Comment on Tomorrow he'll be yesterday's man by Mark Steyn (05/07/2003)
Howard Dean has been propelled to a leading role in the Democratic race because millions of Americans realize that George W Bush took America into an ill-considered war. Howard Dean, for all his faults has opposed the Iraq War, and his campaign gives Americans of all parties a chance to show their disapproval of this disastrous policy.
Your writer does not do himself or your magazine honour by writing in such a dismissive manner of the only candidate who gives America a chance to escape the disasters of the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war.
It's quite correct that Howard Dean is likely to be yesterday's man by, at the very latest, US election day 2004, and the main reason for it is to be found in the recent flood of US news reports that supporters of George W Bush are already trying to raise more than $US150 million to help the president campaign against other members of his party to gain nomination as its 2004 candidate.
Since any other Republican foolish enough to run against the current president would face certain and ignominious defeat at the 2004 nominating convention, one can reasonably deduce that the point of this Ozymandian fund-raising is to prove even more resoundingly than was done in 2000 that that one can indeed buy the presidency of the United States, and to remind the people with disposable personal or corporate funds of the value of contributing to such purchases.
The 2000 contributors to the Bush campaign – at least, the richer ones – have done well from their extraordinary level of contributions to Bush 2000; and after next year's convention, they can be expected to contribute lavishly to defeating Howard Dean or any other person the Democrats nominate.
I enjoyed Mark Steyn's essay on Howard Dean. As a Vermonter I could easily recognize the aptly described arrogant man with a mean streak.
Not mentioned was that Dean fancies himself a fiscal conservative, but what that really means is that he raised taxes faster than spending when he was Governor. He'll tell you he cut the income tax, but thanks to Dean our property taxes go up automatically every year and are totally out of control. This situation is certainly not amusing when considering that, nationally, our state had the third highest growth in state spending during the last five years of Dean's rule.
The only error I noted in the article was giving credit to Dean for the "democratic wing" line. He stole that line (without credit) from the late Senator Paul Wellstone who used it in his 2000 campaign. If you don't believe me, type the phrase in an Internet search engine.
Comment on Break a bad rule (05/07/2003)
I personally, do not know whether the hunting of foxes via hounds, people on horses with red coats etc, is right or wrong, I live in London. The main problem that I see has nothing to do with hunting foxes, by whatever means, it has to do with a concept of democracy.
Sure, to the "chattering classes" of Hampstead or Islington and the 'Townies' who think that Beef, Lamb or Pork, are actually 'bred' in the sanitised plastic containers, they buy the product in: to them, hunting and killing wild animals, may seem outrageous.
However, this raises many questions regarding the 'democratic front' as it were.
I do not think appropriate that a 'villager' in Cornwall, Devon or Dorset, should have the 'right' to vote on whether or not, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus etc. should be turned in to a wholly 'Pedestrian area' with no cabs or buses allowed. What do they know, do they live here? By the same token, I do not see as to why us 'Townies', should have the right to decide whether people hunt with hounds or not in any given area, surely, this must be a local issue?
No MP should be allowed to vote on this issue unless he/she represents a constituency where hunting with hounds actually takes place. I will point out, though not a person I would normally respect, under most circumstances, the attitude of Ian Paisley when confronted with the 'election' of the next Bishop of Canterbury. He refused to vote on the basis that as he was not an adherent to the CofE, he was not entitled to cast a vote either way.
Unfortunately, and as much as I love our country, there is a 'nasty edge' within it which seeks to reduce things despite, there being no practical advantage in doing so. The fox-hunting ban has little to do with reality but everything to do with middle-class 'New Labour' MPs trying to demonstrate, ahead of an election that they must surely lose, that they are at heart 'True Old Labour', remove anything the 'toffs' want to do, it's part of the 'Class Struggle'.
The truth is, these 'old values' no longer have a place in our world. We may support Tony Blair over the invasion of Iraq but, at the same time, detest the economic destruction caused by him, and Brown next door, by their taxation policies.
Putting on 'Cloth Caps' over one single issue, hunting with hounds, merely goes to show how much our National Representation is out of touch with the real interests of the electorate.
High time for some Constitutional Reform