The voice of young liberal democrats

Welfare Doesn’t Work by georgeinwashington
November 8, 2007, 5:21 am
Filed under: America | Tags: , , ,

Newsnight’s feature on the US welfare system painted a picture of society in the States that is completely unrecognizable to anyone living here and the suggestion that a similar system should be implemented in the UK, is quite frankly criminal.

In the states the federal minimum wage is $5.55. There are 40 million people without health insurance and 9 million of them are children. 24% of the US workforce earn less than poverty level wages. In Washington DC, where I live and the Nations capital, the murder rate is around 15 times higher than London and the infant mortality rate is double that of Cuba. One third of DC residents are functionally illiterate and 1 in 20 are infected with HIV.

Why anyone in their right minds could even advocate introducing a welfare system that has clearly failed is beyond me.


More Classic Stuff From Biden by georgeinwashington
November 2, 2007, 7:25 pm
Filed under: America, Uncategorized | Tags:

More absolutely classic stuff from Biden. I love the way he is eating a sandwich whilst doing this, it shouts disdain at crazy Rudy. I think this is clever stuff, all the Republicans are attacking Hilary and her response has been to ignore it, by hitting Rudy like this he is positioning himself as a fighter, someone who is giving it back to the Republicans.

Liberals Could Learn a Lot From Old Man Biden by georgeinwashington

At the latest democratic debate last night once again it was the rank outsider Joe Biden who impressed me the most. His arguments, that were at the same time compelling, intelligent, clear and original displayed just the kind of thinking required in the White House. His statement that he was running not against Hillary but to be leader of the free world and his thirty some years on the Senate foreign relations committee shows that he understands the responsibility to act responsibly that the President of The United States has to the world and not just to his own people if he wants to ensure peace on Earth.

On complex international issues, Joe Biden has the depth of understanding to be creative and cogent. British liberals could learn a lot his arguments and would do well to listen to him. In trying to present a clear alternative to Labour and the Conservatives we too need to have the same courage to present ideas that break the mold of convential wisdom and attack the heart of an issue.

To give one example, Iran, which has become an obsession of the current US administration. In order to avoid looking weak, many Democrats have avoided taking on Bush’s sabre rattling and 75 Senators the other week voted to designate Iran’s Revolutionary guard as a terrorist organisation. Last night the candidates were asked whether the would give a guaruntee to the people of the US that Iran would not get a nuclear weapon. Biden’s answer was magisterial, reminding people that more important than that was to make a commitment to protect the American people, and an preemptive attack on Iran to stop Iran gaining nuclear weapons could be far more dangerous to the people of the United States as it would likely bring chaos in Pakistan, a country with an already substantial nuclear arsenal. The genius of Biden’s answer was to take the reasoning for why an attack would be a terrible idea out of the abstract and emphasise how it would affect the personal safety of people living in the States.

By contrast the Lib Dems statements on Iran have implored the US government to show restraint and have talked about how threatening force is not the best way to dissuade the Iranians. All true, but firstly why are we concentrating on the US and not forcefully attacking Brown for supporting such a strike. According to Seymour Hersh, Brown this summer had told Bush privately that he would support a strike against Iran. Secondly although it is true that threatening force would not be the best idea to disuade Iran, it would be much better make the argument in terms of the effect it would have on the safety of Britons. Although the issues in the Middle East are interesting in themselves, and the Lib Dems have consistent been right were it matters, we have also been poor at answering the question, how does this effect me? And in the end, this is probably the most important question in politics.

Many of the issues facing Britain today are too facing America, whilst we would do well to concentrate our focus on pressuring our own government, at the same time we can learn a lot from the US political dialogue happening in preparation for the coming presidential elections. I enclose Senator Biden’s full answers last night below.

Iraq Not the Last Front in the War on Terror by georgeinwashington
October 26, 2007, 3:51 pm
Filed under: America, defence, Foreign Affairs, war on terror

In the Washington Mayflower last night the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, gave an insight into the future strategic outlook of the United States. “We have to realize that the the Middle East is larger than Afghanistan and Iraq, and the World is larger than the Middle East.” It would seem that that the US is far from ready to recede to the sidelines in international affairs.

The Admiral went on to remind us that we are in a generational war, and that he foresees a series of continuing engagements in the future. As belligerent as this sounded the Admiral did qualify himself by noting that these engagements would not necessarily be of an offencive nature. The US, he said had to utilise all of its efforts in future interventions, in diplomacy, foreign aid and the private sector as well as the military.

This kind of commitment will require a substantial financial commitment. When the Iraq conflict finally ends there will be no peace dividend. The Admiral told the audience that the current defence spending of the US of 4% of GDP should be considered an absolute minimum.

The Admiral was also candid about the kinds of stresses the military is currently facing. Whilst the Army is not as some claim broken, but it is breakable, the current troop rotations had to be shortened.

These goals will surely be a challenge for the Admiral who faces international suspicion of US military motives, declining enrollment, a large budget deficit and a hostile public. In the end his most pressing problems may be political rather than military. Whilst the US Military may say it stands ready to undertake a larger role in the world. It will have to rely on the White House and Congress to rebuild the political goodwill that will allow it to do so.