Trigger Warning: Accountability in Progress

Britain's deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg (R), and leader of the opposition Labour party, Ed Miliband, leave after attending the funeral service of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher at St Paul's Cathedral, in London April 17, 2013. Thatcher, who was Conservative prime minister between 1979 and 1990, died on April 8 at the age of 87.  REUTERS/Olivia Harris (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS RELIGION OBITUARY SOCIETY)

If you are a Venezuelan politician, the first order of business is a trigger warning: you may find what follows confusing and upsetting.

In the last few hours, it became clear Britain’s opposition Labour Party would lose the general election.

Today – literally the next day Ed Miliband will resign his post as leader of the Labour Party.

The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, who was Deputy Prime Minister and everything, has beat him to it: resigning his leadership while, bizarrely, leaving nary a fingernail mark on the coroto. 

Amazingly, even Nigel Farage of the hard-right UK Independence Party resigned, even though UKIP’s share of the vote rose four-fold, because he failed to win his own seat. UKIP is as close as England has to a South American-style caudillo-centered party. And even he went.

It’s shocking, I know. And deeply upsetting. Why, if this precedent takes hold, if this irresponsible practice becomes institutionalized somehow, parties might even begin to renew themselves after an electoral defeat. And we can’t have that now, can we?

When will these Brits learn?

63 thoughts on “Trigger Warning: Accountability in Progress

    • If you read the article, it is based on an interview with Jorge Montaño, the leader of the National Socialist Federation of Motorbikers (AKA: un colectivo). He is asking (blackmailing?) Maduro to put his organization in charge of importing motorcycle parts from China (ie: access to preferential dollars). Finally, when you consider that his colectivo is probably responsible for many of the attacks, you get the full cynical picture.

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      • “Nationalist Socialist…” Does Jorge Montaño have any idea of how that term resonates in history?

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  1. They are resigning, not because they are good guys, but because internal party dynamics insure that they would be booted out as failures at the next party congress in any event.

    If internal party democracy is supplanted by leader-worship on the one hard, and clientism on the other, you end up with sclerotic parties.

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    • We always underestimate the power of the Unwritten Rule: the rule that’s so fundamental that it goes without saying. I think they resign because it’s unthinkable not to.

      I also think the genius of the Anglo-American unwritten rule in this regard is that it rewards good behaviour. Resigning leadership after an election loss is good for your career. It preserves your viability for other top-level jobs, like foreign minister. It’s trying to hang on forever and ever that cuts careers short…

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      • Noth here

        South American unwritten rule is to hang on the coroto right until getting shredded by these wanting your seat.

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      • It’s driven by internal party opinion, though. If a leader does reasonably well, even though they lose, staying on is an option. If not, it isn’t.

        In Canada, the famous case was that of Joe Clark. He lost the Prime Ministership but stayed on as leader for three more years. At a party congress, he was challenged for the leadership, but won a narrow victory. Then he famously said the victory wasn’t decisive enough, and he resigned.

        He later came back as foreign minister.

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      • I may be wrong, but I think that the difference is that in england if a rich polititian resigns he will still be rich, but here in Venezuela if a polititian se desenchufa (unplugs) his guiso posibilities get considerably reduced.

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  2. What do you mean? Does this also mean that parties must have leaders who are actually electable and known by the population?

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  3. Mucho camisón pa’ Petra.

    La tradición parlamentaria británica no tiene nada que ver con nosotros.

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  4. Virtually ANY organization (government or business), regardless of ideology, will function, so long as at ALL levels the levels of authority and responsibility are equal and balanced. Even a dictatorship will work, IF the dictator is aware of his responsibilities that accrue from his power and takes them seriously (I can only think of one example — Lee Quan Yew). This doesn’t guarantee that the organization will work well — only that it will function in a stable manner. To work well requires competence, regardless of ideology and “good intentions”

    The British system has accountability built into it. Just like a corporation, if the results or profits are not satisfactory, the CEO and board members resign or get sacked. What Venezuelan government lacks is responsibility and accountability. But, ultimately, it is still the responsibility of “el pueblo” to force their government to take responsibility, or to change it. The British people understand that they have the power to impose their will upon their government. The politicians recognize this and respect the hell out of it. Why else would you see such humility from a politician? After all… politicians are not humble by nature.

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  5. is a great day on earth when a liberal/socialist party lose so badly, my faith in mankind has been restored.

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      • BNP, seriously? BNP tend to appeal more to pro-big government types who like to see politicians threatening other groups because of their social class, race or nationality. And by the way, weren’t you the one supporting Chavismo (Venezuelan version of BNP) until the early 2000’s?

        – To improve the state-run universal healthcare, increasing its efficieny (possibly cutting costs), is something that you would expect from a right-wing politician.

        – I actually approve gay marriage.

        – If by ‘strong action on climate change’, he means that he will support green energy initiatives (wind farms, solar power etc), than I don’t know how can one be against him.

        But lets focus on Venezuela, because the British have a rosy future in front of them.

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          • That is what happens when you let your country flood with sub saharans and ghetto muslims.

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            • It’s the least they can, they flooded the rest of the world for years with their armies and extracted all their riches.

              The sins of the empire coming back to haunt them…

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      • I actually approve same sex marriage, because the government has no business in defining what two people can do or not with their lives!

        in about state-run universal healthcare? where they still need big pharmaceutical companies, which operates almost as insurance company, right? tell me again what do we need the state for?

        strong action on climate change (AKA global warming), well let me know if scientist can came up with ways to stop earthquakes, tornadoes, storms and such. that has been happening since you know, since the beginning of times!

        Just kidding, but I’m just wondering, if this is no a big excuse to exert more control on people than to really fix global warming, sorry climate change. Goddammit, I don’t know which term should I use!

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      • well the democrats in the US got defeated last November, Shinzo Abe has an a victory in Japan too, and now the UK is trashing the labour party so I guess the trend will continue around the world… :)

        I just hope that Venezuela will finally catch up at some point

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        • This comment shows why arseholes are arseholes, even when they learn some English.

          Japanese politics have nothing to do with the right-left bullshit you believe in. Nothing. It’s nonsense to compare it to the UK or the US.

          But how would you know? you are just an arsehole, aren’t you?

          And about Democratic defeat in the latest midterms… well let’s just see what happens in the presidential elections.

          It´s all about economic cycles. Not ideology.

          And in the case of Japan, let me tell you, it’s just different.

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    • This is the kind of comment that makes you think.

      Does the UK lead the world? It certainly punches above its weight but let’s say you took London and Oxbridge away from it… then it’s an ageing, half dead, post-industrial economy.

      Even, let’s say you took away the City, Oxford and Cambridge (three small constituencies), then it doesn’t look like a leader anymore.

      And you can indeed take those away by (say) another depression like the one we just had, coupled with a collapse of university funding (not unimaginable under a Tory government).

      Let’s get pessimistic and imagine the UK leaves the EU. Out of Europe, can it remain an influential country? can it maintain its relationship with the US? Can it even stay together?

      The position of the UK in the world is less solid than it appears.

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      • All of that its true, but well, even with very worrying developments like the UKIP, they still show they have a much deeper understanding of democratic society than many other countries.

        Not perfect, and I think it is eroding, but one cant just look at that from Venezuela or Spain (my points of view) and not feel a bit of envy.

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      • If it wasn’t for the UK and Germany, where would the rest of Europe be right now?

        It’s been a few hundred years since the UK leads the world, one way or another. It started with creating a little place called the USA.

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      • On a day-to-day basis the UK muddles along. But when faced with a big enough challenge they always rise to meet it. It was the Brits, all by themselves, during the time between Dunkirk and Pearl Harbor, that saved the world from a New Dark Age. Until Pearl Harbor, the US was a pacifist nation, not about to get involved in “Europe’s Wars.”

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  6. Yesterday, we, Brazilians, saw live from TV a very disturbing and unprecedented episode happening in the Brazilian Congress.

    After the vast majority of deputies showed support for Lilian Tintory and Mitzy Ledezma, including politicians from Dilma’s own party and government’s coalition parties, one unauthorized Venezuelan Chavista (believed to be from the Venezuelan diplomatic mission in Brazil) managed to enter the place to threaten politicians from the Workers’ Party (Dilma’s Party) saying that they couldn’t do what they were doing! So, we have now Chavistas telling Brazilian deputies how they should behave inside the Brazilian Congress!!! A very disturbing episode that shows how Chavismo is a threat to democracy in the neighbouring countries. The main opposition party asked for security camera’a videos to identify and ban that person from ever entering there again.

    To add insult to injury, Tarek Saab said that the Brazilian Senate is “anti-democratic, against human-rights and coward” because it has approved a Motion of no confidence on Maduro!

    http://veja.abril.com.br/noticia/mundo/representante-do-governo-da-venezuela-chama-senadores-brasileiros-de-covardes/

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    • It’s no secret that Chavismo buys everything: From the average Venezuelan people, to entire Latin American corrupt governments. Oil talks, bullshit follows.

      Things are starting to change, though, with Fracking. The balance of power is shifting fast towards the USA, starting with Caricom countries, then Argentina, then Brazil will follow, and even Colombia.

      Corruptzuela call ill afford to bribe Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia anymore.. Masburrismo is screwed. China and Russia will also dump Chavismo to the curb when it’s convenient for them.

      Today’s events in the UK are also huge for the World.

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    • Marc

      Is this relatively big news in Brazil? I mean, is it in the papers and are the pundits talking about?

      It sounds like a really unforced error by Chavismo, their bullying tactics on full display.

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      • “Is this relatively big news in Brazil?”

        The Chavista spy in the Congress? I don’t think so… No. But Lilian Tintori’s and Ledezma’s wife’ faces are stamped on all the big newspapers and its correspondent internet portals, That’s the big story.

        I can tell that these Venezuelan women damaged a lot Maduro’s image around here. They met with all the high-caliber political figures of Brazil: president of Senate, president of the Chamber of Deputies, president of the Federal Supreme Court… They didn’t meet with Dilma, though, but hell, who needs Dilma nowadays (a dead load that no one likes)!

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        • Remember the ruckus the regime made when Santos received an oppo leader , almost led to break in relations. Dilma doesnt want that , if you have a neighbor that responds to the least contradiction by throwing stones at your home , you leave the madman alone . What she did was the next best thing she sent them a nice sympathetic letter . They are probably counting that if push comes to shove they will retain enough good will with the govt that they may in a crucial moment be able to help keep democracy alive in this much punished country. Chile is probably playing the same game . But people at the parliamentary level have no such qualms .

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    • And no official communique from Palacio do Planalto has been released yet rejecting this action? I’m almost more embarrassed for Brazil than I am for Saab’s tyrant tantrum.

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  7. We hardly ever talk about the GOOD spin of Venezuela Chavismo and the complete disaster of Populism everywhere.

    So, since the weekend is coming, here are some positive things about Masburrismo, believe it or not:

    1/ In Corruptzuela, people are learning many things the hard way: to distrust government populist propaganda (see TV ratings on previous post), how corrupt and evil politicians can be.

    People and Politicians, plus the intellectual Elite are hopefully learning that there needs to be some compromise in the middle between “adecos,copeyanos,socialistas,burgueses,pueblo,pobres,capitalistas,” after all, they are all corrupt. But some less than others.

    When Masburrismo falls (methinks it will be before the next Presidential pseudo-elections, probably after the Parlapaja “elections”, when shit will hit the fan), the next generation of Corruptzuelan thieves will have to be more inclusive, incorporating and recognizing the majority of our populace: the “chavista” type: the poor, under-educated that were alienated for decades by adecos/copeyanos. Rest assured, we will soon have a Scandinavian-type of effective socialistic, centered Republic.. (just kidding, it’s Friday!).

    2/ Internationally, we are helping many countries.

    Unknowingly, Vzla’s Disaster is serving to prove the deadly consequences of neo-Populist regimes.

    It is helping huge countries like Brazil and Spain, even the Philiines fighting Chavezmatic right now, Immensely. Brazil is waking up real fast, just looking across the border at our disaster, making comparisons..
    In Spain, Podemos is falling fast too, largely thanks to their clumsy ties with our infamous Chavismo ‘e mierda. In the UK, I’m sure Chavismo scare many voters to the Conservative side. Those countries, and many others looking at Cubazuela in sheer Terror, should be thankful !!

    There’s always a bright side. Cheers.

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    • The Chavez regime has become a model of what to avoid in a countrys politics , a screetching advertisement for what run away radical populism can lead to, Even Correa and one of Evos ministers have made comments that imply that Venezuelas regime has incurred in failures that THEY have avoided , specially on the handling of the economic front.

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      • Sadly, our Venezuelan populace was ignorant enough not to learn similar lessons from Cuba. Many still think it’s a paradise over there..

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  8. “Rapidas y democráticas respuestas de los perdedores: dimisión. Madurez democrática.” Javier Solana with regards to UK’s elections.

    On the other hand in Venezuela: “el tiempo de Dios es perfecto”.

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  9. This certainly applies to the obvious party leaders such as Henry Ramos but, where do you leave Henrique Capriles? or Julio Borges? I mean it happens with every single party in the country.

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  10. Off topic question.
    Who is this Venezuelan?

    Orlando J. Alvarado O’Hara Administration Co., S.A. Trump Ocean Club Punta Colon Street, BL 313, 3rd Floor Punta Pacifica, Panama Tel: +917-4345615

    And how is he buying Latin America’s largest private oil company?
    http://www.pacificrubiales.com/corporate/about-us.html

    There seems to be very little I can find out about him or O’Hara Administration and he is taking control of a $2 Billion oil company from an 400 square foot office in Panama

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    • According to Setty he is one of the bolichicos involved in the Derwig scandal , his group is buying 50% of the company, the other 50% is being bought by a Mexican concern , The company is facing some hard times after oil prices went down , The company however is managed and staffed by top notch ex employees of Pdvsa who cosntitute probably one of the best oil company teams in the Americas . Its big in Colombia but also has started a presence in Mexico and Peru. They are beign bought cheap but will make a bundles for whoever buys them now.

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      • Corruptzuela will surely go down in History, as the most corrupt regime this Planet has ever seen.

        In terms of Trillions of dollars Stolen, per capita or not.

        By far.

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      • Thank you.
        I read an article an it did not any sense to me.
        I looked up his name and company and found nothing.
        The phone number is an NYC cell phone.
        And I think I was generous calling Office BL 313, 400 square foot. It might be a lot smaller.
        The article I read said there were other Venezuelans behind him, but he was the spokesman.

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      • That is not an accurate paraphrase.

        Derwick, not Derwig.

        He isn’t buying 50%. The investors he represents have bought 19.5%. The Mexican “concern,” the conglomerate Alfa, has informally said it plans to buy Pacific Rubiales. Neither Alvarado’s group nor Alfa have made a tender.

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  11. Oh, they want out of there quick so they can write their memoirs where they blame everyone else.

    But seriously, to be a bit contrarian on this point, watching the Alberta Conservative party meltdown this week I thought it was bad form for the leader to resign and announce the end of his public service career, before all the polls on his own riding (which he would have taken) were in. I think there should be accountability, but shouldn’t the party leader stick around for the transition, so all those hard lessons are not lost (and perhaps for a little ritual blood letting)?

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  12. Today the Venezuelan oil barrel is at 56 USD.

    I mean, that is a historically high price.

    Still, this guys can’t manage.

    CAP had to make do with 18USD per barrel. And he was considered lucky at the time.

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  13. Miliband and Clegg resigned because they not only lost, they lost badly. They underperformed. Farage resigned because UKIP underperformed in a key measure (winning seats), and because he was personally responsible for part of that failure (he ran in a seat considered UKIP’s best opportunity to win and lost), and because he pledged to do so if he didn’t win his seat.

    Should losing an election be an automatic disqualification for the future?. Many political leaders have lost a close race and come back to win later. U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, William H. Harrison, Grover Cleveland,and Richard Nixon were all elected after previously losing. (Cleveland, uniquely, had previously won and lost.) Winston Churchill’s Conservatives were routed in 1945, but he led them back to power six years later.

    For instance, a candidate or party leader who does well in very unfavorable circumstances – as when a party has newly formed, or the other side has an unbeatable candidate, or the other side is cheating massively – may deserve a second chance.

    Another example is a leader with a record of success, after one fluky setback. U.S. President Bill Clinton was elected Governor of Arkansas in 1978, but lost in 1980 (partly because of the Reagan landslide). He came back and won in 1982, and was re-elected three more times.

    It’s arguable that leaders and candidates should be dropped permanently after a defeat. That would certainly force expansion of the pool of candidates, office holders, and leaders, and tend to break up the closed circles of party insiders. But that’s another issue entirely.

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