Wednesday 29 September 2010

Ed Miliband's 'Anti-War' Credentials - Where's The Evidence?

Much has been made of new Labour leader Ed Miliband's conference speech over the last 24 hours, especially the passage in which he said that Tony Blair had been wrong to take Britain into war in Iraq because it "was not a last resort, because we did not build sufficient alliances and because we undermined the United Nations". That's his position now, but is it a late conversion, an expedient response to the deep hostility to the war amongst Party members, or has he always been 'anti-war'?

The evidence is pretty thin. When millions of us were marching on that amazing day in February 2003, Millband had not yet entered parliament - he was in Cambridge, Massachusetts, five months into a year-long unpaid sabbatical as Visiting Professor of Government at Harvard. There is no record of speeches or articles from the period expressing any doubts about the Iraq invasion. The only 'proof' of the future Labour leader's views come from the New Statesman's Mehdi Hasan, who in his enthusiasm for Ed Miliband's candidacy falls back in the kind of unsubstantiated hearsay from "a well-connected Labour source" that a respected journalist would normally scorn.

But Miliband's record since becoming an MP in 2005 give some indication of whether, in the name of party loyalty, he would have voted with the former Cabinet members who sat stonily though his conference address yesterday. He voted strongly against attempts to investigate the intelligence failures and handling of the war and against a 2007 motion in support of the principle that parliamentary approval should be required before the future deployment of British troops. As an apparent opponent of the Iraq war, it's far from convincing, is it?

So - does anyone have any evidence that Mister Ed's new-found critique of the Iraq invasion is anything more than tactical?


Anonymous said...

"So - does anyone have any evidence that Mister Ed's new-found critique of the Iraq invasion is anything more than tactical?"

Of course it's all tactical.... Opportunistic and cynical that's Mister Ed! Unfortunately there are lefties who have illusions in him.

Anonymous said...

It's nuts indeed to have such illusions. A New Labour canvasser came to my door to lie to me the other day so I would vote for them in a coming by-election.

I've been a little removed from some of the details of British politics so I just checked Ed Miliband's voting record and it is as disgusting as you might expect from a New Labourite.

Voting record (from PublicWhip)

How Edward Miliband voted on key issues since 2001:

* Voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war.
* Voted very strongly for Labour's anti-terrorism laws. votes
* Voted very strongly for a stricter asylum system.
* Voted moderately for replacing Trident.
* Voted very strongly for allowing ministers to intervene in inquests.
* Voted very strongly for introducing ID cards.

-I will probably be voting Green.

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