The Big Issue

Someone told me that only 3% of voters will decide their vote on the basis of the Iraq invasion. If this is true, I find it rather disturbing that we are able to forgive and forget so readily. Please register your view on the online poll at the top right of the page. Two years ago, the demonstrations against the war were the biggest this country has ever seen – and rightly so. If you are the Prime Minister, surely the most onerous decision you ever have to make is the one that involves committing your armed forces to battle. Knowing that as a result of that decision, people are going to die. As I write this, 86 British service men and women have been killed. The death-toll of Iraqi civilians is conservatively estimated at 15,000 (we don’t officially keep count). If you take the decision to take your country to war, you have to know that you have exhausted every other avenue – that you have no choice. What bigger issue can there possibly be? Forget spending cuts and tax cuts – just think what you can do with £3 billion (so far). If the Prime Minister took us to war on a false prospectus, he is not fit to be Prime Minister. This is the British people’s one and only chance to either endorse or reject Blair. If we re-elect him with a convincing majority, he will take it that we have ‘moved on’, that we consider other things more important.

New evidence this weekend reveals that the Attorney General expressed doubts about the legality of the war in a leaked memo. What is really galling is the way Michael Howard is trying to look whiter than white on the whole issue. He claims to have supported the war because he believed the case that Blair made. At the time, many others had doubts. Hans Blix asked for more time. Members of Blair’s cabinet resigned. If Howard was taken in then he is clearly incompetent. For most of us, the only possible way to express our feelings on this issue is to cast our vote for the only party that consistently opposed the war from the start. If enough of us do that, then maybe we can get rid of this discredited Prime Minister sooner rather than later.

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