This has been one of the weirdest 10 days or so in politics for some time, and pretty much all of the bad stuff has happened to the Tory led coalition government.
The Budget was always going to be a toughie for George Osborne – but because everyone knew that, to an extent the disharmony arising from it was likely to have been discounted by the spin doctors in advance. So the Tory press were at the ready, ready to tell us what a good job he’d done, protecting the most vulnerable in a time when nothing he did was going to please many people, but he’d done his best – blah blah …
It didn’t happen though.
He made a public relations catastrophe out of cutting the 50p tax rate (even though it’s deferred a year, even though it’s almost an article of faith for Tory rank & file, and even though it’s quite obviously been a hand grenade with a long fuse lobbed by Gordon Brown in the dying days of the Labour Government, designed to cause maximum embarrassment to the Tories).
Catastrophe number two – the Granny tax – minor adjustment leaving old people worse off – Most people didn’t really understand it – but the perception that the Tories value millionaires over poor pensioners (some pensioners are millionaires too by the way) did not go down well.
And of course Pasty-gate. A relatively minor alignment of an anomaly in VAT – should have been able to have been broken in gently, should have gained fairly little attention, but no – it again emphasises the crass prioritisation of the needs of people who lunch at the Savoy Grill, over those who grab a snack from Greggs in their 30 minute lunch break, and then goes viral – helped in no small part by the laughably pathetic attempts to justify all their moves by the Tory spokespeople who were wheeled out. The arguments about who ate which pasty where, only serving to make the whole thing – and the whole government look more and more ridiculous, and by inference totally incompetent and unable to manage their own public image. The fact that probably the biggest losers as well will not be pasty-munchers, but the entrepreneurial owners of fast food sellers such as Greggs, was again not lost on the Tory press.
Then there’s the Dosh for Dinner with Dave debacle. There we are with the Tory treasurer caught in the act, pretty much with his metaphorical pants down. He knows the jig is up, and he walks, but it doesn’t stop the rest of the senior Tories (minus the PM of course who’s too scared to show his face) frantically trying to defend an undefendable position by doing what ? Well by blaming Labour of course !
Oh yeah, this isn’t about selling your policies to the highest bidder, it’s about Labour getting all that money from the unions. Those big bad unions ruled by unaccountable despots who pay the Labour party to do what they want.
Well actually no it’s not, and the public for once aren’t falling for it, and to their credit neither are the normally sycophantic Tory press – Labour was formed by the Unions, donations to Labour are effectively the aggregation of the many thousands of large donations from working people which are passed to the party – and they still add up to only a fraction of the sums handed to the Tories by their wide boy spiv friends.
Then comes the biggest own goal – Francis Maude, who uses a strike ballot and an up-coming bank holiday as an excuse to panic the whole country into hoarding petrol. Despite the fact that there’s been no strike called, nothing to suggest an imminent strike, and it being very unlikely that one can be called before the holiday weekend.
Throw into that the fact that Unite are quietly and methodically inviting the employers to get in touch with Acas in order to mediate a settlement, and have published their ballot details – which are absolutely overwhelming and on a huge turn out, and the Government starts to look very foolish in deed.
So when in a hole, what do they do ?
Naturally they do what they’ve been trained to do : Blame the mess that Labour left.
Except this time it’s not being swallowed by anyone – even The Mail and The Telegraph are now openly criticising David Cameron and his chaotic management of what isn’t really any kind of crisis, but has turned into something that looks very much like one. The pantomime that’s ensued is reminiscent of the sleazy comic chaos of the worst parts of John Major’s government. A state of affairs that led in no small part to Labour’s landslide 1997 General Election victory under Tony Blair.
So a by-election in a safe North of England seat should be signed sealed and delivered at the end of all this stuff shouldn’t it ?
It was George Galloway that won it – the same creepy egotist that sucked up to Saddam Hussein and Rula Lenska’s outstretched hand.
So how did that happen then ?
A shift in the Muslim vote? a misunderstanding of the depth of feeling over Afghanistan ? George’s brilliant oratory skills (please – it’s just not true)
Well I don’t really know – but what I do know is that it could only happen if Labour hadn’t royally messed up.
What we have is a Government that is as unpopular as Thatcher’s ever was, as chaotic and sleazy as John Major’s government ever were. More than that though – where Margaret Thatcher’s unpopularity in some quarters was unbounded. It was matched by hero worhip in others. There’s no such mandate for David Cameron – he didn’t even manage an overall majority. Even the Tories don’t like him.
In contrast to Thatcher, The Cameron government sneaks in right wing ideological change in the guise of sorting out a fictitious “mess” left behind by Labour, or on a pretext of austerity. Margaret Thatcher didn’t do that – she said what she was going to do, and she went ahead and did it – to applause and boos in roughly equal measure.
In Dave Cameron’s pantomime though there are only boos – even his loyal Tory Press are now rounding on the Government incompetence.
Which makes it all the more worrying that Labour can’t hold on to a safe seat.
So at the end of this almost unprecedented period of British politics, I have unfortunately got to conclude that our leadership in the Labour Party is not delivering.
Ed Miliband – I will always be loyal to the party leader, and wish that the rest of the party would be too; but the Bradford West by election is one which Labour should and could have won. The conditions for victory could scarcely have been more favourable for the party.
So Ed, I think you really need to do something very dramatic now to inject momentum into the party’s fortunes. I don’t know what form that should take – but if we approach the General Election with the same kind of leadership that we approached the Bradford West by election , then we will probably lose it.
There are probably lots of lessons from the Bradford by-election – but one that is clear is this : However badly the Tories and Lib Dems mess up, and however un popular they are, it’s still no guarantee that Labour will benefit.
Please Ed. Get it sorted.
- Why conventional Westminster wisdom is wrong about Bradford (liberalconspiracy.org)
- Bradford West By-election (wmmbb.wordpress.com)
- Bradford West by-election: 5 initial thoughts on an astonishing result (libdemvoice.org)
- How Labour lost Bradford West (newstatesman.com)
- +++ Labour crashes to sensational Bradford West by-election defeat to George Galloway (libdemvoice.org)
- Pasties and a 250 G Sting (hopisen.com)
- We don’t need George: we have hope (burdzeyeview.wordpress.com)
- Why the odds are against a Tory majority (newstatesman.com)
- Galloway stuns Labour in Bradford West (newstatesman.com)
- George Galloway – The Bradford Spring (olivermeredithcox.wordpress.com)
UPDATE : Since clicking the ‘Publish’ button I spotted the article on Liberal Conspiracy which covers pretty much the same ground as this article – Give it a read, there’s a link at the bottom.
The Daily Mail in this article on David Lammy MP’s recent comments regarding the smacking of children, Labour MP: Smacking ban led to riots because parents fear children will be taken away if they discipline them perhaps goes overboard a little. I can’t help but feel though that David intended his words to precipitate just this kind of reaction – and I’m unsurprised by the Mail’s interpretation of his words. They may have got it a little wrong, but this gist of it is probably bang on.
I’m not going to argue about whether it’s right or wrong to smack children, or whether those of us who have been smacked as children are more or less likely to riot than those of us who were not.
I would like to set the record straight on what the Mail calls “The ban on smacking children” though
The Mail article states :
The Children Act of 2004, introduced by Tony Blair’s Government, removed the defence of ‘reasonable chastisement’, meaning injuries as slight as a bruise can result in an assault charge. Guilty parents can be jailed for up to five years.
While Mr Lammy, (in his on-line web-chat for Mumsnet, says)
Parents in Tottenham continually raise with me the real pressures of raising children for example on the 15th floor of a tower block with knives, gangs and the dangers of violent crime just outside the window they say they no longer feel sovereign in their own homes and the ability to exercise their own judgement in relation to discipline and reasonable chastisement has been taken away from them. Its too easy for middle class legislators to be far removed from the realities of the typical single mum struggling with these issues and so in that context in the book I do say that we should return to the law as it existed for 150 years before it was changed in 2004.
The legislation currently talks about “a reddening of the skin” not completely sure how this applies to my own children! Previously the courts determined whether parents had used “reasonable chastisement” or “excessive force”.
So what’s the truth of the matter ?
Well the Children Act 2004 is apparently the relevant piece of legislation (to a point) http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/31/section/58 . It does remove the defence of “reasonable chastisement” in cases where a parent or guardian is accused of wounding, causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm or cruelty to persons less than 16 years of age.
The defence is retained though where a charge of common assault is made. This would be an assault which resulted only in bodily harm – not “actual bodily harm”. This is a lesser charge.
The statement in the Mail is misleading – an assault which caused a bruise, would have caused actual bodily harm – it would not therefore be merely an assault.
The key expression here though is “actual bodily harm”. What does it mean ?
The Children Act 2004 does not redefine this. It simply states the existing law. That’s right David, the one from over 100 years ago. The Offences Against the Person Act 1861 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Vict/24-25/100 – specifically section 47 of the Act which has been interpreted by lawyers for a long time as meaning that :
Common Assault is one which causes only actual bodily harm – for example it might be a smack which leaves a mark, but which quickly fades, and is only transient.
Other assaults are more serious – as they involve ‘actual bodily harm’ – which although perhaps not permanent, has more than a merely transient duration such as a bruise, or a scratch.
The reference to “reddening of the skin” is used in the Crown Prosecution Service’s guidance on applying this law. http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/research/chastisement.html
The Charging Standard states that for minor assaults committed by an adult upon a child that result in injuries such as grazes, scratches, abrasions, minor bruising, swelling, superficial cuts or a black eye, the appropriate charge will normally be ABH for which the defence of ‘reasonable chastisement’ is no longer available.
However, if the injury amounts to no more than reddening of the skin, and the injury is transient and trifling, a charge of common assault may be laid against the defendant for whom the reasonable chastisement defence remains available to parents or adults acting in loco parentis.
Although this guidance is very influential it is not a definitive statement of the law. It is not as Mr Lammy says “legislation” and in any case is used to clarify a law drafted in 1861 – the one which David Lammy wishes to return to – a time when relatively few people with black skin lived in the United Kingdom, and it was perhaps unsurprising that generalising statements were made. (I have unfortunately seen quite a few black children with reddened skin as well, but let’s not get sidetracked).
So to clarify if you have been accused of hitting a child in such a way that you’ve cut them or bruised them, then the defence that “I was only disciplining my own child as I believe any good parent should” just will not wash – it’s no defence.
If however you’re accused of hitting a child in such a way that you’ve not left any mark that lasts longer than a few minutes (which presumably includes the red hand mark I remember vividly from my own childhood) – then you can say exactly that “I smacked my child because he was being naughty” – it is still legally a valid defence. It would be up to a jury, or magistrates to decide whether you were guilty. If indeed you were ever prosecuted.
The fact is that the Children’s Act, Section 58 is quite clearly NOT a ban on smacking. What it is though is a clear statement that smacking is also NOT something which would cause “actual bodily harm” to a child. Quite right too – Although the Mail talks of “injuries as slight as a bruise” – just ask yourself (especially if you’ve been smacked by your parents, or smacked a child yourself) – just how hard do you have to smack a child in order to leave a bruise ? I promise you, the hand print I mentioned earlier, left quite a mark on my memory – but it sure as hell left nothing to show for it on my leg.
The Children’s Act doesn’t take away any other defences either – so if you find yourself on the 15th floor of a block of flats and your 15 year old is coming at you with a knife, your defence is not going to be “I slapped him because he was being a tad rebellious” – it is going to be “I acted in self defence because I thought he was going to stab me”
So there is no smacking ban.
This stuff is easy to look up.
It’s even easier for David Lammy MP. That’s because he is a barrister. A man with a first class honours degree in Law.
Well you could have fooled me David.
- What child-smacking ban? Why Mail was wrong on the law (liberalconspiracy.org) – <– Have a look at this one, as mentioned above !!
- David Lammy MP: Smacking law confusion contributed to riots – Metro (metro.co.uk)
- Labour MP David Lammy: Smacking ban led to riots (dailymail.co.uk)
- Hitting a child harder will not stop riots, Mr. Lammy, but it may cause them – Daily Mail (dailymail.co.uk)
There have been a flurry of rumours on Twitter and on the internet more generally that former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has died, or is about to.
All so far have proved to be false, but have already shown that there are many – particularly within the Labour fold, that will almost literally dance for joy when she finally does pop her clogs.
I’ve despised her for many years. I won’t be dancing on her grave though – displays of joy at the demise of other human beings only serve to upset people further, and such displays will only weaken the public opinion of Labour.
Many on the left see Margaret Thatcher as possibly the most despised figure in politics in recent memory. She’s certainly the one I despise the most.
We should beware of deluding ourselves though. The real reason why so many people dislike her, is actually because so many more people thought that she was the best thing since sliced bread.
It’s also common place amongst certain Labour supporters to decry Tony Blair as some kind of demon as well.
Perhaps some people think he is. Most do not.
You’ll often hear people say that “Everybody hates Manchester United”
Why ? It’s because they’ve been the most consistently well supported, and most successful club of recent years. It’s because they’re so popular with so many, that they are so unpopular with a few. (And I’m certainly no Manchester United supporter)
The most popular, and the most significant post-war Prime Ministers have without a doubt been Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.
Whether you like them or not, it is an inescapable truth that there are many millions who did – and probably still do.
So I’m just saying !
UPDATE : The morning after writing this, I get David Milliband’s latest leadership email https://www.taomail.co.uk/labour-emails/web/100586/2168/2168/4/157/138869/6c9f25fffc902659faad22345e2dc0f1/ which I have to say covers a lot of the same ground as my post. He’ll be in my top two – still pondering about Ed Balls though
A bit of a rant this but I need to get it off my chest : -
Back in the days between Margaret Thatcher being elected in 1979, and Tony Blair being elected in 1997, politics wasn’t a great deal of fun for anyone who wasn’t a Tory.
The Tories to me lacked all conviction. No ideology, no guiding principles, other than make as much money as you can, protect your own people and to hell with all the rest.
They did however have a strong grasp of tactics and PR, and as unpopular as they were with me and many like me – that’s how popular they were with those who did vote for them. For every one of us that thought Maggie Thatcher was the wicked witch of the west, there were a band wagon load of Tories who thought that the Sun shone out of her proverbial.
If Labour were the main party of opposition they did a poor job of showing it. What we were treated to was a party that seemed intent on tearing itself apart – and more or less did. With the likes of Degsy Hatton and Militant, with the Campaign for Social Democracy led by Shirley Williams and the Gang of Four – which of course led to the breakaway SDP – condemning Labour (and any non-Conservatives) to years in opposition wilderness. There wasn’t much need for the Tories to rip apart Labour – the Labour party did it for them, in-fighting & factionalism were the order of the day
Wind the clock forward a few years and we find the Labour Party about to elect a new leader during it’s first year in opposition, after 13 years in power.
And what do we find. We have arguments about whether to go back to Old Labour, whether to revive New Labour, whether each leadership candidate is Brownite or Blairite, or in favour of a Core Vote Strategy. We have countless pundits slagging former Prime Minister Tony Blair off, we have supporters of Tony Blair slagging Gordon Brown off. Throw in a few nasty comments from Peter Mandelson – and the predictable backlash – and it all starts to add up to an 80’s style Labour Hara-Kiri fest.
Can we all get a bit of perspective on this please ?
New Labour – it was new for the 1997 election – well over a decade ago – it’s not new anymore. Whether you love or hate New Labour – it’s time to move on
Tony Blair isn’t the leader anymore – neither is Gordon Brown. They both did good things, they both did things that weren’t so good – Get over them ! They are quite literally – history !
I will say this though – Labour has to be the party which represents all people. Not just the poor, not just the workers, not just the under privileged. Everyone. If not, then every time someone is helped out of poverty or disadvantage, then they’ll have no choice but to abandon the party.
For me the broad church nature of the Labour Party should enable us to ensure that we can be the party that works for all people, not just some, and that we can secure votes from all sections of the public in future.
So whoever you vote for in the Leadership ballot, please remember what it says on the back of your membership card : “by the strength of our common endeavours we achieve more than we achieve alone”
For me that means fighting the Tories, and not each other.
This morning I came across this image of the world, sent via Twitter. Yfrog – u6c – Uploaded by tjerubbaal
It intrigued me – it shows areas of the world scaled according to their overall Government debt, and coloured according to the debt as a proportion of Gross Domestic Product. It carried the caption from Twitter user @tjerubbaal “Truly disturbing image: are you paying attention @conservatives, @labour, @libdems? Tinkering won’t work.”
The poster is clearly not making a party political point – not between the three main parties anyway. Which is what intrigues me – because I feel quite strongly that the understanding of this issue, is at the heart of the difference between the Labour party and the Conservative party at the current time.
Forget about whether you understand the diagram or not – it’s not particularly easy to comprehend. Just know this – the debt which the country has taken on really is large – as @tjerubbaal points out – some might say disturbing. There’s no dispute amongst the political parties about that.
You could be forgiven though, if you’ve been reading the popular press, or listening to the Conservative election campaign, that this has come about from some bungling incompetence by Gordon Brown & his chancellor Alistair Darling. You would be wrong. the scale of the debt is intentional – and marks the dividing line between the philosophies of the two major UK parties.
The tradition in recent years among Conservatives has been in favour of light touch Government – ‘small government’ as it’s now being sold. The idea being that the key players in the world’s and the nation’s affairs will effectively manage things with least intervention (interference ?) from outsiders like Governments. The ‘market’ we are told will self regulate – it will have times of lean and times of plenty – in Labour-speak times of boom and of bust. The wise prepare for this, and put by in times of plenty/boom to see them through in the lean/bust years.
This approach carries a certain logical appeal. It has a simplistic fairness, but it is harsh because in lean times, the people who suffer the most are the people who are least able to put aside plenty in the boom years – not the entrepreneurs, landowners, and businessmen – but the workers who work for those people. This was the case in the early 1980’s when Margaret Thatcher argued “There is no alternative !” and allowed market forces to work through the hardship of a recession, meaning millions of people faced mid to long term unemployment.
It also has the disadvantage that, as we have seen recently, the market doesn’t always work well in regulating itself, and there are those operating within the market, who take reckless risks, which put the prosperity of whole nations at risk.
The new Labour approach, under the Blair & Brown government, embraced some aspects of the Conservative free market approach. Labour realised that the nation as whole tended to benefit from being a prosperous trader – but sought to smooth out the cyclical peaks and troughs of a totally free market approach, whilst allowing the market to benefit the economy. (It is a significant shift from a traditional socialist approach).
No return to boom and bust was Gordon Brown’s mantra as chancellor – one which is now often ridiculed.
It was however a highly successful approach – but it fell foul of a factor over which no chancellor can truly have control – the UK economy is not isolated from the World economy. We can dampen the effects of the outside world, we can ignore them for a time, but ultimately we are interdependent with the economies of every other nation, and we are prone to the booms and busts of their economies as well as our own.
As Gordon Brown yesterday acknowledged one of the errors which was made was to grant the financial institutions too much freedom, and provide too little intervention (interference ?) in their affairs. BBC News – Brown admits he made a mistake over bank regulation . The unfettered actions of those institutions then led in large part to the Global recession from which we are now slowly recovering.
For the Conservatives then to blame Gordon Brown for the recession is grossly unfair – in the first place the errors to which he admits, are ones which any Conservative chancellor would have been clamouring for – small Government, free market, and giving business the opportunity to manage its own affairs. These are actually the self same philosophies which the Conservatives wish to re-impose.
Secondly to blame Gordon Brown for the actions of banks, because he didn’t regulate them is akin to blaming householders, who didn’t have the right locks or alarm systems for having their house burgled. Sure they could have made things more difficult for the burglars – but the blame lies with the house breakers. Similarly, whether regulated or not, financial institutions in Britain and around the world, took irresponsible actions which have affected everyone.
Personally though I don’t feel it’s helpful to apportion blame – we are where we are. What is important is how we react to this. This brings us back to the debt which Gordon Brown has incurred.
Margaret Thatcher said “There is no alternative”. (There is no alternative – Wikipedia, )
She was wrong – Gordon Brown has shown this. His actions have been taken to dramatically reduce the impact of the recession, to prevent long term mass unemployment, to keep the economy active, and to put off the difficulties of repaying to a time when the nation will be more easily able to bear it.
The Conservatives still argue that this is wrong. That things should be left to take their course, and massive cuts in public spending should be imposed as soon as possible in order to hasten the economic recovery – but that this is the only way that recovery can happen. The mass unemployment and prolonged economic hard ship for many are seen as the price that has to be paid.
Whilst blaming Gordon Brown for the recession may be unfair, the Conservatives’ criticism of his borrowing to tackle the recession is not without logic. Their policy is philosophically defensible.
It is however a philosophy to which I do not subscribe, and which I feel is morally reprehensible.
So be in no doubt – that huge debt that is illustrated in the diagram in the link above is not there by accident. It’s there because there is an alternative, and that alternative has protected us from the worst ravages of the recession – which may well still come back to bite us if we are foolish enough to elect a Tory government on May 6th.
[ Just as a test I've got Labour's Eddie Izzard election video - let me know if you can't see it ]
These are my thoughts, my opinions, my observations – OK they’re subjective, but they’re what I want to say :
When historians in a hundred years compile the histories of the United Kingdom from the second world to the present, there won’t be many Prime Ministers that figure strongly in their writings. Winston Churchill will get a mention obviously – but will be largely covered in the section on WW2. I think that there’ll be only be two who get more than the odd paragraph though.
One will be Margaret Thatcher. The other will be Tony Blair. Both premiers achieved immense popularity in their time, and both were disliked intensely by a section of the electorate. Both of them have found that, on leaving office, the extent to which they were disliked has achieved mythical proportions – which has – in the way that myths tend to – far overshadowed the reality of their popularity at the time.
I personally despised Margaret Thatcher – and many that I knew also did. It took me some time to realise though that she was an immensely popular Prime Minister – popular because she was decisive – and put an end to the see saw political squabble-ocracies which had preceded her tenure under Heath, Callaghan & Wilson.
I was outraged by her treatment of the miners – but eventually realised that it gained her even more popularity as she was seen to be the leader who took on the unfettered might of the trades unions and won. Ending what millions saw as a largely disruptive influence in the life of the country – which rightly or wrongly (wrongly in my own opinion) were seen as serving only the interests of a narrow political caucus rather than the workers they claimed to represent.
Tony Blair clearly learned from this. He took on board the public’s desire for decisive Government, but more than that he, together with other “New Labour” pioneers (notably Gordon Brown), realised that a Labour Party which existed to serve only the poor end disenfranchised, or only the traditional working classes, would never be elected again. He championed the vision of a Labour Party which served all sections of society fairly and equitably – the unemployed and low waged, the wealthy entrepreneurs who were well placed to provide employment to workers, and the masses in the middle – many of whom no longer identified with being either poor or working class. They were now share holders and business men – but certainly not millionaire industrialists. Without this huge mass of voters, no political party could easily be elected.
The socialist ideologies upon which the Labour Party was founded seemed remote and outdated to many ordinary people. Tony Blair realised this. Realised also that Britain is a country that generally has no particular appetite for extremes of either left or right – society in general tends to favour a mixed economy, where the vulnerable are looked after, and where opportunity for education and welfare are provided by the state; but where individuals are able to succeed, and to make a profit and to make their way in the world. The ‘New Labour’ concept which Tony Blair represented capitalised on that and saw him to three consecutive election victories – and even the last one, with his smallest majority, still had a larger majority than Margaret Thatcher enjoyed in her supposed landslide 1979 victory.
Personally I tend to a more left wing position than is generally seen to be presented by Tony Blair, but I’ve realised that however much I may wish, for example to establish workers councils, and run all business as co-operatives, there’s a reality that large numbers of the British public do not share my views – and would not accept this. I don’t believe in forcing them to do so, so it follows that the way in which these goals will be accomplished will be by establishing consensus over many years – which will most successfully be accomplished with the support of a Government of the broad left. To me that means Labour – which is a ‘broad church’ for some very good reasons.
It pains me therefore to see so many people today, expressing their anger at Tony Blair following his appearance at the Chilcot Inquiry.
Tony Blair was elected democratically and decisively to take on the huge responsibilities of office that being Prime Minister entails. As such he had to take very difficult decisions. I feel on the strength of evidence previously, and re-iterated today that he did so with honesty, honour and good faith. I agreed with his decision to take the country to war with Iraq, though some did not (I would suggest these were rather fewer in number than is now claimed), but irrespective of my opinion, his decision was supported by Parliament, and we should respect him for taking that onerous responsibility.
With the benefit of now being able to see how the Iraq war has transpired, I think that very few people could truly say that it has gone well – it’s been a long horrible war which has been difficult and taken a huge human toll. That is always a risk with wars – but some of them are still necessary in my opinion. I believe this was one of them, and wonder how many more people would have died at the hands of Saddam Hussein had this action not been taken. Appeasement you may recall, was not a successful tactic with that other great dictator of modern times Adolf Hitler – I don’t think it would have been any more useful with Saddam.
So whilst it may not be particularly trendy to say so : I supported Tony Blair in his actions over Iraq, I supported and still support his efforts to modernise the Labour Party, and see him as a great Labour Prime Minister, and I’m proud to admit to it.
Now watch me lose all my Twitter followers !