Human Rights

Bad News Ahead


There are five big, bleak elections happening in the world this spring, and the all look bad.

As Churchill said, democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms. The problem, to put it succinctly, is that it requires an informed and engaged electorate. Americans are politically lazy, ill-informed, resentful, fearful, and often bigoted. Now obviously that isn't true for millions of our fellow citizens, but it pretty well describes the folks who've put Trump in the White House, and gave that collection of clowns and rascals known collectively as the contemporary Republican Party full control over the Congress and most state governments. It's extraordinarily hard to feel bad for people who insist on giving power to a party that despises it's own supporters. And the problems are not confined to the U.S. The idea the Italians are seriously contemplating reinstalling Silvio Berlusconi as head of their government should make civilized people weep. Basta!

How's That DUP Partnership Going?

Splendidly, I see. When a minority party member delivers that much burn, you see just how outdated and terrible the DUP is. If anyone believes that Northern Ireland, in 2017, is "Britain," then he's really living in the past.

When the Conservative Party won the flash general election this past June, it was obvious that it will be difficult to form a stable government. The Tories, desperate to remain in power, had no choice but to let the Unionist tail wag the UK's dog. This deal with the backward Irish Orangemen promised to produce a hideous government in Westminster.

But as you might have seen today, the chances of that government holding together became more difficult. How a party looks can be just as important as how a party performs. That rule used to be true in the US, but it holds in the UK. 

As you probably recall, back in the 1990's, peace was impossible in Northern Ireland because the British Tories were absolutely dependent on Ian Paisley's Unionist Party for their parliamentary majority. It was only when Labour won in 1997 that the Good Friday agreement became possible. Because Blair's government was not in need of Unionist votes, he could use Clinton's good offices to broker a deal in Belfast.