June 12, 2004: concerning the local Council elections of June 10:
John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, admitted the party had received "a kicking" and David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, said he was "mortified". They both blamed a backlash over Iraq.
Clare Short, who resigned as a cabinet minister after the Iraq war, renewed her demand for Mr Blair to stand down. She said: "I think that the electorate is sending a message to Tony Blair because the Labour Party seems incapable of correcting him. What we did in Iraq has brought disgrace and dishonour on Britain around the world. As Tony Blair won't change the policy, the only way to make a correction is for him to step aside from the leadership."
Writing in The Independent today, Robin Cook says Mr Blair must promise there "will be no more Iraqs" if he wants to lead Labour into the general election. Ominously, he adds: "The real problem is that in his heart Tony Blair remains convinced that he was right and that he should be ready to do it again. So long as that remains the case, many of the voters who have deserted Labour will not return."
The results show only too clearly that very many of the core Labour voters have deserted their traditional party, so long usurped by Blair and his clique.
Unless the party rids itself of Blair and his immediate cronies and returns to the principles on which the party was founded - they are unlikely ever to return!
From the Eastern Daily Press, June 11, 2004:
A recipe for total anarchy
Miss MARGUERITE FINN,
Re James Rogers' letter ('Iraq war was right,' June 8), this contravened the UN Charter - the only safeguard against total chaos.
To protest against a pre-emptive, illegal war against another sovereign state is not appeasement - it is an attempt to prevent global anarchy.
Without a set of universal principles agreed through the United Nations, the mighty will always attack the weak to secure precious resources, like oil, and will use any means at their disposal - including the nuclear option.
Fanciful? I don't think so. Already preparations are being made for the manufacture of a new generation of 'usable' mini-nukes - right here in the UK at AWE Aldermaston.
Yes, Saddam Hussein was a vile dictator, and Mr Rogers writes of Saddam's victims who 'now rest in mass graves.'
But in Falluja, a football pitch had to be converted into a cemetery for the mangled corpses - including many women and children - blasted into eternity by the reckless and disproportionate use of American firepower.
Many of them are also nameless.
Unfortunately there are many dictatorial regimes in the world - which of them would Mr Rogers like to invade next?
We could turn our attention to the Sudan where the Sudanese government if hugely implicated in ethnic cleansing, by Arab militias, of African people living in the region and at least 350,000 are now predicted to die within the next few months.
Or why not Saudi Arabia, or Zimbabwe or Uzbekistan?
It is a sad fact that the suffering of innocent people under despotic regimes leaves most Western politicians largely untouched - otherwise they would be working together within the United Nations framework and allocating sufficient troops and money to the allow the UN to act decisively in the name of the international community,
From the Eastern Daily Press, June 12, 2004:
Foreign policy is oppressive
Richard Baugley (Letters, June 8) seems to have a 'Boys Own' view of the RAF, where they are permanently outnumbered - The Few - gallantly fending off the German Luftwaffe in the summer of 1940.
In reality, since the second world war the RAF, as part of the wider UK military machine, has been involved in numerous actions against largely defenceless third world nations.
In attempting to quell a popular revolt in Oman in 1959, the British Air Ministry stated RAF bombing was aimed ay destroying the rebels "means of existence, including cultivation, animals and water supply of the local population assisting them."
The historian Mark Curtis describes similar events in 1960s Aden where "RAF bombing destroyed rebel villages and crops, causing thousands of people to flee."
Ironically, the RAF rarely faces enemy planes in combat, preferring to attack countries with no viable air force - such as Serbia in 1999 and Iraq between 1991 and 2003.
When the bombs start going off in London, it won't be because they hate democracy (or some other self-serving nonsense), but will be in response to UK foreign policy - in which the RAF plays an essential role.
Far from protecting us from "fundamentalist terrorism," in the long term RAF actions have actually endangered the lives of British citizens.