A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Words of Comfort?

- Harold Macmillan

George Bush must be wondering why he's suddenly going into freefall as far as his poll ratings are concerned. Why are folk turning on him? Well, he might like to consider the remarks of former British prime ministers. One Conservative PM who knew how to deal with the day's problems was Harold Macmillan. When asked what he thought was the most serious thing to happen to him, he said "Events, dear boy! Events!" and this understanding is true today as it was 50 years ago! Harold Wilson, the Labour PM of the sixties and seventies, was just as canny. He remarked that "a week in politics is a long time", meaning that people tend to forget the detail.

The difficulty George Bush finds himself in is one of an event that may overwhelm him. The US constitution requires a president who is separate from the congress, which is wholly different from the parliamentary system of the Westminster style. An American president is above the fray but can be seen as isolated in difficult times. There is no facility for direct questioning of a president in a chamber or forum. A prime minister faces the opposition within a chamber.

This tends to give prime ministers a way of honest answering or deflecting the truth. However, a president has to stand alone in the arena of the White House and this can mean withstanding a whispering campaign, or speaking directly to the nation, or being seen in action! Whichever it is, the "buck stops with him"!

So in order to stop events taking over, Bush should come clean with all that has happened with regard to spending and logistics in respect of Katrina and Iraq. That way an independent report can be commissioned to quash all the causes for ongoing trouble. Then a week in his politics will be a long time!


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