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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Joe Wilson - the beginning of British parliamentary style debate in congress

Joe Wilson’s cry of “You lie!” may be a touch unusual in an American congress, but it’s a faint whisper to what takes place in the Mother of parliaments when issues are debated in England.

There is such a thing as tradition. And as a Conservative, I am always hesitant to experiment too much with changes in our traditions, but Obama’s speech to congress – in fact any Obama speech – almost demands that someone (or many some-ones) cry out “You lie!” at every pause.

I applaud Joe Wilson for beginning a new tradition. After all, they have to start somewhere.


Anonymous said...

HERE, HERE!!! That's what I thought of when I heard about it. The Questions to PM was appointment viewing at the house back in college (of course the house was populated with PoliSci majors). US lawmakers should put their big boy (or girl) pants on and learn a thing or two from the Brits.

thisishabitforming said...

I was going to say Here, Here, but I see someone beat me to it.
Maybe it should be hear ye, hear ye, Mr. Wilson was the only person speaking truth in the hall that evening.
Like the old question, if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, did it make any noise. If Obama is continually lying through his teeth, and no one says, You Lie, will it soon become the truth?

Joemama said...

I agree we should have a Questions to the PM in the US. Make it monthly and put it on CSPAN. I would love to see a back-and-forth with Obama and Mitch McConnell on his policies.

Or it would be great to see Blue Dog confront the President on Cap-and-Raid or something like that.

Mr Mulholland said...

Hi there. I am from Britain. I think the comparison you made to the atmosphere in the House of Commons was slightly innaccurate. The President's address is the American analogue of the British monarch's 'Speech from the Throne' at the beginning of each Parliament. So someone shouting 'You lie!' at the President is the equivalent of an MP shouting 'You lie!' at the Queen during her speech in the House of Lords.

This never happens. The Queen's speech is delivered with the room in respectful silence. If anyone was to ever do such a thing, there would be outrage on all sides of the political spectrum. So perhaps you should think of Wilson's outburst in that light, and not the jockying that takes place over the despatch box between the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition and 'primus inter pares', the Prime Minister, which is wholly different.