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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 9, 2005 / 30 Nisan, 5765

Tony Blair's Last Hurrah

By Michael Barone


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Americans inevitably look at the British election results through the prism of Iraq. They see that Tony Blair's Labor Party lost seats—47 is the count at this writing—and conclude that his forthright support of the war to topple Saddam Hussein was the cause. But that does not prove the proposition that Blair's support for the war was fatal. Since the Labor Party was founded in 1900 it had never won three elections in a row. Last week it did, and it won a big enough majority in Parliament to remain in power a full five years if it likes. Last week was also the third victory for a staunch supporter of the Iraq war beset by a ferocious opposition and savaged by the chattering classes. Like John Howard in Australia and George W. Bush in America last year, Tony Blair found vindication last week.

Blair did lose some votes on Iraq, and his statements on the war did damage his credibility. But it was already damaged. I remember interviewing British voters in 1997, when Blair first won, and being amazed at how much faith and hope they had in him. It was reflected in the supersize parliamentary majorities Labor won. But over the years the relentless and visible spin of the Blair press operation, the failure to deliver improvements in the National Health Service and the transport system, the persistence of crime (higher in London than in New York)—all took a toll. By 2001 Blair's credibility was down even as Labor won by as great a margin as in 1997.

This year it was down further, and not just on Iraq. "Tony Blair had really good promise for the future," one former Labor voter in Hammersmith and Fulham told me this year. "But I'm afraid he's let us down."

Blair's critics on the left are quick to note that Labor won only 35 percent of the votes, to 32 percent for the Conservatives and 22 percent for the Liberal Democrats. But those numbers are misleading. No one doubts that, if Britain somehow had a runoff election, Blair would trounce Conservative Party leader Michael Howard. Britons vote tactically. They have just one vote for one member of Parliament, but they use it to send messages. In 1997 and 2001, tactical voting was aimed almost exclusively at Conservatives: Anti-Tory voters cast almost all their votes for whichever party, Labor or Lib Dems, seemed the Conservatives' stronger opponent. In safe Labor seats and some marginals, antiwar voters swung to the antiwar Lib Dems in large numbers; Lib Dems used to win most of their seats from Conservatives, but last week they won most of them from Labor. In Wimbledon one voter told me, "We had enormous difficulty. We discussed it endlessly." Her son voted Lib Dem. "I wanted to see Labor with a smaller majority." So did her husband; she stuck with Labor. They got their way: Conservatives won the seat and Labor has a smaller majority.

Which way Labor? "People wanted the return of a Labor government but with a reduced majority," Tony Blair conceded on election night. But a Labor government headed where? Blair talked about "reshaping the welfare state for the 21st century," but the man increasingly likely to be in charge is Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, whom Blair last year excluded from campaign planning but subsequently summoned to his side when the campaign got going. Brown believes less in market incentives and more in increased taxes and spending and government goals—but also staunchly supported Blair on Iraq. Blair has promised to retire before the next election, and Brown is the obvious successor. Brown's macroeconomic policies have resulted in low-inflation growth, but that may not last forever. Tony Blair's "new Labor" accepted the reforms of Margaret Thatcher and made his party the voters' default choice. Gordon Brown seems to be moving his party some distance toward "old Labor" and his country some distance toward the wheezing European welfare states. Will new Labor stay new?

One strategy for an opposition party in prosperous, secular Britain would be to stand for market economics and cultural tolerance. The Liberal Democrats could have done this but have opted instead for big tax increases and more public spending. They now have 62 seats to Labor's 355, hardly a plausible opposition. The Conservatives this year won 197 after calling for only small tax cuts and for curbs on immigration. They made major gains in London and seem positioned to move to larger tax cuts and more tolerance. That could make them a plausible alternative to a Gordon Brown Labor Party, as Britain leaves its era of faith in Tony Blair and returns to more ordinary politics.

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BARONE'S LATEST
Hard America, Soft America: Competition vs. Coddling and the Battle for the Nation's Future  

America is divided into two camps, according to U.S. News and World Reports writer and Fox commentator Michael Barone. No, not Red and Blue, though one suspects Barone may taint the two groups in the hues of the 2000 presidential election. Barone's divided America is one part Hard, one part Soft. Hard America is steeled by the competition and accountability of the free market, while Soft America is the product of public school and government largesse. Inspired by the notion that America produces incompetent 18 year olds and remarkably competent 30 year olds, Barone embarks on a breezy 162-page commentary that will spark mostly huzzahs from the right and jeers from the left. Sales help fund JWR.

JWR contributor Michael Barone is a columnist at U.S. News & World Report. Comment by clicking here.




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