Monday, 16 June 2014

All Along

God bless the likes of Tim Stanley and Owen Jones. But they were both Marxist undergraduates in the spring of 2003. They are allowed to have been right about Iraq.

What you will not be hearing or reading will be anything like, oh, I don't know, the view of someone who was then on the General and Executive Committees of the Government Chief Whip's Constituency Labour Party, and who tried, by no means alone, to explain to that great luminary exactly what would happen in the event of an invasion of Iraq.

Exactly that has happened. Of course. It was not hard to predict. Several of us moderately well-informed Labour activists in North West Durham predicted it word for word.

No such word was understood by Hilary Armstrong. That, too, hardly needs to be said. In her attempts at reply, she recited any old rubbish over and over again, and waited on elderly loyalists to her dynasty to make approving noises over the heads of those of us who knew what we were talking about.

Her dynasty had in fact acquired that seat by all manner of underhand means when it had been created by the merger of her father's constituency with much of that of the considerably younger David Watkins, who was one of the first MPs ever to challenge the Israel Lobby. Watkins failed by one vote to secure selection, after a delegate who had been mandated to vote for him did not turn up...

Ever present was Hilary's mini-me and intended successor, the only person even thicker than she was. In principle, I ought to oppose the system of all-women shortlists. But it spared this seat and the nation the experience of him as a Member of Parliament; indeed, it was imposed specifically for that reason. So it cannot be all that bad.

The wonder is that he is not now treated as a major league commentator. Other than people who were nothing more than the latest marching students at the time, and who are in Tim's case now safely right-wing or in Owen's at least apparently in a safely Hard Left holding container, only people who were crashingly, mind-boggling, and entirely transparently wrong about Iraq are allowed in British public life.

Those of us who were grown-up right for grown-up reasons, and there were huge numbers of us the length and breadth of the country, still do not officially exist.


  1. Bloody hell, even by your standards you are telling it like it is here.

  2. I love how the Armstrongs' seat now has a Left MP. Especially considering who Hilary wanted instead. But it should still have been you. You are the rightful heir of Dave Watkins.