Saturday 18 March 2023

20 Years On

20 years ago tonight, the House of Commons voted to approve the invasion of Iraq, with only 149 votes against, a mere 84 of them Labour. We should have seen it then. As should they. Including Jeremy Corbyn.

It has become fashionable to say that Tony Blair "never lied" about Iraq, but how can anyone possibly suggest that with a straight face? Unlike 90 per cent of the population, did Blair truly believe that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, capable of deployment within 45 minutes against the British bases on Cyprus, bases that for some reason Saddam Hussein might have been minded to have attacked? On what basis could Blair possibly have believed that? As Aneurin Bevan said of Anthony Eden in similar circumstances, Blair was either too wicked to be Prime Minister, or he was too stupid to be Prime Minister.

The wicked and the stupid are back with a vengeance, not that they ever went away. But when I say that there is going to be a hung Parliament, then you can take that to the bank. I spent the 2005 Parliament saying that it was psephologically impossible for the Heir to Blair's Conservative Party to win an overall majority. I predicted a hung Parliament on the day that the 2017 General Election was called, and I stuck to that, entirely alone, all the way up to the publication of the exit poll eight long weeks later. And on the day that Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, I predicted that a General Election between him and Keir Starmer would result in a hung Parliament.

The opinion polls bear no resemblance to real votes cast, and even the Labour poll lead has halved since Sunak took over. Halved. The Labour vote has gone through the floor at all but one by-election since Starmer became Leader, with one of those recording Labour's lowest ever share of the vote. Council seats that were held or won under Corbyn have fallen like sandcastles, taking control of major local authorities with them. That is the bread and butter of the party's right wing, who are not otherwise the most employable of people.

With nearly two years still to go until the next General Election, Starmer's personal rating is negative not only nationally, but in every region apart from London, and it is still in decline. Starmer's dishonesty is becoming a story. He lied to his party members to get their votes, so he would lie to anyone else to get their votes. We are heading for a hung Parliament. To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.


  1. In Britain we have media who think the war was legal because the Attorney General said so.

    1. Or, at a push, because the House of Commons voted for it. I tell people from abroad that we have "opinion formers" like that, and they think that I am joking. Try it.