Tag Archives: george bush

Lessons from history: What Bush and Reagan could teach some UK politicians about their attitude towards economic migration

Way back in 1980, as Ronald Reagan and George Bush were battling it out for the Republican nomination, they were asked whether the children of Mexicans working illegally in the US should be able to get educated. Their answer, posted on the Houston Chronicle’s Facebook page, might surprise you. Today’s politicians and tabloid editors might learn something.

Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush debate Mexican border security…

What would Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush say about immigration and securing the Mexican border today?Well, here's what they said about it in 1980 during a GOP debate in Houston.(Archival video from Getty Images)

Posted by Houston Chronicle on Tuesday, 5 January 2016

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Opinion: After 150 years, the Gettysburg Address still matters

LincolnIt was just ten sentences long. A mere 273 words delivered in less than three minutes. Yet the Gettysburg Address has resonated through history, finding relevance in every age.

In May 2003, I was researching history in Los Angeles. The news channels had cleared the decks for just one story. One hundred or so miles to the south, President George W. Bush trying to define his own place in history.

The USS Abraham Lincoln was stationed off San Diego after a long deployment, including action in the Bush/Blair war in the Gulf. Beneath a banner of “Mission Accomplished”, a jubilant Bush told the assembled crew and an attentive nation that major combat operations in the Iraq War had ended. In a speech that lacked humility, he said: “We have fought for the cause of liberty, and for the peace of the world.” Bush boasted of the precision of war, of how “new tactics and precision weapons the guilty have far more to fear from war than the innocent.” Seemingly oblivious to the huge cost in human life, he declared that war against terror, against Al Qaida, was being won.

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Parties on a war footing – but what are they fighting for?

New Year, old sabre-rattling. Gordon Brown and David Cameron are parading their leadership credentials, with a view to capturing an entire nation – the UK, that is.

David Cameron made a speech (transcript here) in Oxfordshire today saying that the country needs a change of direction and a new leadership:

“We can’t go on in these difficult times with a weak prime minister and a divided government.”

You can almost hear the Tory munitions factory roar as they forge this, strengthen that and defeat the other.

And here’s Gordon Brown on New Year’s Eve:

“The Detroit plot thankfully failed. But it has been a wake-up call for the ongoing battles we must wage not just for security against terror but for the hearts and minds of a generation.”

It’s a common political (and journalistic, and marketing) technique to play to people’s fears, but what next in the Prime Ministerial arms race – Brown and Cameron appearing on the decks of rival aircraft carriers, squeezed into military uniform à la George Bush?

Neither leader, for all their fighting talk, seems to have heard of liberty.

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Televised party leader debates: get your worms at the ready

The “worm” is an instant poll tracker which wriggles across people’s TV screens, showing the net negative or positive reaction of a small group of the public to what is happening on screen. Running a worm across a politician’s speech or a debate between politicians has become a not uncommon feature of political coverage across many democracies.

The worm has even occasionally surfaced in the UK – so will it surface again for our TV party leader debates at the general election? And will worms offer a chance for Channel 4 to repeat an Australian trick and put one over the other channels who have excluded it from the debates?

Known in the US as dial groups (because a group of people is each given a dial to twist towards positive or negative), worms have often been the cause of controversy there. Joe Klein in Politics Lost recounts how badly they got the 2000 Bush-Gore debates wrong:

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Recent Comments

  • User Avatarjames 26th Oct - 9:54pm
    there is currently a story on the telegraph online (fairly near the top) about this by-election and EU policy positions that many on this thread...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 26th Oct - 9:26pm
    In my opinion, all political parties should put up a candidate and fight for their beliefs with vigour. The electorate have a right to choice,...
  • User AvatarNigel Jones 26th Oct - 9:20pm
    @Nick. Agreed. A few years ago I noticed a reduction in flights to Rome from airports not too far from where I live in North...
  • User AvatarRuth Bright 26th Oct - 9:15pm
    Such a shame that we have failed to act on this issue within the party itself. Always best to get your own house in order...
  • User AvatarJohn Nicholson 26th Oct - 8:50pm
    In response to Simon Shaw: In 2010, 92% of votes went to the Conservatives and the LibDems, so there is a large soft Green and...
  • User AvatarEthics gradient 26th Oct - 8:35pm
    @Andrew McCaig fate can often be amenable to change. you draw an interesting 3rd point as to why a middle ground soft brexit will not...