Tuesday, 12 June 2007

A change in the wind....?

Yesterday our leader-to-be visited Baghdad and spent some quality time with our servicemen and the Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki. Our favourite capable Scot told the world how his future government would "learn the lessons" of the run-up to the allied invasion of Iraq, admitting that the "dodgy dossier" which detailed Saddam's WMDs was, in fact, dodgy. Brown went on to outline the hopefull seperation of intelligence investigations from political agenda's. We can but hope...The funding and management of the security services is not public knowledge, finger's crossed our spooks are in control of their own operations, regardless of political pressure.

Despite distancing himself from Blair's Iraq masterplan, Gordon has deflected the opposition's calls for an inquiry into Iraq, explaining that now is not a good time. He's right, I think, and though my sense of outrage demands more info, I doubt critics, myself included, will ever be satisfied with its findings.

Asserting his authority he said: "I don't want to get into talking about timetables or numbers'', concerning withdrawl. Go Gordon! After Dannatt and Blair's bickering earlier in the year, the remainder of our troops are in Iraq indefinately, at least it's good to see Gordon isn't being baited.

But my faith in the healing power of sensible Father Brown falters over the thorny issue of Parliamentary reform. "I have already said Parliament should have a more formal role in issues of war and peace", he said. I seriously hope so, Parliament has been reduced to nothing but a formal ideal under Blair. It needs an active role. We have representatives who come together at Westminister to argue on behalf of the people but there is little argument, only meek consensus - the line is well manned. There have been calls from a respected collection of "former permanent secretaries, defence chiefs and businessmen" (Telegraph) to restore Cabinet government - something English politics desperately needs - but it was Blair's closed network of entrenched mandarins and business opportunists that allowed the breakdown of Cabinet authority in the first place....

5 comments:

James said...

I agree totally with the first three paragraphs…but… when Gordon Brown says “I have already said Parliament should have a more formal role in the issues of war and peace” is he not acknowledging the fact that this is not how things were done under Blair and that he intends to do things differently?

From what I can glean from Brown he seems to want to move more towards government/cabinet authority and away from the often criticised presidential like ruling under Blair.

Or do I have the wrong end of the small branch?

Em said...

No not at all...I have expressed myself badly it would appear...Absolutely, Brown's trying to say there will be reform, representative politics will be given more clout, I was just being pedantic and picking at his choice of words..."More formal role". That's all the institution is atm - formal. Can you call Parliament "informal" in matters of war and peace? Well, yes, if informal means inactive. Sorry for not meaking myself clear ;( It's all waffle on my part anyway...

James said...

I see. I think it is a case of politicians using vague language again. What exactly is a more formal role and how does this differ from an informal one?

I was assuming that by formal he was implying that more of the decisions made about war would need to be ratified by government and/or cabinet. Implying that the current leadership used a small group of people to make many of the decisions regarding war of which many decisions did not go through a parliamentary debate.

Shall I give Mr Brown a call and get him to clarify? Hmmm...maybe I shouldn't disturb him.

Em said...

Nah, no clarification needed, we both understand his language fine, I just wanted to have a go...;) It'll be lovely to think this country will come back to politics, but how Brown's government is going to encourage democracy with its baggage is yet to be seen. Again, fingers crossed.

James said...

An interesting few comments made by T. Blair today about the changing media (see post on my blog). One comment relating to this ickle discussion was in defence of criticism about why parliament is not considered more important.

"we haven't altered any of the lines of accountability between parliament and the executive. What has changed is the way parliament is reported or rather not reported. Tell me how many maiden speeches are listened to; how many excellent second reading speeches or committee speeches are covered. Except when they generate major controversy, they aren't. If you are a backbench MP today, you learn to give a press release first and a good parliamentary speech second"

An interesting point of view...