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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

SAY IT AINT SO, MICHAEL

Longtime readers of this blog will know that I’m a big fan of British politics, specifically, Prime Minister’s Questions as aired on C-SPAN each week. It is wonderful political theater.

But to be honest, I haven’t tuned in for a while. Gordon Brown just isn’t as interesting to watch as Tony Blair was. Brown just isn’t as quick with his words and doesn’t seem to enjoy the verbal joust as much as Blair did. So I tune in last week and...holy crap... it’s a bloodbath over there!

Since I stopped paying attention, there has been a political scandal involving the expense reports of members of Parliament (MPs). From what I gather, the MPs have been too chicken to give themselves raises over the past few decades. So instead, they’ve developed an elaborate system that allows them to claim all sorts of expenses for items like second homes and moat cleaning (really).

A British newspaper, The Telegraph, has spent the last four weeks publishing lists of outlandish expenses claimed by MPs over the years. Not surprisingly, the British public hasn’t taken too kindly to these revelations and has demanded someone’s head on a pike.

What they got was Common’s Speaker Michael Martin. He’s not accused of doing anything wrong, but his role in the Parliament was to keep track of expense rules in the like. So he’s resigned effective a little bit later in the month.

You may think I’m joking when I say this, but I’m really upset that Martin is leaving the Speaker’s chair. For years, I’ve seen him work as basically the on floor referee during heated debates, and he’s always struck me as a decent and fair guy.

But the most important reason I’m sad Michael Martin won’t be Speaker has to do with his accent. That man has an amazing Scottish accent. And it’s his job to call out everyone’s name who is going to speak. I hardly ever understood what he was saying, but I loved it all the same.

So Martin’s on his way out , but it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop there. There’s blood in the water and I don’t think the British public will be happy until Gordon Brown is unemployed. I see that he’s survived the most recent call for his ouster, but I don’t think it will be enough. I will pass through London’s Heathrow airport in late July. I doubt Brown will be Prime Minister when I pick up a paper there.

Furthermore, it seems almost inevitable that Conservative leader David Cameron will be PM by the end of the year. Gordon Brown’s people keep saying that the country is in a crisis, and the best people to get out of the crisis are the people that got into it in the first place. That an argument that didn’t work for the Republicans here last year, and I doubt it will do Labor much good in the UK.

If you’re a nerd, it’s all pretty interesting stuff. And for once, it’s nice to be able to view a political mess from the sidelines rather than right in the thick of it.

Fight on, Limeys!

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