Sunday, May 25, 2008

Crewe and Nantwich

The Brits among you will know what I am writing about. Crewe (and let's not forget Nantwich) is a city in central England, where a bye-election took place recently. The results issued on Friday gave a massive victory to the Conservatives (also called Tories) over Labor, and the reason this is historic is that Crewe has been a safe Labor seat for many years. In fact, as the media and the Tory leader David Cameron have pointed out, this is the first time that a Labor seat has been won by a Tory in a bye-election in 30 years!
Edward Timpson, a local barrister and millionaire, won 50% of the vote with an 18% swing from Labor, representing a huge change in the voting pattern, against the daughter of the late Labor MP Gwyneth Dunwoody who died last year. The result indicates that many former Labor supporters deserted the party and voted for the Tories for the first time. The Liberal Democrats won 15% of the vote.
With the recent wins in local elections for municipalities in England and the London mayoral election, won by the Tory candidate Boris Johnson against the Labor incumbent "Red" Ken Livingstone, it seems that the Conservatives have finally hit on a viable leader while New Labor is going downhill rapidly under Gordon Brown.
Now we all knew that Gordon Brown was not Tony Blair! But since Blair was under increasing pressure from the left wing of the Labor Party to go, mainly because of his support for the Iraq war and his close relationship with Pres. Bush (generally loathed by liberal Britain), Gordon Brown was the obvious choice as his successor. Brown was a colleague and rival of Blair for many years in New Labor and was considered a success as Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister). But, now it seems that Brown can't put a foot right. He comes over as dour and stodgy in the media, he has made mistakes in financial policy which has upset everyone, and he has selected young and unknown people as his ministers. As a consequence his popularity has been going downhill, while David Cameron, the new young leader of the Tories, has been garnering positive reviews for his leadership style.
Note that most countries in Western Europe have moved to the right recently, Sarkozy in France, Merkel in Germany and Berlusconi in Italy (although Spain retained a socialist Govt. with a reduced majority). It may be that at the next election England will return the first Tory Govt. in 12 years, possibly with a landslide. It has not escaped our notice that all of this is good for relationships with Israel.


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