Revisits And Renewal

Today, I could easily write a tome about the Chilcot Inquiry, and Alastair Campbell’s testimony to it. It’s the story that most of the ‘papers have gone with today. But, frankly, I’m bored to tears with inquiries into Iraq. Not that I don’t find the Iraq invasion, conflict and subsequent rebuilding very serious. I do. It is. But there have been stacks of inquiries. I think Campbell has given evidence at 3 or 4 of them, and done it very well. I like Alastair. He’s not quite the rottweiller the press make him out to be (though I’ve never worked in the press lobby and wouldn’t like to argue with him) and he always gives intelligent, thoughtful opinions in his blog. He’s always extremely partisan. But that’s no bad thing, especially as an election looms. The press may clamour to make headlines with his testimony, but it’s nothing new. He’s said the same thing each time, and published a large chunk of it in his memoirs. Tony Blair, when he gives his testimony, will say the same things he’s said each time as well. Chilcot will come to the same conclusions that all the others have when it sums up. . All of the inquiries added up will cost the country millions of pounds, journalists will come to their own conclusions, mostly based on their own agendas rather than evidence, and people will still criticise them because they haven’t indicted Blair as a war criminal! Nothing earth-shatteringly new has come out of this inquiry, and I seriously doubt anything will.

The Labour party have announced that Gordon Brown has agreed to have “the most radical manifesto yet put to the electorate” for the approaching election. I don’t know a single Labour activist who wouldn’t think this was a great thing. We’ve cried out for it time and again. In the last 3 general elections, it’s been easy to issue manifestos with cautious commitments knowing you were going to comfortably win. Now we’re the underdogs, Labour desperately need to show they can change direction and renew ourselves in power. I imagine that will include an overhaul of the rules in Parliament and hopefully the completion of the half job done reforming the House of Lords. I also think looking at care of the elderly, education reform, and tax reform would be great to see. But how radical can you be when you have no money to spend?  Any suggestions on manifesto ideas? Charlie Brooker made his here. I’d love to hear yours.

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