient you isolate him or her.
        The USSR had Gosplan setting targets as a replacement for market forces - what else are NHS targets. Will the Tories be straight and explain to the poorly-educated Brits, who know a lot about Shakespere (and quotations) and nothing about real life, that nothing beats competition.
        Howard went to see how Europe does it a couple of years ago - why doesn't he promise the Brits a system like France's. The WHO recognises the French health care system as the best in the world.
        Finally, when are the Brits going to grow up and stop being jealous of the Germans. We know they were much better soldiers, engineers and managers than the Brits but grow up.

        Phil C

        "... he is not a reliable ally."
        And Michael Howard's any better? After he spent last summer doing such a convincing John Kerry tribute act that Karl Rove barred him from ever coming to the White House? After his back-and-forth on Iraq? After ID cards?

        Pah. I'll believe it when I see it.


        Sweden and the Netherlands have 1% of their hospital population infected with MRSA. The US 5%. Spain the worst in Europe (except the UK) 28% - the UK 43%.

        You are being stupid here - 43% NHS patients have MRSA ? You should study statistics............we ALL carry the bacterium. It is not to do with cleanliness of hospitals but to do with bed occupancy and hot-bedding. Utilisation rates in NHS hospitals approaches the 1960s Britain had almost 1.000.000 hospital beds but the Thatcherites reduced it to 300.000............there are operations which use antibiotics and these are less efficacious - esp in the USA.

        It is in the USA that Vancomycin failed to halt MRSA and it is the US which has significant problems. Oh and as for MRSA the problem is largely London and the South East........not because people are especially filthy down there, more because the population boom is not matched by hospital beds, and wages are too low relative to the well-paid alternatives so full-time staff cannot be recruited and retained so agency staff are employed.

        NHS management can't even handle a cleaning contract.

        Oh they can.........the law states they must go for "best value" so they take low tenders and the poorly paid cleaners have to do the best they can with the restricted budget but then you would approve NHS budget going on salaries not assets

        You seemingly want buildings without running costs - welcome to PFI !!

        As for France it is bankrupt - its healthcare system pays doctors so badly that they are leaving; and it has a health deficit that it cannot fund. Even the IMF is warning France about profligacy and pill-poppers.

        Germany has bitten the bullet and is closing hospitals; it has a massive shortage of doctors as does Norway; Germany has about 50% doctors retiring within 5 years, whereas Britain has an increasing shortage esp in LOndon where most GPs are one-man practices using A&E as backup. Since GP practices are to be combined into commercial groups and A&E units are being closed it should be interesting.

        Eddie Reader it is clear you just unload prejudices without having any facts. I doubt facts would influence your knee-jerk approach; but you have no idea what you are talking about and really should not expose your ignorance so widely.

        "Opinion is Free, Facts are Sacred"


        Detection of MRSA within hospitals and long term care facilities has in creased dramatically in the last two decades and a great deal has been written regarding its management and control. The first reports of MRSA isolates occurred in 1961 shortly after methicillin came into clinical use. Since then, MRSA have been a major cause of nosocomial infections in Europe. By the late 1970’s the organism was identified in large teaching institutions in the U.S. Now MRSA is common in all types of hospitals.

        the lowest MRSA prevalence in northern Europe and highest prevalence in southern Europe, Israel, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. MRSA proportions varied almost 100-fold, with the lowest proportion in Iceland (0.5%) and the highest proportion in Greece (44%)

        Your 44% figure is the proportion of "isolates" who have MRSA not the percentage of patients.

        MRSA may also be released in to the atmosphere on skin squames and fibres from clothing and carried as dust particles. About 300 million dead skin squames are shed daily, with as many as 10,000 per minute shed during excessive movement, of which 10% may carry micro-organisms (2). Therefore it is essential that all equipment and inanimate objects are kept clean and free from dust.

        more than 95% of UK patients who contract hospital superbugs are infected with the two most virulent types of MRSA, uncommon in other countries. Dr Enright has said only by screening all patients and isolating those with strains 15 and 16 of MRSA would rates of infection fall significantly.

        In the past 10 to 15 years, rates of MRSA have escalated dramatically in the United States, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, and many other European countries (4,5). According to the National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance System, mean prevalence of MRSA in US hospitals as a percentage of all S aureus strains isolated increased from 2.4% in 1975 to 29% in 1991 (4), and rates as high as 36% were reported in 1999. Rates of 50% to 60% have been reported in intensive care units. A significant increase in MRSA rates in Canadian hospitals has been reported in the past 5 years, with current rates as high as 4.1 per 1,000 admissions. However, regional differences in the epidemiologic factors of MRSA appear to be significant. For example, Scandinavian and northern European countries report low rates of nosocomial MRSA (<2%), but many other European countries report rates as high as 30% to 60% (5).


        The WHO recognises the French health care system as the best in the world.

        France's ailing health service took a further turn for the worse yesterday when it emerged that up to 3,000 French surgeons will down scalpels and undergo a week's self-imposed exile in London next month in protest at poor pay and working conditions.

        The surgeons will board Eurostar trains on August 30 and congregate either in Wembley Conference Centre or the Great Hall, Westminster - the exact venue has not yet been fixed - until September 5 to avoid being "requisitioned" by French local authorities during their strike.

        "We're expecting about half the country's 6,000 surgeons to take part and most of the rest will refuse to perform any non-emergency operations for a week," said Philippe Cuq, one of the organisers. "The government is going to have to wake up to this crisis."

        Dr Cuq said the sums reimbursed by French social security for surgical interventions had not increased "by a single centime" for more than 15 years, while surgeons' insurance premiums had risen by up to 500% since 2002 alone.

        Doctors, nurses and other health professionals have taken to the streets of Paris to protest against government plans to cut back on a health service which has a projected overspend this year of eight billion pounds.

        Michael Howard

        Timetable For Action:

        Day One - Lose

        eddie reader

        Told you the problem was money spent on wages not assets (beds). You tell me I'm wrong. You then tell me the problem is a lack of beds. Mmmh!
        You also can't tell the difference between price and value.
        You also can't tell the diference between the total wage bill and individual wages. That's called productivity - another thing the Brits don't have a clue about. Not only can the French run a health system they can also build aircraft and motor cars - Brits can't.
        Gee you're education system is wonderful.


        "Why does the US have Third World infant mortality levels in the South ?"

        Rick, This is news to me, an American. Would you quote your source for this information?


        Where did all the other topics go? One of them said you were not in the business of censorship? Now they have all gone. Just like Howard Flight....Oh dear.....And I thought only New Labour were control freaks.............


        Michael Howard supported the war. There is a confusion among American Conservatives here. HM's Loyal opposition has the job of criticising a Prime Minister who tells our nation a pack of lies-we rather object to that.

        Moreover, the Coalition did not prepare properly for the aftermath and a heavy price has been paid in blood for that. Just watch how Al Sadr's Mehdi Army are behaving as the Iraqi Taliban and you can see that there is a lot to criticise-both the US and UK are democracies, after all.

        It is concerning that Condi supports European integration! The convenience of speaking to a Europe with one voice is what she wants-what she'll get is an end to US/UK co-operation.Have Republicans thought o that?


        If you are both British and conservative, you ought not to say "like we do.." even when addressing our American cousins.

        Anthony Brooks

        Rick said Chamberlain was in control of his party.
        HAHAHAHAHAHAHA - you should be in stand-up, Rick

        Charlie Farley

        Yes, Rick also said that he didn't think CND was extreme. Clever, Rick! Learn that too at the "bettereducational" establishment where you didn't quite master the art of putting a thumb space between each word, did you?
        Oh, and RickyDick also said that Milburn wasn't an ex-communist, he was an ex-trot. Ah yes, the Trots, that well-known Centre Right grouping. Oh and don't try and impress us with more of your pathetic pedantry, Dick - you're just a boring buffoon who spent the whole of your bank holiday on the internet.


        Brown and Blair had better lose the coming election, because they simply have no idea of the shit that's even now heading for the fan. In the next four years the extent of their accumulated blunders and deceits will become obvious to all, and we will reach tipping point on many fronts including education, health, the EU, and pensions. Then Nu Labor will have nowhere to run to baby, nowhere to hide.


        The problem with much of the NHS stems from too many interfering managers with clipboards and pens welded to them, making doctors' and nurses'lives miserable in order to justify their existence. I read Harriet Sargeant's report, "Managing not to Manage" on this very matter, and from my experience of 40 years as a nurse, couldn't agree more with her findings.

        When is a Government of this country going to untie the stranglehold of bureaucracy which knots up the fabric of our nation? It would certainly take a very brave political party, and I have every hopes that a Tory administration would start unravelling the mess that Tony and his cronies have continued to perpetuate throughout ten years in power.

        One example of this is currently occurring in my life, and I am most dissatisfied with the results. Because of the situation in the NHS as it is, I work freelance for a reputable Nursing Agency. Since the import of many foreign nationals under Tony Blair into nursing posts, I am finding it increasingly difficult to get assignments and therefore I am being squeezed out of my rightful opportunity to work. As a consequence, I am trying to register with other agencies to maintain my income, and therefore my home. For each agency, I have to have a Criminal Records Bureau check, at a cost to me of £33 each time, (one check apparently cannot be transferred to any other employer), so, I am being penalised for wanting to work. I have no criminal record whatsoever, never have had, and am very unlikely to have, being brought up with the core values of basic decency, honesty, loyalty and hard work. Whatever happened to the enshrined principle of British Justice, that every man is innocent until he is proved guilty? I have to pay to prove my innocence now. I appreciate that the likes of Beverly Allitt and Harold Shipman must be caught and punished in order to protect a vulnerable public, BUT, these people are a rarity in society, not the norm, and yet the rest of us have to suffer for them in this country today. It seems to me, another example of bureaucratic nonsense, a means of keeping people in work for which there is no real need or benefit to society as a whole at an enormous cost, and I for one am heartily tired of it.

        Steve Guy

        The comments that amuse me most are the comments that accuse Tony Blair or being a liberal. Believe me, British Liberals detest TB precisely because he is a right-wing neo-con. Oh and by the way, it was the Tory party that privatised hospital cleaning in the UK.


        Although I detest Bliar for dragging us into an illegal war by means widely regarded in the UK as lying, I am even more appalled by what I read in sites like this. Half of America seems to be made up of utter "nutters" who appear to have no idea of what is actually happening in the world and swallow all the crap presented by your far right media. America needs a huge education in reality before it pokes its nose into other peoples affairs again. I am staggered!

        Stuart Helmer

        I agree with most of this, but enough with the scaremongering stem-cell stuff. While I am all in favour of co-operating with our natural Republican allies, we must draw a clear line between us and them on this cranky religious stuff. Medieval mumbo-jumbo is no way to decide policy. I am hopeful that the US administration will arrive at the same view, but not holding my breath.

        The comments to this entry are closed.