Labour should open its new era by ditching the ‘War on Terror’…..

Guantanamo Bay shames the claims that the 'war on terror' was a war for 'civilisation'....

When we are looking at  the ideological ballast we might want to get rid of we could do much worse than ditch the ridiculous  ‘war on terror’. This was George W’s pet project which Tony Blair signed-up to with great zeal because it was obviously attractive to his particular mindset and brand of politics – as a cause it perfectly fitted the ‘moral crusader’ edge to  Blair and his politics. If you look at it then a lot of the things that some candidates have criticised stem from Blair’s mistake in singing-up for this less than joyous ride. Describing Guantanamo Bay as ‘understandable’ in his recent memoirs (I can’t see the unfortunate inmates sharing this ‘understanding’ ) Blair is obviously unrepentant but our Party cannot afford the same luxury.  Obviously, it led to the invasion of Iraq but at home it also led to the invasion by the Blairite state into people’s lives under the guise of protecting people so, when ID cards are disavowed the logical conclusion is to look at what give rise to the idea in the first place.

Consequences from its launch rumble on in the continuing saga of rendition flights  and the question of how much the last government knew about the torture of suspects. Here there are serious unanswered questions which could yet harm the Party and also David Miliband if he is elected as its leader. This episode reminds me of a scene from the Thick of it where the hapless Hugh Abbott instructs his aides to shred his parliamentary diaries but not to tell him they are doing it so he can remain blissfully unaware of what is happening.  Similarly, the kindest thing that can be said is that David Miliband seems to have done his best to remain unaware of something he knew must be happening and also to keep the British people in the dark.

Before you say; ‘this doesnt matter’ you should perhaps consider the fact that it is precisely this kind of baggage that is going to scare off those disaffected Lib Dems that all the would-be leaders are so desperate to win back. I doubt 1,000 let alone 10,000 of them would return to a Party unable to admit the mistakes made in this area. Mistakes that flowed not just from this or that bad policy move but from the fundamental premise of the ‘war on terror’ in the first place. Admitting the ‘war on terror’ was wrong and pledging to no longer pursue it would be a grand start to a new era for the Labour Party.

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About darrellgoodliffe

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6 responses to “Labour should open its new era by ditching the ‘War on Terror’…..”

  1. asquith says :

    They should, but they won’t. I never understood why so many civil liberties-minded people were & still are Labour loyalists when it comes down to it. They seem to think that whenever Blair & Brown brought in repressive legislation it was some kind of accident, a freak, & they’d rediscover their liberalism some time soon. Yet I accuse them of having authoritarianism woven into their DNA.

    My views on this were really solidified by reading “The Abolition of Liberty” by Peter Hitchens. I don’t share his right-wing views, & dislike his tabloid column, but even though he’s not generally someone whose manifesto I’d put my name to he has been strong on this issue (Iraq too) & this book seems to me to be an effort to reach out to people like me who don’t normally agree with him.

    I do not carry a torch for the coalition but I do prefer them to the last government, which I thoroughly condemned on all fronts. The Labour leadership candidates are sounding more liberal but it takes no effort for an opposition to do that. If they formed a government that was socially & personally liberal, even though I am an economic liberal I wouldn’t vilify them overall. Yet I won’t be getting my hopes up.

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  2. asquith says :

    Of course the coalition wouldn’t be liberal/libertarian enough for me either. I will condemn what I see as their errors in this regard. But while I compare them in my head to the perfect government, in fact the main opposition is Labour who from my point of view are worse.

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  3. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Asquith,

    Your probably right. I think it tends to be a question of priorities and what different people can live with. I think you have a point in that they abandoned the state in the economic sphere and replaced with it a overbearing desire to secure the citizens security.

    The problem is the link between the economic and the social. I have to say your view of this government is very rose-tinted. How ‘liberal’ is the heavy use of lie-detector tests and their active promotion in the laughable efforts to combat tax evasion? Like you say its easy to mouth platitudes in opposition but the price of this governments ‘liberalism’ is a class war on the poor and I am not willing to pay that.

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  4. asquith says :

    Yes, I will condemn the lie detector tests (if it ever actually happens), Boris Johnson’s actions towards these Democracy Square protestors, etc. I am quite familiar with the consequences of state actions, so I support some things (such as EMA, & the child trust fund which I wouldn’t have been abolished). Yet it is my familiarity with government activism that makes me a liberal, opposed to most of it. Judging X & Y on their merits, I end up supporting a smaller government. Only the things now being cut are not necessarily the bits I have most against, so I am not beholden to the coalition.

    It does seem to me as though you & I will reach accord on which ultimate policies should be followed. I was never tempted to join a party but I won’t be regretting having supported Liberal Democrats in the election. I don’t think your mate MiliE will sway me 🙂

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  5. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Asquith,

    Well true, it probably will because they are already used at the other end of scale by private companies. I think a key question with regard to state activity in the economic sphere is what is in its place? I think we both agree the state should be there to ensure people dont fall into total and absolute poverty. My contention is also the state can have a role in growing a new economy within the old and curbing the excesses of the old.

    Like you say I think we could quite easily reach an accord that satisfied both of us. Lol, well I can understand why to some degree as Party’s are not for everybody. On that we will have to see 🙂

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