Friday, 11 December 2015

In the Multiverse...

The Day Britain Abandoned Democracy

Cast your minds back to Saturday, February 15th 2003.

On that day we witnessed one of the largest civil protests in history. By some estimation there may have been close to two million people who turned out onto the streets. What were they protesting? Some affront to civil liberties? The wickedness of Kim Jon-Il's regime in North Korea?

No. On that day they were protesting against the overthrow of Fascist regime.

The course of events on that day is now well known. Tony Blair, the then Prime Minister, was eager to follow George W. Bush into war in Iraq. The plan was simply to overthrow the murderous dictator, Saddam Hussein, and promote freedom and democracy in Iraq. An extension of the invasion going on in Afghanistan. 

Yet that protest changed everything. Gordon Brown, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, telephoned Blair to announce that he would not be supporting the decision to go to war. Brown, self-servingly, saw an opportunity to seize the crown of Prime Minister for himself, acting on, as we now know, advice from the weasel, and now Prime Minister of limp minority government, Ed Milliband. Blair, nobly, unwilling to risk the parties collapse in the face of stern opposition, resigned. Brown was elected leader and took the party away from war. His actions were met with much celebration.

And for what? Look on Iraq. The Americans, having to handle things themselves, obviously made a hash of their noble mission. Although now something approaching a workable state, Iraq still has problems to deal with, no least from the wicked forces of ISIS. The region is in a perilous position. And just think, all of his could have been avoided, could have been prevented, if Britain had but gone along.

"The idea," Tony Blair said, speaking later, "was always that by being in that coalition, standing alongside the Americans, we could influence things. We could have helped George, helped keep the hawks in his administration down, and more importantly helped improve things for the people of Iraq.

"I often wonder if I did right. Should I have put party unity in before helping the people of Iraq? Could I have done things differently? I suppose we will never know, but the thought haunts me."

He's right. Bush was clearly incapable of handling the responsibility on his own. He had the right intentions, we can never fault him for that, but the skills needed to successfully build the future of a democratic Iraq were always lacking. The judgment needed for it was never there. Those skills and that judgement would have been ably provided by Blair who, working with the President, would have been able to steer him onto the right course.

Milliband has, of course, maintained his disgraceful stance of opposition to intervention, thus giving tacit support to Assad and now ISIS. "It's dreadful," George Osborne, leader of the opposition, said. "Our reputation among our allies is now so soiled we're not considered worth their time. The Prime Minister may well have to start seeking new friends in the world, like China. Think on the terrible implications of that."

So we should. But then cosying up to totalitarian dictators has long been a past-time of the left. Think of the way they praise Castro for example, and look upon his regime in Cuba. Why should we expect that, in reality, they aren't more comfortable being chums with Xi Jingping, than Barack Obama?

That Saturday will come to be a day that we associated with shame. What were the people protesting? What were they celebrating? They were protesting the defeat of a fascist. They were celebrating a poke in the eye to the Americans. And that really does sum up the Stop the War Coalition and the Left. They are anti-Western. Their ire will never be turned against the likes of North Korea, or Russia, or any other corrupt and belligerent nation. Because fundamentally this is an act of self-hatred. Because fundamentally they hate the West and its values as much as ISIS does. That is the reason why they celebrated their successful opposition to bringing freedom and democracy to some of the most oppressed, brutalized and deprived people in the world.

That was the time when Britian should have stood up, together, and fought for freedom, as it did in World War II. Thanks to the left we instead decided that abandoning our allies at their time of need was more important. 

History will judge them harshly.

This is a response to a challenge by Septicisle: imagine a reality where the Stop the War Coalition protest actually succeeded. This is meant, as the by-line might suggest, to read like a standard opinion piece from the Decent Left from that reality. I think I managed to tick all the boxes (blaming 'the left', engaging in 'whataboutery' etc.)

Obviously the only major difference between the two versions is that Brown became PM sooner (but still effed up the financial crisis) and Milliband squeaked a minority government, as sufficient number of Labour voters went to the polls as they weren't turned away by the memory of Iraq.

The fact that there was virtually no difference is, of course, the joke.


  1. Typically of me, I was thinking more of the grand political consequences when I posed the question, how it would obviously mean Jeremy Corbyn would not now be the Labour leader, etc. Your take is almost certainly what would have really happened, only if anything you underplay what the response from the decents, the Blairites etc would have been. Bizarrely, the idea is even more horrific than the reality we do inhabit.

  2. I think I played it down so it wasn't seen as an out and out parody. It is actually quite depressing to think that even if StWC had the influence its opponents seem to imagine it has, the world would have followed more or less exactly the same trajectory.

    Probably food for thought in that...