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Ben Chu

Ben Chu has been a leader writer at The Independent since 2004. Before that he worked at the paper on the comment desk, letters department and the personal finance pages. He studied history at Jesus College, Oxford between 1997 and 2000.

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The Tories and the Republicans - singing from the same hymn sheet

Posted by Ben Chu
  • Tuesday, 22 September 2009 at 11:22 am
Here's Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney at a speech this month on President Obama's deficit spending to fight the recession: "Putting such a spirit-crushing, back-breaking debt burden on our children is unworthy of our national character. That is why I believe that this spending and borrowing is not just economically irresponsible, it is morally wrong." Sound familiar?
         Here's the Tory shadow chancellor George Osborne in a speech in August: "Where is the fairness in saddling future generations with our own soaring debts? It may have been that most Conservative of thinkers, Edmund Burke, who said that society is 'a partnership not only between those who are living but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born'. But there is nothing remotely progressive about tearing up that partnership and borrowing one pound in every four you spend, as Britain is currently doing." Both the Tories and the Republicans are singing the same hysterical, pseudo-moralising, tune about government borrowing in this terrible economic slump.
          Last November David Cameron welcomed Barack Obama's election victory noting that "America has made history and proved to the world that it is a nation eager for change" . Indeed. But let's be very clear. When it comes to economic policy (despite the knots in which the Tories tie themselves trying to avoid criticising Obama) they find themselves ideologically wedded to the forces that so strenuously oppose the change that has taken place in America.

Comments

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Yes, in a delayed lockstep...
mbucci wrote:
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 at 10:30 pm (UTC)
Ben is more correct than not in his comparisons. However, in America the Republican party is no longer controlled by the moderates, centrists or "old guard" Conservatives, but is closer in thinking and acting like the BNP in Britain (some Republicans have claimed their party has been hijacked by right-wing extremists). This is an important distinction and one aspect of current American political life that should be understood by those outside the U.S. If the trend lines remain parallel though in delayed lockstep between Republicanism and the Tory party, expect to see a rise in BNP influence in the Tories leading moderates and centrists further to the right. This will be assisted by media titans like Rupert Murdoch who, as in the States, not only controls the principal financial newspapers, but a great deal of the popular media also. For right-wing watchers in Britain, use the U.S. as your guide. In both examples, wealth is the power behind each party.

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