Saturday, January 02, 2010

W is for War

A continuing series of spelling out Conservative plans Part 2

"In that spirit of unity, of a greater purpose than the simple pursuit of politics, I have an announcement to make.

"We have said that from day one of a future Conservative Government, a national security council, with the key ministers and defence chiefs, will sit as a war cabinet.

"And I can announce today that if we win this year's election, I will invite leaders of the main opposition parties to attend the war cabinet on a regular basis so they can offer their advice and insights.

"When a nation is at war, it needs to pull together.

"I am determined that with a Conservative government, it will."

Well there you have it folks the full extent of co-operation that David Cameron is prepared to announce in today's Woodstock speech. And it tucked down there at the very end the bit about working with others. It comes shortly often the comment, "And over the past four years, we have always tried to work with other parties rather than looking for political dividing lines where none exist."

Woah! Take me back there a minute.

We have tried to work with others...not dividing lines...we'll set up a cross party war cabinet.

Ok surely by having a war cabinet you are admitting dividing lines with someone else. Do they really exist? Surely if you are taking one approach domestically and another internationally you are all messed up. If you are trying to ignore some dividing lines yet not seeking to understand others, either across Europe, with fundamentalist Muslims, or whomever, what is it you are trying to achieve?

How about a national peace cabinet? To look for solutions. Or is that too far out there for the Tories. Or a cross party Economic cabinet to get us out of this recession? But then that would admit that the long believed Tory strong hand of economic responsibility is something you could not uphold.

The war on 'terrorism', as I suspect this is the war that Dave is spelling out today, is actually gaining us more enemies from our reactions to it. Indeed the enemy is no longer over there is some place outside our imagining but the actions of Blair and the Tory opposition have disaffected some of our own citizens.

We do need solutions but the might of the forces seems to be the default position. What was the lesson that 9/11 tried to teach us. The targets hit were our economic prosperity in the World Trade Centre and our military might in the Pentagon. The speculation of what the fourth plane's target was is that the Capitol or White House may have been the other, so that is the fact that our politics ignore and don't engage with certain groups.

So what have we done about it in the past 7 years to look at these issues?

I think we all know the answer to that. Little for the economies, at least little that doesn't benefit us in the West. Tried to impose our own democracy on them. Have we engaged across the political divides with those we don't agree with? Not much. What we have done is gone in militarily, imposed regime change in two countries, holding a threat over others.

How anyone can end a speech that sets out plans for a war cabinet with the words, "So let's face this new year with confidence, optimism and hope," is beyond me? We are so optimistic that we will be at war for some considerable time that we will be going to a war footing.

UPDATE: Thanks to Darryl Goodliffe for pointing out the true result of having 'have opened up our party and have more women candidates and candidates from ethnic minorities ready to bring their expertise to help change this country' really means at grassroots level. Just where that war is going to be fought and who it is going to fought against.

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