Friday, 11 April 2008


I take an interest in politics. I do, therefore, watch US politics as much as I watch the politics of anywhere else in the world. I don't particularly support or oppose any candidate in the US Presidential campaign - I don't think I have a right to tell Americans who they should have as their political leaders (although if any of them asked my opinion, I'd tell them they should avoid shallow politicians like Barack Obama like the lumpy plague - we've suffered horrendously through 10 years of presentation and no substance in a Prime Minister and another year of no substance and no presentation).

That's why I was surprised to see Kezia Dugdale organising the Scotland for Obama campaign. Kezia, being in the Labour party, is well used to shallow and insincere politicians but why she thinks she should interfere in the politics of another nation and tell them who to elect is beyond me.

The annoying thing is that Kezia is intelligent enough to know better - I hope she's not pitching for a job on the other side of the ocean, that would be Labour in Scotland well and truly stuffed.

Another aspect to this support for Obama (there's a rally tomorrow - lordy lordy lordy!) - in addition to the Secretary pointing out that it is a little presumptious for a non-US citizen - is the observation of Geordie that support from Europe is unlikely to be helpful to a US Presidential candidate. Is Kezia playing a double-bluff?


Anonymous said...

You know it is only 3 weeks since Wendy ranted thus...

"Instead of posturing and preening on issues that are not in his remit, he should take a long, hard look at his own government's policy agenda and the serious issues closer to home that he should be addressing."

Not that anyone in the Labour party (or any other to be honest)listens to her anyway these days.

Jeff said...

Oh come now, this is a little harsh in several ways is it not?

For a start, I think the rest of the world should have had some sort of say before whether George W Bush got elected, no?

- He starts a war based on oil causing carnage around the world and fuelling hatred for generations the very enemy that he is supposedly trying to stop

- He locks up people in the godawful Guantanamo Bay

- He wrecks the climate and doesn't seem to want to get on board with the rest of us to stop it

America tramples its way around the world in the ugliest of ways so of course we have a right to at least show an interest in who they elect.

Should we similarly turn a blind eye to the political climate in Zimbabwe? North Korea?

I don't think tomorrow's rally (which I fully intend to join) is necessarily about helping to get Obama elected. I doubt some worker in Philadelphia is going to think "Those nice folks in Edinbourg like that Obama chap so I'm gonna vote for him"

(note that I don't really know what a typical Philly accent is!)

So yeah, i'm sure it'll be a fun day out tomorrow; make a bit of noise, have a bit of chat and probably sell some t-shirts.

No harm, no fowl I would think?

PS I personally think Obama would be a revelation not just for America but for the world. My opinion is he is neither shallow nor insincere but that opinion carries as much weight as your own so we'll see how it all pans out I guess.

PPS Please don't come down and throw eggs at us. I'll probably be wearing a new t-shirt at the time ;)

Political Dissuasion said...

Oh Calum.

Where in Kezia's post does it say they are "telling" Americans who to vote for?

"Support" is the word they use regarding Obama and the elections, and all they are planing to do is "rally" in "support".

At no point do I see the words "demand", "tell", "insist", "order". So why has this caused you so much angst? Taking an interest in foreign politics is no bad thing, as you say, but showing support for a candidate in America isn't telling someone what to do, it's taking an interest in what is undeniably a world event.

You probably know this but just incase you've forgotten...America is the most powerful country in the land. It has a whopping big arsenal. Loads of money - of which, a shed load ends up here in our economy. So, directly or not, it affects us.

Would you criticise me for organising a rally against Robert Mugabe's treatment of the people of Zimbabwe, where people are dying, starving and being jailed for actions and rights that you and I take take for granted?

Is it wrong of me, when people are dying, to take an interest in foreign issues?

From this day forth, I never again expect to hear you, ever, make comment on
China's human rights abuses
Iraq War
American elections or policy
Malawi (...I could go on)

because the moment you choose to "...interfere in the politics of another nation...", you will forever be labelled a hypocrite, wrong, and a "...shallow and insincere politician".

Kezia is doing something she believes in, for a cause which she thinks will have benefits the world over. So from now on, if you disagree, then fine, disagree. But there's nothing wrong with expressing an opinion.

Anonymous said...

I can't afford the t-shirts because of the abolition of the 10p tax rate?

Anonymous said...

I beleive that Kezia Dugdale is attention seeking. If She belives in the Obama philosophy of Change and fighting for the underdog , she would be following his example of working quietly for the underprvliged in our Inner Cities.

Guth Adhartach said...


I am an SNP member of 8 years, but think you are wrong with this one. I am absolutely backing Obama during the campaign, and think he offers both hope and vision for a better order in America.

Indeed, Alex Salmond himself, has said he felt Obama offered a positive vision of hope.

I agree with Jeff above, that you are being a bit unfair to Kezia, and she is perfectly entitled to her views. Although I normally disagree with her, this is one area in which I am glad she is offering public support for.

Just a shame that her party were George Bush and the neo-cons allies in the illegal war in Iraq and for that reason alone, the Labour party cannot consider itself the natural backers for Obama.

Best Regards

Calum MacLeod

Anonymous said...

eh? Cashley is clearly perplexed at why there is a rally, tee-shirts and god knows what else for a candidate in a party selection process in a democratic foreign country. Everyone admits it will not make any difference, so why is Kez and others bothering with this. This is not to say we should not have an interest in the American elections - we should - and we should form our views and have a discussion about it, but that is surely as far as it goes. No?

A rally? I cannot get my head round this. What a pointless exercise? Who are you speaking to in this rally? Who is the audience? It makes no sense!

And yes, Calum can continue to comment on despotic regimes around the world. There is a world of difference between speaking out against the evil of Mugabe and holding a rally (a rally!!!) in favour of an internal party candidate in the mother of all democracies! His view on this makes him no less entitled. He is not castigating Kezia for holding a view, but for organising a campaign and rally. If no-one can state what purpose or difference this campaign/rally will make, then to use a tactic deployed by Kez repeatedly on her blog postings, we can only ASSUME she is trying to interfere in the politics of another country.

Have I said I cannot believe a rally and a campaign has been organised on this!!!

Anonymous said...

You have my sympathy with this one. There is something distasteful about the increasing readiness of remote and ill-informed commentators to pick a candidate to support in a foreign election. It's all very well having an opinion, but public cheerleading is ridiculous.