Comment at end
22nd May 2010
UPDATE: Julie has linked to this post at her site, and she uses this video of Christopher Hitchens – on doing it the “Kofi Annan way” as in Darfur – “Don’t worry, they’re all dead now”. The anti-American Chomskyite Left, so careless with the lives of others, must be outed more frequently. A must watch. Hitchens site.
I haven’t been all that impressed all that often by David of the Milibands
I am now, if only by default.
If the only competition David has for the Labour party’s “leadership” are such useless nobodies as Diane Abbott, John McDonnell, Ed Balls and Ed Miliband, David will walk it. What he does with it when he gets it is anyone’s guess. But it’s bound to be better than Useless, Useless, Useless and Useless.
This Irish Times article provides some interesting background to the Brothers M.
So let’s look at the Eds. First, Ed Miliband
If Ed Miliband thought the way the Iraq decision was taken was SO wrong, why have we never heard him voice this before? Given that he was not even an MP until 2005, and therefore did not participate in the Iraq war vote, he has the luxury of being able to choose whether to be a pro- or an anti-, just like the other Ed.
What principles! Just what we need in a leader.
On the Iraq war decision – if the wrongness was a combination of the way it was taken AND WMD not being found, WHY is explaining the insignificance of that combination so beyond the combined intelligence of many in the Labour party? It was either right or wrong, not a bit right but wrong here and there, FGS.
His argument seems to be that if WMD HAD been found then the way we had decided to invade would not have mattered so much, if at all.
OR, that if the way was more to everyone’s liking – another three months, say – WMD not being found would have been less material.
Utter rot. Weasel words. Puerile, press-inspired, populist, anti-war rot.
If Miliband Junior wants to lead a great political party, which his party became again in 1994 when Blair shook it up, he had better stop apologising for the decisions of one of his party’s greatest leaders ever. He needs to get his head straight on this.
Apart from that – I really DO rise to the bait when anyone uses the “as we all know” phrase, even when they use it in an empathic way as here –
Ed Miliband: “As we all know, the basis for going to war was on the basis of Saddam’s threat in terms of weapons of mass destruction and therefore that is why I felt the weapons inspectors should have been given more time to find out whether he had those weapons, and Hans Blix – the head of the UN weapons inspectorate – was saying that he wanted to be given more time. The basis for going to war was the threat that he posed.
“The combination of not giving the weapons inspectors more time, and then the weapons not being found, I think for a lot of people it led to a catastrophic loss of trust for us, and we do need to draw a line under it. “
He also urged other candidates to set out where they stood and stand on the issue. He insisted he did not think Britain went to war for the wrong reasons, and said he was not an opponent of liberal interventionism. “It has its place,” he said.
“History will judge the outcomes for Iraq and that is important, but I think it is just clear to me because we went to war on a particular basis and when that basis turned out not to be correct even apart from the people that were against the war in the first place, that caused a big loss of trust for us: what I am not saying is that the war was undertaken for the wrong motives but what I am very clear about is what my position was at the time and the way I look at it in retrospect.”.”
Ed Miliband, like Blair before him, was a band member too. Intriguing the names bands choose, isn’t it?
Then there’s the other Useless Ed –
The other one who came into parliament in 2005 – the one who, as a student straddled TWO political parties – Labour AND the Conservatives.
If Ed Balls thinks his semantic somersaults here (as quoted at John Rentoul’s) somehow removes him and much of his party from “blame” for the Iraq war decision (which was the RIGHT one, btw, so you’re not getting the thanks either), he’s even more useless than I used to think he was. As Rentoul points out he says he WOULD have voted “yes”, if he’d been an MP at the time, but he now thinks he would have been wrong!
Again – FGS!
Rentoul on Balls:
Ed Balls is talking non-sense in his interview in tomorrow’s Daily Telegraph in which he recants his support for the Iraq war:
That is not a position that reflects well on him. He would have voted for the war but, on the information available at the time, he shouldn’t have done. In a way that is worse than Michael Howard’s “if I knew then what I know now I would have voted for the invasion on a differently-worded House of Commons motion” (paraphrase).
Then what is this about “changing the argument”? Most anti-war conspiracists accuse Blair of changing the argument the other way, alleging that he was really a regime changer who pretended to care about (and redefine) international law. As I have sought to explain at improbable length (sorry there are 100 posts here), he did no such thing. The distinction is a spurious invention of people looking for ever more convoluted ways of saying, “I didn’t agree with it”. Blair, and Ed Balls, and a majority of the House of Commons, was in favour of regime change as the only way short of full and unconditional compliance by Saddam of enforcing UN resolutions.
IF A “CATASTROPHIC LOSS OF TRUST” WHY DID BLAIR WIN IN 2005?
It is worth reminding these naysayers that in 2005 Labour WON again – its third, record-breaking election, two years after the Iraq war had been launched. Two years after Blair, Campbell and others had been described as “liars” over such as WMD and the “dodgy dossier”. Two years after “war crimes” laels had been used widely by the press and the enemies of Blair AND Labour. As for a “catastrophic loss of trust” in Labour – I don’t think so. Perhaps from the left of Labour, and I suppose that is where many in the present leadership race are aiming. But I believe the opposite is the case when non-Labour people are taken into account. When I have time to look for the numbers I will. But I am sure we will find that there was no such loss JUST OVER IRAQ, even for mainstream Labour as a whole.
Labour is in danger of reverting to the traditional, but narrow “left” while a huge gaping hole is opening up on the “right” – if either of these labels means what they used to.
Btw, there is another candidate, of course – Andy Burnham. I don’t know if he makes the Useless Band up to 5, or offers real competion to David M, but I do recall he is/was Blairite. In this day of suicidal self-destruction of NEW Labour I’ll be keeping an eye on his pronouncements on Tony Blair and Iraq.
More pictures here, if you’re up for a giggle. Better than crying, I suppose.
1. The Winning Formula?
Aside: Although this former Labour adviser also believes the “war was wrong” he provides an interesting analysis of what he thinks has gone wrong for Labour.
For a lot on the anti-war left in Labour and in other parties, it seems to come down to this: “international intervention is all very well, as long as we can be in and out in five minutes.”
Is that leadership? Responsibility?
2. Cameron, the “heir to Blair” is losing friends, according to this from the Western Mail. A bit like Blair, then? Some on ALL sides have been ‘lost’ for years, of course.
3. Meanwhile, yesterday in Iraq – “A pickup truck driven by a suicide bomber struck a commercial strip in a predominantly Shiite town north of Baghdad on Friday evening, the latest in a string of extremist attacks that appear to be aimed at more vulnerable places outside of the heavily fortified capital.
The bombing, on the outskirts of Khalis, in Diyala Province, killed at least 21 people and wounded more than 50, according to Capt. Hashim al-Salihiof of the town’s police. The roof of a cafe collapsed, trapping patrons inside, he said, grimly predicting that the toll could rise. Several other cafes and shops caught fire, burning many of the victims.
“The explosion was so big I thought for a minute I was in hell,” one of the wounded, Mohammed Ahmed, said in a hospital in Baquba, the provincial capital, as he held a Koran.
After a series of catastrophic attacks in Baghdad over the last year claimed by Al Qaeda in Iraq, the latest bombings suggested a shift in focus to less-protected cities and towns, particularly those occupied by Shiites.
The latest attack followed a triple suicide bombing last week at a soccer field in Tall Afar that killed 10 and a wave of bombings that struck four days earlier in Sumayra, Hilla and Basra that left more than 100 dead and hundreds wounded.”
I suppose none of this would have happened if Blair had said “no” to Bush.
Please, Labour would-be leadership candidates – please get real.
4. As for the favourite, or at least until recently, David Miliband, here at Progress tries to explain why ‘NEXT’ Labour is the heir to New Labour. He mentions that more women need to be involved at the top of the party (as with ALL of parties, clearly.) However, although he seems to think that Labour did not say enough about its successes in office over 13 years, he forgets to remind us that under Tony Blair Labour had more women MPs elected to parliament than EVER before (101) – as did Parliament as a result (120). It’s odd the things they forget, isn’t it? I understand that although there are now more women in parliament – 14% c/w 12% in 1997 – this is only an incremental rise, and owed completely to women-only shortlists, introduced by Labour and now used too by the Tories. Not, as it happens, by that fair-minded, balanced, female-vacant party, the Liberal Democrats. Just so you know.
5. If this other LEFT-WING leadership candidate, John McDonnell, who was suspended for “throwing the mace” in January 2009, welcomes Double Eds’ coming out against the war in Iraq, they must KNOW they’ve blown it:
P.S. I just posted this at Ian Kirby’s News of The World blog. Since it hasn’t appeared yet (and may never) here’s what I said about Mr Kirby:
“Just saw Ian Kirby on Sky. HE got it on the Iraq issue, whereas Jackie Ashley didn’t. The Eds are trying to steal a march on David Miliband, by talking up nonsense. The battle over the Iraq war was fought in 2005. Blair won it. The battle over everything else – the economy, jobs, immigration etc was fought in 2010. Brown lost it. The other reason Brown lost, apart from having been chancellor for 10 years before being PM? LEADERSHIP. Blair won that too. Every time. Brown, Cameron AND Clegg all lost on this. And they ALL know it.
Tags: Andy Burnham, anti-American Chomskyite Left, Christopher Hitchens video, David Miliband, Diane Abbott, ed balls, Ed Miliband, Ian Kirby, iraq war, John McDonnell, John Rentoul, Kofi Annan, Labour party leadership, NoW, Tony Blair