The legacy of 9/11

Everyone remembers where they were on September 11th, 5 years ago. The era of 24 hour televised news means that many, myself included, saw the second impact live. That was the moment you knew that the world had changed forever, because before that, it still might have been an awful accident. Instead, my blood ran cold at the thought that someone could be so evil that they would deliberately crash a plane full of civilians into a building full of civilians. Twice. Then it was four planes (for some reason, everyone talks about the Twin Towers and forgets to mention that there were four planes and two targets).

Such unspeakable acts can only be viewed as cold-blooded mass murder. There is no justification. There were no martyrs – only murderers. The question on everyone’s lips – ‘how do we (the Free West) react to such an attack?’. How do we achieve justice for the families of the victims, and prevent such an atrocity from ever happening again?

Five years later, we have to be adjudged as having failed on both counts. Osama Bin Laden, and his sergeants, are still at large. Not only has he evaded capture, but he is still able to exhort his followers around the world to plan and perpetrate mindless terrorist acts aimed at innocent civilians. His followers have brought murder to London and Madrid – and other despicable plots have been foiled too. We certainly cannot yet claim to feel safe from further attacks.

Our civil liberties have been curbed in the name of the ‘War on Terror’. The United States admits that suspects have been locked up without trial in Guantanamo Bay, and in other locations outside the US. But surely the hardest part to explain to anyone is this: the largest amount of money and manpower in our ‘War on Terror’ has been expended on invading and occupying a country which has no link with Osama Bin Laden and no connection to the 9/11 attacks. So much manpower and hardware has been devoted to Iraq, that our forces in Afghanistan (where most people believe Bin Laden is hiding) are stretched nearly to breaking point. This must be one of the most monumental tactical errors in the history of armed conflict.

Historians will struggle in years to come to explain the incompetence of our leaders.

Why not just hand over the keys?

Many of you will know that if you Google for ‘liar’ you will find the top result is a page about Tony Blair. This was achieved by the number of bloggers who linked pieces to this page using the word ‘liar’ as the link. However, since Tony Blair is now quite clearly a lame duck Prime Minister, I am calling on all bloggers to link the phase ‘lame duck‘ in their postings to the following url: http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page4.asp. How Blair can continue beyond next May when he is clearly a ‘dead man walking’, I don’t know. The battle is entertaining, but for those of us who abhor Blair and what he has done to this countrys reputation, the end cannot come too swiftly.

New Labour is a failed project. All of the good intentions of 1997 have capitulated to the NeoCon administration of George W Bush. John Prescott said that the US reaction to the Lebanon crisis was ‘crap’. Well he was right – but the UK reaction was crap too. Are we really now so enslaved to Bush’s evangelical zeal that we have to ask permission to call for a ceasefire?

Are Labour capable of replacing Blair with anyone more reliable to steer the good ship UK? The signs aren’t promising. The leader in waiting has been described by Charles Clarke as a control freak incapable of making a decision – although that seems self-contradictory to me! No-one else with the stature and experience required appears capable of mounting a sufficiently strong challenge.

In the meantime, we are condemned to more months of lame duck leadership. Perhaps we should just give George W Bush the keys to Number 10?

We need a General Election, and we need it soon.

What announcement?

So Tony Blair made an announcement today, did he?

Well I must have missed something, since all I heard from him was “I’ll be gone before the 2007 Conference”. Well forgive me but NO **** SHERLOCK! We all know he couldn’t possibly survive another 12 months after this week (however loyalists try to play it down). I did say yesterday that, for purely selfish reasons, it would suit me if he was still dithering next May. But joking aside, we are effectively without a leader until this is resolved. How can Blair now set any kind of policy agenda, when we all know he’s serving his final weeks in the post? His real mistake was when he admitted he didn’t intend to serve the full term. Ever since, the speculation about the date was inevitable – and he was a leader past his sell by date.

He should face up to the obvious – and then do us all a favour.

Tony, please stay!

What is it about party leaders that makes them completely unable to see when their time is up? Surely it takes a certain amount of political nous to have risen to that position in the first place!

Personally, I’m hoping he sticks it out until the bitter end. Every day that he remains in the top job makes ‘New Labour’ look less credible. Next May, there are local elections to be fought, and local Labour activists are depressed. They expect to lose and lose big. They know that if Tony stood down this year, they would have the chance of a shiny new leader bouncing their flagging support.

Labour MPs know this too – hence the letters and resignations. They hope to save their own skins by sticking the knife into Blair. Expect some of the signatories to get plum jobs in a GB cabinet. Which brings me on to another gripe. We, the voting public, do not get a vote in the ensuing leadership election. I believe that under these circumstances, the new leader should be forced to go to the country within six months.