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« John Leo: Deaniacs are today's McGovernites | Main | Nicholas Kristof: Bleeding Hearts Of The World, Unite! »


Selsdon Man

What utter rubbish! The existing terror laws dealt with IRA who committed many atrocities on the mainland as well as Ulster.

Bush and Blair took us into an illegal war against Iraq based on lies and distortions. The July 7rh attacks would not have happened if we had not attacked Iraq. The other EU countries have not been attacked and many have large Muslim populations.

The real truth will come out when Scooter Libby is put on trial for perjury and obstruction of justice. Hopefully other prosecutions, especially Karl Rove, will follow.


Selsdon - agreed.
What was really so different between "7/7" and Birmingham, Guildford, London restaurants etc. ? Was it that the homegrown bombers were darker and muslim rather than fairer and Irish? Or was it perhaps the government was worried that they would be more directly blamed.
We are being told that "new circumstances" mean we must through away the rule of law and revert to a pre-Victorian legal system where a new Star Chamber of Ministers, police and security organisations can assume guilt and lock people away without proper legal recourse - even less protection than that which saw the cases of wrongful imprisonment of various people of Irish extractiion in the 1980s. The risks of Liberty always have and have had a downside - but the alternative is a state which places the intersets of "the State" above those of its citizens.
I admit an interest here - I re-joined the party the day DD stood up earlier this year and opposed the Governments proposals.

Mr Eugenides

Godson may have a point when he accuses the Tories of opportunism, but his central argument is seriously flawed. The Conservatives have always stood up of the liberties of the individual vis-a-vis the state.

No-one wants to see the authorities hamstrung by bureaucracy or political correctness, but to whip ourselves into a lather over foxhunting and smoking bans, and not raise concerns over the infringment of the most fundamental of our civil liberties, would be crazy.


I absolutely disagree with the idea that the Tories are being opportunistic at all, in fact their position is quite dangerous from a political perspective.I expect we will see Blair & Clarke accuse us of being 'soft on terror' in the coming weeks.Our arguments are not condusive to simple sloganising like this and will have to be skilfully put by both DD and Howard. I hope they succeed because they are right.

Robert D

"The other EU countries have not been attacked and many have large Muslim populations"

Did I imagine what happened in Madrid then? There was a bomb in Bali again-I didn't know Bali was part of the coalition in Iraq but seeing as it's the Iraq war causing all this terrorism there must be a few of them over there.

Even France has locked up some "militants" for terrorist offences.

"What was really so different between "7/7" and Birmingham, Guildford, London restaurants etc. ? Was it that the homegrown bombers were darker and muslim rather than fairer and Irish?"

At least the proposed law provides for judicial consideration of guilt. Internment in Ulster was carried out by order of the Secretary of State without any such supervision.

It would be better to point out 2 things.
1. Wiretap evidence would allow the conviction of many terrorists (and drug dealers etc). Why not use it? It's not exactly news that the police/MI5 tap phones, is it? And unlike how it used to be (when Sir Robert Megarry V-C pointed out phone tapping was at best a legal gray area) you now can get warrants to tap.

2. Why do we need new offences like glorifying terror etc? Last time I checked Archbold you could get a long time in the nick for conspiracy to cause explosions, incitement to murder/arson/criminal damage etc. If sentences are too short for these crimes, then make them longer and more transparent. It's like hate crime laws-use the ones we have-don't make it more illegal just because people keep doing it or you want to be seen to do something.

Tory T

Dean Godson is the authentic voice of British Conservatism. The traditional liberties of Englishmen are no more compromised by the Government's proposals than they were by the introduction of regulation 18b during WW2. Some Tories don't know we're in a war and simply :cannot see beyond the fastness of their own privet hedges. They regard the 7/7 outrage as something that (a) took place in a far away country (ie - London) and (b) was brought upon Britain by Blair. This is the world view of Neville Chamberlain. We fought it before and we must do so now.

Selsdon Man

Tory T's email address is [email protected]. Jackboot Conservatism!

Selsdon Man

When are the neo-con war-mongers like Godson going to talk about Bush's torture policies? They ignore the transportation of suspects to Egypt for torture - just google "extraordinary rendition" to get the stories. Dick Cheney is trying to get US law`changed to allow the torture of suspects.

Godson now works for Policy Exchange. It appears to be losing its liberal conservatism following Charles Moore's appointment as Chairman.

Richard Allen

Fortunately Dean Godson does not reflect the authentic view of British Conservatism. His views on empowering the state and giving the security services whatever powers they want are closer to fascism that to conservatism. Terrorism does not seriously threaten the basis of our society and those who believe that we need to take extraordinary measures because of terrorism only demonstrate their own lack of resolve.

Incidently the conservative party voted in favour of the bill at second reading. Seeking to improve the bill in Committee is hardly opposition for the sake of opposition. The again maybe Mr Godson's knowledge of the parliamentary process is as lacking as his understanding of conservative principles.

Tory T

There is a really sour, embittered tone to so many of the 'right wing' anti-war contributions. It's worth reading up on the history of appeasement in the 1930s because the parallels and similarities in terms of Tory opinion are really very striking - a combination of complacency (in denial about inconvenient truths), anger (directed at those who tell it like it is rather than those who want to destroy us) and isolationism (this is not 'our' war).

If the anti-war brigade had summoned up a tenth of the emotional outrage for 9/11 that they've displayed over Iraq then I'd respect them more but they are sick at heart. Galloway represents a tendency that's always hated Britain whereas his right wing fellow travellers hate what Britain has become and no longer believe we're worth defending.


What complete and utter rubbish Tory T. Those of us on this blog who have contempt for Dean Godsons view on our liberties or are against the Iraq war are about as far away from 1930's appeasers as it's possible to be. I think if you want to look at someone who hates modern day Britain you look in the mirror.


What exactly would you and Charlie Kennedy have done about Saddam, Malcolm?


That would take a very long time to answer editor and as I'm supposed to be working I'll only have time to give you a sketchy outline.
If I thought that Saddam was really a threat to British interests and really could target Britain with WMDs in 45 minutes then I would probably have threatened him with our own nuclear weapons.But let's stick to reality.
If my motivation was to protect Iraqis opposed to Saddam I would have armed and financed opposition leaders amongst the Kurds and Shia and tried to help them overthrow him,much like Thatcher and Reagan did in Afghanistan in the 1980's. But again let's stick to reality.Thatcher,Reagan,Major and the elder Bush all realised that the major threat to western interests in the middle east wasn't Iraq but since the fall of the Shah was Iran. Hence Matrix Chuchill,Supergun etc and the reluctance to overthrow Saddam when it would have been relatively easy to do so in 1991 after the first gulf war.
The invasion of Iraq and the susequent election of this mad new Iranian president(are the two events linked?) has made the situation infinitely worse.Iraq will probably descend into civil war and end up with a pro Iranian gov't in the unlikely event of the country continuing as one entity.The West may very well have to take military action against Iran but after the expenditure of so much political capital and all the lies Bush and Blair will find it very difficult to persuade their electorates of the need to do so.
I hope Tim,that this answer satisfies you but I doubt it will.
BTW I thought it a very cheap shot of you to link my views to those of Charlie Kennedy.Why don't you ask him what he would have done?


"I would probably have threatened him with our own nuclear weapons."

Are you serious? Saddam knows we wouldn't have used them. It wld have been an incredible threat.

"If my motivation was to protect Iraqis opposed to Saddam I would have armed and financed opposition leaders amongst the Kurds and Shia and tried to help them overthrow him,much like Thatcher and Reagan did in Afghanistan in the 1980's."

Saddam would have masscacred them and/or exactly the kind of civil war you fear would have resulted. Such a failing Iraq would have been much more vulnerable to Iranian (and Syrian) infiltration.

"BTW I thought it a very cheap shot of you to link my views to those of Charlie Kennedy.Why don't you ask him what he would have done?"

What is the difference between your position and that of Mr Kennedy? I honestly can't see any. Neither of you would both have done anything credible to topple Saddam.

Selsdon Man

"What exactly would you and Charlie Kennedy have done about Saddam"

The same as our policy towards China and the former Soviet Union - non-intervention. Authoritarian regimes fall apart eventually.

We only picked a fight with Saddam because he could not win. Bush is like a playground bully - won't pick on someone his own size or bigger.

Iraq was none of our business. It had no WMDs and posed no threat to our national security. We had no right to topple Saddam any more than we have a right to topple the regimes in China, North Korea, Burma and Zimbabwe.

Selsdon Man

"Did I imagine what happened in Madrid then?"

Fair point but Spain, at that time, was a partner in Bush's illegal war too!

Alex W

The comparisons with appeasement are ahistorical and inaccurate. Hitler's Germany was a real and present threat, a burgeoning economic superpower, an aggressive and expansionist foe and a technological powerhouse. It was able to defeat France in a matter of weeks, dominate the entire of continental Europe, pioneer rocket technology and perpetrate one of the vilest atrocities that history has seen.

Saddam was a two-bit bully-boy with a backward economy, third-rate military and the sword of Damocles hanging over him in the event of future massacres. The war cannot resurrect the Kurds or the victims of the Iran-Iraq conflict. Containment and scrutiny was a feasible and effective response until his regime collapsed from within.


Editor in answer to your points.Yes I was being serious in a sense.We made the same threat in 1991 to prevent Saddam using chemical weapons, we threatened 'massive retaliation'ie nuclear weapons.It worked.Had Saddam used WMDs against us I believe that we would have done the same.
Having said that I don't believe that Bush or Blair actually believed the Iraqis actually had WMDs by 2003 so the question is acedemic.
Point 2.What is so different to the situation in Afghanistan?The west armed and financed the anti Taliban factions and therefore has a degree of control over them which we do not have with the various militias in Iraq.Also more importantly there would be 97 of our fellow countrymen alive and hundreds more maimed who would not be suffering today if we had followed this course of action. Whether Saddam would still be in power and whether more Iraqis would be killed under this scenario is a moot point.
I do not understand why you feel that this would lead to more Syrian or Iranian involvement as anti Saddam rebels would be beholden to the west.BTW Insurgents from these nations tend to hate each other,we have managed to pull off the amazing feat of turning them both against us at the same time!
In any case once again I do not believe that we invaded Iraq out of any sense of caring about the welfare of the Iraqi people so once again this is all acedemic.
Point 3.I have no knowledge of what Charlie Kennedy would do about Saddam.As far as I'm aware he has never said.It is perhaps likely that he motivated by the ideas of his EU cronies on the subject. I have posted many times on the Iraq war and as I'm sure you're aware I am primarily motivated by firstly the welfare of our troops and secondly by the need to protect British interests in the middle east.I believed in 2003 and even more so now that the greatest threat to our interests there was not Iraq but Iran and that this war has significantly weakened us in the event that we may have to take future action.You may think these views are wrong or even quite stupid but to link them to Charles Kennedy was indeed a cheap shot and quite unworthy of you.

Selsdon Man

The war-mongers never mention the thousands of innocent Iraqis (over 30,000 I think) who have been killed since the invasion.


Selsdon Man: "The war-mongers never mention the thousands of innocent Iraqis (over 30,000 I think) who have been killed since the invasion."

What about the many, many more who died under Saddam and from malnutrition caused by the UN sanctions regime? Politics/ statecraft is about choices and sometimes the choice is between a bad outcome and an even worse outcome. The even worse outcome was leaving Saddam in place to do worse in the future. Sometimes I wonder if bin Laden is right and the west is too decadent to bear the burden of its defence.

Malcolm: "You may think these views are wrong or even quite stupid but to link them to Charles Kennedy was indeed a cheap shot and quite unworthy of you."

All I can say, Malcolm, is for the second time you have failed to show that there is any substantial difference between your position and Charlie Chamberlain's. You stand with Kennedy, Chirac, Schroeder, Ken Clarke and Sir Malcolm Rifkind in essentially being a do-nothing. I'd rather stand with Bush, Blair and John Howard.

The democratically elected government want us in Iraq and are grateful for our intervention. The people who want us out are the Iranians, the Baathists and al-Qaeda.

The one very good thing about the Tory leadership election is that the candidates who share your views were defeated.

Selsdon Man

Editor, I agree that Saddam was a monster but I believe that invasion in pursuit of regime change is illegal under international law. There are other repugnant regimes that could or should be removed but the US has not invaded them. Katrina has shown that security of oil supply is a major concern in the US. Oil, and finishing Bush Snrs business, appear to be the real motives.


'I'd rather stand with Bush,Blair and John Howard'.I don't know much about John Howard so I will excuse him.You can do what you like Editor, but personally I would feel rather ashamed in standing with a couple of guys who have had to lie and lie and lie again to justify their actions.
I feel very sad that on issue as important as this I disagree totally with the man who will be my party leader but am comforted that there are many good conservatives (the majority?) who agree with me.

Alex W

Editor - I'll grant you that Saddam was a monster, but the fact that he had perpetrated atrocities against his people in the past did not justify an invasion. Unlike in Kosovo, where the genocide was ongoing, the victims of Halabja could not be brought back simply by sending in the marines. Had Saddam committed further acts, I would have stood four-square with preventing these, but there is a huge difference between preventative intervention and post facto intervention - simply put, the latter is useless.

And I personally can't believe that you've signed up to the George Galloway "sanctions kill Iraqi children" line. The abuse of the sanctions regime by Saddam led to deaths, something you know full well.


Selsdon Man: An area of agreement between us, at last! Bush/Blair etc shouldn't have stopped at Iraq. The failure to act in Darfur, eg, has been shameful. This doesn't make Iraq wrong, however, as if failing to rescue all drowning men invalidated the act of rescuing one drowning man.

Malcolm: We'll have to disagree. I'm happier with the leaders of my cause than I would be with yours.

Alex W: Why should we have waited until Saddam monstered people again - perhaps with more devastating weapons than before? Is that what you're saying? I agree with Winston Churchill's advice: "You must never fire until you have been shot dead? That seems to be a silly thing to say." And as for the sanctions regime - you're right. It was the abuse of the regime, rather than the regime itself, but given that Saddam was the abuser that seems like another good reason to have acted against him and the lives he was ending.

Selsdon Man

"Bush/Blair etc shouldn't have stopped at Iraq" Sorry to diappoint you, Editor, but I did not say that. I was merely pointing out that Bush and Blair picked on an easy target for dubious reasons.

Contrast the attitude to Saddam with the red carpet treatment extended to China'President today. The Chinese regime is murdering thousands of its own people and continues to illegally occupy Tibet. Himan rights are abused every day.

Why will Blair and Bush not take on China? It is too economically and militarily strong. They are bullies picking on easy targets. Promoting global democracy? A sick joke!

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