A short review of the clash between the Blairites and the Corbrites, before and after Brexit EU referendum …
The Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn is to issue a public apology over the Iraq war on behalf of the party if he becomes leader next month, a move Tony Blair repeatedly resisted. In a statement to the Guardian, Corbyn said he would apologise to the British people for the “deception” in the runup to the 2003 invasion and to the Iraqi people for their subsequent suffering.
Such an apology would be important symbolically – particularly in a party where Iraq remains a sore point, 12 years after Britain joined the US in the invasion – and signal a wider departure from existing Labour’s defence and foreign policy.
The MP made a vow that suggests future UK military interventions will become rarer: “Let us say we will never again unnecessarily put our troops under fire and our country’s standing in the world at risk. Let us make it clear that Labour will never make the same mistake again, will never flout the United Nations and international law.”
This effectively rules out Labour under Corbyn from supporting David Cameron’s government in a proposed House of Commons vote to expand to Syria the current UK air strikes in Iraq against Islamic State.
The planned apology over Iraq is aimed at helping win back party members who either left or have stayed but felt estranged as a result of the decision to go to war, which Corbyn voted against. To win in 2020, Labour needed to rebuild its coalition with those who opposed the conflict, Corbyn said.
Sir John Chilcot’s Iraq war inquiry report will not let former Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and other officials involved in the ill-fated 2003 invasion “off the hook,” a source close to the inquiry says. Chilcot is due to release his long-delayed report on the legality of the war on July 6, seven years after the inquiry was commissioned.
The 2.6 million-word report is said to offer an “absolutely brutal” verdict and “damage reputations,” the Sunday Times quoted a senior source familiar with the report as saying.
It is likely Blair will be found to have offered military support to then-US President George W. Bush a year before the 2003 invasion. The report will also likely accuse him of mishandling the war and the subsequent bloody occupation of Iraq, it was reported.
Sir Richard Dearlove, a former head of MI6, will be criticized for not preventing Downing Street from putting out the infamous “dodgy dossier” about Saddam Hussein’s capacity to attack British targets within 45 minutes.
Dearlove will also be blamed for not doing enough to stop the government from sprinkling “gloss” on intelligence memos about the alleged weapons of mass destruction.
Jack Straw [Video statement 4 days after invasion – C-span], foreign secretary at the time, will also come under heavy criticism, the source says.
“It will be absolutely brutal for Straw. The buildup to war is very crucial. It will damage the reputations of a number of people, Richard Dearlove as well Tony Blair and others. But there is a second half. The report will say that we really did make a mess of the aftermath.”
Straw is expected to be singled out for sending unsuitable people to Iraq to run its civilian administration in the aftermath of Saddam’s fall.
Jeremy Corbyn represents the “politics of protest” and is standing by while people are “bombed, beaten and starved into submission” in Syria, Tony Blair has said, in his most vehement attack on the Labour leader yet.
The former Prime Minister, who is awaiting the publication of the Chilcot Report into the Iraq War, dismissed Mr Corbyn as the “guy with the placard” and suggested he was incapable of making the “difficult decisions” required of a world leader.
Attacking Mr Corbyn, who has suggested that Mr Blair should face a war crimes investigation, the former Labour leader told Bloomberg: “I’m accused of being a war criminal for removing Saddam Hussein – who by the way was a war criminal – and yet Jeremy is seen as a progressive icon as we stand by and watch the people of Syria barrel-bombed, beaten and starved into submission and do nothing.”
He said that both Mr Corbyn and US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump had benefitted from the “revolutionary phenomenon” of social media, which he said could win mass support for political figures on “waves of sentiment and emotion”.
Outlining how he felt his style of politics differed to Mr Corbyn’s, he said: “There’s a guy whose face is on the placard. That’s me: hate that guy. You’re the person in power taking difficult decisions. Jeremy is the guy with the placard, he’s the guy holding it. One’s the politics of power and the other’s the politics of protest.”
He added that the Labour leader will not budge from his refusal to share platforms with Conservatives or the cross-party Stronger In campaign in the last few days before the EU referendum.
Mr Corbyn has been criticised from all sides for refusing to share platforms with Conservative opponents of Brexit during the referendum and been urged to make a stronger case for the Remain camp.
A number of MPs are seeking to impeach former prime minister Tony Blair using an ancient Parliamentary law. The move, which has cross-party support, could be launched in the aftermath of the Chilcot Inquiry report because of the Labour leader’s alleged role in misleading Parliament over the Iraq War.
MPs believe Mr Blair, who was in office between 1997 and 2007, should be prosecuted for breaching his constitutional duties and taking the country into a conflict that resulted in the deaths of 179 British troops.
Not used since 1806, when Tory minister Lord Melville was charged for misappropriating official funds, the law is seen in Westminster as an alternative form of punishment if, as believed, Mr Blair will escape serious criticism in the Chilcot Inquiry report.
Triggering the process simply requires an MP to propose a motion, and support evidence as part of a document called the Article of Impeachment. If the impeachment attempt is approved by MPs, the defendant is delivered to Black Rod ahead of a trial.
The coup against Corbyn was planned to stop him calling for Blair’s head after Chilcot | Herald of Scotland |
By Alex Salmond, former leader Scottish National Party
It would be a mistake to believe that Chilcot and current events are entirely unconnected. The link is through the Labour Party.
I have been puzzling as to exactly why the Parliamentary Labour Party chose this moment to launch their coup against Jeremy Corbyn and just what explains the desperation to get him out last week. It can hardly be because of a European referendum where Corbyn’s campaigning, although less than energetic, was arguably more visible than that of say the likely big political winner Teresa May?
Would it not have been more sensible and certainly less damaging simply to put up another candidate against Corbyn and argue the case to the country? It certainly would have made for less of a pantomime and, with both establishment parties holding simultaneous leadership elections, it would have minimised the damage. So what exactly was the urgency in getting the removal vans to visit the Corbyn’s office last week?
I had a conversation on exactly this point with veteran Labour firebrand Dennis Skinner . He answered in one word “Iraq”. The Skinner line is that the coup was timed to avoid Corbyn calling for Blair’s head next Wednesday from the Despatch Box. Indeed many would say that when Corbyn stated that he would be prepared to see a former Labour Prime Minister tried for War Crimes then he sealed his fate as leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party.
- ○ Jeremy Corbyn: Stop Blaming Migrants And The EU For Job Insecurity Caused By New Labour And Tory Governments | HuffPost – June 16, 2016 |
My recent coveage of Brexit and political turmoil …