Wednesday, 25 February 2009

The secret disaster

Outside the dwindling circle of fanatical Blair- and Brownites, it is now virtually universally recognised that the bombing, invasion and occupation of Iraq was Britain’s greatest foreign policy disaster for at least half a century, possibly longer. Predictably, Jack “Man of” Straw – one of the leading conspirators behind the war – has banned the release of the cabinet papers that would reveal how ministers took their disastrous decision.

Labour’s line is that it would damage the quality of our government (!) if it was revealed who said what during this momentous debate. In fact, it seems what we would actually have learned would have been just the opposite. All the indications are that far from there being a ding-dong argument, ministers nodded through the war in an astonishingly supine and casual manner.

This was not a decision on whether to spend more on schools, or how we should organise hospitals – important though those things are. This was a decision to bomb, invade and occupy another country in the sure knowledge that it would result in the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people who had never done us any harm. The actions of some of those sitting around that cabinet table may well have been criminal. Six years later we still do not know what went wrong, nor how we would avoid the same things going wrong again if we were asked to, say, bomb Iran.

To put it in terms Mr Blair might understand, Labour lost its soul the day it decided to bomb Iraq. Perhaps even worse, though, is what has followed – the party’s cold-blooded determination, over weeks, months and years, to ensure that none of those responsible for the disaster is called to account. It beggars belief that the only people who ever lost their jobs over Iraq were the chairman and director-general of the BBC, and the BBC reporter who dared to tell the truth.

Wake up Labour! No good will come of you until you call the warmongers to account. The only way for a once-great political party to regain its self-respect is to release the cabinet and all other relevant papers forthwith and to have a full INDEPENDENT inquiry with witnesses testifying on oath.


  1. Quite agree. I think the really frightening aspect of all this is the way in which Jack Straw seems to think that he can get away with it, by offering the most bland and predictable of all explanations. But presumably,'sofa politics' was well in train by late 2002, and your guess that there was probably little or no dissent, probably right on the money. I think Clare Short said as much, and, possibly the minutes would cast Gordy in not such a great light.

    I can't really think of them as Labour; it's not that we have ever had many illusions about the smug, 'leave it to us, you wouldn't understand' attitude that power tends to encourage, but it would be an act of refreshing political candour (excuse the oxymoron)to do something at the very least, interesting; that actually respected us, the voters. Especially those who have lost children as a direct result of this action. Strawman must think that their image needs protection; but their image is dull and smacks of wilfullness. They are all so far disconnected from life as it is lived my most of us, that he obviously doesn't have a clue how they are seen. As a joke that's not funny because it isn't understood.

  2. Leaving aside any questions of right and wrong (awfully "old Labour") I think it would actually be to Labour's ADVANTAGE to grasp the nettle and hold an inquiry into Iraq. For sure, it would mean bad publicity before the general election, but it's an election that Labour are alomost certainly going to lose anyway. Iraq is a cancer at the heart of the party, and cleaning out those responsible for the disaster might be one of the few things that could get voters returning to the Labour fold. They could even try this novel policy of doing the right things in other areas - creating a democratic second chamber, bringing in a fair taxation system, scrapping ID cards and other repressive legislation. Who knows? Labour might even win !?! Don't worry, though, none of it will ever happen, because it will need something the party does not have - courage. Even the few who are clear-thinking enough to see they are on the road to disaster look more and more like rabbits transfixed by headlights of the oncoming juggernaut.

  3. How true. The word that came to me as I was reading your post was courage. The component that's completely lacking, as well as any element of creativity; you just never think, "oh, that's clever. How inspired. I'm really glad I voted for them..." So roll on the next bunch of slick, point-scoring little twerps and their Wikipedophile chums. Then maybe someone will put the boot in and call Tony to account. Now there's someone whose earning power I'd like to see obliterated.