UK Elections on the HorizonWritten by Birmingham UK Com
With elections on horizon and Blair looking tired and increasingly defensive, just what is likely outcome of next election? The New Labour adoption of Tory plans and policies has created an almost parallel party in terms of Conservatives and Labour. Many people are confused and find it hard to tell them apart. The Labour Party will struggle to retain loyalties of staunch labour support it has enjoyed over decades.
The wind of change is in air. Does this mean that defeat of labour is a foregone conclusion in next election? Far from it Ė Labour Party, whilst certainly experiencing a rapid decline in popularity is far from defeated. They are still likely to win next election - but a week is a long time in politics.
Labour candidates will admit that Blairís popularity is well down on previous levels prior to Iraqi war. The recent doubts over proposed new terror laws allowing suspects to be detained without trial has not helped. The accusations and continued exchanges between Tory and Labour over NHS have not helped matters, any more than Blairís attempts to win over people with his misguided Television fiasco.
The Labour party have acted like true blue Tories in many respects. The very rich have got much richer under Labour. The gap between rich and poor, normally associated with a Tory government is very obvious under New Labour. People have noticed this. Old long term Labour supporters and their loyalty towards Labour Party is starting to crumble.
Doorstops and PaperweightsWritten by Terry Mitchell
Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of Senate Commerce Committee, has come up with what he believes is a brilliant idea. He thinks FCC should have to power to hold cable and satellite channels to same decency standards as over-the-air broadcasters. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), Stevens' counterpart in House, agrees. Each plans to propose bills to that end in his respective house of U.S. Congress. Many of their colleagues, eager to always be viewed as tough on indecency, are ready to sign on to their proposed legislation. Never mind fact that courts have struck down similar legislation in past. Stevens, doesn't see this as a problem. If he got his wish, Congress would just pass it and then, according to Stevens, "take [the cable and satellite industry] on and let courts decide." At core of Senator Stevens' rationale is fact that cable and satellite have become almost as ubiquitous as broadcast TV. Over 80% of all U.S. homes now subscribe to cable or satellite TV. In those homes, Stevens and his cohorts would argue, viewers make little or no distinction between subscription channels and broadcast channels, which are right along side each other on cable or satellite box. Therefore, he feels that they should all be held to same standard of decency. On surface, that sounds like a sensible argument. However, there are three major problems with his proposed legislation. First, unlike broadcast television, people choose to bring cable and satellite TV channels into their homes. This choice is a private contract between company and subscriber, delivered over that company's equipment. No one is forced to subscribe to cable or satellite TV. In fact, subscribers pay an ever-increasing subscription price for such a privilege. Most people, except those who live in mountainous and/or rural areas, can receive broadcast channels over air with a strong antenna. Even those who live in areas where over-the-air channels cannot be accessed with an antenna can subscribe to a very basic package that includes only their local channels and basic cable channels like The Weather Channel, some home-shopping channels, and one or two religious channels. Decency would never be an issue with any of aforementioned cable channels, so where is their argument? The argument against regulating premium channels like HBO, which Stevens wants to include in his legislation, should be a no-brainer. These channels do not come with any basic package and are selected and paid for individually by their subscribers. But what about basic channels that come along as part of a "classic cable" and/or "extended tier" package? So far, cable and satellite companies have refused to offer them on an a-la-carte basis and FCC has ruled in their favor on this matter. Therefore, people are paying for channels like MTV, for example, that many find objectionable. Shouldn't these channels have to abide by broadcast decency standards? No, because people choose to bring these packages of channels into their homes. Now, granted, many of them subscribe to these packages solely because they want access to channels like ESPN, CNN, and Fox News, which are generally not included with most basic tiers. They couldn't care less about any of other channels in package. In a perfect world, subscribers could select these channels individually without having to pay for a lot of channels they don't want. However, world is not perfect and life is not fair. To soften blow, cable and satellite operators have provided a way for parents to block their children's access to channels they deem inappropriate. Regulating indecency on these channels wouldn't accomplish anything that parental lockouts couldn't.