We Need to Talk about Britain’s Labour Party

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The road ahead for Britain’s embattled Labour Party: “This is about offering policies that focus on what works and creating a secure, sustainable future for all”


I am a proud, yet not always satisfied member of the Labour Party. I joined in 2009 at the age of 15, back in the twilight of the Blair-Brown era and Labour’s 13 years in power. I took a break in 2012 whilst at university, but rejoined the morning after Labour’s 2015 election defeat: I wanted to register my discontent with a Tory majority government that would hurt the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.

Labour must be a party of government, for it is only in government that we can fight on behalf of the many, not the few, and that we can deliver policies that benefit and protect working-class and vulnerable communities up and down the country.

That belief meant that in 2016, even though I swung behind Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party in its opening months, I felt there was something of a disconnect in communication between what Corbyn and his team wanted to express to the country and how they were perceived (Corbyn’s national anthem episode springs to mind). the disconnect was such that I felt that we were at risk of losing patriotic, working class voters to reactionary groups like the UK Independence Party.

The problem, for me, wasn’t (and still isn’t) Corbyn himself or even his policies, but the way that his communications team has allowed him to be portrayed. There’s a market for older, grizzled political leaders — José Mujica of Uruguay is someone whose plain oratory and man-of-the-people image I’ve always thought Corbyn should seek to emulate — but Labour is not in touch with it.

Immediately after the European Union referendum, neither the country nor a lot of the party was feeling much love for Corbyn: his missteps, including speeches where he sounded more sceptical of the EU than in favour of remaining in it and an infamous appearance on a comedy show where he said he was only 7/10 in favour of remaining in the EU, loomed large. A leadership challenge was called: given my dissatisfaction with Corbyn’s leadership, I backed Owen Smith, albeit with the expectation that he would not prevail.

I wished, and still wish, Jeremy Corbyn well after both of his leadership elections and hope that he can find the golden bullet to get Labour into government. I’m looking forward to doing my bit to help Steve Rotherham and Andy Burnham win their respective mayoral races in Liverpool and Manchester over the coming months. If we cannot deliver policies in Westminster, we’ll hopefully be able to do it through the new city-regions.

To those who speak of finding Corbyn’s successors, I urge them to unite behind Jeremy and ensure that we can fight against the Tory cuts up and down the country. Although some say Labour can never win with Corbyn as Leader, many said neither Brexit nor Trump as President could ever happen: stranger things than Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister have happened in recent years.

Labour needs to be talking about the Tory cuts to our fantastic National Health Service (I wouldn’t be alive without it), social care — a growing problem in the coming years, as a result of our ageing population — and our education systems.

I was educated at a special school nursery, a Catholic primary school, a comprehensive secondary school on a Merseyside former council estate, and a grammar school 6th-form. So I understand the need for a diverse education system, as the path to success is not the same for everybody. Labour’s policies on education must focus on ensuring a mix of high-quality schools in every community and devolving local education decisions to communities, as they are the ones that are most affected by them.

We need to craft a hopeful vision of our future. This policy narrative must be engaging, positive, and progressive: for the many, not the few. It should address the concerns of our complex society, particularly for those in post-industrial communities that feel left behind by technological change and globalization, for those who do not feel that Labour has been speaking to them and their communities in recent years.

This is not about full-throttle socialism, but about offering policies that focus on what works and creating a secure, sustainable future for all.

TOP PHOTO: Young Labour Party supporters in Scotland

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41 COMMENTS

  1. The Labour Party could well go the same way as the Liberal Party. The interesting question is, what will replace it ?

    Naturally the Trotskyists hope it will be them.

  2. I will expose every dirty dead / policy created by the UK Labour Party – its called rough justice, blame Tony Blair the political liar and his criminal actions against me – The People; Labour is finished !!!

    • Here is the Blair/Brown record.

      They wrote off up to 100% of debt owed by poorest countries, introduced a points based immigration system, equalised the age of consent, the smoking ban, public interest test, crime down 45% from 1995, 10 years of continuous economic growth, NHS Direct, healthier school meals, access to life saving drugs for HIV and AIDS, Department of International Development, reduced class sizes, 93,000 more 11-year-olds achieving in numeracy each year, London Olympics 2012, record low A&E waiting times, reintroduced matrons, hunting act, banned testing of cosmetics on animals, halved the number of nukes, free television licences for those aged 75+, EU social chapter, free breast cancer screening, free entry to galleries and museums, 2009 Autism Act, new deal for communities programme (£2bn), Electoral Commission, free school milk and fruit, raised legal age of buying cigarettes to 18, banned tobacco advertising in magazines, newspapers and billboards, cut long-term youth unemployment by 75%, doubled the number of registered childcare spaces, Disability Rights Commission, oversaw the rise in the number of school leavers with five good GCSEs from 45% to 76%, young person’s job guarantee, pension credit, reduced the number of people on waiting lists by over 500,000; waiting times fell to a maximum of 18 weeks (lowest ever levels), heart disease deaths down by 150,000, cancer deaths down by 50,000, removed the minimum donations limit from gift aid, £20bn in improvements to social housing conditions, longest period of sustained low inflation since the 1960s, rural development programme, Education Maintenance Allowance, free bus passes for over 60s, devolution, banned cluster bombs, ban on grammar schools, Food Standards Agency, Equality Act, FOI act, increased university places, helped end the civil war in Sierra Leone, Crossrail, paid annual leave upped to 28 days per year, paternity leave, doubled education funding, increased the value of child benefit by over 26%, free prescriptions for cancer patients, removed the majority of hereditary peers, free part-time nursery place for every three to four year-old, free eye tests for over 60s, 16,000 more police officers, extended the opening hours of over three-quarters of GP practices, beat the Kyoto target on greenhouse gases, stopped Milosevic, winter fuel allowance, Climate Change Act, decreased homelessness by 73%, reduced the number of people waiting over six months for an operation from 284,000 to almost zero by 2010, 44,000 doctors, 89,000 nurses, Sure Start, lifted 900,000 pensioners out of poverty, Good Friday Agreement, tax credits, Equality and Human Rights Commission, 42,400 extra teachers, 212,000 more support staff, scrapped Section 28, introduced civil partnerships, doubled overseas aid budget, the Human Rights Act, more than doubling the number of apprenticeships, tripled spending on the NHS, 4 new Med Schools, introduced the national minimum wage and established the Low Pay Commission.

      That is not to mention his saving of perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives in Iraq, where ISIS is, by an order of magnitude of 10 and probably more, less effective at killing than Saddam.

      It’s about time the LP actually stood up for Blair and Brown’s pretty good record. The allegation that Blair lied in the run-up to the most enquired-into war in British history is plain untrue. What did he lie about and when did he do it?

      (h/t @iamhamesh for the stats)

      • OMG he surely will be canonized shortly after his death, rest assured that those hundreds of thousands of lives that he personally “saved” in Iraq will not be forgotten!!

        • In order for you to be correct, Bs As, the rate of deaths by violence in post-Saddam Iraq would have to be much greater than in the Saddam era. That is just not the case, as I explained. And you would have to show that the Coalition forces killed at a much higher rate than Saddam: neither is that the case. In fact it is by degrees lower. So, yes, Blair and Bush effectively saved perhaps hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives. This is not even to take into account the collapse in basic health care and rise in infant mortality under Saddam.

          • Dear Dermot,

            Saddam used to be great britain´s ally. Not only his regime was supplied with brittish equipment to manufacture chemical weapons but also was supported both military and politically. That means great britain is not also responsible for post-saddam violence and destruction but for many of the previous Saddam´s era crimes.

            • These are stats which don’t bear scrutiny, Bs As. From 1973-2002 these are the figures for Iraq’s arms imports. USSR/Russia 57%, France 13%, China 12%, US 0.46%, UK 0.18%. Saddam was overwhelmingly a client of the Soviet Union. His Mukhabarat, the Secret police, were trained by the KGB and the Stasi.

              It doesn’t really do, just because one was against GW2, to present misleading statistics.

              And that is precisely the problem that the Labour Party has with accurately analyzing the war.

              • You country both legally and ilegally supplied Saddam Hussein´s regime with billions of pounds of weapons and weapon-related equipment. You country was an ally of Saddam Hussein´s regime, your country knew that he was using sarin and mustard gas against iranian troops and civilians. Stop the whitewash, please.

              • Bs As, you do have to look at the figures for Saddam’s weapons-related imports. That the UK and US knew that Saddam used nerve agents and mustard gas is almost certainly true. They were dropped from MiG aircraft (Soviet) and Mirage planes (French). The chemical weapons came from Singapore, India, the Netherlands, Egypt and West Germany. If there were direct sales from the US or UK that would be shameful: it’s bad enough that they built plants in Iraq which could potentially be used to manufacture CW.

                I do suggest that you closely read what I write: I said that Saddam was overwhelmingly a client of the USSR. And that is just a fact. Without acknowledging that, you are merely indulging in propaganda to have a go at the US and UK, when by any reasonable standard you need to balance it with the observation that the US and UK were small fry in Saddam’s import market.

                And, to return to the original post’s point, the Labour Party must analyse GW2 properly, not from the masochistic idea that the west was Saddam’s sponsor. It acquiesced shamefully, by adopting a policy of wanting the Iran-Iraq war to become a drawn-out stalemate, but Saddam’s puppeteer? Just no.

              • “by any reasonable standard you need to balance it with the observation that the US and UK were small fry in Saddam’s import market”

                Nonetheless that implies that GB was selling weapons and giving political support to a brutal regime that was gassing troops and civilians and that was exactly my whole point.

              • Some US and UK firms with the tacit, secret, illegal looking away by some elements in the UK and US governments resourced Saddam. I repeat, this amounted to 0.64% of his promiscuous sourcing of weapons.

                The old Communist bloc accounted for nearly 70% of those weapons. Do you agree that this makes Saddam de facto a Soviet client? Otherwise, a balanced and accurate discussion cannot take place.

              • Yes, saddam was a de facto Soviet client (even today russians keep selling weaponry and spare parts to the iraqi government). What I essentially challenge is your thesis of the positive outcome of Saddam´s regime demise. Your arguments mostly rely on economic factors but I even could argue that those achievements could have been accomplished without the necessity of the destructive intervention.

                On the other hand, you didn´t take notice of the crucial fact that the only thing preventing the colapse and dissolution of iraq are US´s almost unlimited resources. Iraq (same as afghanistan) is a failed state, a cadaver wich currently simulates (by virtue of US´s life support machine) the movements wich pertain to a healthy organism.

              • Bs As. So we have established that Saddam was in fact a Soviet client.

                You write, “your arguments mostly rely on economic factors but I even could argue that those achievements could have been accomplished without the necessity of the destructive intervention.” My argument for the nobility of the liberation of Iraq does not solely rely on economic arguments post-facto, although the interventionists are morally obliged to reconstruct the country, despite the 2008 financial meltdown.

                It is highly unlikely that Saddam could have rebuilt the state and country he failed. Here are some figures for Iraq from the World Bank.

                GDP: 2004 %37 billion; 2013 $235 billion. There are no stats for 1991 to 2003. In 1990 the GDP was $180 billion, which was a huge outlier as an end of war dividend.
                Population: 2004 26 million; 2013 34 million.
                Population below poverty line: 2006 22.4%; 2012 18.9%.
                Global Economic Prospects Forecast: 2003 -41.3; 2013 7.6.
                Level of Statistical capacity (essential for all stages of evidence-based decision-making): 2004 32; 2013 50.

                So, we have some indicators of improvements since 2003. Stats are very hard to find for Iraq from 1990 to 2002 because Saddam’s writ did not run in two-thirds of Iraq for large parts of it – the definition of a failed state.

                Yet the Stage IV planning and reconstruction have been characterised by corruption (government and foreign investor including US firms), embezzlement, lack of administrative and business openness, fraudulent and non-existent accounting, incompetence, lack of a strategic plan, Shi’a and Sunni sectarianism, gangster-jihadism and the premature withdrawal of US troops. US troops remain in Japan and Germany 72 years after WWII.

                And to return to Germany, which Barbar raised, some commentators thought that Germany post WWII should be left as an agrarian impoverished economy. The Marshall Aidists prevailed. No such idea was advanced for Iraq post 2003.

                If you look at inward investment in Iraq it comes from at least 25 countries. The oil industry has contracts with Russia, China, S. Korea, Angola, Holland, US, UK, Italy and France. Large contracts in extra-oil sectors have been signed with Korea ($8 billion), UAE ($45 million & $98 million), the Iraqi KAR construction company ($185 million), Turkey ($55 million), Italy ($247 million). Yes, US investment is huge and so it should be.

                All that said, in general Iraq’s socio-economic stats are much below what they should be for an Upper Middle Income country. Would Saddam have done it better? No, he had already run it into the ground. But Iraq today, riven as it is, does not qualify as a failed state.

      • Can you explain, Barbar, where the US colonial rule is in Iraq? Where is the monopolistic US exploitation of Iraq’s resources? Can you further explain the rise in Iraqi GDP from ca. $36 billion in 2003 (after Saddam ran it progressively into the ground) to ca. $235 billion in 2014 (falling to ca. $188 billion due to the rise of ISIS)?

        • Do you also justify Hitler’s invasion into Poland in 1939 and why [not]? The incompetent Poles had run their economy into the ground and that GDP subsequently boomed under the Nazis?

          • Bs As, it is not a morally serious point to compare GW2 with Hitler. Where are the genocides committed by Blair and Bush? Where is the slave economy? Where are the British and US confiscations of Iraqi land?

            Yes, I do think it’s a good thing that the Iraqi economy in 2014 was 7 times bigger than under Saddam. One need only consider the resultant well-being of millions of Iraqis as a consequence.

            Of course sectarianism was a feature of the Saddam Faith Campaign from 1992 onwards: his meetings with AQ and hosting of International Islamist conferences from 1982 on is well-documented. So yes, IS, having large elements of its senior cadres who are ex-members of Saddam’s salafized regime, is to a large extent the aftermath of Ba’athism.

            The question of the half-hearted US military support for the Iranians to spread Shi’a influence from Iran to Iraq to Syria is a vexed one and, as long as that remains US policy, IS’s Sunni narrative of US-anti-Sunni policy will retain credence. It’s a tricky one but no good will come within a generation of the US not sticking by democratic principles.

            Again, to imply that Blair and Bush introduced sectarianism into the region is stretching credulity to breaking point: let’s call it what it was, a democratic, humanitarian liberation of Iraq.

              • I´m not implying that Blair and Bush introduced sectarianism, they just exponentially incremented it. On the other hand, If saddam´s regime was so brutal why on earth was your country allied with it???.

                “Yes, I do think it’s a good thing that the Iraqi economy in 2014 was 7 times bigger than under Saddam. One need only consider the resultant well-being of millions of Iraqis as a consequence.”

                What the hell is this??, a kind of lousy economic argument to downplay the ruination of iraqi society?, sounds like the cheap line of reasoning of an IMF technocrat.

              • Bs As, this comment goes to the question of intentionality. Did Bush and Blair intend to increase sectarianism? No. Who did? Some ex-members of the Ba’athist Party and the jihadis with whom Saddam had been treating for decades (Salafists since 1982 and AQ since 1992).

                The sectarianism in the form of Saddam’s Sunni anti-Shi’a sectarianism (viz; the genocide of the Marsh Arabs) was already rife under Saddam. Remember, the Halabja massacre’s official title is the al-Anfal Campaign, named after a Koranic sura. And we can cite Saddam’s son-in-law who in 1995 told Rolf Ekeus, the UN weapons inspector, that each party meeting began with a prayer, evidence of how old Ba’athists were being sidelined in Saddam’s faith campaign.

                Has there actually been a statistical increase in sectarian atrocities in Iraq over, say, the last 25 years? That is a vital question. Given that Saddam’s regime from 1992 was an openly sectarian entity and given the almost uncontested resources that Saddam could use, it is highly unlikely that sectarian attacks have increased, perhaps, the number of attacks has risen, but Saddam was a far more efficient killer of his enemies than ISIS, which, as I wrote, comprises largely his mentees.

              • All that you write is very nice Dermot but once again you are circumventing the fact that Saddam´s brutal regime WAS A FORMER ALLY OF GREAT BRITAIN. You country armed (CW included) his regime and politically upholded it. Where were all those moral and economic arguments that you raise when his regime was gassing iranian troops and civillians??.

              • As you said, Bs As, there was a UK arms embargo with Iraq in the 1980s which was illegally circumvented. Really, in order to make a point you do have to make sense. And I am sure you could find these same ‘moral and economic arguments’ in the Scott Report which parliament requested should look into dodgy relations with Iraq.

                And of course, many of us made those arguments at the time. Do you not agree that it was good that the US and the UK rejected their own weapons-related exporters and sought the post-Saddam era?

            • 1. I raised no comparison but asked you a straight question you have failed to answer.
              .
              2. In any case, explain how Blair’s decision to illegally attack Iraq in March 2003 was ‘democratic’ … was there like a referendum he won on that question that I somehow missed?

              • Blair had the full support of an elected parliament. Referendums are not normal in Britain (unlike Switzerland).

              • Barbar, you raised an explicit comparison between GW2 and Hitler. That’s a fact.

                I do not know from what source you quote Polish GDP under Hitler, because I cannot find any stats for Polish GDP under Hitler. One suspects they don’t exist or can only be estimated. I invite you to provide a link to them.

                Here are some stats on Polish GDP. In 1938 it was $67,788 million by the Geary-Khamis calculator. The next year for which we have figures is 1950: it had fallen to $60,742 million. Poland was smaller by then with a much lower population but still we can reasonably conclude that there was a huge drop in Polish GDP from 1939-44. So it would be helpful if you could show any counter-evidence for an increase in Polish GDP in that period. It would certainly be surprising, given the Nazi policy of agrarianising the country.

              • Barbar, on the democratic nature of the liberation. You will note the holding of elections in 2005 and subsequently and the fact that the first post-Saddam President was a Kurd, affiliated to the Second International.

                If you are referring to the UK, well yes it was democratic. I believe it was the first UK war to be agreed to beforehand by parliament. If you refer to the big anti-Iraq War march, well that’s what it was. A Prime Minister is not obliged to enact what demonstrators want:s/he is required to use their judgement and to promote evidence-based actions.

                Parenthetically, I believe that contemporary UK opinion polls supported the intervention. That declined of course.

              • It may have been “democratic” in UK political terms , in that Blair secured a Parliamentary majority to endorse it; but that was gained by gross manipulation of intelligence, accompanied by bare faced lying to the electorate (Blair pledged not to participate in military action without a second UNSC resolution) – an impoverished form of democracy if there ever was one. It was also in breach of international law – something is not justified by domestic political approval.

              • Contra, Tettodoro, your assertion of Blair’s ‘gross manipulation of intelligence’, the Chilcot Report found that no intelligence was improperly included nor was the September 2002 dossier improperly influenced by No.10.

                The casus belli as far as the UN is concerned, with its 16 resolutions on Iraq over 12 years, was not intelligence but Saddam’s failing of the UNSCR 687 compliance test mandated by UNSCR 1441. It also factored in his abrogation of the UNSCR 687 on terrorism and UNSCR 688 on his humanitarian responsibilities.

                By the time of the 6th March 2003 UNMOVIC document imputing Saddam’s violations of his obligations, failure to declare, and his continued intent to possess, WMD, he was therefore non-compliant on the weapons and non-weapons mandates of the UNSC resolutions. That’s what triggered GW2. All this, in the light of the suspension of military efforts after GW1.

        • Lol invoking “GDP” puts you in the line of an economic reductionist and the fact of being unable to realise the degree of destruction and sectarianism to wich has been subjected iraq society and its nation is simply baffling.

          Dermot: what you think would happen if the US coalition were to withdrawal its troops, economic and military support from the flourishing iraq?

        • Very simple: the rise in Iraq’s GDP is due to the lifting of sanctions and the rise in world oil prices (the economy is almost entirely dependent on oil production.) As for “colonialism” post-war reconstruction was handed over to US corporations (often Bush admin cronies) and the 2007 Hydrocarbons law aimed to turn large sections of the oil industry over to western oil multinationals, and was only derailed by widespread popular opposition.

          • So, Tettodoro, the recovery of Iraqi GDP is due to the removal of Saddam Hussein. Modern GDP per capita is about 66% higher than under Saddam’s rule. Yes, oil accounts for a huge percentage of the GDP but its rise does not trace exactly the rises (and falls) in oil prices since 2003.

            Something else was going on. And that was reconstruction. I mentioned in another post the various countries, not only the US, which are investing in Iraq.

            The annex to the 2007 Hydrocarbons Law stated that 90% of known oil reserves belonged to the Iraqi national oil company: the reason for its derailment lies with disputes between oil-rich and oil-poor regions on how the revenues are to be shared out. Were I the CEO of an oil multinational I would find this unsatisfactory as I could not plan for R & D and revenues: this does not look like US colonialism to me. The lack of a legal framework for the exploitation of oil is a sign not of US colonialism but of a dysfunction in the Iraqi state.

  3. “My argument for the nobility of the liberation of Iraq does not solely rely on economic arguments post-facto…”

    Then maybe you could enlighten us about those other arguments “for the nobility of the liberation of Iraq”?

    • Certainly, as bullet points.
      • Promiscuous and secret programme of weapons building and acquisition, chemical and biological.
      • War on neighbouring countries (six).
      • Genocide.
      • Harbouring and export of international terrorists.

      All of which, repeatedly. No other polity on earth had the same record.

      • But those were past actions that were under control by an international security regime. Revenge is not an acceptable grounds for attacking another state under any conception of international law – only an active threat can provide that. II don’t know where you get the figure of *six* wars on neighbouring counries – Iraq only shares borders with six countries, and I am only aware of it being at war with two of them. That includes the Iran-Iraq war, in which the US actively supported Iraq, so provides rather poor grounds for justifying a US invasion. The grounds for the “terrorism” accusation are very flimsy – and some seem to be a displacement from other states like Syria.

        • In the period between 1991-2003, Saddam regularly failed to comply with the resolutions of the international security regime. The active threat comes from the fact that every day Saddam’s weapons attempted to shoot down US and UK aircraft which were policing the no-fly zones.

          Saddam militarily attacked 5 countries, Iran, Kuwait (a UN country which he annexed), Saudi Arabia, Israel and Bahrain. He attacked Qatari troops on Saudi Arabian soil. That makes 6.

          The US did not actively support Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. Its shameful policy was to support the lengthening of the war and to produce a stalemate in the region. Had its policy been to support Iraq , the percentage of Iraq’s weapons imports from the US would have been much greater than 0.46% between 1973-2002 (as contrasted with the USSR/Russia proportion of 57%). The US and Iraq had no diplomatic relations between 1968 and 1983.

          Saddam’s links with international terrorists are well-documented, decades-old and extensive. I mentioned in another post his turn to Islamists as cover for the prosecution of the war with Iran, his first contacts with AQ in 1992: there is his granting of asylum to Mr. Yassin who mixed the chemicals for the first bombing on the World Trade Centre in 1993, his award of a diplomatic passport to Abu Nidal, his protection of Bassam al-Asker, convicted of the Achille Lauro hijacking, who ended up in Iraq training Palestinian terrorists whom Saddam generously subsidised. There was of course his sponsorship of the attempted assassination of Bush Snr. Saddam allowed al-Zarqawi into the country in 2002 and Jeffrey Goldberg detailed the ease with which AQ operatives wandered around Iraq and Kurdistan in 2002. It is fairly likely that he met with al-Zawahiri, AQ’s current leader, in the early 2000s. The list of contacts goes on and on.

          Yes, many foreign terrorists were ‘displaced’ to Iraq. That’s because they knew they would get a welcome.

          • Most of your “bullet points” were already evident during the Iran-Iraq conflict (if not motivated and stimulated, inter alia, by the “shameful policies” of the usual suspects) and they were no impediment for and active US and UK participation in the war. Notwithstanding all that we have the Chilcot inquiry to strengthen the perception of unilateral and illegal military action.

            • Bs As, Saddam did not commit 2 genocides ‘motivated and stimulated’ by the ‘usual suspects’, by which I presume you mean the west. That is untrue. He did not harbour and sponsor international terrorists because the west told him to. That is not true. He did not militarily attack 6 neighbouring states due to the west’s urging. Again that is inaccurate. Nor he did develop and continue to promote the acquisition of B and CWMD at the behest of the west. The west (and others) tried to stop him. And of course many of these actions occurred between 1991 and 2003.

              Aren’t you glad that the US and UK actually did stop turning a blind eye to his atrocities?

              These were precisely the subjects of the 16 UN resolutions from 1991 to 2003 with which the international community sought to rein in Saddam. He did not comply and his actions triggered the abrogation of the ceasefire of 1991.

              I note your use of the euphemistic phrase, ‘we have the Chilcot inquiry to strengthen the perception of unilateral and illegal military action’. Perception is precisely right: Chilcot was not asked to, nor did he, give an opinion on the legality of the war. I dealt elsewhere with the legality question. Frankly, it’s a canard raised time and again by people who opposed the most inquired-into war in British history.

              Sooner or later the left has to stop with the masochistic and untrue assertion that the west was largely responsible for facilitating Saddam. It’s a plain fact that it wasn’t. The left has lost confidence in its claim that this was a noble endeavour. One acquaintance called it, ‘the awful ripple effects of the stigmatization of the Iraq War’. And we have the concomitant loss by the western left of any confidence in its internationalism: it is reduced to virtue-signalling its compassion for refugees (important, though that is), self-censoring and even occasionally supporting the most efficient contemporary genocidalists like Assad.

              No good will come from not analysing GW2 seriously.

              • You admitted that some western powers supported the lengthening of the war thereby exacerbating the consequences of the conflict (e.g Saddam´s invasion of Kuwait was directly realated to this). Those western powers are partly responsible for many of Saddam´s post-war measures you can´t deny that.

                “Aren’t you glad that the US and UK actually did stop turning a blind eye to his atrocities?”

                Wouldn´t be better for the US and UK to stop also turning a blind eye to their own ineptitud and atrocities?. After all, ISIS and al Qaeda are also creatures of the western powers criminal incompetence.

              • Bs As, I’ve written all I need to on US and UK appeasement of Saddam in the 80s.

                Would you care to explain how Saddam had no other choice but to annex Kuwait in the light of that appeasement?

                Would you also indicate how AQ and ISIS are ‘creatures of the western powers (sic) criminal incompetence’?

  4. “Would you care to explain how Saddam had no other choice but to annex Kuwait in the light of that appeasement?”

    I never claimed that “Saddam had no other choice” but clearly the previous war effort palyed an importan role in driving his regime to the aggression against Kuwait.

    “Would you also indicate how AQ and ISIS are ‘creatures of the western powers (sic) criminal incompetence”

    ISIS was empowered by the disastrous de-baathification process and the “shia revival” both direct consequences of saddam´s regime demise and the failure of post-war US´s “nation-building” process.

    The icing on the cake were the US army stockpiles ending up in ISIS hands courtesy of the incompetent iraqi army. It is common knowledge that many of AQ members have been recluted among the relatives of the victims of the countless anonym drone massacres, plus AQ members firing US´s TOW anti-tank missiles is another sign of the level of incompetence of the yankee foreing policy.

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