Tag Archives: iraq

An Iraq inquiry will change nothing

ACCORDING to TheyWorkForYou, I voted “strongly against” an inquiry into the war in Iraq. Apparently.

Now that a date has been set for withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, an inquiry is back on the agenda. But an inquiry into what? Nick Clegg says he wants an inquiry into “an illegal war“. So, no prejudging the outcome there, then.

And if Nick doesn’t think the legality or otherwise of the war needs to be looked at, what does he want to be examined? An inquiry into the conduct of the war, or of events leading up to the start of the war, would be fair enough. But I would not support an inquiry seeking to make judgments about political decisions made in February and March 2003 by ministers and MPs. Yes, MPs sometimes make mistakes, and when that occurs, they are responsible for those misjudgments to their electorates, not to an inquiry headed up by some judge or other who isn’t accountable to anyone.

Similarly, ministers should be responsible to parliament, not to an inquiry. Supposing Judge Whoever decides that the decision to go to war should not have been made. He or she is entitled to his or her view. But my judgment, and the judgment of most MPs, was that it should. The electorate have since had an opportunity to make their own judgment.

Whenever an inquiry is held, and whatever its structure, it will be a huge disappointment to many people. Many of those calling for an inquiry are doing so only because they expect it will bolster their own view on Iraq.

But I doubt if there is a single person in the UK (among those who care one way or the other) whose mind is not already made up about the justification, or lack of it, for the invasion of Iraq. Personally, I’m not about to change my mind just because an inquiry tells me I should. And before you start fulminating at my arrogance, just remember that the same goes for those who opposed, and still oppose, the occupation: will any of them change their mind if the inquiry concludes the invasion was justified? Of course not.

An inquiry will happen; an inquiry should happen. Just don’t expect it to draw a line under this particular episode.



Filed under Government, International, LibDems, Nick Clegg, Parliament

Sole man

WHAT is it with Iraqis and footwear?

In 2003 one of the iconic news images of the invasion was of local Iraqis pulling down a statue of Saddam and then hitting its face with their flip flops. There seemed to be something profound in the act.

And now, President Bush gets two shoes thrown at him by an Iraqi journalist during a news conference. 

I trust the secret service inspected the missiles to make sure they weren’t laced with anything. 


Filed under International, United States, Whimsy

The screeching has resumed

FROM my office in the upper committee corridor of the House of Commons, I can hear a screeching. The door to the roof of the Commons is open because it’s a bit hot in here, so I can hear the yelling, but not the actual words.

It’s coming from the resident protest on Parliament Square, of course, and you have to wonder how they can spare all the time to shout abuse at MPs and everyone else who comes in and out of the palace. For all the noise they make, no-one can make out a single word that they say. They’re very angry, and they’re very loud (although when you’re inside the building, you don’t even know they’re there) but a more pointless waste of time I cannot imagine.

I’m not even sure what they’re protesting about today. It’s probably Iraq. Or maybe ID cards. Or 42 days. Or the weather, maybe, who knows? But while this particular protest has had absolutely no effect whatsoever on the opinions or actions of MPs, it has had an effect on the comfort of the thousands of tourists whose enjoyment of Parliament Square and the Houses of Parliament has been tarnished by the hectoring, bullying tone of these stout defenders of liberty.


Filed under Parliament, Politics

Clare’s plea to Labour MPs: Please vote for war

Guido has a link to an Al-Jazeera interview with Clare Short, who (if the Arabic translation is correct) seems to call for Tony Blair to be tried for war crimes. Since that could never happen, and since there is absolutely no justification for that ever happening, you have to wonder why this particularly odd obsession has consumned so many so-called Left wing commentators, from Robert Harris to Everyone Who’s Ever Written For The Guardian.

I voted for the war in Iraq. So did Clare Short. Unlike Clare, I did not write personally to every Labour MP urging them to vote for the war in Iraq. So if she’s so keen on her version of international justice, maybe she’ll hand herself in.

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Filed under Parliament, Politics