Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Just had a minor (very minor) operation on my noggin so I'm feeling slightly light headed. Wasn't intending to blog but - Loser! Ha ha!

More coverage.

I particularly liked the way Home Office Minister Paul Goggins said he wasn't embarrassed by the fact that his boss had left early and then the government lost by that one vote. There's thick skin and then there's thick skin. Googins must be titanium plated if he's really not embarrassed by this. Ha ha!

On the issue, it looks like another victory for parliamentary common sense. Peter Hain said:
We are in a situation where Muslims don't have the protection that, for example, Jews and black citizens do and there remains an anomaly.
Does it ever occur to him that being a Muslim is a personal choice but being black isn't? Probably not. It appears to be official New Labour policy to conflate essentially seperate issues for political advantage.

Anyway, what we all really want to know is, how much longer can Blair last? A while back, on the smoking debate, I suggested that he was losing control of his party. Now that everyone knows it's just a matter of time, MPs have realised that their long term careers are unlikely to be damaged by this sort of behaviour. Loyalty to the Blair is no longer an essential ingredient for a successful rise up the party ranks. The result, for me anyway, is a joy to behold, even if it's happening for all the wrong reasons.

The Labour Party have a choice now. They can let this lame duck PM waddle on for another year or two or they can take the bull by the horns and put their house in order. The party's image is going to be further damaged (if such a thing is possible) if they allow the current state of affairs to drag on and on. I mean, not realising that Blair's vote might prevent a hugely embarrassing defeat? It's a very public illustration of just how out of touch with reality the Blair cabal have become. They've lost the plot people. It'd be far better for the Labour Party to get a new leader, one who could rally the troops with a new mandate for the future.

For me, Blair should have resigned long ago because of the way he dealt with the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Whatever you think about the sincerity of his belief in the reliability of the intelligence, he was wrong. We invaded and occupied a country based on a belief which, in the end, had no basis in fact. How sincerely he believed what he was saying is irrelevant. He. Was. Wrong.

In a healthy democracy, that would be that.* Incompetance or mendacity? Either or. Neither should be acceptable when it comes to a matter as serious as starting a war. But we sadly don't appear to enjoy the benefits of a healthy democracy at the moment. When Blair goes, there's a chance that we'll start heading back in that direction. There's also a much stronger possibility that Blair will finally be held to account.

So, for me, this may happen the wrong way round. At this stage, it's probably the lesser of two evils. We face some very serious foreign policy issues at the moment as well as a continuing threat of terrorist attack. That Blair might continue to take the lead in setting the agenda is deeply troubling. At the risk of indulging in some fear politics myself, I am genuinely extremely worried by the possibility that Blair could end up doing even more damage to the security, standing and reputation of this country.

* Here's the thing. Nowadays, Blair likes to pretend that it was always about regime change in Iraq. He perhaps doesn't realise that most of us can actually remember what he said three years ago. But, if that had been Blair's stated goal from the start, and if parliament had voted on that and agreed on it, and if the post-invasion situation been handled competantly, fair enough. None of that happened though and Blair will be held to account for that. It's just a matter of when.

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