Sunday, July 30, 2006

Blair & Eden: Spot the Difference

image courtesy of TheoSpark


Fifty years ago a British Prime Minister lost the support of his Cabinet over a Middle East adventure. According to the Sunday newspapers, history could be about to repeat itself, with Jack Straw, David Miliband, Lord Grocott, Margaret Beckett and John Prescott all voicing doubts over his approach to the Middle East crisis.

Still, while the Foreign Secretary goes caravanning and the PM disappears for three weeks to Barbados (isn't that where Anthony Eden went to recover after he resigned?) we can all rejoice in the fact that the Deputy Prime Minister will be on hand to solve the diplomatic crisis. Personally, I would say it's a disproportionate response...

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

No Ian, you've got the line wrong on this one. Your party is in favour of backing Blair in appeasing George Bush on this one. Mr Fox said so this morning. Do try to keep up between your media appointments,. I know it's hard being a new-found superstar!

Anonymous said...

Can it be a co-incidence that the three ministers kicking up are Straw (Muslim Blackburn), Becket (Muslim South Derby) and Milliband (Muslim South Shields)? And did anyone else hear the utterly nauseating debate/discussion with Sadiq Khan (Lab, Tooting) yesterday on Radio 4? He managed to weasel his way a broadcast cribbed from Radio Tehran which the BBC allowed in full, thereby once again proving (as if we needed more proof) it's craven anti-Israeli bias. Apparently Khan does not know that Hizbollah are part of Lebanon (they are in the govt and their soldiers freely move between the Lebanese army and Hezbollah) and does not in any way find any sort of agression against Israel from it's neighbours to be a justification for Israel to fight back. Given the pathetic grovelling New Labour is willing to do (with the honorable exception of Tony Blair) to the Muslim "community" in Britain, it can only be a matter of time before the glorious Khan becomes a minister.

Geoff said...

Anonymous, the point of the post was to highlight Cabinet splits - not whatever the official party policy is on either side. Read the article before commenting and please do keep up!

I confess to having no idea who Lord Grocott is. How much did he give?

Anonymous said...

A very good article in this week's Economist on the parallels between now and 1956. Well worth a read.

Anonymous said...

anon at 5:11 - when I read it was Straw kicking up, all I could think of was him speaking out against those cartoons.

Anonymous said...

Muslim South Shields anonymous no 2???? I think you must be 'haway' with the fairies! A few Indian restaurants maybe. As for alleged pro-Palestinian bias at the BBC, can anyone remember the last time they used the words 'terror' or 'terrorists' to describe the chaps from Israel who have showed Hamas and Hizbullah how to do it (big-style, no need to resort to suicide bombers etc) over the years.

Prodicus said...

Anyone read Steltzer's piece about Blair & Bush in the current Spectator? He alleges that Bush replaced Powell with Rice, and Blair replaced Straw with Beckett, after conversations between them highlighting Straw's constituency demographics, inter alia. He also says that they share absolutely the same view about the need to confront militant Islam(ism) aggressively, regardelss of the advice of their rspective foreign affairs establishments. (More or less.)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous's - the very first "all-anonymous" debate! I'm so proud!

Hughes Views said...

Err - Mr Eden's big blunder was to fall out with the US president who threatened to engineer a run on the pound if Britain didn't withdraw immediately. So not at all similar to today but a timely reminder of what a subservient role Tory Britain had in the world even fifty years ago.

I'm old enough to remember hearing on the wireless the news of Eden's subsequent 'illness' (announced to a deferential nation as a cold (I had one too) but actually a proto-nervous breakdown. Who said Labour invented spin?).

For 'cabinet split' read 'grown up people able to voice slightly different takes on a dreadful situation over which Britain has little influence'.....

Anonymous said...

Re Hughes Views and the subservient role of Britain, alas yes, since Yalta Britain has in truth been a mere poodle and everything else is just fluff designed to placate british opinion, including and not limited to the "independent deterrant" (totally controlled by the US), "the special relationship" (do as the US says or else) and "transatlantic style" (UK actors go for bit parts in Hollywood where they are put in parts to play loathsome bad Britons in distorted history films). It's all a bit much but quite understandable - Churchill had to give away what was left of the empire to fund WW2 and the yanks were out to replace us in that role from the very start. Which is why at least to start with they were content to see the Nazis roll over us and only got involved later when Japan came in (engineered by the US) and the empire was ripe for cherrypicking.

Poor Straw and Milliband and the like are but sad little pieces of chaff blown about on this agenda.

Powell by the way went because he couldn't stand being in the moronic Bush's presence any longer and because he was (and still may be) considering running for Prezzie against Hil. He couldn't be worse than Bush and might be a whole lot better.

Anonymous said...

Even the stop the war coalition thinks the BBC is biased?!

http://www.antiwar.com/orig/cook.php?articleid=9320

You can't please all of the people all of the time

Paul said...

Iain when you suggest John Prescott isn't up to handling Britain's role in the current Middle East crisis you are so wrong. After all our job is to hold America's coat ... a role even the chubby love machine can handle, he could probably make then I nice cup of tea and a round of sandwiches at a push.

CityBlue said...

Jaq Al-Straw's demographic issues in Blackburn are a matter of no interest to the country but are of great significance to the labour party who sense a threat from the all-things-to-all-men party aka Lib Dems. As usual labour politicians will always put party (this great movement of ours brothers) before country.

Rick said...

Yes but in Eden's Case his Chancellor Macmillan egged him on - was a close wartime associate of Ike - and knifed him when things turned..........


a) I cannot see Brown being as ruthless as Macmillan

b) Macmillan probably upset President Coty of France and his successor Charles de Gaulle probably decided to block Macmillan joining the EEC as a consequence

Odessa Calling said...

Lord Grocott. Is he Bruce Grocott,
who I think was an MP for one of the Walsall seats.

David Boothroyd said...

The big mistake Eden made in Suez was to draw the wrong lessons from history: Eden thought Nasser was literally another Hitler, and hatched a cunning plan to stop him. Of course Nasser was in no sense equivalent to Hitler.

The situation now is completely different to 1956.

Verity said...

Colin Powell is an inffective wet noodle. No way could he beat a cold, aggressive, hungry Hillary Clinton.

Anyway, also now way will he get the nomination. Guarantee.

Anonymous said...

Ah so! Verity is actually Condi Rice and has a hotline to the guys with the violin cases. Watch out Cowlin!

Anonymous said...

Bruce Grocott served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Tony Blair. He was created a life peer on 2 July 2001, and is the present Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms.

Geoff said...

Thanks, anonymous @8.20 about Grocott. It depresses me when I see the nonentities now appointed to the Lords. It's a good way to discredit a once great institution - put idiots and never-will-be's in there.

Lord Prescott of Chipolata?

Anonymous said...

John Prescott was going to include a number of religious sites in his great tour of Britain but he withdrew at the last minute.

He heard they don't allow chipolatas in the Temple!

Anonymous said...

How come Dave Cameron's not said much about the whole crisis? Does he not think Middle England cares about the Middle East?

Verity said...

Anonymous 8:11. I take a close interest in American politics. Colin Powell is nowhere.

If Condi ran, she'd probably - although not certainly - get the nomination. She would then wipe the foor with Hillary Clinton.

Rick said...

Powell by the way went because he couldn't stand being in the moronic Bush's presence any longer and because he was (and still may be) considering running for Prezzie against Hil. He couldn't be worse than Bush and might be a whole lot better.

Powell is over-hyped and over-rated. Made sure his son got to be Head of the FCC though - at least Straw didn't get his son Head of OFCOM

Powell was the least-travelled Secretary of State of modern times - couldn't be bothered visiting European govts - James Baker made the effort - Powell couldn't be bothered.

Watch Mitt Romney for 2008

Geoff said...

Verity, you say that you take a close interest in US politics. So do I and it's nice to meet someone else who does (my other half has a degree in it!)

If the Republican religious Right have issues with Mitt Romney being a Mormon then Miss Rice is certainly going to be vulnerable to the persistent mutterings that she is a lesbian. Rumours whispered behind the back of a hand have unfairly derailed many a politician's career.

There are many plus sides to the Primary system of chosing a candidate (as we will find in London) but down sides too.

That said, my objection to her as a candidate would be a lack of an obvious philosophy or agenda. It'd be Romney for me if I had a vote.

Verity said...

Geoff, my reservation about Condoleezza Rice is, she was trained and tutored at Stanford by Madeleine Albright's father.

I admire her because she is a mind-boggling achiever and has an almost superhuman ability to concentrate. She could have had a career as a concert pianist, but eventually chose academe instead.

I am second to none in my admiration for her, but I have two problems: first, the one mentioned above. She was tutored in political science by lefty Madeleine Albright's father and I believe in her heart of hearts, she more leftist than rightist.

Second, she chose a career in academe, becoming, as we know, Proctor (?) of Stanford. She never, in her several incarnations - champion iceskater, concert pianist, academic, advisor to the president - evinced the faintest interest in political office. She has never stood for elected office. She has never even run for the local schoolboard. She has no experience of gladhanding voters and making the kind of compromises she would have to make to get the nomination. I don't know how tolerant she would be of assumption voters make that the candidate's life belongs to them - the voters.

She's very private. She doesn't try to win friends. I don't know how patient she would be with political handlers who had her out meeting people and walking through streets and parks shaking people's hands and submitting to shouted questions. I don't think it's to her taste.

I am an admirer of her achievements, but I don't think she would make a good president, even if she got elected (and I think if she stood against Hillary, she would get elected. If she stood against a Democrat who wasn't as thoroughly loathed as Hillary is, she might well hand the Democrats a victory).

I would rather see her in a continued advisory capacity because she's a lucid and astute clear thinker.

Geoff said...

Verity, that is a very well reasoned post and I agree with your logic and conclusions.

I'd be interested in your analysis of the other potential candidates. Iain, how about a dedicated US politics thread some time soon?

Verity said...

Geoff - Oddly enough, between my last post and this one, I was talking to a friend of mine in Houston and he doesn't think Rice will stand - or if she does, he doesn't think she will get the nomination. John McCain seems to be emerging as the Republic front runner.

I don't think she'll run. I don't think she has the hunger for it.

He also told me, reverting to the origin of this thread, that public opinion in the US is gradually drifting away from Israel over this Hezbullah mess. He thinks it won't take much more for the American public to sleepwalk into turning against Israel and the fact that it is fighting for national survival. In other words, the same story as Britain - although the US doesn't have the huge cadre of hardcore (I can only call them communists) that Britain has.

Anonymous said...

Prodicus,

The real reason why Straw had to go was because there were grumblings within Bush's inner circle (notably Richard Perle)about his influence on Condi Rice over Iran's 'civilian' nuclear power programme.

Unfortunately the knives are well and truely out for Ms Rice which means not only will she be out of the State Department but out of the 2008 Presidential race too (although there was only ever a slim chance she would have been nominated).

So we can look forward to another 100 years of East/West Coast inspired PC bullshit to addle the minds of the UK's urban professional classes...

david djf said...

So many 'anonymus' comments I can't keep up... you are confusing me!

garypowell said...

Verity

Firstly do YOU believe that the American people are turning against Israel, if so are their any opinion polls showing this?

Secondly do you think that if the American people are, it really makes a scap of difference to what America will acctualy do in the middle east?

Thirdly do you believe that if there was a Democrate in the White House, that even this would make a scap of difference, either?

Finally, if the Israelis wanted to carry on defending their nation, against Americas wishes what could or would America do about it?

I think I know what the answers are, but I would be interested in your opinion.

javelin said...

Iain, wrong again. Prescott has jetted of to Barcelona for a weekend binge at a Tapas bar leaving nobody in charge of the rotting Labour brand.

Anonymous said...

Anyone having doubts about the bizarre and fanatical state of beliefs amongst Muslims in Britain need only visit this morning's "Have your Say" on the BBC website:

Have your Say

Chilling stuff - makes me wonder if it's now too late....

Verity said...

Gary Powell - Although I follow American politics closely, I am not an expert. My friend who lives in Texas thinks Americans are turning against Israel and I quoted him. Given the posture of the NY Times and other MSM which bang out one plangent report after another about the plight of the Palestinians, I think his observation - and he is very political - is correct.

However, one terrorist incident in the US will swing public opinion violently the other way. They are more loyal to their own country than the vivaporous (sp) British left.

No matter how many enemies Condoleezza Rice has in the American administration, it's the Republican Party and its vast membership which will decide (should she choose to run) whether to endorse her.

As I said, I don't believe she has the hunger for it. I don't believe she has a hunger for power. All her life, she has pursued pursuits that don't involve teamwork: ice skating champion, concert pianist, academic. She has a solitary, private nature and I don't think she'll run.

Yes, American public opinion will make a difference to America's actions in the Middle East, Gary Powell, because there are Congressional elections every two years. This tends to concentrate the minds of politicians on those who they are elected to serve.

Anonymous said...

Javelin, it was the two words 'Mad' and 'Rid'. Cowboy Chipolataface said: "that's the place for me!!"

Rick said...

Verity, talking to someone in Houston is not really a good guide to anything. for a start it is the Texas oil capital and the Texas Railroad Commission was the prototype for OPEC. It really is not Peoria.

McCain is 69 which means he will be 73 by the time he might take office. Mitt Romney is a Mormon, his father was still Governor of Michigan, and when I had dealings with Mitt Romney I found him someone I respected.

As for Israel - Americans do not get impassioned about Israel, most Americans care about medical insurance and gasoline and paying bills.

It is the elite that looks after Israel and The Pentagon - for the Pentagon Israel is a necessity, it is the tripwire for America's defence. The US is too big to go away and hide - they came to Manhattan and trashed it - even the Russians never did that.

So Israel or not, don't expect Americans to wave any flag but their own - but they know they are behind the 8-ball and they cannot run away.

Verity said...

Rick - You really must broaden your horizons. Houston is not the oil capital of Texas. Houston is the oil capital of the world. All oil technology comes out of Houston and has from the beginning.

I agree the Americans trashed Manhattan. They should never have allowed the UN in. Mogadishu would have been a better venue.