There is widespread speculation that Gordon Brown might call a snap election as early as October to take advantage of his bounce in the polls. Currently, he is enjoying some of the largest leads for Labour since before Iraq.

His predecessor, Tony Blair, combined socialistic policies with willing support of George Bush's military adventures. He was the first PM ever to attend a State of the Union Address, he bought into the Clash of Civilizations Rhetoric, and he conspired with George Bush to fix the facts around the case for war with Iraq.

However, even Tony Blair has seen the light on Iraq. He politely told Bush to fuck off when Iran took 15 British sailors hostage; he has reduced the UK's presence in Basra from 40,000 to 8,000 to 3,000 today. And it is ironic that Basra was once touted as a model of stability for Iraq. The NYT even did a fluff article about life returning to normal there. But I can't be too judgemental on Gordon Brown. He is saying all the right things as far as Bush is concerned, but he recognizes what you have written; for instance, he has dropped Blair's Clash of Civilizations rhetoric. He actually reached out to the Islamic community in the wake of the Glasgow bombings, and they were some of the biggest voices condemning it. And he talked in his first PMQ about how the UK had dropped from 40,000 to 5,000 troops, implying that more withdrawals were on the way.

Not only, despite his rhetoric of wanting to strengthen the UK's ties with the US, is he distancing himself from the US, he is advocating even more socialistic policies; you can listen to his speech on them in the middle video.

The Conservative Party is in a state of transition. Their new leader is David Cameron, who is trying to modernize the right-wing party and make them more relevant to the next elections. For instance, he has accepted the expansion of the NHS that Blair did. He enjoyed some early successes in the polls, leading the Labour Party by as much as 10 early on. But recently, he has seen some spectacular failures, including rows with other Tories over grammar schools and two third-place finishes in recent by-elections.

Cameron has combined his message of moderation with rhetoric about families; here, he is calling for combatting what he calls the Culture of Anarchy in the UK. It seems like his attempts to create a people-powered blog with WebCameron has flopped; as of today, his that site seems to have been shut down. However, the Redwood Report advocates a supply-side tax policy similar to Ronald Reagan's and George Bush's, something gleefully seized on by Labour as evidence that Cameron is a wingnut in moderate's clothing.

The Liberal Democrats were the ones who opposed Iraq from Day One, and have been one of the foremost opponents of the war. Under the leadership of Charles Kennedy and now Ming Campbell, they have criticized Labour from the left, saying that railway service needs to be doubled, demanding that the UK provide asylum for Iraqi interpreters whose lives they say are in danger, and demanding withdrawal from Iraq. They are for a more decentralized approach to planning.

The Liberal Democrats took second in the two recent UK by-elections, including one for Sedgefield, Tony Blair's old seat. They could conceivably steal votes from Labour because of their opposition to the war, which is even more unpopular there than it is here. They have their own community that is similar to Daily Kos here.

Like the Conservatives, there are some grumblings about their leadership; their people are split over whether Campbell is an effective leader or not. The fact of the matter is that he is uncharismatic, and where other people advocate hurrying up, he advocates patience.

Respect is the party of George Galloway. He was the person who came here and delivered the memorable smackdown of Norm Coleman a few years ago. And he followed that up with an embarrasing upset of one of Tony Blair's chief allies and is now a gadfly in Parliament. He has built up his fledgeling movement into a far-left party that appeals to some of the poorest constituencies.

Originally posted to Stop the Police State! on Mon Aug 20, 2007 at 06:31 AM PDT.


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