Tag Archives: Europeans

CANADIAN ELECTION – LIBERALS WIN

Russis anti-ISIS army

Justin Trudeau has just become the 29th Canadian prime minister.   Son of the most famous Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, the new PM also leads the Liberal Party. His party received 39% of the vote.   Conservative Stephen Harper, who has led the country for almost a decade, conceded defeat.

Canadian elections do not normally make a big difference.   This one might.

Within 24 hours of taking over, Mr. Trudeau ordered the Royal Canadian Air Force to stop bombing ISIS in Syria, thereby effectively withdrawing from the Coalition against the terror group.   By doing this, it is hoped that Canada will not suffer further terrorist attacks.

This decision came a day after ISIS called for Palestinians in Israel to step up their attacks on Israelis.  Instead of stabbing Jews or running them over, they are now being urged to set them alight.   The strength of ISIS is in Syria and Iraq.   Mr. Trudeau’s second act is likely to be opening the doors wider for Syrian refugees, ironically a move that almost guarantees further terrorist attacks.  What’s happening in Israel is almost certainly going to become a daily occurrence in Europe, North America and Australia in the months and years to come.

However, it’s all part of a trend throughout Western countries, of compromise with Islam, compromise that is assuredly leading to the Death of the West.

Yesterday, Bret Stephens, one of my favorite writers, wrote in his weekly Wall Street Journal column, that Europe is compromising itself out of existence, pointing out the same threat from Islam.   The Europeans are unwilling to spend more on defense and are yielding to international pressure on immigration.   He seemed to write off European civilization, which is now in its death throes.   Europe has lost its way.

“What Europeans no longer believe in are the things from which their beliefs spring:  Judaism and Christianity; liberalism and the Enlightenment; martial pride and capability; capitalism and wealth. Still less do they believe in fighting or sacrificing or paying or even arguing for these things.  Having ignored and undermined their own foundations, they wonder why their house is coming apart.”  (“In Defense of Christendom,” Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, 10/19/15).

What Mr. Stephens had to say was absolutely correct, as is almost always the case when he writes.   What he did not say, however, is that the same suicidal tendencies exist on this side of the Atlantic, as we saw in Monday’s Canadian election.   We see it also in the US, as I wrote last week in my post “Islamization continues.”

While Americans may lament the state of Europe, they often fail to see the same problems in the US.

It’s true that Europeans no longer believe in the Judeo-Christian beliefs that were a part of their history, but nor do most Americans.

Mr. Stephens also wrote:   “Europe is dying because it has become morally incompetent.  It isn’t that Europe stands for nothing.  It’s that it stands for shallow things, shallowly.   Europeans believe in human rights, tolerance, openness, peace, progress, the environment, pleasure.   These beliefs are all very nice, but they are also secondary.”

Europeans, North Americans and Australians have turned their backs on their Judeo-Christian heritage and can no longer see clearly the threats posed to their existence.

They should heed the words from that Christian heritage:  “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). The West has lost its vision.

The entire Western world is compromising itself out of existence.

I should add that not all Europeans have lost their vision – Russia’s leader still has his.   The world woke up today to see Syria’s President Bashar Assad in Moscow, visiting his benefactor and protector, Vladimir Putin.   Russian military might is making a big difference in Syria.  This is the first time in four years the Syrian president has felt secure enough to leave the country!   Putin has the will to defeat ISIS –whether he can or not remains to be seen.

With that in mind, note the following headline from MEMRI (The Middle East Media Research Institute):

“Australian Islamic Leader Al-Wahwah:  Syria Will Become The Graveyard Of The Russian Czars And The Infidel West.”

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THE POPE AND THE PRESIDENT

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Pope Francis (R) during their meeting at the Vatican March 27, 2014. Obama's first meeting on Thursday with Pope Francis was expected to focus on the fight against poverty and skirt moral controversies over abortion and gay rights.
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Pope Francis (R) during their meeting at the Vatican March 27, 2014. Obama’s first meeting on Thursday with Pope Francis was expected to focus on the fight against poverty and skirt moral controversies over abortion and gay rights.

The Founding Fathers of the United States could not have imagined such a scene ever taking place in this country.

The scene was played out this morning on the White House lawn. The head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, together with a US president of African heritage with a Muslim father and other definite Muslim connections.

Whereas the US was 98% Protestant at its founding, today there are arguably only two faiths that matter – Catholicism and Islam.

Certainly, these are the only two that dominate news headlines.

Just a few days ago, the leading Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump was asked a question by a man who believed that President Obama is a Muslim.   Because he did not correct the man, it is assumed he believes the same way and he has been greatly criticized for it.   Of course, if there’s nothing wrong with Islam, why should anybody get upset if described as being Muslim!

A day or two later, Ben Carson, another Republican candidate, a quiet, reserved and respectful man who is a double minority, both black and a Seventh Day Adventist Christian, was asked what he thought of having a Muslim president.   He was not in favor of it and has since been accused of racism!

Fifty years ago, when Senator Edward Kennedy sponsored the bill, which became the new immigration law, he said Americans would not see any noticeable change in the fabric of the country.   Here we are five decades later in a very different religious landscape thanks to that immigration act.

It doesn’t take a Donald Trump or a Ben Carson for Islam to make the news every day.   Migrants moving into Europe from the Middle East and Africa underline the dysfunctionality of Islamic countries, racked with ethnic, ideological and religious strife.   Under international law, when people flee one country they should register for refugee status in the first country they come to; but international laws are being broken every day as people push their way through borders and barriers toward their number one goal, Germany or Sweden.   None seems to want to go to any oil rich Arab country, which speaks the same language.   One migrant made it clear when he said: “Europeans have more compassion!”

That compassion stems from Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant.   For centuries, monks and nuns provided the only hospital care available for travelers and locals alike.   They also provided food and drink to the poor.

Yes, Christianity and Islam are very different.   Only the Hungarian leader, Viktor Orban, seems to be pointing that out, saying his country does not want the migrants.   Hungary suffered for almost two centuries under Islamic rule, so it’s not surprising that they don’t want Muslims back.  Mr. Orban has said that the massive movement of migrants into the country threatens the nation’s Christian heritage.   For this realistic comment, he is being condemned by the emotional majority more influenced by television images of people pushing further into Europe.

It is doubtful the enthusiasm for Muslim immigrants will last long. Then what?

Catholicism and Islam have clashed repeatedly throughout history – and could do so again.   People in the West have largely forgotten this past history or don’t care.   But that’s not the case in the Islamic world where the term “crusaders” is often used to describe westerners, a reference to the Crusades between Catholic Europe and the forces of Islam that began in 1095 and lasted for two centuries.

There were other less famous clashes between the two.   In the eighth century Muslims invaded Spain and France, until they were defeated in 732 by Charles Martel. His grandson Charlemagne was still fighting the North African invaders decades later.   After the Crusades ended, there were other clashes as the Ottoman Turks advanced westward, conquering islands in the Mediterranean and moving fairly rapidly into the heart of Europe.

The historic rivalry between Rome and the Islamic world will likely be a part of the prophesied clash between the King of the North and King of the South in the last verses of the Book of Daniel, chapter 11.   Earlier this year the leaders of ISIS threatened to invade Rome and kill the pope.

Islam has certainly succeeded in dividing the West in the early years of this century, as both Americans and Europeans hold different opinions on how best to deal with the migrant crisis.   Some are fearful about security while others just want to help, not realizing there are a number of rich Arab countries, which could take the Syrians in.   Not all the migrants are Syrians – a British newspaper revealed last Saturday that only 1 in 5 migrants is a Syrian refugee.   The others are economic migrants and could be sent home under international law.

Is this the end of western civilization, as Mr. Orban fears?   That’s not likely.   What is more likely is that westerners will change their thinking when they experience the reality of greater numbers of Muslims.   Anti-immigrant parties are likely to come to power, promising to do something to restore their countries to what they were.

Islam means “submission,”   In spite of denials by national news presenters, this makes the religion incompatible with the US Constitution, which is based on freedom.   And just as Islam is incompatible with freedom, so is Roman Catholicism, a religion that dominated Western Europe for over a thousand years, until the Protestant Reformation introduced an element of religious freedom.   It was English Protestants who founded James Town and Protestants of mostly British descent who founded the United States.   Today’s Protestants seem to have very little influence in the country, a fact that increasingly threatens religious freedom.

What we saw today on the White House lawn was, in a sense, a profile of three religions – Catholicism, represented by the Pope; Islam, represented by the American son of a Muslim Kenyan father; and Protestantism, represented by the White House itself, the US Constitution, and the soldiers in early American uniforms.

The first two are on the rise – the Church of Rome and Islam!

“METHINKS HE PROTESTS TOO MUCH!”

Islam peace

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After the gruesome murders of over thirty British tourists on a Tunisian beach Friday, the British Prime Minister David Cameron was quick to condemn the atrocity.  But he was also quick to remind those listening that Islam is a religion of peace and that terrorists have seized and perverted Islam.

He is now calling on the national media to stop referring to “Islamic State,” the name that ISIS calls itself.

“Methinks he protests too much!”

For years now, we’ve been hearing of terrorist acts committed by Muslims in many different countries.  Yes, occasionally, we hear of a terrorist act committed by Hindus and individual acts of violence by supposed Christians, like the one in Charleston two weeks ago.   But most terrorism is committed by Muslims, both Shia and Sunni.

Sometimes, it’s hard for politicians to come out and tell the truth, but one day somebody will have to, if we are to ever win “the Great War of our time,” as Michael Morell calls it.  Mr. Morell was the former deputy director of the CIA.

Mr. Cameron’s call to end the use of the term “Islamic State” led to a discussion on the BBC World Service (radio) this morning.   It amazes me with so much going on, with terrorist attacks threatening us all and with IS constantly expanding its territory, that we can indulge ourselves in discussions of semantics on worldwide radio.

At one point, the term “Islamic State” was being discussed.  One contributor said we should not use it as ISIS is not Islamic and not a State.  What is it then?

I googled a definition of “state.”   The following definition came back: “a nation or territory considered as an organized political community under one government.”   Based on this definition, IS is certainly a state, or country.   It’s not a “state” as in the US, which is a federation of 50 states.  But it is as much a state as Germany, Italy, France, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc.

It has territory.  In fact, it has more of it every week.  It now controls most of Libya and has clearly expanded its influence into Tunisia, with two major terrorist attacks in three months.

It’s also an “organized political community under one government.” It’s certainly not organized like other countries, but in its own way it’s organized and has a central authority that lords it over the people, just like other governments.

So why can’t it call itself “Islamic State?”

The problem is that it gives Islam a bad name.

But, that’s nothing new.  Islam has had a bad name for 1400 years, ever since its founder, the prophet Muhammed, told his followers to go out and kill all infidels, to conquer the world.

Our ancestors knew that this was reality.   On a number of occasions during this long time period Europeans were in a state of armed conflict trying to stop Muslims from conquering Europe or the Middle East.   Yes, President Obama was correct when he reminded listeners that Christians did some terrible things, but now is now.  It’s not Christians that are threatening to shoot or behead us en masse, it’s Muslims in general, al-Qaeda, al-Shahaab and ISIS in particular.

And it doesn’t help when Messrs Cameron and Obama keep repeating that Islam is a religion of peace.

In fact, it shows them up as being ignorant of history.

It also shows that they haven’t read Graeme Wood’s groundbreaking article on ISIS in the March issue of The Atlantic, the most read article in the magazine’s long history.  Wood’s long article showed that ISIS represents true Islam, that the organization’s roots can be found in the seventh century and that they see themselves fulfilling eschatological prophecies before the advent of the Messiah.

Refusing to recognize this is irresponsible.  People cannot defend themselves if they cannot clearly identify the enemy.  ISIS is the real Islam and it has territory, so it has every right to call itself “Islamic State.”   In fact, it’s the perfect name for this political entity.

One of Mr. Cameron’s predecessors as prime minister, a fellow Conservative leader, Winston Churchill, did not come on the radio after every Nazi attack to remind the British people that it wasn’t the Germans who were doing this, it was only the Nazis who represented hardly anybody.   If he had, it’s doubtful that victory would have been achieved.

Mr. Cameron’s England is more reminiscent of a book written shortly after World War II.   In George Orwell’s “1984,” the Ministry of Truth told nothing but lies, even going so far as to rewrite history for the newspapers.  It was almost impossible to think for yourself. If you did, it wouldn’t be long until the Thought Police caught up with you.  Today’s “thought police”, employees of the Ministry of Truth, are the multiculturalists who keep telling us that Islam is a religion of peace and threaten us with prison if we say otherwise.

Meanwhile, the “proles,” the proletariat, the ordinary people of Orwell’s England, were fobbed off with endless entertainment, so they wouldn’t think too much.   It’s a good thing he died in 1950 – an evening with cable television would have finished him off, anyway.

Mr. Cameron should remember Hans Christian Anderson’s tale of “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” the story of a gullible king who was sold a miracle new fabric that only his loyal subjects could see.   Then, one day while riding in a parade, a little boy, who was not privy to the secret of the new fabric, shouted out before all, that the king had no clothes on.   As Danny Kaye sang it in song:  “Look at the king, the king, the king…..the king is in the all-together, the all-together, as naked as can be.”

One day, with increased acts of terrorism in our own countries, it will become impossible to keep repeating the mantra that Islam is a religion of peace.

But, by then, it may be too late!

INTERESTING DEVELOPMENTS IN EUROPE THIS WEEK

German Chancellor Angela Merkel with US President Barack Obama outside the Elmau castle in Kruen near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, on Monday.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel with US President Barack Obama outside the Elmau castle in Kruen near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, on Monday. (Reuters)

The week began with the 41st G7 summit, held this year in the Bavarian town of Krun.

The former G8 is now down to 7 since Vladimir Putin started misbehaving himself and invaded Ukraine.   He never really belonged anyway.  The group is made up of the seven biggest industrial powers in the world – Russia was never the eighth.   Even the Belgian economy is bigger than Russia’s.   At the same time, Russia under Putin can hardly be described as a model democracy.

The leaders of the seven seem to have had the usual amicable two-day session, during which they discussed Russia and Ukraine, global warming and ISIS.   President Obama was more than candid when he said that the US does not have a “complete strategy” when it comes to dealing with the terror group.  One year after ISIS captured the city of Mosul, the Administration still doesn’t know what it’s doing!   It’s a good thing the president wasn’t in power at the time of Pearl Harbor – Hitler and Tojo would have won!

Fortunately, there are leaders out there who do know what they are doing and who seem to have a clear strategy.  Unfortunately, they live in Moscow and the Vatican.

Today, the leader of Russia, no doubt sore at being barred from the summit and all that Bavarian beer, met with the Pope in the Eternal City.   This was the second time the two men have met, the first since the Russian annexation of Crimea.   Note what Russia Today had to say:

“The two men champion similar conservative values in a rapidly changing world, as well as concerns for emerging threats to Christianity.  During their last meeting in 2013, Putin and the Pope discussed the danger Christians face in the Middle East at the hands of radical Islamists.

“The meeting is expected to touch upon Ukraine and the civil war in the east of the country.  Pope Francis has been rejecting calls from the Ukrainian Catholic Church to condemn Russia over allegations that it’s fueling aggression, and instead called on all parties involved to cease hostilities.”

Today’s meeting was a test of the pope’s diplomatic skills.  Fresh from a visit to Cuba, which was appreciated in both Washington and Havana, the pope was instrumental in breaking the ice between the US and the communist country.  Can he help break the logjam over Ukraine?

Perhaps more important to the pope is the state of Christians in the Middle East.  Extremists throughout the region are killing Christians at an alarming rate and in a most alarming manner.  Russia’s president has said that Russia will protect them.  The pope has called for world leaders to intervene and use force against those persecuting Christians.  The US president is on record as saying that the US is a “post-Christian” country – he will not be seen to favor Christians over Muslims, reminding people a few weeks ago that Christians did some terrible things to Muslims during the Crusades. At the same time, Christianity is a thing of the past to most western Europeans.

So, what next in Europe and particularly Germany, Rome and Moscow?

Bible prophecy shows that prior to Christ’s Second Coming, there will be a revival of the Roman Empire, in which Rome and Germany will play major roles.   You can read about the revived Roman Empire in Revelation, chapter 17.   History students will know that this union is not improbable.   In 1922, Mussolini proclaimed a revival of the Roman Empire.   After his plans failed, six European nations came together to sign the Treaty of Rome in 1957, pledging to form “an ever closer union”, in effect a nicer Roman Empire, not built by force.

For this revival of the Roman Empire to come into its final form, a German led Europe and America are set to go their separate ways. Clearly, there are already differences between Washington and Berlin, the only European capital that counts.   Germany is witnessing increasing anti-Americanism, which is likely to get worse with the publication of “Schindler’s List.”   Gerhard Schindler is the president of Germany’s BND, the equivalent of America’s National Security Agency (NSA).   He has in his possession a list of people in Germany that his BND has been spying on at the behest of the NSA.

“This list has become a potential time bomb both for Germany’s ruling coalition and for the transatlantic relationship.  It refers to the documentation of millions of “selectors”— search terms for phone numbers, e-mail addresses and so on — that America’s National Security Agency (NSA) has over the years fed into the computers of its German equivalent, the BND.   The Germans monitored these and passed the intelligence back to America.  Under a 2002 deal, the selectors may not point to German citizens, European firms or European Union governments.

“But for years the BND failed to check the selectors, according to parliamentary testimony by Gerhard Schindler, its president. It began doing so properly only after revelations of American mass surveillance by Edward Snowden in 2013.  The BND then rejected thousands of search terms as impermissible, apparently because they aimed at European firms and governments, including France’s. A big question is just how many problematic selectors had got through.   Mr. Schindler says he was informed of the situation only in March.  How much Chancellor Angela Merkel knew is unclear.” (“Germans are angry not only with America’s spies but also with their own,” The Economist, June 6th.)

There is likely to be considerable fallout when the list is revealed.   In turn, this could affect transatlantic relations.

Add to this a growing disillusionment with a do-nothing Washington that is no longer committed to Europe and seems averse to doing anything significant in the Middle East.   This leaves a vacuum in the Western world.   Europe is not ready to fill the vacuum yet, but if the West is to be saved, it must do so.   And do so soon.

Rome will also play a role here.   A revived Roman Empire is not possible without the papacy.   Note the following comment in Time Magazine one day before the pope met with President Putin.

“The Bishop of Rome may not represent the United States or Germany, but he is increasingly a superpower in his own right, and the Wednesday meeting is a diplomatic test of how Francis will use his influence.”

(“Vladimir Putin Tests the Limits of Pope Francis’ Powers,” Elizabeth Dias, Time Magazine, June 9th.)

Little attention is given to Berlin, Rome, or Moscow on American television news programs, but developments in these three cities could affect America’s future and very soon.

RECORD NUMBERS OF REFUGEES REACHING EUROPE

Syrian refugees in London

One of the great ironies of the last fifty years is that the peoples who supposedly rose up against their colonial masters and achieved independence have been moving en masse to the very countries they rebelled against!

This exodus of people from Africa and the Middle East has increased in recent months with increased turbulence in Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Syria and Iraq.   Eritreans are also moving to Europe to get away from that country’s brutal dictatorship.   Many flee by land to Libya, then cross to Italy by sea.   Over 400 died today when their boat capsized, a fairly regular occurrence.

The Europeans, it seems, cannot do enough to help resettle all these refugees.   The United Nations is criticizing, claiming they are not doing enough.   It should be realized that the U.N. is dominated by people from the same areas of the world as the refugees.   As failed states rapidly fall apart, people want to seek refuge in western Europe.

It should be noted that the six countries all mentioned above are Islamic.   The problems these countries face are deeply rooted in the Muslim religion.   People flee from these lands, but when they arrive in their new countries, what do they want to do?   They want their new countries to embrace Islam!   They have clearly learned nothing. At the same time, they want to make everybody else’s lives miserable.

So, what should western countries do?

The first priority of every government is national security.   Who is to say that, amongst all those fleeing Islamic lands, there may be some who want to get to Europe, North America and Australia, in order to stage terrorist acts?   It’s not only possible, it’s actually quite likely.

The perception of increased threats to security is fueling the growth of right-wing political parties in some European countries.   This poses a serious threat to liberal democracy and the cohesion of the western alliance.

At the same time, the sheer numbers of people in transit constitutes the equivalent of an invading army.   If the cultural identity of nations is to be preserved, something must be done to stop the invasion.

But what?   What can be done?

Clearly, European rule of these nations cannot have been so bad, if the native peoples are now moving to the former rulers for “freedom.”

Perhaps a solution is for those same western European nations to seize a small coastal area of the troubled countries, establishing an enclave, or “colony,” which would enable those citizens who want to flee to the West to remain and live under western rule?   This is, after all, what Hong Kong was all about.

Of course, this is not going to happen.   The United Nations would throw a fit, screaming “colonialism.”   As they cannot say anything positive about any of the countries taking in the refugees, perhaps they should open up the United Nations building and all available surrounding land to house them and feed them – at their own expense, of course.

PROXY WAR PITS SAUDIS AGAINST IRAN

Shia-Houthi rebels                                                 Shia-Houthi rebels

The Middle East continues to dominate the headlines.

A proxy war is taking place in strategically located Yemen, between Iran and Saudi Arabia, backed by the US.

The country’s Sunni president was overthrown in January by Shia Houthi rebels from the north.   Supported by Iran, they are moving south, establishing control over a wider area.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of ten Arab countries in an attempt to restore the Sunni led government to power.   The US backs Saudi Arabia, but, as usual, it’s more complicated than that. AQAP (Al Qaeda in Yemen) is also fighting the Houthis.   Even Islamic State, a long way from home, is involved.

It gets messier.

Last week, the 22-nation Arab League met in Sharm el-Sheikh.   In a final communiqué, the 22 nations pledged to form a unified military force to deal with regional security issues.   This primarily means Iran.

The Sunni-Shia conflict is widening and now pits all 22 Arab nations against Iran.

The war in Yemen could also get worse. Most non-Yemenis have flown out of the country, rescued in aircraft sent to the country by their home governments.

Yemen is very important to the Saudis, who neighbor them to the north.   Saudi Arabia is feeling increasingly encircled by Iranian proxies, to the south in Yemen, to the north in Iraq and Syria and also Hezbollah in Lebanon

There is a growing fear that the war could spill over into Saudi Arabia, which has a small Shi’ite population. It could also affect Oman, which has been an oasis of peace under its current leader, Sultan Qaboos.   Bahrain, too, which is the regional naval base for the US Fifth Fleet, could be seriously affected. It’s Sunni king walks a tightrope ruling over a majority Shi’ite population, estimated to be about two thirds of the total number of Bahraini citizens.

Iran has effectively declared war on Sunni Islam. The country is aiding the Iraqi majority Shi’ite government against ISIS.   The US has been helping bomb the rebels, thereby risking accusations of being an Iranian proxy.   But, further south, the US is supporting the Sunnis in Yemen against Iran.

No wonder everybody is confused.   And no wonder our domestic news channels tend to avoid getting into this.   To fully understand the situation, you need a degree in history, another in geography and a third in comparative religion!

Suffice it to say, it’s a real mess.

Interestingly, this week Senator Rand Paul has entered the US presidential campaign.   His isolationist message will inevitably appeal to voters anxious to get out of the Mideast and leave the Sunnis and Shi’ites to fight to the (very) bitter end.  (One opinion poll today shows him leading over Hillary Clinton.)

However, it’s not as simple as that.   The Bible shows us that, out of this quagmire, will come a regional leader who will attack Europe.   A revival of the Roman Empire (the King of the North) will then have to intervene in the region.  You can read about this in the last few verses of Daniel, chapter 11 (verses 40-44).

We can already see the Europeans waking up to the seriousness of the threats coming from the nearby Middle East.   A 25,000 strong rapid reaction force has been established to deal with further Russian aggression.   But it can also be used to deal with problems that arise in the Middle East that may threaten Europe.

The Middle East is not going to calm down.   The problems in the region are only likely to worsen in the future, as we near the time of Christ’s return.

UK ELECTION SET FOR MAY 7th

Signpost, political parties

A turbulent six weeks lies ahead as Britain prepares to vote on May 7th.

Americans are already in the midst of electioneering, for an election that’s still 22 months away.  They can be forgiven a case of envy when they learn that the United Kingdom’s election period will only last 38 days.

Elections used to be fairly routine, with either the Conservative or the Labour party winning.

In 2010, that changed.  Neither party won a majority. David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party and Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrat Party agreed to form a Coalition government.   Later, the two had to agree on austerity measures to get Britain out of the international financial crisis.

Today, the country has the fastest growing economy out of all the major western democracies.   Austerity seems to have worked better in Britain than elsewhere in Europe.

This time, there are a number of parties campaigning to win seats in Britain’s “first past the post” system.

The country has 635 constituencies.   Whoever gets the biggest number of votes in each of these, is elected to parliament.   The leader of the majority faction then becomes prime minister.

This time, however, there are more than three parties.

The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties will all be putting up candidates.   In addition, there’s a fairly new party called UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party), which is campaigning for Britain to withdraw from the EU and to do something about immigration, which many see as out of control.

Their leader, Nigel Farage, has already said that if David Cameron, the current prime minister, needs UKIP’s help to form a right-wing coalition government, he will insist on a referendum on Britain’s continued membership of the EU by the end of this year.   Mr. Cameron wants to delay it until 2017 when more Europeans will have moved into Britain, making it more likely that a “yes” vote would be returned.   Anybody from the EU can vote in referenda, though not in general elections. That requires full citizenship.

On the left of the political spectrum, for Labour’s Ed Miliband to form a government, he will likely need support from the SNP (Scottish National Party), Plaid Cymru (Welsh nationalists) and even the Greens (environmental party).   All of these parties will want government spending to increase, thereby jeopardizing the recovery the present coalition has engineered.

There are also smaller parties representing Northern Ireland, which may be needed to form a coalition.

It’s all suddenly become very complicated, but the old days of two-party politics seem to be over for good.

The next occupant of 10 Downing Street will be the man who can successfully haggle with other party leaders to reach the magic number of 318 – that’s just over 50% of all the seats in parliament, without which governing would be almost impossible.