Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Ed Miliband blunders into Iraq minefield

New Labour leader Ed Miliband was wrong to condemn Britain’s role in the invasion of Iraq in the manner he did at yesterday’s party conference speech. I say this as one who supported the war up to the minute it became clear Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction were a fiction invented to allow George W Bush to finish what his father had started.
Miliband said, "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.” This was mealy-mouthed by any measure.
In follow up interviews today he said that at the time he had concerns about the invasion. Miliband entered Parliament in 2005 – two years after the war. But he was part of the Labour establishment in 2003 and his voice would have had some impact if it had been raised against the UK’s participation in the conflict.
His quiet since entering the Commons, he said, was prompted by collective cabinet responsibility.
On both counts this silence was convenient. On the other hand by not wriggling about his support for the invasion brother David kept his integrity – and lost support in the leadership race as a consequence. It isn't a surprise he has no stomach to serve in Ed's Shadow cabinet.
The Gulf war cost hundreds of Allied lives and many thousands of Iraqi ones. A man who seeks to one day be prime minister should take more care before he uses the tragedy for personal or party advantage.


  1. I agree with you, GC, says Jaffa. David is a foreign affairs specialist and a brilliant one at that. Ed ailienated him during that speech. I do believe that David would have wanted to remain as shadow foreign affairs minister in Ed's shadow cabinet. Ed showed in his speech that he would have been prepared to overule David in that area and take Labout to the Left internationally as well as domestically. What I see as the Blairite pro-American leaning David, would, I believe, not have been able to stomach that.

  2. Thanks Jaffa, it may be so. Sunday's newspapers may shed more light on the whole unhappy episode - unhappy that is unless you are are Tory. GC


What do you think? GC