Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Why I will never stop being angry with Labour

As part of the current twitter storm about the Lords reforms, I got into a "debate" with Sunny Hundal. And I think that one particular segment of the debate sums up very neatly why I will never, ever stop being angry with Labour.

Let's just quickly recap:

The illegal invasion of Iraq, approved by parliament in no small part due the Labour government deliberately lying about weapons of mass destruction, resulted in, according to the Lancet, over 600,000 dead Iraqi civilians and in 4 million people being made refugees. It also destroyed the country's economy, plunged a mostly secular country into sectarian conflict and claimed the lives of 4,777 coalition servicemen and women.

Oh, and it also cost UK and US taxpayers over a trillion dollars.

Ed Miliband making an apology does not make up for that. Not by a long shot. Especially since he was working for the Labour government when it took us into Iraq. And that's the extent of his contrition. In fact, he didn't even use the word "sorry".

All he said was:
"I criticise nobody faced with making the toughest of decisions and I honour our troops who fought and died there. But I do believe that we were wrong. Wrong to take Britain to war and we need to be honest about that. 
"Wrong because that war was not a last resort, because we did not build sufficient alliances and because we undermined the United Nations. 
"America has drawn a line under Iraq and so must we"
So, no criticism of the people who lied to the nation, no regret for the lives lost but one hell of a desire to draw the line under and move on from something electorally damaging to Labour.

And that's what Sunny's attitude is indicative of. It's nothing unique to Sunny, it's an endemic problem in the Labour party.

Which is why I'm angry with Labour. Saying sorry is not the same thing as being contrite. Saying sorry is meaningless to the thousands of people who quite literally lost everything thanks to Labour's actions. If Labour really was contrite, if they really cared about Iraq then they wouldn't be so arrogant to assume that some meaningless platitudes from Ed Miliband made up for it.

Now, I don't like the NHS bill. I think it's unnecessary and disruptive. But it's not going to destroy the NHS and it's not going to kill thousands of people. And to compare it to the Iraq War, the Iraq bloody War shows just how little of a damn some Labourites give about the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians.

Also, I loathe the Welfare Reform Act. I still hate the fact that Lib Dem parliamentarians backed it. It will be a dark stain on the party's soul for decades to come. I wouldn't dream of asking people to forget about it and move on until we've apologised for it and actually made an effort to fix the damage it's caused. In fact, that's what I'm currently trying to do with the motion I'm trying to get debated at our autumn conference.

You see, that's how you show contrition. By actually being prepared to stand up, admit you were wrong and do your best to fix it. Making one half-hearted apology and then whining about it being unfair on you every time someone brings up that your party quite literally has blood on its hands just shows, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that Labour aren't really sorry, that they don't understand why what they did was wrong and they never will.

And it's that kind of breathtaking arrogance and utter failure to be sorry for the deaths of so many people that epitomises why I will never stop being angry with Labour. For all you've done, and all you could have done Labour, I despise you.


  1. Shall we start a "Why I Will Never Stop Being Angry With The Liberal Democrats"? Allow me to begin:

    For utterly betraying the students of this country by turning on a manifesto pledge to "scrap tuition fees".

    For backing damaging changes to disabled benefits, leaving many people with long term, incurable disabilities and illnesses on the bread line, unable to pay for fuel, food and travel, leaving some virtually housebound.

    Along with Tory "colleagues", bringing in one of the most damaging bills in the history of the NHS, which will lead to thousands of front line staff losing their jobs and could potentially lead to private companies entering the NHS marketplace for profit. An utter betrayal of the NHS.

    The Lib Dems have shown themselves as utterly power hungry, willing to abandon their principles in order to grab just a small bit of political power.

    And for the record, I am not a Labour voter. I would, however, consider them long before I even remotely entertained the Liberal Democrats.

    1. Evidently you haven't read George's post above at all. Although these things are terrible, all of them put together do not come anywhere close to an Iraq War that killed innocent people. Unless the Lib Dems personally sanction the deaths of 604777 people, I will continue to vote for them.

    2. I was and remain implacably opposed to the invastion of Iraq and the genocide of untold thouseands of civilians. Although i would dearly love to see Mr Blair indicted for crimes agaisnt humanity, I do not blame Labour alone. I believe that any UK government would have capitulated to pressure from the US. Isn't that the basis of our supposed 'Special Relationship'? The Tories supported the war and while the Libdems protested in oppostion, who can really say how they might have proceeded in government? They famously opposed many Tory and Labour propsals in oppostion before the election only to support their full implementation once in government.

      "Now, I don't like the NHS bill. I think it's unnecessary and disruptive. But it's not going to destroy the NHS and it's not going to kill thousands of people."

      How do you know that the NHS bill is not going to kill people? It was reported today that 13% of Hospital deaths could have been prevented with better care. Do you really believe that a health care providers motivated only by profit will really do any better? Obviously the coalition aren't entirely sure - why else wouldn't they publish the NHS risk assessment of their 'Reform'.

      How many deaths will result directly and indirectly from your Cabinet's welfare cuts? We already know that more than 1100 people died between January and August of last year, having been 'assessed as 'fit to work' by Atos. Many more claimants are seriously considering suicide - some have already succumbed to that temptation although the DWP say that they are not able to supply the figures...

      I know that you are a liberal democrat member and supporter George. For the reasons, Wayne has outlined above and for the way in which cabinet representatives ignored your motion carried in conference agaisnt the Welfare Reform Bill, I do not know WHY you are a Liberal Democrat. I wish a plague on all of your houses until we finally get the progressive government that Mr Clegg mistled Voters to believe in. I will be voting Green in future. They say that that would be a wasted vote. That may be but I'll know that My vote will not contribute to the increase of suffering. I'd like to go on but I'm too tired again now...

    3. Mistled = Misled - sorry (very tired)

    4. Sorry - plague on all your houses - means BAh hUmbug sort of thing - foggy tonight.

  2. Next time they are in power and next time an American president tells them that they are going to war, they will do it all over again.

    To defy an American president would be to ask to be removed from the PMUNSC, which would mean that Britain finally would be in the lower ranks of nations, where it should be, but doesn't want to be.

    No British prime minister wants that to happen on his watch.

    I agree with you though. Blair murdered all these people (many hundreds of thousands have also been horribly maimed), ruined their homes, businesses, and has left the country in a far worse state than it was under Saddam. Women have been forced back into the house; they cannot work in European clothes if they can work at all. It's not safe on the streets for men or women. There is no electricity and medical services are few.

    I'll be a lot happier when Blair (and those complicit with him including the Att Gen who revised his opinion that the war was illegal for fear of losing his nice little job) face a trial for war crimes.

    They shame us in the world. And how we are hated. How much more dangerous have these people's actions made our country?

    Of course I don't know whether to trust the reports of terrorists plotting Olympic atrocities, because I have learned from experience to believe nothing that the government, the police or the press say, given that their prime job appears to be to lie to us for whatever reason (add banks to that, but not appropriate in this story). But if perchance these stories are true, I would lay the blame on the fact that we go from Muslim country to Muslim country wreaking havoc and bringing misery where we have no business to be.

    1. 'To defy an American president would be to ask to be removed from the PMUNSC...'

      Not necessarily. After all, one Labour PM, Harold Wilson, refused to allow British troops to take part in the American action in Vietnam despite LBJ pleading with Wilson to have a British flag flying. (if you can, read Stephen Benedict Dyson's article from 2007, 'Alliances, Domestic Politics, and Leader Psychology: Why Did Britain Stay Out of Vietnam and Go into Iraq?') During the build-up to the Iraq War, it's been shown that Bush and co would have understood if Blair had decided not to field British troops.

      Also, it's highly unlikely we would be removed from the PMUNSC: for a start, there are other countries currently not a PM (specifically Brazil, Germany and India) who by most criteria should be on that Council. As things stand, they're never likely to get on because any changes would require full approval by the SC... the UK 99% of the time shares a similar perspective to the United States on international issues, so there's no way the Americans would allow any change in the UK's status that could damage American power/control/influence in the UN whatsoever.

      @George, you mean ROBIN Cook, surely?

  3. Ed Miliband wasn't working for the Labour government when it took us into the Iraq War. He was on a sabbatical teaching at Harvard; at the time he actually rang Brown from America and urged him to break with Blair over taking military action.

    1. Yes, he worked for them immediately before the invasion and then came back to work for them immediately after the invasion. If he'd really had the courage of his convictions he wouldn't have come back from his sabbatical and resigned like John Cook did.

  4. Sorry, I'm with Wayne.

  5. Tom: You're absolutely right. I apologise. Wilson defied the Americans over Vietnam, thank goodness. Still I can't see that happening now that the special relationship, even if we are the "junior partner" means everything to British PMs. Remember Downing Street begging 7 times that the White House would allow Brown a press conference with Obama, and 7 times the president's men refusing.

    The reason we always agree with America is presumably because that means we are indispensable to them as support, both moral and physical (after all they control our WMD and hold the launch codes; we just pay for it and house it near Glasgow!).

    I wish we would be thrown off the security council, then we could give up the idiotic idea of a broke little country having WMDs while not being able to afford boots or armoured cars for the troops at war.

    But it is high time that the security council's permanent membership was updated. France and Britain should be off; there should be representation from the Middle East and from South America. The days of France representing Europe and Britain representing the Empire are long over. If Germany pays for Europe, it should have the seat.

    Still, they are probably quite content to let the Brits go on paying for it and letting the infrastructure fall to pieces. Only fools would do that. I wish Brits weren't such snobs.


I'm indebted to Birkdale Focus for the following choice of words:

I am happy to address most contributions, even the drunken ones if they are coherent, but I am not going to engage with negative sniping from those who do not have the guts to add their names or a consistent on-line identity to their comments. Such postings will not be published.

Anonymous comments with a constructive contribution to make to the discussion, even if it is critical will continue to be posted. Libellous comments or remarks I think may be libellous will not be published.

I will also not tolerate personation so please do not add comments in the name of real people unless you are that person. If you do not like these rules then start your own blog.

Oh, and if you persist in repeating yourself despite the fact I have addressed your point I may get bored and reject your comment.

The views expressed in comments are those of the poster, not me.