“be careful what you wish for. I thought we were going to get a global market. This was going to be a new opportunity. It hasn’t turned out like this. I would never have voted for Brexit if I knew we were going to lose our jobs”
There’s a tendency to dismiss Tony Blair because of Iraq. Even though the invasion was a mistake, might he have been right to support it? Might people be wrong to dismiss him because of it?
At the time, I didn’t support the invasion of Iraq. Saddam Hussein was clearly unsavoury but the evidence made public for his having weapons of mass destruction that posed a real threat to Europe was weak.
My sense at the time was that things would have looked very different if Iraq’s neighbours had been appealing for help.
The best account of the messiness of the situation that I saw lay in some deft editing by John Wilkins of The Tablet. My memory is that he published five articles, in successive issues. Two were from supporters of invasion and two from opponents. His editorial masterstroke was that the fifth article written by an Iraqi Kurd arguing that Saddam Hussein’s killing Iraqi Kurds twenty years earlier had put a duty on the international community to act (and Hussein was eventually executed for the killing of 148 Iraqi Kurds in 1982). The fact that the international community had waited for two decades before acting put a very different light on the “urgent” invasion.
Things would have looked very different if the West had waited and trusted the Iraqi people to change their own government rather than “bring” then democracy. In this sense I thought and think the invasion was wrong.
Timing the Brexit deal so Parliament has no choice between this and the disaster of “no deal” is the latest in a long series of steps that look like a consolidation of power in the Executive. This is dangerous.
The leader article in The Economist for 21 November, “remaking the state”, offered a chilling and credible reading of the present government’s attempt to reform the state — by concentrating power in the Executive through a mix of reducing the power of judges, pushing back against devolution, reforming [sic] the civil service and tipping power from parliament to government. It comments (rightly) that “The Tories are right to advocate constitutional reform, bit their proposals take the country in precisely the wrong direction”.
The government’s authoritarian approach to Covid19 has tilted the balance from medical sense to a demand for obedience — this isn’t good either for civil liberties, or handling the medical, social and economic problems caused by the pandemic.
The outbreak of an infectious and serious illness is a global problem. It needs mature and collaborative leadership. Sadly a failure of leadership in the UK has been making the situation worse.
An illness that kills some, makes many more very seriously ill, and yet leaves others unscathed, is a perfect storm. Those who want to say “it’s nothing” or “it’s no worse than the flu” can find plenty of people to illustrate their point, and yet intensive care units and mortuaries show that they are ignoring reality. Continue reading “Rules or guidance over Covid19: an authoritarian problem”
He managed 30 seconds before mentioning the “oven-ready deal that you voted for” [in the General Election], deftly overlooking the fact that, if it had been “oven-ready” it would have been signed a year ago… instead it was concluded with just over a week to go before the brutal realities of a “no deal” Brexit would have kicked in.