Monday, May 19, 2008

Government and Politics

I hate politics. Nevertheless, Government and Politics is a legitimate word category. One supposes there are many words and phrases that are unique to this rather odious enterprise. I mean to collect some of them.

This idea has come to me because it has come to my attention that there is a political election of sorts going on in the USA right now. We have elections here every 2 years. Every 2 years we elect a new Congress and one-third of our Senate. Every other election, we also elect a President. Well, not really. The people give their input, but the Constitution doesn't really give a shit about that. But the people like to pretend to vote for President. So that's cool. There are a couple of very good reasons why the President is not elected by the people, by the way: They are just too stupid; and, frankly, it's just none of their business. So the Founding Fathers took it out of their hands, more or less. The several states elect the president. Sometimes they cast their votes for the candidate that the people living in those states tell them to vote for, and sometimes not. It is a long story—one Brits could never hope to understand anyway. And why on earth would you care?

Suffice to say that, just going by the coverage I have found on their blogs, Australians seem to care much more about who is elected president than most Americans. I don't have a clue why, but the Aussies are dead serious about who the next U.S. President should be. Mostly, the Aussies seem to favor that Irish guy O'bama, from what I can tell. There are three Democrats running this year, no Republicans. So you already know what party is going to win. McCain is pretending to be a Republican (wink, wink) just so it looks like democracy in action. Ho, hum. Americans are not particularly interested in the outcome because they are well aware by now that none of these thieves are going to do anything for them except rob them again. So who cares, right? Well, the Aussies care. But nobody else.

In the UK, you have a parliament. That is one of the first things I would like to learn about. To help you, I have drawn a box below which contains all the things I already know about how your parliament works.

Ok. That leaves the field pretty much open. I do know that the people in your parliament are elected (don't know for how long, or if there even is a particular term. Maybe they just stay in until another party comes in power? Probably not. Parties: I know about Tories and Labor. Labor is when a woman has a child, and Tories are children of the LA Dodgers Manager, who just came over from the NY Yankees. Correct?

I presume you only have one chamber. And, hence only one chamber pot. Unless you count the House of Lords. Do they actually have a function, by the way? Perhaps. So I'd better ask you about those then. The leader of your government is the Prime Minister. And this is by virtue of the fact that he is head of the party that currently happens to be in power, right? Um. Or is he actually elected? I mean you don't have the possibility of having a Prime Minister from an opposition minority party, like in the U.S. (where the president can be just about any party at all and not be affiliated with the majority party, and nobody but the Aussies care anyway.) So that is different.

And, your form of government is called a Constitutional Monarchy. Wow. Begging your pardon, but that really sounds like an oxymoron. How does that work? I'm guessing that she's not really a queen in the sense that she tells people what to do and cuts off their heads, like her ancestors did, correct? So, you have, like, a Constitution that tells her she is not needed, right? But you still pay her and a bunch of her family anyway. Is that correct? Awesome, guys! We'll collect some of them special queen words too, if you don't mind.

For my part, I will be compiling a list of American political terms, such as "Muckraker" and "Carpetbagger" and "Asshole." Then you kind folks can tell me what words we have in common on that list, and you will also, hopefully, make a list of your own for me to laugh at. Then we will all go to the pub on Lord Likely. It will be fun.

Pretend we are writing a chapter on government and politics now. Who will start?


Starter list of political words: These are all American words. Are some of these also used in British politics? Can you list words that are unique to British politics? Does this make you think? Sorry.

lame duck
bleeding heart
dark horse
inside the beltway
bully pulpit
rubber chicken circuit
silent majority
smoke-filled room
pork barrel
swing vote

Politcal Question of the Day: Do snails really enjoy sex?


  1. You really want a lecture on the political structure of the UK? Well, here we go.

    1. House of Commons, made up of Members of Parliament (MPs), one per parliamentary constituency in the UK. There are 600+ in total. The party which runs the government is the one with the majority of members; currently Labour. It is possible not to have an overall majority (ie more than 50%) in which case a coalition is formed, but this is rare.
    The Prime Minister is the leader of the party which runs the government - Gordon Brown at the moment. He's not elected by the general populace, but he is elected from within his own party by party members.
    The House of Commons passes bills which will become laws if they're passed by the House of Lords (simplifying it).

    2. The House of Lords. It's made up of a mix of life peers (people made Lord or Lady (or other) Such-and-Such as a reward for something; often service as an MP, but there was a whole cash-for-honours scandal recently that I won't go into) and hereditary peers (the ones who got their titles from their families).
    The House of Lords is divided along party lines although a lot of the peers are non-partisan. They have the final say on most laws (all? not sure) that are passed by the House of Commons though it's fairly rare that they reject them.
    The members of the House of Lords are not elected, although there's a movement to change this.

    3. Regional assemblies. At the moment, we have the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the Northern Ireland Assembly, and whatever the London one is called. They have varying degrees of legislative powers, generally over education, health and so on within their regions. Each has a number of members (called various things such as MSPs, AMs and MLAs) elected from the region - the NI elections are especially complicated - and the person in charge depends on a large number of factors. If you really want to know more, I can expand on it (at least on the Welsh and NI ones, not so hot on the others).
    There are other regions in England that rather fancy having their own regional assemblies too.

    4. After that, we're getting into district/county council level... and I'm not going there in this comment because it's already long enough.

  2. too political for me..

    I think if everyone had Sexytime every morning we wouldn't need armies, guns or missiles and politicians would all be funloving flower power hippies with hard-ons shouting "peace man" or " tell steve I say hi and give him head from me"..

  3. Catherine. Wow. What a great start you have given me. Is there NOTHING this lady is not an authority on? I shall digest your words slowly. I will have questions. Dont't go away.

    Little b-And yet, in your shy way, you have managed to convey a political philosophy of sorts anyway. Unfortunately, I have now fixed in my mind a photograph of you typing this comment, and can no longer take you seriously. Stand up, my dear. :)

  4. And Briget, I loved your archive link. You are so old fashioned in spite of your saucy mouth. Admit it. Hoser. :)

  5. Catherine, now that I have read your comment in more depth, some of it is starting to make a little sense. the number of MPs is staggering to me, though. Is that a typo? Over 600? Well. Sounds like a lot of infighting to me. I thought 435 was a bit much. 435 thieves. Of course all of yours are ernest public servants, so that helps. :)

  6. Just for the record, I want to say that my picture of Queen just above the queen was damn cutting edge humor. But do you give me credit? Nooooo. The dead guy in the middle is Freddie Mercury. Most of you are so young you don't have a clue who Queen even is. High class humor is wasted on the likes of you.

  7. well Max, why did you have to comment so soon yourself about the Queen photos, i was about to make comment, but now I won't, instead I am going to ask Catherine a question, and hope she comes back to answer it.

    Was it the House of Lords who rejected the ban on fox hunting? I am not sure if it ever went through, I know they tried several times, but I am not sure what the final outcome was.

    I used to live in the country in north england, and the fox hunt would come through our village. My mum used to take great pride in pointing the hunt in the wrong direction.

  8. hahaha, just noticed the new banner... I could have done without seeing that face this morning. I'll let you figure out which one I meant.

  9. Caroline-I was hurt and frustrated. This should have been picked up on with the very first comment. Mostly Catherine's fault. She knew alright. Just wouldn't mention it. That makes it even worse.

    Ummmm "Fox Hunt"? Is that like what I always try to do with you? Just askin'. :)

  10. And I notice that Caroline's eyes seem to be all over my blog this morning as well. Creepy! (Kidding.) :)

  11. I thought you were a horn dog, but perhaps your just a hound dog.

    Fos hunting does indeed have a few similarities to what you try to do to me.

  12. I saw that too, it was a bit odd to see me all over your blog like that first thing in the morning.

  13. Yeah. Caroline is all over me this morning. Does that mean I win the fox hunt? :)

  14. I am not sure you win the fox hunt, as I assume that would mean I'd be the fox, and I'd be dead. I am not quite ready for that state just yet :)

  15. Oh by the way, as far as I am aware, I don't think any or at least many of those words are used in British politics.

  16. Caroline, don't want to win if you would be dead. Why are you like that? Can't you just form the words: "Yes. You win." Is it that hard??? :)

    Did you check my blog value widget lately?

  17. Are you reading my mind today, I most certainly did check your blog value widget, just now, while waiting for your next smart alec remark.

    And yes it is that hard, for me to say that phrase.

  18. Candy Girl's list of British political words:

    Hen party
    Leg over
    slap and tickle
    pink cigar
    clown's pocket
    on the job
    mutton dagger

  19. knackers
    stone me

  20. wump
    snuck mullet

  21. shuthammie
    stagger slink
    jillie, jillie two

  22. waddknicker
    hit and miss

  23. I see a lot happened on this post while I was gone :)

  24. I just love your sense of humor and the way you put things, just great

  25. FrostyGirl-Ummmm...give me an example of what I did good so I can try and do it again--it so seldom happens! :)

    Caroline-You don't know the half of it... :)

  26. Yes. Probably a third. Your fault though.

  27. Um. Own mistakes - it's the Northern Ireland Executive (but I suppose I can be forgiven coz those of us who live there mostly just call it Stormont after its building).
    But yes Max - there are over 600 (646 at last count) MPs in the House of Commons. And over 700 in the House of Lords although quite a few are senile by now and don't do much but sleep.

    Caroline - I can't remember, but I think the ban on fox-hunting (and other kinds!) was shot down a few times by the Lords, and eventually got pushed through by the Commons using some sort of legislative device... but I don't recall how. Should probably look that up.

    Also, Max, you added those American political words in after I last visited! Naughty naughty! Some of them would be used in the UK but not in a specifically politics-related way (lame duck, muckraker etc). Gerrymandering was a term well-known in NI many years ago when there were various nefarious illegal vote-rigging things.
    Lobby actually comes from the Houses of Parliament - the lobby outside the chambers was where MPs would wait before going in to vote (they do it by entering either the Aye door or the Nay door, to make it easy to count them; not sure how they abstain), and hence the lobby was where they might be talked into voting one way or another.

    That's a hideously young photo of Maggie Thatcher, by the way (the one in the post, not the one on the banner although that's not much better). Not a face I really want to see that much of (especially because my secondary school headmistress had more than a passing physical resemblance).

  28. Catherine, you should know by now that all my posts are works in progress. Sort of like an aritist's canvas. They will change several times throughout the duration of the post, if only to try and make you look silly for commenting on something that no longer exists. :) Also (as you VERY well know, my posts are only fake fronts anyway, to keep the riff raff from coming downstairs to the pub where we hang out. The more boring the post, the more juicy the comments. At least pn the days when I am successful in winding Caroline up...

    Sorry to hear about your headmistress, but did you like the snails? The one on the bottom is Grumpus... before she bleached her shell white.

  29. when have you ever been successful in that?

  30. heh. today. right now. :) fox...

  31. Political food for thought:

    Sadam Hussein - Toad in the hole
    Teddy Kennedy - Spotted Dick

  32. Catherine, I jsut started to research the fox hunting ban, and am starting to get a grasp of what happened, unfortuntly my grasp is not firm enough for me to be able to describe what happened here. If I figure it out enough to explain it to you, I'll let you know :).

    However, basically, the House of Lords ammended the original bill several times, and then failed to reach a decision, and the bill went into effect in 2007, although its called the Hunting Act 2004, as thats when it was first put on the table.

  33. sure max, what ever you say :)

  34. I dunno, I come here and try to be all serious about answering your questions, Max... and really this blog is just a front for you to meet girls and flirt. I think it's disgusting. Catch me bothering to post here again!

    PS - My headmistress was far nicer than Maggie, it was just the hairstyles that were scary.
    PPS - I loved the snails, they looked reasonably happy to be getting it on snail-style. I have some glow-in-the-dark racing snails somewhere but I don't think they've been breeding.
    PPPS - Baby snails are very cute.

  35. Max is getting slapped with another "show cause" injunction. This time from the Clinton Campaign. Hillary is not amused my my poll over at WayHarsh. She is winning, btw.

    Wait until the Kennedy's get a load of my artist conception of the girl-killer on the Senate floor. I can't wait. :)

  36. Ah, cheers Caroline (I must've taken ages to write my last comment if you managed to research the hunting ban in that time!)

  37. I would never change anything that you had commented on. You know that. I only add things sometimes. Especially if I am not getting comments. Don't be mean. :(

  38. Does Max need his tummy rubbed?

  39. And of COURSE I am interested in your serious comments. I have learned a lot today. Make nice with me?

  40. I see all things remain the same here, stopping in to say hello.

  41. Hi Debbie. Pretty much the same here, although beginning to move into Phase two pretty heavy. This will probably be the last "call for words"-type post, as I already have my categories and most of the words I want.

    How was your day? I don't think you can judge a person by a blog comment, but if you could, I would say you "sound" tired.

    Hope all is well with you. :)

  42. " Catherine @ Sharp Words said...

    I dunno, I come here and try to be all serious about answering your questions, Max... and really this blog is just a front for you to meet girls and flirt."

    Told you so! told you so!

    :) :)

  43. hahahahahahahahahahah

    you go Catherine Go!

    But don't be too hard on maxie..
    It must be very difficult having a penis.. Guys seem to fail to function correctly once they discover it.. At least he is trying an "intellectual, hahaha" medium to do it..

  44. People should read this.



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