Left Out Liberal

A left-wing/liberal look at the UK's General Election of 2005.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Trust Tony?

The latest relevations on the Attorney General's flip-flopping between whether the war in Iraq was legal or not are rather interesting. The government is caught on this one, and the opposition has the potential to make a great deal of capital from it.

In an ideal world, they would publish everything. But of course, they cannot. The government pursues the line, and they have their justification for it, that no governments have to release their legal advice as they have legal-professional privilege, or something like that. This is their persistent defence.

It is a weak defence. It allows the debate to rumble on over whether Lord Goldsmith, the AG, was leant upon by Blair to support the war. I have a suspicion that he was, but it is just that - a suspicion. It all seems to be so convenient, the way everything falls into place just in time for the Commons debate on authorising the war. It continues to feed the cynicism of politics, and the continued basic lack of trust people feel in Blair's government.

And this is where the government is stuck. Disclose the advice, and perhaps just the tiniest nugget of information is revealed that confirms us cynics and sceptics were right all along. The proof positive that we cannot trust this government after all is granted.

On the flip side, they can continue to resist disclosure, thus fuelling the suspicions we have still further, while the government looks like it's stumbling with excuses of "convention"... and not giving consistent genuine reasons why they feel it would be a bad idea to disclose it. The circumstances of this event are unique, and so much is slowly eking away into the public domain anyway that this is going to rumble on for much longer. It would probably be better to get this all over and done with. Perhaps they would, but there's a damn pesky election standing in the way!

Either way, it is extremely damaging for the government. I feel that this one still has plenty of mileage. If the Conservatives weren't so stupid as to have supported the war, I feel they would have been in a much stronger position now, and the Lib Dems would be totally out of the picture. There were several sensible Conservatives, such as Douglas Hogg, who could clearly see that this was all going to be a complete disaster who held strong and still continue to pursue accountability of the government on this one, but otherwise, they were hopelessly ineffective, and thus the legacy of Iain Duncan-Smith persists.

But the simple fact is that this will be an issue. Perhaps not because people think of Iraq as very important to their daily lives, but because this along with many other issues, are fine illustrations of why they just cannot trust Tony Blair any more. If the opposition parties make this the key issue, then they just might pull off quite a surprise.

Tony Blair must go. It's as simple as that.


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