22nd July 2010
WOEFUL WEDNESDAY FOR THE CON-DEM COALITION
There were so many cock-ups yesterday I’m thinking of starting a list. At least 5 in one day.
From junior partner to the USA to leaving or not leaving Afghanistan in 2014 maybe 2015, maybe not. Oh, and Cameron’s knowledge of the Americans’ entry year into WW2.
From closing a detention centre – no, sorry, only the family part – to calling the Iraq war “illegal”, we’ve been having some fun and games today.
And that’s not to mention Gary McKinnon and BP/Libya/Megrahi, and whatever was worked out on those two issues. The joys.
Some christening for Nick Clegg as he stood in for the other guy, his partner in historical and diplomatic ignorance.
I have long been infuriated by the tendency of some high-placed (if that’s the word) Lib Dems pronouncing on the “legality” “illegality” of the Iraq war.
Nick Clegg has just reminded me why.
Without any legal hearings and far less any findings on the legality or otherwise and without any trial proving that there were “illegal” hands behind the decisions, this crowd of waste-of-space know-alls continue to tell us it was “illegal”. The panicky Number 10 scramble tonight has only made it worse. We are not awaiting Chilcot’s decision on legality. His committee are not making decisions. It is fact-finding; learning lessons.
REMINDER: Chilcot on the Iraq Inquiry: “This is not a court of law and no-one is on trial.”
Standing in for David Cameron at PMQs (Cameron was having his own-foot-in-mouth day in Washington) Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister (and they called John Prescott “foot-in-mouth”) accused Labour’s Jack Straw of being partly to blame for the “illegal invasion of Iraq”.
Did I miss that momentous decision? When did the required international bodies get together to agree on that? Who SAID? When’s the hanging trial?
That’s right – the legality or otherwise of the Iraq invasion has not been agreed, and hey – guess what – it may never be agreed, as international law is confused and confusing.
You should learn and remember that, Mr Clegg. Some of won’t forget your pre-judgement. What a sorry shower.
Dear Mr Clegg. Dear, dear, dear. We are all entitled to think what we like. What elected officials and particularly the country’s top parliamentary representatives are NOT entitled to do is to state as FACT their own opinions on something as important and controversial as the Iraq war. YOU may be happy to see our former GREAT Prime Minister and perhaps even the present PM up in front of some kangaroo court for his/their political decisions, but this country would not be so delighted, believe me.
I have at times pondered over what exactly would be most likely to blow apart this coalition. How intriguing if it ended up being the Iraq war.
Legal warning on Clegg’s gaffe, with excuses from, guess who? Phillipe Sands. Too late, Mr Sands. They are struggling in Number 10 tonight to right this crazy wrong. But Mr Clegg may already have blown your case right out of the water, as the present Tory part of the government ponders whether it really wants the country to be taken to an international court.
Nice job while you had it, eh, Mr Clegg?
I link below to two “opinions” on Clegg’s big boob job on Iraq, for a contrast & compare exercise. Note how certain are the antis, compared to those who support the politicians’ right to do their job, and to DECIDE. It is not (yet) war by referendum in this country.
WARNING: Shift the Lib Dems, before it is.
Firstly, good coverage at the Financial Times –
“The government’s three positions on the legality of Iraq”
‘When Nick Clegg stood at the despatch box today and accused Jack Straw of being partly to blame for the “illegal invasion of Iraq”, you could almost see his Tory colleagues behind him wince.
Clegg had said this many times before, and it has long been the party’s official position (although it has never been approved by the full Lib Dem conference, so can’t be described as “policy”). But of course, it has never been the Tories’ position. Having voted for the invasion, the party still thinks it was legal.
Number 10 was quick to tell reporters this afternoon that Clegg was speaking “in a personal capacity”. But if he wasn’t articulating the government’s position, what is the government’s position?
Nick Clegg’s office has helpfully issued this statement:
“The Deputy Prime Minister was expressing his long-held view about the legality of the Iraq conflict.
“With regards to the Coalition Government’s official position on the legal basis for the Iraq conflict, it awaits the outcome of the inquiry being led by Sir John Chilcot.”
So that now makes three positions: the Tories think the Iraq invasion was legal, the Lib Dems think it was illegal but the coalition government is waiting for the outcome of the Chilcot inquiry to make its mind up.
I don’t know about you but at times I find the new politics very confusing.’
And, secondly – ER NO, MR FREEDLAND …
BUT THANKS FOR LENDING US YOUR OMNIPOTENCE. A USEFUL REMINDER
The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland, who clearly still doesn’t get it – No, Mr Freedland, the Iraq war decision was NOT ‘the greatest foreign policy misjudgement in 70 years’ – reminds us of what freedom is up against, Guardianisto-clad in its certainties:
‘Clegg’s reference to the Iraq war reminds us that his new allies backed the greatest foreign policy misjudgment in 70 years’
‘But by far the oddest moment came towards the end of the clash, when the Lib Dem leader berated Straw for his role in “the illegal invasion of Iraq”. Odd not because there’s anything new in that stance of the Lib Dems, whose opposition to the Iraq war was once their USP. Odd because of how, where and beside whom Clegg chose to say it.
The Lib Dem leader did not just condemn the war as “ill-conceived” or “disastrous.” He said it was illegal, with all that implies. As some Tory observers have already noted statements offered at the dispatch box during PMQs have the status of government policy. Are we now to understand that the coalition regards the 2003 invasion as “illegal”?
That would certainly not be the view of the neoconservative-inclined George Osborne, who was at Clegg’s side, or of the shadow foreign secretary William Hague, who was not far away. They were both vocal advocates of this “illegal” war; Osborne is said to have persuaded Cameron of the invasion’s merits and urged his friend to vote for it.
All of which makes it interesting that Clegg drew attention to this widest of splits in the coalition. Was he perhaps trying to remind voters and Lib Dem supporters of the party’s distinct identity? Has he perhaps seen the latest polls, which show Lib Dem support slipping yet further, to just 14% per cent according to YouGov?
Either way, Clegg performed an important service. He reminded opponents of the war – the greatest Britain foreign policy misjudgment in 70 years, greater even than Suez – that those who endorsed it were not confined to New Labour. Cameron, Osborne and Hague also deserve to be condemned for their role in that catastrophic mistake. They gave Tony Blair the Commons majority he needed to send our troops to war.
Just because they weren’t in government at the time doesn’t mean they shouldn’t answer for their decisions. So thanks to an unlikely source – the deputy prime minister in this Conservative-led coalition – for reminding us of the fact.’
William Hague, the man who was ‘refreshed’ to speak to Tony Blair recenlty, distanced himself from Clegg’s remarks, a well he might. As for Mr Cameron – PURLEASE, get it right!!! (You guys are supposed to be running my country right now. You, Mr Cameron are NOT awaiting the outcome of the Iraq Inquiry to work out if the Iraq invasion was legal or not. That is NOT an exercise to work that out – to get Mr Blair onthe end of a rope – it is a learning process. If sufficient evidence is forthcoming to TRY anyone it will happen AFTER that Inquiry has long passed. Sir John Chilcot will NOT have Blair’s “blood on his hands.”
Oh, FGS. Can we run that general election again, please? Let’s have some grown-ups in there.
And after this day of general discombobulation in the ConDem government (I bet Alastair Campbell, Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair laughed themselves to sleep) The Telegraph has: ‘Cameron & Clegg send mixed messages on Afghanistan’
US/UK – JUNIOR PARTNER? ‘ALWAYS’, ACCORDING TO OUR PRESENT PRIME MINISTER
Our prime minister is a man with no knowledge of history. Who? Not Tony Blair, as some like to suggest. The man who thinks Britain is and always was the “junior partner” in the USA/UK relationship. But no, we weren’t ALWAYS, Mr Cameron. NOT in WW2. The Americans only entered the war in late 1941 when Pearl Harbour was bombed.
As a point of interest – what kind of prime minister talks down Britain’s position in ANY partnerhip? Not the Blair type. The Cameron type, clearly. (See DC boobs at DC)
Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here
A recent comment from an Albanian, Mr Leonard Dedej from Tirana – “It takes big leaders to make the hardest turns in peoples life…mr Blair is a big leader and a great man for millions of people in Balkans!!!for stopping a savage war!about Iraq I believe that the press wherever it is has not the right to judge on this issue because it simply is to small to judge!!history will judge mr Blair!as long as it is an ongoing war no one can blame mr Blair,after all he started something for a big reason..the press its often wrong because it fights for audience!!!”
Tags: Cameron in USA, Chilcot, Chilcot Inquiry, Clegg at PMQs, coalition, Condem government, conservatives, David Cameron, DC in DC, foot in mouth deputy prime minister, FT, Gary McKinnon, Guardian, illegal invasion, illegal war, Iraq inquiry, jack straw, judge dumbo, junior partner, legal warning, Lib Dems, liberal democrats, nick clegg, Philippe Sands, Special Relationship, UK politics, Yarl's Wood