Friday, April 20, 2007

We might as well have sent Freddie Flintoff on a Pedalo

My House Points from today's Liberal Democrat News.

Silly skirmishes

It’s typical of the lack of excitement around Gordon Brown that Des Browne is among his closest allies. Nick Brown used to be another. Under Brown, brown will be the new brown. It won’t be a surprise to see Old Abram and Sweet Georgia in a Brown cabinet too.

Monday was meant to be the day the Tories forced Des Browne to resign, but it never looked like happening. In part it was because, unimpressive though Browne was (“I have expressed a degree of regret that can be equated with an apology”), Liam Fox was little better.

But it was more because of the other events that happened that day. Set against the Virginia shootings and the first inquest into the death of British servicemen in Iraq, the affair felt tawdry and insignificant.

OK, so the appearance of the released sailors’ stories in the tabloids was not edifying, even if there are precedents going back to the young Winston Churchill.

Mind you, I bet Churchill never complained that his iPod has been taken away or that his captors had called him “Mr Bean”. His present-day equivalents gave the impression they had just come out of the Big Brother house, something Des Browne accentuated by referring to them “young people” throughout.

If this aspect of the affair has any deeper meaning it is in displaying one of the contradictions of Blairism. We have a prime minister who intervenes all over the world but at home promotes a society that disparages the military virtues.

Towering over this debate were two far more important matters. The first is why our sailors were captured so easily. Either the planning of this operation was inadequate or our forces in Iraq are woefully underequipped. And we still have not got our boats back from the Iranians.

By the sound of it, we might as well have sent Freddie Flintoff on a Pedalo.

The second is that it displayed again the folly of our intervention in Iraq. The Iraq/Iran border is ill defined and has long been in dispute. Now we find ourselves policing it.

The Tories should not worry about Des Browne and the tabloids. They should ask themselves why it was that they ever supported Bush and Blair’s Iraq war.

1 comment:

Stonch said...


You allude to Churchill's imprisonment during the Boer War, implying he was somewhat more heroic than the captured RN personnel taken by the Iranians recently.

That may well be true. However my great grandfather, who was involved in the fighting nearby and in fact met Churchill, had a story to tell. Suffice to say, he maintained the real circumstances of Winston's release would not have reflect well on him, has they ever been made public.

I am enjoying your blog - pleased to have discovered it.