Straight Talk From The Liberal Democrats  

Posted by Big Gav

Normally a UK election is something I'd view as mind-numbingly boring, but the sudden rise of the Liberal-Democrats and their leader Nick Clegg has made the race a little more exciting (and gives British voters the chance to vote for a party that is fiscally responsible, socially liberal and against big brother and resource wars in the middle east - which is a nice change for them). The Australian has a report - Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg questions US ties.

NICK Clegg, the party leader dominating the British election campaign, has refused to rule out a push to be foreign secretary in a coalition government.

And in unusually strong language for a prominent British politician, the Liberal Democrat leader also urged greater independence from US foreign policy and a more demanding European attitude towards Israel yesterday.

Mr Clegg said Britain should no longer be "joined at the hip with our American friends", arguing that Britain's involvement in the Iraq invasion "was a war about Tony Blair and Gordon Brown doing America's bidding".

He said Israel had used disproportionate force in Gaza and kept Palestinians in poverty so Europe should use its "economic muscle", including arms embargoes, to change the Israeli government's policies. "I think, as a European, as a British politician, we can't only leave it to the US to exert influence in the Middle East," he said.

Mr Clegg's tough comments on foreign policy will receive unprecedented attention because of his strong performance in last week's first-ever British televised leadership debate, which led to the greatest turnaround recorded by polls in the middle of a British election campaign.

The Liberal Democrats soared to the top of opinion polls, producing the exact reverse of the last general election result - with the Lib Dems first, the Conservatives second, followed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour Party. ...

He said the conventional wisdom in Britain had long been that "the linchpin around which all the British foreign policy should be organised is the Atlantic relationship between the UK and the US". ... "There is nothing wrong with just acknowledging that there are . . . in recent years very profound differences between ourselves and US administrations, particularly at the height of the George Bush-Dick Cheney orchestrated war on terror."

He added: "I think it is almost sometimes embarrassing the way in which Conservative and Labour politicians talk in this kind of slavish way about `the special relationship' (with the US).

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