Alternative Voting

The embattled Labour government of Gordon Brown in the U.K. is proposing a new “alterative voting” scheme whereby, rather than simply marking an “X” on the ballot, citizens would indicate their preference for in ranking order for the various candidates on offer.

Apparently, the British Tories are quite outraged about this proposal as analysis of recent past election results indicate they would generally be somewhat disadvantaged by such a complex redistribution of votes. Go figure.

I wonder if the idea might catch on here as an initial step towards electoral reform and a more proportional form of representation. As well, it could be forcefully argued that it might not be an altogether bad thing to encourage people to invest a little more thought into marking their ballots. And yes, this does relate somewhat to a previous discussion about “literacy tests” but in an entirely more positive way…

Poor Gordon Brown

It seems the unfortunate man simply cannot get a break, especially not from Rupert Murdoch’s Sun tabloid rag that appears bent on a campaign of personal destruction.

Furthermore, as the reliably conservative Spectator pointed out, “one may reasonably wonder about a person who chooses to record a telephone call from the PM and then, presumably, sell the tape to a tabloid newspaper…” Pretty despicable stuff.

How Gordon Brown Broke Britain…

British author, corporate policy advisor and self-styled “renegade economist” Fred Harrison argues that British Prime Minster Gordon Brown ruined the U.K.’s economy and exposed people to an economic meltdown which could have been avoided had it not been for his delusional thinking and catastrophic mismanagement both as Chancellor and now Prime Minster.

Update: Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan “rips the bark off” Gordon Brown with a three minute tirade following a speech the British PM had delivered to the European Parliament in Strasbourg in advance of the G20 summit in London.

The “Snub” That Wasn’t

Bob Schieffer talks to Christopher Hitchens about Barrack Obama’s supposed “snub” of Gordon Brown during his state visit to Washington the other week. Although barely reported stateside, the British press got quite exercised over perceived lapses in decorum and a seemingly “insulting” gift in particular (a boxed set of 25 American “classic films” on DVD specially commissioned from the American Film Institute).

Despite being a non-story, squawkers in Wingnuttia nonetheless seized on it with relish, using the opportunity to launch a salvo of personal insults: cheapskate, ignorant, clueless, naïve, and so on; further suggesting Obama had maybe just rustled them up from the sofa cushions or hastily purchased them at the nearest Wal-Mart. Whatever.

As Hitchens points out, this was a trivial flap that says more about the self-involvement of the British press than anything else. By the same token, the reaction from the wingnuts says more about their seething, unresolved anger and irrational mental derangement than any particular concern over a breach in relations between the two leaders or anything else for that matter.

Brown Addresses Congress

In case you missed Gordon Brown’s address to a joint session of Congress this morning, here it is in full.

Gee, I wonder why he didn’t just follow the shining path of the Dear Leader… hit a few friendly cable yak shows where his smug prevarications would go unchallenged, meet with the folks at the Wall Street Journal, get his picture taken in Times Square along with hundreds of other tourists, and then quietly slink back from whence he came. Isn’t that what the world really needs now?

p.s. “Sir” Ted Kennedy, KBE. Heh.

p.p.s. Shorter Gordon Brown: “Blah, blah, blah, blah…”

Ask the PM

No, not ours unfortunately, seeing as he’s merrily proroguing for the holidays, but if you haven’t already, you should check out the website of the British PMO, No. 10 Downing Street (website and video channel). Amongst other things, it features Gordon Brown responding to questions that have been submitted from voters via podcast. And they’re not all softballs either — some, such as the one here from blogger Guido Fawkes concerning the government’s national debt figures, are quite sarcastic in tone.

Maybe Ignatieff should try something like this seeing as the Liberals justifiably apprehensive about getting prematurely and negatively “framed” by the Conservative attack machine. Perhaps responding in a pre-emptive fashion, addressing common misconceptions and “conservative” talking points directly could be a way of taking the wind out of the sails of the PMO’s war-room operatives that have been working overtime to find ways of impugning the new Liberal leader’s character. Although, unlike Gordon Brown here, actually answering the question(s) rather than obfuscating and tap dancing around them would be advisable.

LPC 2008: Gordon Brown

Take heart fellow Liberals, if you think Dion is somewhat less than inspirational, here’s Britain’s beleaguered Labour leader, Gordon Brown, delivering his pitch (perhaps a make-or-break effort) to the party faithful at the conference taking place in Manchester and vowing to guide the U.K. through the challenging economic times ahead… Hmmm. Sounds rather familiar, doesn’t it?

Standing before a backdrop bearing the slogan “Winning the Fight for Britain’s Future,” Brown set out a monotonous range of plans that he called “a new settlement for new times” (also referred to as “A Fair Britain for the New Age”) to help British voters with issues ranging from prescription charges to care for the elderly, free nursery education for two-year-olds and linking disadvantaged schoolchildren up to the Internet, and so on. One imagines there will be a great wave of disinterest and much snoring across the land.

Brown & Out…

It’s hard not to speculate about what might have happened had the attempted assassination of Gordon Brown by “Taliban fanatics” on his recent stop-over in Afghanistan not been narrowly averted. It would surely have dealt a huge psychological blow to the NATO campaign, but would it have changed anything?