I think less that 20% of the UK population approved of the Iraq war (the Afghan one was unavoidable after 9/11, so let’s leave that out of the discussion). At the time there was a lot of hocus pocus where Tony Blair was said to be taking an unpopular decision for the right reasons and people need to be led in times of crisis. This is code for we don’t give a shit what you think, we’re going to do it anyway – something politicians do lots, but they use code to make it hard to see.
The problem was there was no crisis, and we didn’t need to be led anywhere. The weapons of mass destruction weren’t there, and Saddam, armed with the best former-Soviet technology money could buy, may as well have been waving sticks in the air and banging rocks together for all the good it did him in the end.
Now, however, the political class are trying to run away from their responsibilities. There was no popular movement that could have been helped to create a democratic government with the backing of the Iraqi people, so the coalition had to invent one. If they hadn’t run away at the end of the first intervention then there would probably be a democratic government there that was pro-Western, but they were cowards and didn’t do it. Now, of course, years later, there are a lot of other vested interests that don’t want a stable Iraq and don’t trust the coalition – but who can blame them, after what happened?
If we withdraw, then all those civillian lives, all those brave young men and women who fought for the coalition, all those deaths, all that suffering, will have been for nothing, There will be a blood bath. Now we need to be led, the politicians need to be brave and say uncomfortable things like we were wrong to go in there, but now we have duty to all those who suffered and died to make it right and stop the bloodshed. But they want to run away because that’s what’s easiest.
I’m tired of being led, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. And the running away afterwards, shirking responsibility, makes me puke – it’s an insult to those who have suffered.
Stop pretending to lead us, because you aren’t, and try listening to us.
Please, can someone who can count past 10 without having to take their shoes off tell me how raising the fees (which get paid back after graduation if the graduate earns more than a certain amount) will make even the tiniest bit of difference to the deficit now? No significant amounts of money will flow back into government coffers for probably at least 5 years. Who has any idea what state the economy will be in then? The entire argument is bogus and innumerate. No-one is asking this question. If students were paying the fees now, so the government weren’t having to fund them then it would make some sense, but in fact it’s a political thing about not wanting free (or at least subsidised) education – the deficit has nothing to do with it. The deficit is a smoke screen and they should be called on it.
The other thing, which follows on from the last section, is everyone moaning about violence in the students’ protests. Well, matey, we’ve had 25 years of peaceful protest when we were ignored – none of the protesters are stupid enough not to have noticed this. What the hell did you expect? We have a government without a mandate putting up the cost of education without listening to anybody, one half of the coalition signed a pledge (which was in case they were elected remember?) that they would look to abolish the fees, not double them. I think we’re all entitled to be extremely pissed off, and no, don’t try leading us here either. You are full of shit and you haven’t got a mandate – all 3 parties lost the election. So tread with care and be careful not to piss off the 60% of the population who don’t like what you might be trying to do? Too stupid.
If you don’t start listening and actually changing things the 1980’s will look like a dry run.
And Milliband isn’t being an opposition, he’s just waiting around to be elected. This has also been a problem for the last 25 years, or perhaps even longer. Grow a spine, man.