British xenophobia over top EU posts

While it’s great crack if you’re an anorak, the frantic speculation about the top Euro jobs doesn’t show off my old colleagues in the Westminster lobby at their best. Some are helping to keep Tony Blair’s candidacy for the presidency alive, others are floating David Miliband as “ foreign minister” while the Indy in Sunday thinks it sees a dark plot in it all to make Mandy the Labour leader. It’s all so parochial . At times, it even touches racism. Take Ian Hislop on Have I Got News For You, who publishes samizdat material and more doubtful goss in Private Eye. He scorned Blair, fine, but then got down to mocking rival candidates just for their funny foreign names, like “Jean Claude.” Candidates like..

Wolfgang Schlüssel, the centre-right former Austrian chancellor, might be gaining ground, while Balkenende was also being talked up by EU sources. Other names still in the race are Luxembourg’s prime minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, and former Belgian leader Guy Verhofstadt.

That sort of stuff had gone out with the Ark I thought. So no Tony and nobody else either. That’s not satire. it’s nihilism. And what’s with all this stuff about the whole system being completely unaccountable? Would you really want to have to chose between, say, Junkcer and Verhofstadt?. The heads of government who take the decisions are pretty well immune from British media pressure – and that’s hacking off Her Majesty’s press, I’m sorry to say, so they lash out. At least those same leaders are democratically accountable, which means the presidency is too, at least indirectly. We can expect accountability to improve over time, if the Conservatives and the other few diehards permit. From now on at least, let’s not hark back to the old British chauvinism of the “ fog in Channel; continent cut off” variety.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Given that the Tories supported the Iraq war* they should be either getting behind Tony Blair as the best British candidate or stating that they will have a referendum to un/deratify the Lisbon treaty and the post of President.

    The Tories have (so far) taken a bi-partisan policy on the Northern Irish teritories (supporting the GFA) and should do likewise on Europe with the confines of the existing (soon to be ratified) Eurpoean legislation/constitution – they should take a British position not a Little-Engleze position.

    *those who were against the Iraq war and do not want Tony Blair have a point.

  • Seymour Major

    Sammy,

    Before I go on, I wish to express my disgust at the writings of a certain unionist who is obviously stalking and deliberately insulting you and perhaps other people who share your political views. That kind of behaviour should be stamped out by the Managers of this website.

    “they should take a British position not a Little-Engleze position”

    The problem I have with your comment, as a whole, is that you infer that if we agree with TB about one thing, we should agree with everything he says, does or supports.

    Most Conservatives supported the motives for going to war over Iraq. I was one of those who certainly would not have supported it if the sole aim was to get rid of Saddam, even though there was a strong argument that it could be justified as a matter of International Law. The only reason I supported it was that I believe Iraq harboured weapons of mass destruction and that they were in the control of a psychopath.

    The Conservatives differ from Blair most vigorously on Europe. The Expression you have used “Little-Engleze” could not be more inaccurate. The reality is that Europe, which is emotionally driven towards unification because of its wartime experiences, is a threat to its own well being. Only the Conservatives and a few others are prepared to take a stand to try and act as a check this.

    Opposition to Tony Blair as Europe’s president is justified on the basis that he is unfit for the job. He reneged on his promise to hold a referendum on the European Constitution. Politicians from all over Europe agree that there was very little difference in substance between the constitution as drafted and the Lisbon Treaty.

    I recall two years ago in the two weeks before Brown was handed the keys to No. 10, Blair represented Britain at the crucial European Summit regarding Lisbon. Why didn’t Brown become leader before the summit?

    The circumstances of Brown’s succession to Blair suggest that it was part of “stitch up” to thrust Blair forward as the person who would become Europe’s first president. If it is true, it will go down as one of the most personally selfish acts in modern British political history. I am not saying that is what happened but all the circumstances suggest there is a case to answer.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Slabbery: what are you doing wasting your time over here telling us who we should or should be not be supporting for President of the Council? Plainly you should be expending your energy reiterating your unambiguously expressed view of last week that the proposed abolition of the Parades Commission was in fact a vast Republican triumph, and yet again the result of the brilliant negotiating techniques of Sinn Five. And obviously the reason why I’m making a plea to you to redouble your efforts in making this startling, exciting and, ahem, unique case is that those fools McMurderous and Agent Adams don’t appear to be up to the game of following, let alone repeating your unique insights into what’s good for northern Republicanism. Quick, man, quick: don’t let the Republic flounder just because of one pair of old men and their limitations!

    Seymour: I could just hug you. ‘Alliance Rite’ really doesn’t do you justice. And I too hope one day you’ll be able to enjoy an internet where only nice views nicely put by nice to nice people prevail.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    SM,

    I appreciate your remarks.

    I am not a big fan of the Lisbon Treaty myself but believe the Tories should either declare their intention to undo the treaty by means of a referendum(and I appreciate the difficulties this would pose for Britian) or grin and bear it.

    If they are going to grin and bear it then Blair,
    (subject to the reservation regarding the Iraq war) being the outstanding British politician since Thatcher should be supported by all the British parties.

    Thatcher herself dodged a referendum on Maastricht and although it may have been some sleight of hand by Blair it seems more than a bit self-serving to use the referendum issue to justify his exclusion from the European post.

    In relation to the wider issue of Europe the Tories have (much to my annoyance) sought to lecture the Plain People of the Northern Irish tettitories on seeing bigger pictures and the art of non-tribal politics and it might add some credibility to that postion if they could deal more maturely and less viscerally with their very-own tribal issue – Europe.

  • Only Asking

    which means the presidency is too, at least indirectly

    Thats not good enough. The British have been promised a referendum by all three major parties. Blair broke his promise, Cameron is dithering, and so far it’s only UKIP thats up for it. Things should liven up by the time this rolls around to Britain and by that time the EU presidency may get promised to the Checs as some kind of sweetner to ease this thing through. As this super state rises democratic accountability diminishes…..

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Slabbery, I’m *so* glad to see you haven’t been run-over by the Steamroller of Inevitable Reunification.

    You’ll forgive me, I hope, for a small point of detail, even though it ever so slightly interrupts your, ah, artistic rhetorical style, and unpedantic relationship to ‘da facts’, but, “Thatcher herself dodged a referendum on Maastricht” solely in the sane that she wasn’t Prime Minister at the time. Indeed, as a backbencer, first in the Commons, then in the Lords she campaigned for a referendum on Maastricht. And in the process she thereby did that rarest of Thatcherite things: she performed a self-conscious and admitted u-turn on one of her previously firmly expressed opinions, to wit, her hitherto unalterable opposition to referenda. Thus, just to labour our parable an inch further, even Mrs T, come der tag, was able to face up to the fact that she had once had one opinion, then had changed her position. It’s almost as if there’s a moral in there for some very plain folk indeed. That they might even have to behave ‘more maturely and less viscerally’ themselves – to stop slabbering, in fact.

    But whatever you do do, be sure to keep running away from all those threads where you told us what a triumph for SF the abolition of the Parades Commision is – that, if nothing else, makes sense.

  • Seymour Major

    Sammy,

    “Thatcher herself dodged a referendum on Maastricht”

    John Major was the Conservative Prime Minister at the time of Maastricht.

    “…although it may have been some slight of hand…”

    Unacceptable. Blairs act was worse than not having a mandate. His position was anti-mandate.

    “it might add some credibility to that postion if they could deal more maturely and less viscerally with their very-own tribal issue – Europe”

    I’m afraid you are out of date on that one. The Conservative position on Europe has not resulted in any internal division since they lost the election in 1997.

  • Laughing (Withdrawalist) Unionist

    No Seymour, William Hague didn’t have problems with Chris Patten, Ken Clarke and Michael Heseltine (you know, like when they shared pro-Euro platforms with, er, Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson, and explicitly denounced Hague’s European policy as being wrong for the country and wrong by and for the Tory Party), and, in the 2001 leadership election, Europe certainly wasn’t an issue at stake between Clarke and IDS, and, Cameron didn’t try to put one over Davis in 2005’s contest by pledging EPP withdrawal, and, Cameron isn’t today in difficulty because of his absurd claim he’d hold a post-ratification referendum, a pledge now ignominously flunked. I begin to wonder just how long you’ve actually been in Alliance Rite. Though I do begin to see the basis of your innate sympathy with ould Mister Factual Accuracy himself up there.

  • Rory Carr

    I’m a bit amused that you find Ian Hislop’s resort to low-level humour on a programme anchored in British satirical humour, which by tradition resorts to the bawdy at times, threatening to undermine the democratic structure.

    Surely in the absence of any real knowledge of who these proposed candidates are, what they stand for or how they may come to occupy such important positions of power over us, Johnny Public is entitled at least to a little titter of compensatory laughter at their funny names. After all it’s about the only input that we can have into the whole process.

    As for dismissing Private Eye as a mere tattle-sheet that ” publishes samizdat material and more doubtful goss “, perhaps if you more serious journalists and your editors from the main-stream press had had the integrity and courage to take on the likes of Carter-Fuck and partners rather than leaving it to this little magazine to stand up to the inequities and potential penalties of the super-injunction we might not have witnessed the sorry spectacle of editors of our hallowed broadsheets cowering in fear rather than daring to report parliamentary business lest they offend the sensibilities of big business.

    Defenders of democracy, how are ye?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    SM,

    “John Major was the Conservative Prime Minister at the time of Maastricht”

    Fair enough – but the substantive point remains the Tories themselves have been democracy-dodgers on the issue.

    In relation to “The Conservative position on Europe has not resulted in any internal division since they lost the election in 1997. ”

    I’m afraid their conference was overshadowed by Europe – every single interview was started by enquiring if Cameron was going to continue the democracy-dodging if he was elected ( and no – you cant simply blame the media for asking the wrong questions.)

    Now the Czechs are almost certainly out of the way and as Only Asking points out above for those to whom the issue a major one the pressure will be applied directly to the Tories.

    The UK Independence party were 2nd in the EU elections and if they dont go bankrupt (which was a threat until recently) then they actually threaten to undermine PoshBoyDCs future political plans if they produce anything like that result in the general election.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Go on Slabbery, you’ve put a toe in the water with that ‘fair enough’ about your, uh, imaginative historical reconstruction about who was PM at the time of Maastricht – the woman violently opposed to its passage, or the man infamously crucified by his own party for going ahead with. A small detail, I know, but that’s pedantry for you. So now go on, take the next logical step: fess up re some of the other spoofing too. Kick off with last week’s BS about the ‘Republican triumph’ of Woodward offering to nix the Parades Commission if that’s what the Punt wanted. You’ll make Agent Adams and McMurderous quare swell with joy when you do, as there’s nothing that bothers that pair more than even one solitary sheep lost from the Provette flock. Even the plastics count.

  • Greenflag

    only asking ,

    ‘As this super state rises democratic accountability diminishes….’

    Democratic accountability has been on the wane for 30 years if not longer . People’s confidence in their governments everywhere in the western world is at an all time low . The only people who still believe the ‘experts’ are party politicial people who believe their own party’s ‘truth’ while denying all others .

    The neo conservative right have been on the road towards what could be called ‘authoritarian ‘ democracy . It’s all the rage in China these days.
    The Kissinger /Nixon dream of turning China into America lite has backfired . Well if you can’t export democracy to China I suppose you can always try Afghanistan or Iraq or Iran ? Might do the American people some good if some democracy was re-imported into the USA from poverty stricken countries like Denmark , Sweden , Germany and France where they don’t lock up a 20 year for life no parole for stealing a pair of socks worth 10 dollars which will cost the USA taxpayer 3 million dollars over the lifespan of the sock stealer.

    Brian Walker ,

    ‘From now on at least, let’s not hark back to the old British chauvinism of the “ fog in Channel; continent cut off” variety.’

    I agree .Let’s instead start using a new Irish chauvinism with a late 1930’s sense of timewarp:(

    ‘British Conservative Government Camerooned due to fog in Channel ‘ Czech and Polish allies cut off ‘

    ‘Sea area Fair Isle –Cromarty -Faroes etc etc ‘

  • consistency

    this site’s mods are disgusting hypocrits: how has the obnoxious, perennial man-playing heap of shit not yet been banned?

    Rory: one of the best comments I’ve ever seen on Slugger. Very well said.

    Brian: your latest outburst of faux outrage is risible. No, the attitude which you described is not ‘nihilism’: it merely a product of the fact that the British are continually fed lie after lie about the EU and simply do not want a President of the Council to rule over them when their rulers havn’t had the most basic decency to consult with them on the matter.

  • fin

    Private Eye is the tormentor of dodgy businessmen and politicans and is a great read.

    Seymour, going to your earlier comments on the Iraq war I’m not sure if you read George Monbiot’s piece in the Guardian. Not only is going to war because you don’t like the countries leader a war crime but so is a war based on an unused arsenal.

    The basis for war was the still debated UN resolution.

    Its strange how people react to Gerry Adams on this site, yet he can travel freely to any country in the world. Maggie Thatcher due to international law concerning the Falklands war cannot, it is possible that in the near future Blair and Bush will be in the same situation of checking ahead to see what international laws their destination country has signed upto.

    The scale of the deaths in Iraq dwarf those in NI.

  • Seymour Major

    LTU,

    I see you have picked up on my words at No. 7 near the end, which I admit, on reflection are inaccurate but what you have said in response does not paint a balanced picture on Conservative policy on Europe since 1997.

    After the 1997 election, William Hague saw off the dissent of Europhobes within the Conservative Party when he held an internal party referendum (87% in his favour). You mention KC in the subsequent leadership election. In reality, KC had no chance of winning it, precisely because of his position on Europe.

    KC is now back in the Shadow Cabinet but under the strict understanding that he is not to undermine official European policy.

    I dont know what “Alliance Rite” means and you have misrepresented David Cameron’s position on holding a referendum

  • percy

    Hope Blair gets it, and campaigns for the Euro; which he always wanted, but gave Brown control on the subject to balance the hurt over the leadership.
    How sweet, but how fateful.

    Now we have the prospect of Tories+BNP+UKIP pumping up the volume, taking us back to the kind of narrow-minded colonialist bigotry we’d hoped had been put to bed.
    “fog in the channel” — indeed!

  • percy

    “The reality is that Europe, which is emotionally driven towards unification because of its wartime experiences, is a threat to its own well being”

    Seymour, what are you backing that up with?

  • Seymour Major

    Fin,

    I did not read the Article you referred to but let us get one thing straight. I agree that whether the war was legal is still a moot point.

    I would agree that having an arsenal is not a reason on its own. Neither is the fact that a dictator is an abuser of human rights. It is a matter of balancing the threat to National and international security.

    If there is a pathological monster out there with a record for breaching international law, launching Scud missles on Israel and has an itchy finger on a button which could launch WMD, it would be right, in those circumstances, to go to war. The intelligence services got it wrong.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    SM,

    “KC is now back in the Shadow Cabinet but under the strict understanding that he is not to undermine official European policy.”

    The problem is that the EU policy will have to be massaged given the likleyhood of changed circumstnces that will arise as a result of Czech ratification. Even at the Tory conference Kenny was warning that any promise to try and have a referendum post ratification would not be acceptable and yet that is exactly what a large number of Tories will want and more worryingly a large number of Tory voters may decide that UKIP are the ones to deliver.

    For those of us in Ireland who are not fans of the Tories, it was at least some consolation that the Irish Yes vote has at least helped to make political file uncomfortable for them.

    re. “intelligence services got it wrong” I think it more correct to say they were told to get it wrong.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Agree with the first part of Seymour’s first post. This stalking carry on is doing the site a disservice. The author needs a red card.

  • Agreed, that nasty, trolling, unionist parochial bigot gets away with too much. If that was a nationalist he’d have been banned ages ago.

  • Dave

    Label national democracy “parochial” and throw in some twitish remark about ‘fog in the channel’ and the europhiles get all excited and overcome with high purpose that surrendering to unaccountable third parties the sovereign powers of their respective states and right to determine their own affairs in the own interest. It doesn’t take much to brainwash europhile muppets, does it?

  • Greenflag

    fin ,

    ‘Blair and Bush will be in the same situation of checking ahead to see what international laws their destination country has signed upto.’

    I don’t know about Mr Blair but Bush is persona no grata in the State of Vermont and perhaps anothe couple of States where citizen’s arrest warrants are waiting for him

    seymour major ,

    ‘The intelligence services got it wrong.’

    Not that simple and too easy a hand off . The people who interpreted the information got it wrong and their political mentors were so desirous of going to war that they could hardly be restrained . Even General Colin Powell has admitted as much .

    As Warren Buffet said much later and which is still true the REAL WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION were lining up on Wall St and amongst the shadow banking fraternity . The latter two have destroyed more of America than Saddam could ever have done in a thousand lifetimes !

  • fin

    Seymour, we are going way off topic, which is unfortunate as its an interesting subject. Worth remembering that US missiles have been chucked into other countries willy-nilly, including shooting down an Iranian civilian airliner.

    And yes human rights abuse is not an excuse for way, sadly its also not a bar on been an ally to western countries, the UK and USA having friends which make Saddam look Saintly (I’m also aware that the 400,000 mass graves we were told about were never found)

    Seymour the intelligence community got it wrong, because they made it up (again still waiting for Blair’s ‘yellow cake’ evidence) they started at the end point and worked backwards.

    “It is a matter of balancing the threat to National and international security”

    The UN is very clear on this, you cannot attack another country unless you are under threat of attack OR it is approved by the UN, it is recognised as the gravest crime against humanity.

    Blair and Bush failed on both counts. The legality of the war is not a moot point, it was illegal and has been tested in courts (Germany) unfortunately what can you do to bring two of the most powerful countries in the world to justice, I believe the term is Bullying.

  • Greenflag

    For all those Tories out there -they’ll have their chance to have a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty if they wait long enough ;). But it won’t be anytime before the first NI referendum on the ‘border ‘ so best to prepare for a long wait d not to expect too much. When the pound sterling collapses towards the level of the Zimbabwean dollar will be just the right time to climb aboard the Euro . As always with the Tories too little or too much and always too late or too wrong headed ;(

    Queenie has already ratified the Treaty so the Tories have well and truly locked themselves into a political cul de sac of epic dimensions. The Tories seem bent on delivering the UK into the same kind of perceived state as decades of Unionist rule have driven the perception of NI . But instead of the people of these islands looking askance at two mad uncles in the NI political attic, the EU will have just the one half demented John Bull snarling around offshore , frothing at the mouth, but unable to do anything constructive . Meanwhile the SS Sterling sinks into the channel to the cheers of every currency speculator on the globe 🙁

    Methinks the ahem not so ‘positive’ influence of of the NI unionist spotty leopard , is beginning to appear on Tory via UCUNF contamination . They’d have been better served touching the UUP with a long spoon a very very very long spoon indeed .

    Too late now .

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Greenflag,

    if and I know it is a big IF – UKIP appears to be threatening PoshboyDC’s project then the referendum will be provided – with Boris to the fore of the referendum campaign given his oppostion to any EU banking regulations doing damage his own square-mile backyard.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist BAN ME NOW

    It’s one thing to make your own spoof up, but it really is another thing to make someone else’s spoof up. Boris has pronounced on a referendum: he’s for one. But so far from being opposed to Lisbon is wor Boris, pace Slabbery, he’s actually said he’s might even vote *for* it. I am painfully sorry to keep letting these dullard facts keep intruding into Slabbery’s fantastical vision of reality, and I quite agree with all the posters who are calling for me to be banned. As ever, pace the Smug’s offering, I never fail to be impressed by just how committed individual Alliance members are to diversity and toleration. When oh when will Fealty’s pernicious crypto-unionist lie machine be brought to heel? There’s a peace process at stake here!

  • Greenflag

    IWSMWDI,

    Not an if Sammy a very big IF .
    Boris is basically a thug -a bovver boy with an education 😉

    And I’m not calling for the laughing tory Unionist to be banned . He after all does his ’cause’ an enormous amount of ‘good ‘ with his pronouncements . Call him the ‘face ‘ of unacceptable unionism if you like – but I would’nt 😉 . I’m far too polite to tell a gobshite like that to ‘feck ‘ off 😉

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Greenflag,

    Lets see how the mad-dog-Tory-right handle the Czech ratification and lets see how PoshBoyDc handles them.

    I dont know why the Plain People of Britian dont vote for the LibDems – the old chestnut of “I dont know what they stand for” is a nonsense as both major parties have changed position and even swapped sides from left to right on certain issues. It may be just a simple case of the sheer stupidity of the masses – so perhaps the Libdems need to drop their nice boy image and tell the Plain People of Britian to get a fecking grip on their political knickers.

  • Greenflag

    sammy ,

    ‘Lets see how the mad-dog-Tory-right handle the Czech ratification’

    Party HQ will roll out the standard obfuscation technique which will pooh pooh and blah blah etc .Some long voweled buzz words which appeal to the baying mobs will be uttered such as ‘democracy , philosophy , sovereignty , the Queen , Britain , unsquare tomatoes etc etc .
    The Daily Mail will pick up the theme and before you can Jack Russel the Czechs will have become treacherous untrustworthy continentals etc etc .

    Not since Lloyd George have the Liberals been in power . Given the FPTP system which favours Labour and the Conservatives thats unlikely to change .

    ‘It may be just a simple case of the sheer stupidity of the masses -‘

    Thats’ democracy for you . The masses are free to be stupid if they want to 😉 but I’d never accuse the great British public of that . I;d say they have the same degree of confidence in their would be political deliverers that the Irish public have -i.e not a lot on either side of the border .say that

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Greenflag,

    re. “but I’d never accuse the great British public of that ”

    Why the feck not? If a person kept opening up the same 2 boxes repeatedly when looking for something he really wanted and kept being disappointed but didnt open the third box nearby simply because it hadnt been opened for a long time you would call him stupid wouldnt you – not to mention give him a good kick up the jacksie.

    p.s. liked the “Party HQ will roll out the standard obfuscation technique which will pooh pooh and blah blah etc .Some long voweled buzz words which appeal to the baying mobs will be uttered such as ‘democracy , philosophy , sovereignty , the Queen , Britain , unsquare tomatoes etc etc . “

  • Dave

    I think Laughing (Tory) Unionist regularly hits the nail on the head. Admittedly, he hits it on Sammy’s head, but someone has to knock some sense into wee Sammy. 😉

  • Seymour Major

    Dave,

    Sammy has a style of commenting which discredits him (for example, his writing is histrionic and he often does not get his facts right) but you could say that about many other commenters.

    Each comment by LTU, on its own, contains enough to amount to legitimate political debate. LTU is not without political knowledge, either. However, his comments are also histrionic and they are peppered with personal insult. So many of his comments are directed at Sammy that it is quite obvious he has singled him out for a campaign.

    I dont know the underlying reason why he does it. I dont believe that his stated reason (that Sammy keeps telling lies)is the entire reason. He seems to have acquired some sort of pathological fixation on Sammy.

  • Rory Carr

    The intelligence services got it wrong.

    Oh, they did more than get it wrong, Seymour, they manufactured it.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    SM,

    very interesting indeed.

    …but any comment on the impact of the impending Czech ratification on Tory Euro policy and the potential for movement to the UKIP by both Tory voters and activists.

  • Brit

    “The UN is very clear on this, you cannot attack another country unless you are under threat of attack OR it is approved by the UN, it is recognised as the gravest crime against humanity.”

    Ahh the UN. The international legislator/executvie most of whose members are not democracies and do not uphold basic liberal human rights. An organisation whos ability to take any decision action is dependent on the will of those Putin’s oligarchy or the Chinese Communist Party. So the difference between a legitimate act and a the gravest crime against humanity is whether the central committe of the Chinese Commuist Party supports it. An organisation for whom Tiananman Square was a tiny drop in an ocean of really grave crimes against humanity. A very arbitrary basis for determining legal or moral wrongdoing?

    Presumably you also consider Natos war in Kosovo to be one of the “gravest crimes against humanity” for the same reason.

    “The legality of the war is not a moot point, it was illegal and has been tested in courts (Germany) unfortunately what can you do to bring two of the most powerful countries in the world to justice, I believe the term is Bullying.”

    On what basis was it illegal Fin, you’re obviously something of an expert on international law?

  • Brit

    And as for the WMD thing, pretty much every single government (on the basis of the advice from its intelligence services) thought Saddam in the process of developing and hiding WMDs. This included, for example, the French and German governments who were publically strongly opposed to the invasion. Indeed this assumption was common within the ‘international community’ and was the reason for UN taking action and sending in weapons inspectors. There were differences of opinion in the level of development and the most appropriate means of dealing with Saddam but all expected WMD’s to be found.

    The idea (repeated so long that some have swallowed it as the Truth) the Blair “lied” or that pro-war regimes falsified evidence etc – and in fact ‘knew’ that there were no WMDs -because they were desparate to go to war is a toxic combination of interpretation via hindsignt and consipiracy theorising which doest bear repeating.

    My own support for the war, and that of all of those of a progressive persuasion, was not principally on whether Saddam had WMDs at the time of the invasion, but the medium to long term interests of the Iraqi people, the middle east, and the battle against proliferation of weaspons of mass destruction and the potential overlap with Islamists.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Brit,

    international law is always a bit of a minefield (or cluster bomb field perhaps in this case) – but the substantive arguement is that it was not a war that Britain should have got involved with.

    The Tories were in favour of the war, you too? That being the case opposition to Blair as president seems to be based more on narrow sectional interest of the Tory party as I think most people would agree that apart from IRAQ he represented Britain extremely well on the world stage and of course did an outstanding job in Norn Iron.

  • Brit

    “the substantive arguement is that it was not a war that Britain should have got involved” Exactly Sammy so why do those who opposed the war (99.9% of whom did so for substantive reasons and would have opposed it had the facts been the same but it had been technically legal) keep trotting out, unthinkingly the “illegal”/”criminal” war line.

    I was in favour of the war as was, at the time, the majority of the British public (a public view reflected in the Parliamentary vote on the matter). Obviously the Iraq war is widely seen as a failure and has severely damaged Blairs’ image as a politician.

    But yes I take your point that the Tory opposition is narrow and party political. I forsee them running into some pretty rough seas on Europe in the next Parliament.

  • Greenflag

    Brit,

    ‘So the difference between a legitimate act and a the gravest crime against humanity is whether the central committe of the Chinese Communist Party supports it.’

    The last time the Chinese had a Communist Party was probably in the 1980’s .

    They should now be called by their proper name .
    the PCAC i.e Party of Chinese Authoritarian Capitalism.

    To be fair to them they have dragged a country of 1.2 billion into the modern world . And no it has’nt been pretty .

    As Henry Kissinger (still kicking I believe )surveys a devastated US economy the stability of whose currency is now dependent on the Chinese ‘holding ‘ on to a devaluing trillion US dollars maybe he might be having second thoughts on that ‘brilliant ‘ idea back in the 1970’s when he and tricky Dicky Nixon thought it would be a wonderful idea to open up China to American exports and use the Chinese as allies to counter the power of the USSR ?

    And now the Chinese are exporting three times more to the USA than vice versa ?

    US foreign policy seems these days to achieve the opposite of what was intended . Afghanistan supplied 82% of the world’s heroin trade (poppies) before the USA invaded . Now it supplies over 90% ?

    And now it looks as if the Afghanistani Presidential election will have just 1 candidate . Democracy you just can’t beat it eh ?

  • Wilde Rover

    Brian Walker,

    “At times, it even touches racism.”

    Indeed Brian, it’s a terrible shame about all this little-Englander racism going about the place.

    The hoopla surrounding Lord Mandelson when he was running your country from the Rothschild pad in Corfu was just disgusting. All this pious waffle about “conflict of interest” and “democratic deficit” was being bandied about, talk of unelected nouveau-aristos and banking-aristos and other such insane rants.

    But as any right thinking person knows, Brian, this was just a cover for homophobia and anti-Semitism.

    I should know. Many of the commenters here at Slugger have taken positions contrary to mine, and claim that they do so with the clearest of hearts, but I suspect that hibernophobia it at the heart of this. I also suspect that these people are merely repressing their desire to rape adolescent leprechauns.

    I think it’s time we all came together to protect our dear little friends.

    Brit,

    “On what basis was it illegal Fin, you’re obviously something of an expert on international law?”

    Quite right Brit. The war in Iraq was as legal as the Provo campaign in Ireland, although obviously a lot more entertaining.

    “There were differences of opinion in the level of development and the most appropriate means of dealing with Saddam but all expected WMD’s to be found.”

    Indeed, it was a bit embarrassing for them when all that stuff they had peddled had gone passed its sell by date. There must have been a little shuffling of feet at the auld weapons conventions after that, what what?

    “My own support for the war, and that of all of those of a progressive persuasion, was not principally on whether Saddam had WMDs at the time of the invasion, but the medium to long term interests of the Iraqi people, the middle east”

    Not many people understand the White Man’s Burden these days Brit, it’s good to see some people are keeping the old traditions alive.

    “and the battle against proliferation of weaspons of mass destruction and the potential overlap with Islamists.”

    Quite right Brit. I’m sure that if the Forces of Good keep battering the shite out of the countries in that region with weapons of mass destruction they are bound to come across some Evil Doers with weapons of mass destruction sooner or later.

  • Brit

    My point GF is that international law, certainly as embodied by actions of the UN assembly and the UN Security Council, does not have the moral legitimacy of the law of a representative liberal democracy.

    Interestingly Kissinger, as a foreign policy realist, was strongly opposed to the second Iraq war.

    And as for heroin the war on drugs has been well as truly lost and I concur with the Economist which came out for legalisation as the least bad solution.

  • Wilde Rover

    Brit,

    “And as for heroin the war on drugs has been well as truly lost and I concur with the Economist which came out for legalisation as the least bad solution.”

    Lucky the Forces of Good are there in the land of the poppy to protect the precious smack.

    Ah, like the Opium Wars of old.

  • Brit

    WR

    1. The IRA’s actions in the Troubles were illegal, both its recourse to “war” which never came near a Just War, and its conduct of the war which violated the basic laws of war. However my criticism of the IRA and their justifiers in the physical force Republican tradition is not based on legalistic points but on substantive ones.

    2. That arms manufacturers from the UK and US sold weapons to the Saddam regime is wholly irrelevant to the merits of the Iraq war, it is just a bit of information to allow undergraduate “radicals” to point score and blame the evil “West”. Even this cheap debating point is limited when considered against the the far larger arms sales from France to Ba’athist Iraq.

    3. Progressive support for the Iraq war was based on the nature of the Saddam regime and the impact on the Iraqi people, particularly the Kurds and the majoirity Shia, (who suffered under one of the most totalitarian and genocideal regimes since Pol Pot), the neihbouring countries (liable to be invaded or to have local terrorists funded) and the security of the middle east generally and the interests of the West in the event that Saddam was allowed to carry on unmolested. It was also motivated by the overwhelming support for the invasion amonst the Iraqi people and a knowledge that any step short of military invtervention would either be ineffective but add to the sufferings of the people, or would lead to a complete breakdown in society and give rise to further genocide in Iraq or wars with other countries. Clearly the war didn’t pan out as we had expected and hoped, and clearly there have always been cogent progressive arguments against the war, but there is no basis to deny any legitimate reasons for supporting the war nor for suggesting that there is something “imperialist” about humanitarian intervention as a concept.

  • Brit

    WR I note your puportedly ironic use of the expression ‘Forces of Good’ but yes I support the UK/US Army over the Islamist and sectarian murderers in Iraq and the Taliban.

    That doesnt mean I support crimes committed by those forces or every war in which they were engaged (any more than favouring the Red Army in Stalingrad means I supported their rapes of German women or the invasion of Czeckoslovakia in ’68)

  • Wilde Rover

    Brit,

    “The IRA’s actions in the Troubles were illegal,”

    Based on what definition of a legal war?

    “both its recourse to “war” which never came near a Just War,”

    Again, says who? I maintain it is as legal as the Iraq war.

    “and its conduct of the war which violated the basic laws of war”

    Again, blowing up women and children is the constant.

    “Even this cheap debating point is limited when considered against the the far larger arms sales from France to Ba’athist Iraq.”

    I was referring to France.

    “(who suffered under one of the most totalitarian and genocideal regimes since Pol Pot),”

    Ah, Pol Pot. I think it was Maggie Thatcher who said “this is a man we can deal with.”

    And as for the whole genocide claim, how does it compare to deaths caused by Anglo American forces? So what’s the Iraqi body count since it all began back in 1990, including both Bushes and Clinton? Half a million dead children alone under Clinton. The half holocaust mark musn’t be far off.

    “and the security of the middle east generally and the interests of the West in the event that Saddam was allowed to carry on unmolested.”

    He was a great lad when he was fighting Iran

    “It was also motivated by the overwhelming support for the invasion amonst the Iraqi people”

    Citation needed.

    “or would lead to a complete breakdown in society and give rise to further genocide in Iraq or wars with other countries.”

    With friends like that…

    “but there is no basis to deny any legitimate reasons for supporting the war nor for suggesting that there is something “imperialist” about humanitarian intervention as a concept.”

    Causing a megadeath is one hell of a humanitarian intervention.

    “WR I note your puportedly ironic use of the expression ‘Forces of Good’ but yes I support the UK/US Army over the Islamist and sectarian murderers in Iraq and the Taliban.”

    Sectarian murderers? I think you have to look at the black ops strategy of your own government and how the sectarian killings got started – mosques and police stations are the obvious place to start.

    I’ll take you at face value Brit and imagine that you actually believe all the propaganda you have been sold.

  • Brit

    WR – just more inconsequential whataboutery and irrelevant point scoring.

    I do not accept that most (let alone all) deaths in Iraq since 1990 were ’caused’ by Anglo-American forces, either in the sense of direct promximate cause or on the basis of sole or principal moral responsibility.

  • Brit

    And Ian Hislop is so smug, holier-than-thou and unfunny, not to mention being a public school boy and Anglican.

  • Rory Carr

    US foreign policy seems these days to achieve the opposite of what was intended . Afghanistan supplied 82% of the world’s heroin trade (poppies) before the USA invaded . Now it supplies over 90% “

    There’s good reason for the increase, Greenflag. The CIA are now helping to make drug trafficking more efficient as have been doing since after the defeat of Mao over the Chinese Nationalist forces.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/karzais-brother-on-cia-payroll-1811154.html

  • Greenflag

    Brit ,

    ‘My point GF is that international law does not have the moral legitimacy of the law of a representative liberal democracy.

    No wonder the Provo IRA did not appeal to international law in their ‘war ‘ against the representative liberal democracy of NI in the late 1960’s and later ?. Now of course they cannot contest the State’ moral legitimacy because it’s now a fully representative two party state of which they are a part. It could of course be much worse which appears to be the TUV hope 🙁

    ‘Interestingly Kissinger, as a foreign policy realist, was strongly opposed to the second Iraq war.’

    Indeed and Cheney was opposed to extending the first Iraqi War to Baghdad for fear of destabilising the entire Middle East . Somehow he lost that fear during the Clinton years in power .Being judged to have a ‘realist’ foreign policy seems to correlate highly with ‘results ‘ after the event .

    ‘And as for heroin the war on drugs has been well as truly lost and I concur with the Economist which came out for legalisation as the least bad solution.’

    Long overdue for the Economist . They finally cottoned on to the fact that the Afghan warlord ( Karzai’s brother ) is believed to be the Mr Big of the heroin trade which is the lifeblood/ deathsblood of whatever is left of the Afghan economy ?

    Alan Greenspan said the Iraq war was primarily about securing future oil supplies first . Everything else including ‘democracy’ was dry filling ! As we can see from Afghanistan the ‘dry filling’ of Karzai’s election will not be botched this time by having to open ‘unstuffed ‘ ballot boxes 🙁

  • Brit

    “Alan Greenspan said the Iraq war was primarily about securing future oil supplies first . Everything else including ‘democracy’ was dry filling ! As we can see from Afghanistan the ‘dry filling’ of Karzai’s election will not be botched this time by having to open ‘unstuffed ’ ballot boxes 🙁 ”

    Assuming he did say it and his comments are not taken out of context I dont see how this proves or disproves anything. If a US politician or public figure provides or provided an alternative justification you would reject it but you seize on the one comment that fits in with your thesis.

    Many opponents of the war say that is was a misguided response to, or revenge for, 9/11 and how is this primary motivation consistent with securing of oil supplies. Furthermore the US could easily have adopted a realist foreign policy and dealt with the Saddam regime to get oil (or obtained its oil from all the other oil rich states apart from Iraq, many of which the US enjoys good/adequate relations).

    We had a totalitarian genocidal regime which was in the Cambodia class (not just a nasty authoritairn dictatorship which are ten a penny) which had attacked Iran, Kuwait and more symbolically Israel, and which had used chemical weapons and funded islamist terrorist in Israel and which was led by a ruling clique of spectacularly lunatic brutality. This regime appeared to all reasonable observers to be building up and stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and it is quite easy to construct an alternative history where a Saddam left to his own devices would have obtained a nuclear capacity and /or strongly helped Islamist terrorists (against a mutual enemy). Considered against this backgrond, I do not think that humanitarian concerns (ie the needs and will of the Iraqi people) were a principal motivator for the US government (let alone promotion of democracy). I think that the wider security / stability concerns for the middle east and knock on effect on global security and the threat of terrorism were.

    The doctrine of liberal or humanitarian interventionism, linked to the duty to protect, and set out by Blair in his 1999 Chicago speech was never about justifying invasion because of a lack of democracy or in order to “impose” any system of democracy.

  • Wilde Rover

    Brit,

    “WR – just more inconsequential whataboutery and irrelevant point scoring.

    I do not accept that most (let alone all) deaths in Iraq since 1990 were ‘caused’ by Anglo-American forces, either in the sense of direct promximate cause or on the basis of sole or principal moral responsibility”

    Then you are merely displaying your ignorance of history, both the direct in your face killings via the Clinton bombing campaign, which killed half a million children alone, the conventional war, and the covert strategies involving false flag attacks such as those carried out against mosques, and the so-called suicide attacks by those directed to drive from one police station to another after their car had been tampered with. These strategies led to the sectarian killing fields. And that doesn’t include the assassination of many of the countries intelligentsia that has led most professionals to flee the country.

    “We had a totalitarian genocidal regime which was in the Cambodia class (not just a nasty authoritairn dictatorship which are ten a penny) which had attacked Iran,”

    And attacked Iran with the support of which countries? Jesus tapdancing Christ, I can’t believe you’re using Iran as an example. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were here in another thread calling for the whole country to be nuked from orbit as part of some ‘humanitarian aid.’

    “it is quite easy to construct an alternative history where a Saddam left to his own devices would have obtained a nuclear capacity and /or strongly helped Islamist terrorists (against a mutual enemy)”

    Perhaps it is easy to construct such a scenario in your head, but those with any knowledge of the region would conclude the regime in Iraq was despised by the fundamentalists.

    “The doctrine of liberal or humanitarian interventionism, linked to the duty to protect, and set out by Blair in his 1999 Chicago speech was never about justifying invasion because of a lack of democracy or in order to “impose” any system of democracy.”

    I think I prefer the original form of imperialism without all the hypocritical trappings.

  • Brit

    Your figures are inaccurate and not relevant to the second Iraq war.

    So you think that sectarian conflict was engineered by the US and the Brits WR?? Why would they want to do that? Did they engineer the long standing domination of sunni over shia and the latters desire for revenge. Did they engineer the Sunni desire to hold on to its privilege and to protect itself. Did they force Iran to support, direct and fund Shia militants. Did they beg AQ operatives from other countries. Did they plant the suicide bombs. You are a delusional conspiracy theorist prepared to turn the truth on its head so long as you can blame the great imperialist America.

    Yes we all know the received wisdom about Iraq being a paradigm of secular government and gender equality. The truth is that Iraq’s regime funded Palestinian Islamist suicide bombers and would happily have helped AQ types in actions against mutual enemies. Saddam also increasing tried to portray himself as a Muslim and defender of Islamic values in the run up to the war.

    If you think Sierra Leone and Kosovo, for example, were imperialist I’d like to know what definition you are using. Just as anti-semitism was the “socialism of fools” your simplistic antiWestern knee jerk politics is the anti-imperialism of fools

  • Wilde Rover

    Brit,

    “So you think that sectarian conflict was engineered by the US and the Brits WR?? Why would they want to do that?”

    Divide and conquer. Not terribly new, but still effective. Blowing up mosques is a new phenomenon in the Muslim world – you remember the two Laurence of Arabia characters caught in Basra, don’t you?

  • Brit

    The objective was to remove Saddam and the Ba’athist regime not to conquer. The idea that the bloody conflict in Iraq was deliberate intention of the allies is totally ridiculous.