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The genocide of Christians is the legacy of Blair. Labour must learn the lessons

Blair, pic by Kennard PhillipsThe persecution of Christians in Iraq has become a genocide, say their religious leaders. The slaughter of the Yazidi and others by Isis militias is no different. And there is no doubt that the 2003 invasion of Iraq planned by Bush and Blair contributed to its current disintegration and the increasing disaster caused by Isis, as Blair’s chosen successor David Miliband has now conceded. The outcome, he says “induces a high degree of humility.

Though a few will continue to trumpet Blair’s legacy and he remains an unikely figure at middle eastern peace talks, the likely judgement of history on Blair is already clear. He may or may not be judged in a court of law for war crimes, but he is already a pariah.

That is nothing new. In a sense he was driven out of the leadership of the party in 2007 because he was already such a liability. But as Labour prepares to seek government once again as the man who led it to its last victory stands implicated in the worst of all crimes, it is vital that it learns the lesson of his failures.

There are plenty of lessons to be learned about foreign policy and the folly of liberal interventionism. Ed Miliband has already moved some way from this as was demonstrated by his role in preventing military intervention in Syria. For many Labour party members, he has not moved far enough but that is not the purpose of this piece.

Tony Blair has not become a pariah because he made an error of judgement. He became a pariah because he so transformed the structure, processes and culture of his party and of the machinery of government, that, having made his decision to back George come what may, there was no-one able to effectively challenge his position. He created an authoritarian machine in which there was no room for democracy and debate. He stifled any dissent and destroyed any opposition.

Ed Miliband has moved away from the path trodden by Blair in many important respects. In policy terms, he has returned to a social democratic concern about inequality and market failures, for example. He does encourage debate and permit dissent. But he would do well to finish the job and restore democracy to his party. Better to listen to the views of the party’s grassroots than to make concession after concession to those who would preserve the legaBush and Blair at Camp DavidBush and Blair at Camp Davidcy of Blair.


  1. Rod says:

    “Ed Miliband has moved away from the path trodden by Blair”

    It never ceases to surprise me how inventive Labour Party supporters are when it comes to justifying their support for the Party.

    We’ve had Miliband’s successful campaign to discredit trade union involvement in politics by inventing a fade crisis at Falkirk. This resulted in the Labaour Party dumping the unions.

    We’ve had Miliband’s backing for military intervention in Libya.

    We’ve had Miliband’s less than straight-forward antics over Syria. Even the Independent, in a editorial a couple of weeks back, remarked on Miliband’s hypocrisy – he argue for a punitive strike against Assad but tried to take the credit for preventing war after Cameron threw the towel in.

    We’ve had Labour’s refusal to take utilities into public ownership – despite a vote to the contrary at conference.

    We’ve had NPF pledge to continue with Tory austerity.

    We’ve had the ‘tougher than the Tories’ on scroungers pledge.

    And yet some, even well-meaning people, insist on there being no alternative. Even when Labour itself doesn’t offer an alternative to the status quo.

    Well, you know what they say: experience keeps an expensive school but fools will learn in no other.

  2. swatantra says:

    Intervention is never a good policy; by intervening, you take ownership of the situation, and as we know its damned digfficult to pass back the buck to the Iraqis or Afghans or Libyans. We can’t solve their problems, they have to do it themselves.Are the Arab neighbours of Gaza doing anything? Like hell they are. Is Fatah doing anything when it could open up a 2nd Front, and keep the Israelis busy in firefighting? Like hell they are. Are Egypt and Jordon and Turkey doing anything ? Like hell they are. The ME needs sorting out but its not Britains job to do it.

  3. Zenobia van Dongen says:

    The genocide of Christians is indeed Blair’s legacy, but only in the sense that Blair & Co brought down Saddam Hussein’s tyranny, which had not regarded the Christians as a threat and had largely left them alone. On the other hand Hussein conducted genocidal campaigns against Kurds, marsh-dwellers and Shias.
    The end of Hussein enabled long-term regional trends to reassert themselves, one of which is the progressive ethnic cleansing of non-Muslim minorities (which used to be majorities).
    One century ago Muslims comprised onl;y about half the population of the Middle East. They now make up about 90 per cent. Arab nationalism was a potent force driving Muslim predominance. In the 1950s Nasser expelled Egypt’s long-standing Greek, Jewish and Armenian communities.
    So to put all the blame on Blair & Co is to conceal the underlying dynamic of progressive, long-term Islamisation of the Middle East.

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      Saddam Hussein was indeed a brutal dictator but his genocidal campaigns against the Kurds & Marsh Arabs took place in 1988 when Britain and the US were his allies, the US supplying him with chemical and biological weapons.

      I am highly suspicious of your claims about the Muslim population of the Middle East. There was a reduction of Christains as a proportion of the population but I do not believe that the increase in Muslim numbers were anthing like you claim. please quote sources.

    2. James Martin says:

      Oh, so we have confused fascists posting on here no, how nice. Why dignify this crap with a reply Jon, just ban the racist wanker…

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