Farron: Corbyn putting politics before people at a time of tragedy

Jeremy Corbyn seems hellbent on squandering any advantage that he may be gaining in the polls due to Theresa May’s stumbling over the “Dementia Tax.” She really struggled in her Andrew Neil interview on Monday night. She’s laid her weakness bare. Her opponents should be all over that. Instead, Jeremy Corbyn has chosen to make some comments linking terrorism to British foreign policy at a time when people are really hurting after Manchester, which, as well as being insensitive when people are hurting, is also opening the door for all the usual attacks on him. He had the chance to go on the front foot and he fluffed it. It’s hardly the first time. Remember the Article 50 Bill…

Tim Farron has called Corbyn out, accusing him of putting politics before people:

A few days ago, a young man built a bomb, walked into a pop concert and deliberately slaughtered children. Our children. Families are grieving. A community is in shock.

Jeremy Corbyn has chosen to use that grotesque act to make a political point. I don’t agree with what he says, but I disagree even more that now is the time to say it. That’s not leadership, it’s putting politics before people at a time of tragedy.

Earlier Paddy had said that, yes, there is a time to think about what the attack means for the direction of future policy – but not now.

Some political leaders have sought to politicise the events of the week, but now is not the time, and this is not the event, to seek political advantage.

The families of victims in Manchester have a right to expect political parties to respond with restraint and sensitivity to these unpardonable crimes.

There will be a moment when we will want to look at the policy implications of what has happened, but that should not be in the shadow of these terrible events when the nation should stand together.

 

 

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122 Comments

  • Nonsense.

    Corbyn is a politician. To attack him for playing politics is an attack on democracy itself. By all means disagree with him, but it is cheap and insulting to attack him for putting forward his opinions on the causation and prevention of terrorism when it is on the lips of the majority of the population.

  • In the interests of balance, here is the corbyn quote:

    …many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed out the connections between wars that we have been involved in, or supported, or fought, in other countries and terrorism here at home”.

    “That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children.

    “Those terrorists will forever be reviled and implacably held to account for their actions.

    “But an informed understanding of the causes of terrorism is an essential part of an effective response that will protect the security of our people that fights rather than fuels terrorism.”

  • Chris Bertram 26th May '17 - 12:05pm

    The problem for Corbyn is that he has so little credibility on terrorism. As a big noise in the Troops Out Movement, an IRA-stooge organisation if ever there was one, he could never propoerly condemn any of their acts of terror. At best he was mealy-mouthed about it, at worst silent. I cannot believe that he has really changed his spots on this.

  • Don’t agree with Paddy or Tim on this.

  • I don’t agree with Tim on this. If we hadn’t invaded Iraq there would be no Isis. If we hadn’t supported Al Quaeda against the Russians…If we hadn’t attacked Libya and the left in chaos….These things need saying during the election campaign and so do criticisms of cuts to police numbers. We should be supporting Corbyn on this and not joining his Tory critics.

  • Agree with Andrew, Jayne and John, that while I’m uncertain of Corbyn’s conclusions of the extent of the connection between terrorism and foreign policy, but it absolutely needs to be discussed in the course of a GE. As does the extent to which the austerity cuts have impacted on the ability of the police and intelligence services to protect us.

  • Using these pretty measured and reasonable comments as a basis for attacking Corbyn I don’t think does the country any favours. We need to genuinely engagement with, and debate over, these issues sensibly. What isn’t needed at a time like this is simply closing all discussion down and then trying to score political points using the false prism of right-wing media distortions.

  • Eddie Sammon 26th May '17 - 12:38pm

    John Kelly, so what’s your policy towards dictators and terrorists? Leave the dictators in place? You are against oppression in Palestine, so why not Iraq, Libya and elsewhere too?

    ISIS supporting fanatics went on a rampage killing Catholics and priests in the Philippines the other day, that wasn’t anything to do with the West, but it still happened.

    I don’t support every regime change, but the idea that they are always bad is not true.

  • Disappointing from Farron … I voted for the lib gems several times because of opposition to Iraq and the way it sowed the breeding grounds for ISIS. Farron is lining up behind the tories on this. Not good!

  • @Eddie Sammon I don’t support every regime change, but the idea that they are always bad is not true.

    Libya is a frigging basket-case now! Will Syria be any better off for getting rid of Assad?! I’m saying that the only people who should be allowed to change the regime are the citizen of that country; anything else leads to more bloodshed and misery.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th May '17 - 1:03pm

    John Kelly as ever misses the point , on these issues, Eddie , a ever relates to it.

    Tim is correct. It is about timing. Something in the performing arts one knows about. There is an art to politics, and performing a service is something Corbyn could learn to do , by keeping quiet for a change on it being our fault ! Keep your virtue signalling west hating for another time sir, we have had enough of it , some of us never liked it and cannot abide it now !

    Tim Farron could be the answer to much if he would tone down the rhetoric of Tory quantifies , to the same thing as nasty, all the time, lately. May is a pain often, as are her policies, but now, as Tim is making clear , is the moment for less is more , take note mr. Corbyn !!!

  • Steve Trevethan 26th May '17 - 1:03pm

    The consideration of possible root causes of an appalling tragedy and crisis close to that tragedy is an appropriate reaction.

    Here are some relevant root cause questions:
    1) Why have we helped to overthrow secular regimes and arm the the gangs of “religious” obsessive who replace them? (Libya etc.)
    2) Why do we support dictatorships, such as Saudi Arabia, which fund terrorists?
    3) Why do we replace secular governments which have improved the situation of women (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya) with terrorists who oppfpress women?)
    4) Why do we antagonise conquered people with the drone-murders of the innocent?

    Is sympathy plus strategic analysis likely to bring more actual benefits than sympathy alone?

  • @ Lorenzo Cherin Corbyn could learn to do , by keeping quiet for a change on it being our fault !

    Did you even read his speech?! I mean, isn’t it blindingly obvious that the “war on terror” isn’t working and that we need a new approach to stop teenagers/young men being turned into radicalised killers?? To use an admittedly highly imperfect analogy: nothing excuses paedophilia, but our government, academics, etc always need learn more about why people are triggered to become paedophiles for prevention and cure’s sake…

  • Well Mr Corbyn certainly has a way of getting an issue discussed. The degree of link between Britain’s actions abroad and terrorism will always be a matter of debate. What, I believe, needs to guide our policies abroad, is the care for and protection of people. If we consider how we approached the crisis in former Yugoslavia, I think that protection of the people was the foundation of our actions there, and resulted in an outcome that was as good as probably it could be. In Libya, our involvement went beyond protecting the people that were under attack, and ended up supporting regime change, with the destabilizing effects that has had, subsequently. All situations are unique, of course, but if our actions are grounded in the protection of people, and the minimum use of force commensurate with this, then we won’t go far wrong.

  • Peter Watson 26th May '17 - 1:52pm

    Ironically it is Tim Farron who appears to be “putting politics before people at a time of tragedy” by making an attack on Jeremy Corbyn instead of discussing the issues Corbyn raises or ignoring this if he truly believes it is too soon to be talking about it.
    Farron says, “I don’t agree with what he says”, but surely much of what Corbyn says chimes with the reasons this party opposed Labour’s war in Iraq, so what exactly in Corbyn’s speech (http://press.labour.org.uk/post/161089328659/jeremy-corbyn-speech) do Farron and Lib Dems disagree with?
    The party still seems to be preoccupied with attacking Labour (and Corbyn personally) in a vain attempt to become the Opposition that simply bolsters the Tories, and it still seems to be obsessed with opposing rather than proposing. It’s all very disappointing.

  • Jamie Stewart 26th May '17 - 1:54pm

    @Simon Shaw
    Peacefully ideally… Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya & Syria should be painful reminders that support for militaristic regime change from outside will only ever end painfully. The amount that intervention actually prevents massacres is always a moot point, as peace is never given a real chance. Why always cite the Balkans as such a great success when genocide actually happened? I’m not saying that the Belgrade bombing might not have helped, but it’s apparent success has been used as the pretext for a lot of “liberal intervention” since.
    If anything, Syria now is a country which does need military intervention, on the ground, and yet we cannot provide it. We could potentially have prevented it by encouraging negotiation early on, but should certainly have kept to any threats made. The foreign policy should be realistic, and supporting the free Syrian Army against the military of Russia and the state has made peace unrealistic. Corbyn is promoting a “common-sense” foreign policy. Something that the Lib Dems used to pride themselves on.

  • ‘…many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed out the connections between wars that we have been involved in, or supported, or fought, in other countries and terrorism here at home”.

    So perhaps the experts can explain why terrorist attacks have happened in Sweden & Germany who have not been involved in wars in the Middle East?

  • PHIL THOMAS 26th May '17 - 2:55pm

    Why this morning did Nick Clegg call for a pact with Corbyn after the Election ? You know what we will see now…………..VOTE LIB DEM GET CORBYN. Clegg never learns ?

  • Some people seem to have short memories :

    12 July, 2005 The Guardian “The Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy, tonight sparked anger in the wake of the London bombings by blaming the Iraq war for increasing terrorism. He said there was no “causal link” between British involvement in the invasion and last week’s attacks on the capital.

    But he was branded “deeply irresponsible” after saying the prime minister, Tony Blair, and the US president, George Bush, should not be surprised if people drew a link between the war and terror attacks on the UK”.

    I’m with Charlie.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 26th May '17 - 3:07pm

    I’m afraid I rather agree with Peter Watson, that Tim Farron is at risk of appearing to do the very thing he is accusing Corbyn of doing – “putting politics before people at a time of tragedy”.

  • @ Phil Thomas He didn’t say that.

  • Peter Watson 26th May '17 - 3:10pm

    @PHIL THOMAS “Clegg never learns ?”
    Perhaps he does. Corbyn’s popularity, surprisingly, seems to have risen (or his unpopularity has fallen) over the course of the election campaign and maybe Nick Clegg realises that the best way to reverse that is to associate Corbyn with, errr … Nick Clegg! 😉

  • @ Simon Shaw You always, quite rightly, call for evidence, Simon.

    It would be more convincing if you could provide some evidence for what you say to be Corbyn’s stance on these matters.

  • I completely agree with Corbyn on this. His comments were thoughtful and not inciting insult or violence. Perhaps it would have been better to have left a larger time gap – but unfortunately as the election is so near, and this question is literally a matter of life and death, I applaud him saying it. I am really sorry Tim attacked him on this. Corbyn’s comments need to be said and I admire him for saying them.
    (I was particularly sad to hear Tim’s comments as I was stuffing envelopes for him at the time when my son rang me to tell me – I have since come home to check that Tim did say that).

  • According to YouGov the Corbyn foreign policy line is supported by the public, 65% – 25%. Perhaps we should be cautious before laying in, after all Labour are said to be only 5% behind in one poll. Think we should drop the “real opposition” tag – after all saying we only have a few target seats hardly suggests we are the opposition!

  • Antony Wright 26th May '17 - 4:10pm

    Tim Farron on this issue: In 2003, the late and very great Charles Kennedy led the opposition to the Iraq war and he did so proudly. That was a counterproductive and illegal war, and Daesh is a consequence of the foolish decision taken then. Charles Kennedy was also right, however, in calling, in the 1990s, for military intervention in Bosnia to end a genocide there. I am proud of Charles on both counts.

    http://www.ukpol.co.uk/tim-farron-2015-speech-on-syrian-air-strikes/

  • Eddie Sammon 26th May '17 - 4:14pm

    Theakes, it doesn’t mean the public supports his foreign policy as a whole. Drone strikes, against specific terrorists plotting attacks against us, have shown majority support in the past.

    76% supported drone striking Mohammad Emwazi, as an example, according to Yougov.

  • Sue Sutherland 26th May '17 - 4:37pm

    I have little time for Corbyn but I live in Manchester and I’m feeling angry. I’m feeling angry because May as Home Secretay and as Prime Minister has presided over such deep cuts to the police force that it has affected staffing levels to such an extent that we have to have armed forces on our streets like dictatorships have, that community policing has suffered and that the Muslim community reported the bomber to the authorities several times but nothing happened. For goodness sake when are we Lib Dems allowed to get angry? Don’t let’s attack Corbyn when he says something many of us agree with. Don’t let May and her Home Secretary get away wth using grief as something to hide behind. Something went seriously wrong here and I for one want the blame to land on the right person, not the Muslim community, not some poor overworked police or security service officer, not even on Jeremy Corbyn, but on the people who have endangered us, in spite of warnings, through their cut and cut again policies which only benefit their rich cronies.

  • Sue,
    I agree.

  • Peter Watson 26th May '17 - 5:06pm

    @Jayne Mansfield “The more I have come to realise that his words have been, on the occasions that I have checked, misrepresented or taken out of context.”
    There’s a nice example of Amber Rudd doing just that today (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2017/may/26/general-election-2017-terror-corbyn-may-g7-sicily-politics-live):

    Amber Rudd, the home secretary, has claimed that Jeremy Corbyn’s speech was “outrageous”, the BBC reports. She said:
    “It is absolutely outrageous to suggest that there is any link, any justification, for the events that took place in Manchester with the UK’s foreign policy.”
    Corbyn did argue that there was a link between foreign policy and terrorism, but he explicitly said that this did not amount to any form of justification for what happened.

  • Adam Hewitt 26th May '17 - 5:16pm

    Not with Tim on this one. He and many other Lib Dems have, in the past, acknowledged that reckless foreign policy mistakes and wars, bombings etc have contributed to the circumstances that allow jihadist terrorism to grow and thrive.

    It’s clearly not a simple matter of cause and effect, and I did disagree with Corbyn’s timing (I also think it was politically the wrong move). So I don’t agree with Corbyn as such, either. But Tim sounded very ‘establishment’ today. His message replacing the PEB was spot on, but in this case, in seeking to do Corbyn down, he’s ended up going too far the other way.

  • Thinking back to the Iraq war I recall that the Joint Intelligence Committee prepared two reports. One the “dodgy dossier” said that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and was published by Tony Blair. The second report, which we only heard about after the election, said that intervention in Iraq increased the risk of terrorism. It seems to me that what Jeremy Corbyn is saying is consistent with the second JIC report and it is wrong of Tim Farron to attack him for it.

  • Toes curled earlier watching Tim on this one – don’t agree, and anyway when would be a good time to reflect on the implications of a cavalier foreign policythag we have opposed in the past too?

    Am really not a Corbyb fan, but we shouldn’t attack the blindingly obvious just to score points.

  • Richard Easter 26th May '17 - 5:45pm

    Meanwhile Corbyn is villified, whilst we sell arms to the terrorist Wahhabist state of Saudi Arabia which directly funds terrorism and spreads the evil Wahhabist belief system worldwide…

    The Tories should directly be linked to the Saudis – voters should be in no doubt in their mind that a vote for the Tories is a vote for Saudi oppression and terror.

  • Ryan McAlister 26th May '17 - 5:52pm

    If you can’t talk politics during a general election campaign, when on Earth can you?

    Sorry Tim, but this is poor.

  • Dave Orbison 26th May '17 - 6:01pm

    Simon Shaw – do you advocate that we should not talk to Russia, China, Saudi Arabia? How do they rate in terms of Human Rights. As for relying on The Daily Telegraph… fair and balanced reporting no doubt?

  • @ Simon Shaw I am not sure where this is going but I do accept that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and used them against his own people [He had however disposed of them before the Iraq Invasion.]

  • Richard Underhill 26th May '17 - 6:43pm

    Please see The Times pages 1,2. YouGov comment that “this is the first poll since the dementia tax row, and that seems a more plausible explanation”.
    On page 29 Philip Collins’ comments are headed “Mrs May has been rumbled as not very good”
    Con 43% (-1)
    Lab 38% (+3)
    Lib Dem 10% (+1)
    UKIP 4% (+1)
    Other 6% (-2)
    Spread equally the Tories would get an overall majority of 2 seats.
    Not so much a cliff edge, more a Ha Ha.
    https://www.bing.com/search?q=haha&form=WNSGPH&qs=SW&cvid=42604955cf1048cabad99dc4536ea0c7&pq=haha&cc=GB&setlang=en-US&nclid=D19A84F13F0AA22DEE7AE50DDCF460A0&ts=1495820546211

  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th May '17 - 7:02pm

    There is as so often on this site and within our party much that is sensible here.Regardless of who is saying it or what the viewpoint is.

    Catherine Jane Crosland, paid me some wonderful compliments yesterday so appreciated for being someone of common sense, she here , as ever, shows the same.If the effect of what Tim Farron is saying is as she says, agreeing with Peter Watson, then this is unfortunate . I reckon he was asked and answered. As for his answer , well I agree with it in the main, but Tim needs to tone down the vitriol in everything, those like Catherine and myself who say it consistently even when talking of , dare one say it, Tories, are more to be listened to on this !!!

    Some seem to think Corbyn is so wonderful to us as Liberals, Democrats, we should , in supporting what he says at times, do so as if to not is a crime against progressiveness !Of course there is merit in some of his speech today. Who in a party that, as David Raw rightly says , had Charles Kennedy so staunchly criticising and often, the Iraq war, of Liberals and Democrats, could not support such things sometimes.

    So it come to our stalwart Simon Shaw to be the one most vehement but truthful on why some of us this week cannot hear, listen to , or contemplate the sense or stupidity, the nuance or naivete, of the leader of Her Majesty’s loyal opposition.

    Some of us think it is too soon to be doing party politics !

  • Dave Orbison 26th May '17 - 7:20pm

    Lorenzo. Oh dear I thought you were coming round to the view that it is policy that matters not the vilification of Corbyn.

    Had Corbyn’s speech been made by Tim Farron, can anyone attacking Corbyn here honestly say they would have berated Tim Farron? This is just the sort of political mis-step that demonstrates sadly a lack of judgement on Tim Farron’s part.

    Very disappointing but unfortunately not too surprising.

  • Peter Watson 26th May '17 - 8:45pm

    @Lorenzo Cherin “some of us this week cannot hear, listen to , or contemplate the sense or stupidity, the nuance or naivete, of the leader of Her Majesty’s loyal opposition.
    Some of us think it is too soon to be doing party politics !”
    So which is it: slating the leader of the Opposition or not doing party politics?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th May '17 - 8:45pm

    Dave

    You are not right to call my criticism , strong at first , yes, more modest subsequently, vilification. I cannot listen for long this week to any party politics, from any side, try as I am , to.

    You therefore are not right either to say I , or others who above are being fair , would be keen on that speech , this week, from Tim Farron.

    I worried about going ahead with the election this soon for good reason.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th May '17 - 8:47pm

    Peter Watson, it is both , the first for him doing the second and I and others not in the mood thanks ! Timing ….. !!!!!

  • Well for what it’s worth I think Farron is right to call Corbyn out on this, it’s very odd to claim that the Manchester bombing happened because of British foreign policy. The UK has refused to intervene in Syria, Lybia, Tunisia – all of the recent wars in Muslim countries have not involved the UK. I see some people above are dredging up remarks Chalres Kennedy made in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, but the point people rightly made then was that the people who crashed planes into the twin towers were not Iraqis and invading Iraq was no solution to Islamic terrorism.

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th May '17 - 9:16pm

    Antony Wright

    In 2003, the late and very great Charles Kennedy led the opposition to the Iraq war and he did so proudly.

    Actually, no. He was very reluctant to do it, and had to be pushed into it by Liberal Democrat members. It wast the party’s democratic system, not Kennedy personally, which led the opposition to the Iraq war. At least in Kennedy we had a leader who accepted that his job was to do what the party members asked him to do.

    We need to recall it was a risk. Suppose the overthrow of the Iraqi dictator had been followed by the Iraqis managing to put together a workable and at least semi-liberal government. Then those who opposed the war would forever after be hit with the words “if you had things your way, Iraq would still be run by a cruel dictator”.

  • Yesterday Theresa May said “Jeremy Corbyn has said that terror attacks in Britain are our own fault….”

    I hope Tim Farron will now condemn Theresa May for “putting politics before people at a time of tragedy.”

  • I think it was the invasion of Iraq which increased anti-UK, anti-USA and anti-Western feelings amongst Muslims plus the failure to bring peace to Iraq quickly afterwards. This increased the pool of people Islamic terrorists can recruit in. However the Kosovo War is sometimes seen as a trigger as well, because the West failed to intervene early enough to stop thousands of Muslims being killed by Serbs and some Muslims went to Kosovo to fight.

    I don’t think we could have acted much quicker in Kosovo, but we could not have invaded Iraq and I was against the invasion. If we had not invaded I think the terrorist threat to the West today would not be so great.

    However I am not convinced how influential these were to the Manchester bomber. It is possible that family relations were a greater influence.

  • @ppb
    “Well for what it’s worth I think Farron is right to call Corbyn out on this”

    Your comment perfectly demonstrates why debate is necessary and why Farron is so wrong here. Your comment contains so many factual inaccuracies that can easily be dismissed by the evidence and reasoning:

    “The UK has refused to intervene in Syria, Lybia, Tunisia – all of the recent wars in Muslim countries have not involved the UK.”

    The war in Tunisia? – when did this happen?

    We didn’t intervene in Libya? – that is a fatuously ignorant comment given our disastrous military intervention in Libya in 2011. Indeed, of all the recent terrorist atrocities in Europe, the Manchester bombing is the one that stands out as being directly linked to a particular intervention – i.e. the coalition government’s bombing of Libya in 2011. That intervention, from the start, was aimed at regime change, in direct contrast to the case set out by Cameron to Parliament and the electorate that the intervention was to create a ‘no-fly zone’ to protect civilians. The RAF immediately began attacking targets that had nothing to do with creating a no-fly zone, e.g. tanks, that had the effect of removing Gaddafi and left the country without a functioning army to keep the peace after the war. Unlike Blair in Iraq and Afghanistan, Cameron and Clegg failed to even provide ground troops, so the regime change in Libya had zero chance of success right from the start. It was, in my opinion, a bigger moral crime than Iraq or Afghanistan. It has left large swathes of Libya in the hands of IS with a break down in law and order that has given people smugglers a free hand to send migrants out into the Mediterranean in unsuitable boats. Without the 2011 intervention in Libya, it is highly unlikely that the Manchester bombing would have happened at all, given the links that are now emerging. It is also highly unlikely that dozens of toddlers would have drowned off the coast of Libya in the last week.

    Words cannot convey how offensive I find it to pretend that British foreign policy isn’t relevant to this discussion. It is absolutely necessary to discuss these issues in the names of those that died in Manchester, and Libya, this last week.

  • Matthew Huntbach 27th May '17 - 6:07am

    Michael BG

    I think it was the invasion of Iraq which increased anti-UK, anti-USA and anti-Western feelings amongst Muslims plus the failure to bring peace to Iraq quickly afterwards

    Well, clearly it was foolish because of the lack of any plan to put in place a workable government afterwards, and the likelihood that it would lead to the sort of conflict it would lead to. But the aim of it was to remove a cruel dictator, not to attack Islam. It is pure propaganda pushed by those who wanted to use it as an excuse to make anti-UK and anti-US comments to claim it was such.

    And the fact that various Iraqis chose after it to do violent and cruel things to each other, well whose fault is that? Does none of the blame for that fall on those Iraqis? Isn’t that a rather racist attitude, to suppose that they are like little children who have no responsibility themselves for what they did?

  • Do I take it that all those on Lib Dem Voice who support Corbyn’s line of ‘no foreign military involvement’ agreed with Chamberlain’s approach before the Second World war of ‘letting Hitler get on with it’ – until, of course, Chamberlain’s hand was virtually forced by events and when it was almost too late?

  • Dave Orbison 27th May '17 - 7:55am

    Matthew Huntback – the Iraq war was, at the time, supposed to deal with the alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction. Regime change was the mission creep that we were led into soon after. That said I am willing to believe that Bush and Blair was up for regime change on Day 1.

    As for removing cruel dictators, if we act outside of the UN, what gives us the right to decide who should stay and who must go? If such action is based on Human Rights and ignoring the issue of UN approval why we ignore the breaches of UN resolutions and Human Rights by the Israeli Govt ? Why do we not only ignore Human Rights issues in Saudi Arabia and China but we happily trade and sell arms.

    Going back to Iraq why dud we ignore our own warnings from intelligence agencies that such action would likely fuel terrorism? Corbyn’s measured speech is a thoughtful piece – it really is a shame that Tim Farron couldn’t have exercised some good judgement in his reaction to it.

    Simon Shaw – hopefully you found this easier to understand, though no doubt you will disagree and prefer to talk about the IRA.

  • @ Ray Atkins – actually I believe that Jeremy Corbyn has said that the allies were right to fight in the second world war. One of the many differences between the second world war and the more recent series of wars the UK has been involved in was that in Germany the UK (and its allies) were prepared to allocate sufficient resources to secure a transition to a civil society. In Libya the UK went to bomb but not to build. In Iraq we had no post invasion plan and drastically under-estimated the force levels required to secure the country.

  • Simon Shaw 26th May ’17 – 5:49pm…………@Richard.Just so we are clear, you do accept, do you not, that Iraq/Saddam Hussein not only had weapons of mass destruction, but also used them against his own people?

    You, no doubt, meant to add that when he was using these weapons against his own people he was our friend….You didn’t? now there’s a surprise…

  • Jeremy Corbyn….“No rationale based on the actions of any government can remotely excuse, or even adequately explain, outrages like this week’s massacre,” he said, speaking in Westminster. However, “Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home,”

    These sentiments were attacked as being “Obscene” by Boris Johnson and that Corbyn’s comments were “absolutely monstrous”

    Theresa May, clearly worried that her ‘landslide victory’ looks less likely, deliberately misrepresented his word saying, “Jeremy Corbyn has said that terror attacks in Britain are our own fault and he has chosen to do that a few days after one of the worst terrorist atrocities we have experienced in the United Kingdom”….

    Does anyone on here doubt that our foreign adventures in Iraq, Libya and Syria has caused the influx of those fleeing the ME and left these devastated countries as an ideal breeding ground for anti-west terrorists..
    Ask an average Libyan which version of their country they’d prefer to inhabit; pre-or post Gaddafi? How many boatloads of the ‘lost’ left Libya when Gaddafi was in charge; none!

    As for creating terrorists, America has admitted that recent ‘surgical’ airstrike killed 141 civilians (mainly women and children)…What effect on radicalisation would the loss of loved ones, in that airstrike, cause?

  • The reality is our involvement in the ME has simply achieved nothing worthwhile and what we’re really seeing is the establishment trying to distract people from the military and political failure of the war on terror. Failure of regime change. failure or the Arab spring, failure to contain terrorism and just general failure. People talk about how we defeated fascism, but that is part of the delusion driving this nonsense. We defeated Hitler’s Germany, fascism as an idea that has advocates is still very much alive just over 70 years after WWII. The same will be true of Islamism as a political idea. Bad ideas are remarkably resilient because there will always be people who think the atrocities involved were the selling point.

  • Dave Orbison 27th May '17 - 11:40am

    Ray Atkins re reference to Chamberlain.

    Really? Can we not have a reasoned debate about this without introducing spurious arguements which misrepresent people’s views simply to score a petty political point?

    Corbyn is fully behind the UN and international law. He has repeatedly made it abundantly clear that he is not a pacifist and recognises that force is sometimes required. His speech is clear on this. The Tories, panicked by the recent polls, have predictably resorted to personal smears.

    Tim Farron seems happy to go along with this but to what end? Villifying Corbyn and securing a Tory win? Not a strategy that would entice me back to the LibDems nor many I have listened to in recent discussions.

  • Dave Orbison 27th May '17 - 1:31pm

    Simon Shaw you accuse Corbyn of turning a blind eye to violence. You appear to doubt his sincerity in urging all who use arms in the name of their cause to lay down their weapons and seek peaceful outcomes through talks.

    Can you cite any speeches by Corbyn, using his actual words rather than your paraphrase, which contradicts his speech made yesterday?

    Can you find one example where he spoke in support of the use of force by a terrorist group? Or do you simply reassure yourself that you are right by basing your assumptions on what you would rather believe rather than than accepting objective evidence.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 27th May '17 - 1:34pm

    Jayne

    I have for many years supported and end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia, now party policy, this party , the Liberal Democrats, I am in support of Raif Badawi, the liberal dissident in jail there, I need no encouragement to criticise the Conservative government or Mrs May on that issue.

    Some on here seem so keen on Corbyn, so surprised the leader of the Liberal Democrats who has been so staunch in criticism of May, should on these issues here criticise the Labour leader .

    If you are voting Labour, go to Labourlist , that site , which I regularly read to keep up with my old part and their views, you shall see those of us herein criticising him, are as nice about Corbyn as possible, see what some are often having to say on there, they loathe the man so much politically , some, which we on here never show, personally, vilifying him, as members , now, yes, here in this election, in his own party !

    As Liberals , Democrats, evidence based, we are fair on most subjects, including a man , who has good qualities, and , bad ! We just see the latter definitely too …

  • @ Matthew Huntbach
    I didn’t claim that the Iraq War was an attack on Islam nor did I suggest that Iraqis were like little children.

    You are correct to point out the failure to have a plan for governing Iraq after victory. It can also be pointed out that what was done there help create the break down in law and order that followed the fall of Saddam Hussein.

    However I think the USA and others believe it is easy to produce a liberal democracy. I am not an expert on the history of Turkey but perhaps we should look at its history to see how difficult it is for a liberal democracy to exist in a Muslim country. There were military coups in 1960, 1971 and 1980. It was a single party state1923-46 and 83-89. The Islamic Republic of Iran has a form of democracy but it is not a liberal democracy.

  • Peter Watson 27th May '17 - 7:57pm

    @ppb “I see some people above are dredging up remarks Chalres Kennedy made in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq”
    Jeremy Corbyn’s speech four days after the atrocity in Manchester echoes comments by Charles Kennedy in his speech five days after the atrocity in London. Would Tim Farron and those Lib Dems who agree with his position this week therefore condemn Kennedy for the same reasons, both for the timing and the message?
    All too often the response to Corbyn’s statements are attacks on him personally which makes it very difficult to understand where those attacking him stand on the actual policies: they appear to oppose things they might actually agree with. If Corbyn said it was a nice sunny day I think some Lib Dems would decide they prefer fog and ask why they should trust an IRA sympathiser’s opinion on the weather anyway!
    Yesterday the normally unflappable Michael Fallon looked “flapped” in a TV interview in which he criticised comments by Boris Johnson that he thought were from Corbyn’s speech. This would be a great opportunity for the party to challenge the Tories over something that has long been a distinctive policy for Lib Dems, but instead they seem to have U-turned and joined the Tory attacks on Corbyn instead.

  • Dave Orbison 27th May '17 - 8:02pm

    Peter Watson – totally agree.

  • Peter Watson 27th May ’17 – 7:57pm…………Yesterday the normally unflappable Michael Fallon looked “flapped” in a TV interview in which he criticised comments by Boris Johnson that he thought were from Corbyn’s speech………..

    I watched it…It was priceless watching Fallon turn verbal somersaults unsure whether the next quote would be from Corbyn (therefore denounced as ‘supporting terrorism’) or from Johnson (to be stoutly defended)…..

    How fortunate that no-one on here takes speeches out of context or gets confused between the ‘Anglo Ireland Agreement’ of 1985 and the later ‘Good Friday Agreement’

  • I’m afraid this sort of comment from Tim is hastening my exit from the party of which I have been a member for nearly 20 years. I survived the coalition through gritted teeth but as a left liberal I’m hovering at the exit door at the moment.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 28th May '17 - 1:11am

    John Stone

    Think of your name , do you want your politics set in …?

    Are your views or should others be set in …?

    Rock like , steadfast yes, but is that Liberal ?

    I am not a left Liberal by any means. Nor am I on the right . I am in the radical and moderate centre and sometimes the centre left, once in a very while, centre right , say on bureaucracy or violent criminals.

    I was in Labour in my youth, and as a younger man, being now the age of the Tm Farrons and Nick Cleggs. I was actually too right wing social democrat back in the pre Blair years, too left wing liberal in the Blair years, and both , with regard to Labour, now, I reckon !!!

    If I left this party I would have to start another or vote for myself, standing as an independent, as I am not represented by the left of the current very socialistic Labour party or the right of the UKIP oriented Conservative party.

    Ask yourself this, John, do you like engaging with good , decent political colleagues who differ as well as agree?

    If so, stay, and do so.

    Ask another question. Do you think you could be happy in Labour fighting this party ?

    The landscape is going to alter greatly in two weeks. A re- orientation shall happen and some of us are going to play our part.

    We shall have to disagree with one another regularly in any result of our democratic process.

    Why not see Tim as I do, one you want to slap sometimes , but as any good liberal parent would, you avoid it by a good telling off !

  • Dave Orbison 28th May '17 - 8:06am

    Lorenzo. I don’t feel the need to wed myself to any one party – as you have shown they can change over time.

    I want a party led by someone who is sincere, decent and has a consistent track record of support for values that I share. I I do not want an opportunist who says things one day then something else, when pressed, on another.

    I want someone who conducts themselves, even towards those they disagree with, in a dignified manner without resorting to personal attacks.

    The media and some here are brutally dissmissive of Corbyn as having no leadership skills. Yet he has been consistent throughout his political life, he has led the party to produce the most radical manifesto in a generation and a campaign that is winning people over.

    His personal conduct is exemplary and almost exclusively focussed on the one target that counts- the re-election of the Tories. His speech on terrorism and sadly Tim Farron’s ill-judged response speaks volumes.

    Whilst I understand that some here have policy differences with Corbyn, though fewer than some would care to admit, I think personal attacks on him smacks of desperation and looks a little more ugly with each passing day.

  • John Stone, yet another example of a campaign in trouble, failing to identify the Lib Dem programme and wandering in the wilderness. Who is to blame? I dread the morning of the 9th June and waking up to the Lib Dem result.

  • Denis Mollison 28th May '17 - 10:45am

    @Simon Shaw
    I’d rather have Corbyn than May any day. In what sense does May have character? She is all “strong and stable” facade with little behind it, as I hope an increasing number of voters are beginning to see.

  • Richard Underhill 28th May '17 - 11:09am

    “rather have Corbyn than May”? Tim Farron has said that we will not go into coalition with a Tory party led by Theresa May or a Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn. On policy we would spend more on the NHS and on schools, but these two party leaders have differences of character. Look at what former Home Secretary Alan Johnson said about Jeremy Corbyn and why Alan Johnson is not standing for re-election as an MP in 2017. A coalition with JC is quite impractical, and it therefore will not happen. As Charles Kennedy said of Labour – SNP relations “Speaking as a Scot, they hate each other.” That is still the case as Dugdale said in the leadership debate in Scotland, broadcast UK-wide by the BBC News channel (200).

  • Richard Underhill 28th May '17 - 11:11am

    Vince Cable was on the Peston Show on ITV, repeated tonight.

  • Corbyn’s refusal to condemn the IRA for the “Poppy Day Massacre” and the “Brighton Bombing” etc still sticks in the memory of many. It doesn’t really matter what he says now, there is just too much bad history attached to the man. On the day it will be a landslide for the Tories and if they are really lucky Corbyn will get just enough votes (about 30%) to stay as leader. As for the Lib Dems they really need to get into this fight, there’s still a chance to make some gains. Unfortunately even on LDV hardly anyone is talking about them.

  • malc 28th May ’17 – 11:14am……… It doesn’t really matter what he says now, there is just too much bad history attached to the man……
    Our leader has rather a chequered history on gay sex….I am happy to forget ‘history’ and accept his current position…Strange how ‘history’ is expected to follow Corbyn to the grave…

  • Dave Orbison 28th May '17 - 1:53pm

    Simon Shaw – Isn’t it about time you came off the fence re your views on Corbyn?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 28th May '17 - 3:26pm

    Dave , as ever decent is you , me , those on this site, it is not always Cobyn’s way, SinnFein for Ireland, Cuba, Venezuela , Iran, Syria, Palestine, no, I support the United Kingdom, the Liberal democrats , and , important difference with Mr. Corbyn’s friendliness with others, I , many herein too, back the terrific work of Liberal International. Dave, your support for Corbyn can be , should be , must be warts and all, not surely pretending. Please , as a friend , not enemy, see we , those who do not just think of the very specific difficulty associated with Ireland’s history, have a number of other situations where , on the very subject of foreign affairs he talks of, it is he too, as much or more, with dubious views or allegiances or ideas. His love of all things proletariat and revolutionary sits very uneasily with his excellent feeling for peace, he is either a hypocrite, not my own view, or naive at best . We can see the good in the man , without seeing him as a credible leader for this country. Our staunch malc, and particularly, Simon Shaw, are speaking for many too on this.

  • expats

    There is a massive difference between Tim Farron’s “chequered history” on gay sex and Corbyn attending a wreath-laying for a terrorist involved with the massacre of Israeli Olympians. Corbyn’s judgement has been wrong on far to many occasions.

  • Alex Macfie 28th May '17 - 5:26pm

    malc: oops, we agree on something.
    Tim’s actually a strong fighter for gay rights. He was the only major party leader to condemn the Chechnya gay persecutions.
    If you want an example of a candidate seeking re-election with real anti-gay attitudes, here you are:
    https://www.buzzfeed.com/amphtml/patrickstrudwick/another-conservative-candidate-has-links-to-gay-cure

  • Matthew Huntbach 28th May '17 - 5:29pm

    Michael BG

    @ Matthew Huntbach
    I didn’t claim that the Iraq War was an attack on Islam

    I didn’t say that you personally made that claim, but it was very commonly put.

    nor did I suggest that Iraqis were like little children.

    Again, I didn’t say that you personally made that claim, but it seems to me that the logical implication of the common claim that all that happened is entirely the responsibility of the USA and UK is, in effect, saying that the Iraqis who chose to be violent to each other are like little kids too simple to be treated as if they have any personal responsibility for what they did.

  • Matthew Huntbach 28th May '17 - 5:45pm

    Dave Orbison

    Matthew Huntback – the Iraq war was, at the time, supposed to deal with the alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction. Regime change was the mission creep that we were led into soon after

    I think it was precisely the other way round. My feeling is that Blair genuinely (if foolishly) believed overthrowing the dictator would result in a reasonable government emerging, and that he would eventually be appreciated for that. However, the Trade Union of national leaders (aka “United Nations”) would never agree to that. The “weapons of mass destruction” line seemed to me very obviously from the start just to be an excuse to try and get round international law on this matter.

  • Matthew,
    What Blair believed is irrelevant. It was sold as an anti terrorist exercise based on the threat of WMDs. It was a lot of big fat lies and is one of the major reason Blair’s reputation with the general public of virtually every political persuasion is so very very low.
    And whilst yes it’s true that it isn’t all our fault, it is also true that peddling myths about “moderate” Islamism in order to overthrow governments we don’t like has proved a disaster. In this particular case the killer seemed to have family connections to such radical groups and was flitting backwards and forwards to known hotspots. Not good.

  • As has become usual, among some on LDV, there are almost no references to Corbyn’s policies, just on him personally…
    i thought 2010-15 showed us that being cheer leaders for the Tories does us nothing but harm…
    Trolling through past history looking variations on sins to heap upon Corbyn will only ensure that May will win the election with a large majority…As my mother used to tell me, “I can’t stop you doing it, but don’t come crying about it later”..

    My last post on this thread…

  • Dave Orbison 28th May '17 - 11:34pm

    Simon Shaw, Lorenzo

    Have a look at this link. It’s based on facts. It records the 79 MP’s who in 1994 condemned the IRA Birmingham bombing in 1974.

    http://www.edms.org.uk/1994-95/28.htm

    Jeremy Corbyn was a signatory. There’s a fact. If you come back and say he advocates violence can you provide a reliable source? Something other than a narrative from the Tory Press.

    Lorenzo you can’t simply list a number of countries and add Corbyn to it as proof of anything. If you think so you may as well say North Korea and SPECTRE. It’s meaningless.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 29th May '17 - 2:13am

    Dave

    Simon is correct here, but to you , I say, as candidate Reagan , said to president Carter , in the 1980 debates ,and with the same amount of humour that he said , then,

    ” There you go again !”

    Cuba , we know Corbyn was a huge admirer of Castro, attended previous events there and praised him over decades, Venezuella, we know Corbyn is a huge admirer of Chavez and Maduro, has attended there too , praised both for years, Iran , he worked for Press TV even when they were completely, and when were they not, discredited, and he attended , events there including one to mark thirty years of the Iranian revolution, Syria, he has been Chairperson of Stop the War , they have a dreadful track record , on that issue , not inviting anti Assad speakers, see meeting with Diane Abbot in the chair , coverage wide, look online, Palestine , he has invited Hamas , to the House of Commons, he called them friends , and the guests were dubious characters , I can add links to Hezbollah, the regular column in the Morning Star , an appalling paper , which is the organ of the Communist Party , and has not only supported repressive totalitarian regimes, it has constantly sided with them over us.

    I can say he is a decent bearded vegetarian man with a nice attitude to pigeons and gardening and jam, is probably a pleasant companion and a good father.

    That’s fair , eh?!

  • Denis Mollison 29th May '17 - 8:15am

    @Simon, Lorenzo
    The issue was whether Corbyn sometimes turned a blind eye to violence.

    No it isn’t. Our government, and May as part of it, turn a blind eye to violence all the time: continuing to sell to Saudi Arabia while that country bombs Yemen and backs Sunni extremists in Syria, to take just one current example. And May voted for the illegal invasion of Iraq, which I am very glad to say our party opposed.

    The issue this blog post was supposed to be about is whether the Manchester atrocity has its origins to a significant extent in the century of violent western interference in the Middle East, and the disastrous military intervention in Libya in 2011. And on that Corbyn expressed himself carefully, and is absolutely right.

    We should be saying that we stand with Corbyn on the failure of the “War on Terror”, not helping the Tories to another 5 years of majority government – on that I agree with expats above.

  • Denis Mollison 29th May '17 - 8:17am

    PS – should be “sell arms to Saudi Arabia” of course

  • Denis Mollison 29th May '17 - 9:16am

    @Simon Shaw
    I am not a Corbyn hagiographer (if that means what I think it does); if I were, I’d have moved to the Labour Party by now.

    But I’m sorry to see you here on the same side as the right-wing gutter press, trying to dredge up things in Corbyn’s past to discredit him. How about equal attention to leading Tory figures, and their foreign policy in particular, with the clowning of Boris Johnson, and the rumoured threat of him being succeeded by the much worse Liam Fox if theTories are returned to power? Or Michael Fallon’s belligerent ignorance of the history of western interference in the Middle East in the TV interview where he was trying to smear Corbyn for his speech on Manchester?

    I will not digress into Cuba here, a whole different topic that deserves its own lengthy discussion, except to say that you have to see its recent history against first the far worse Batista regime that Castro overthrew, and secondly the US’s rejection of Castro’s overtures of friendship, instead sponsoring countless attempts to assassinate him – it’s lucky there were no military drones in those days!

  • Simon Shaw.
    Okay 7 years.
    Fact is Corbyn is not and hasn’t been PM. Where has this happened on May’s watch and has nothing to with IRA or Cuba or anything else being dragged into the mix. What we do know is that the bomber had links to Libyan and Syrian groups some of them sometimes called moderates when it suite our governments to promote them as such. He also travelled with ease to radical hotspots. Corbyn is a red herring, The issues are bad security and disastrous military intervention in Afghanistan. Iraq, Libya, and Syria. One of the things that attracted me to the Lib Dems was the sensible stance on Iraq. Unfortunately. this has taken a bit of a dent because of Libya, Syria and general willingness to accept “regime” change as a respectable centrist political stance rather than the muddle headed disaster it so obviously is. What I would say about Corbyn is that whilst some of his sympathies are dubious, he unlike May is or Blair or Cameron or (sadly) Clegg were is highly unlikely to commit Britain to direct involvement in more such miserable escapades. In other words I would take his supposed “weakness” on terror over their failed shows of “strength”.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 29th May '17 - 1:41pm

    I honestly am now at the moment of almost despair at the lack of ability of some on a Liberal and , very notable , Democrat , site , to see we do not have to bang on about the leader of another party and are only going on abut him, because a few, very , very few on here seem so keen on him.

    I specifically say strong things about the position of the Tories and in favour of our policy on Saudi Arabia. Ignored. Denis brings it up as though unread. And Jayne , I , unlike you , was a member of the Labour party and even now look in on their site, Labourlist, where most loath Corbyn, I am kinder to him ! How about you take your views on him there and persuade them, instead of where a site whose leader is Tim Farron are entitled to have fair and different views on the leader of another party .

    There is an election on. If you must get into party politics to such an extent, and, like our leader , on security issues , I think it too soon and not to my liking, how about lay off this party , on it’s site , the party has had five years as the very junior partner in a coalition government that increased spending on the security services and intelligence, while making modest cuts in police budgets , that were not the decision of a Liberal Democrat minister , as we did not have our representative as Home Secretary , that was the present pm !!!

    The two main parties have run this country , whether old or new , Labour or conservative , for a hundred years!!

    And Corbyn didn’t , but that did not or does not exempt him from criticism of what he did that some of us do not like . I say other decent things about him. Enough !!!

  • Denis Mollison 29th May '17 - 2:10pm

    @Lorenzo
    A fair point, that we would be wiser to concentrate on a positive Lib Dem message, not going on about the views of other parties. But the basis of this discussion is Tim’s attack on Jeremy Corbyn, where I wish he had taken this advice of yours.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 29th May '17 - 5:32pm

    Jayne

    You are a good and decent person and it would be better to continue as you do in this post, believe me , I know you would not stay long on Labourlist, I’m a voyeur there , I do not write, I daren’t they ‘d drive me potty , and me them ! But worth a regular visit to see how the other half live …?!

  • Matthew Huntbach 29th May '17 - 10:36pm

    Glenn

    And whilst yes it’s true that it isn’t all our fault, it is also true that peddling myths about “moderate” Islamism in order to overthrow governments we don’t like has proved a disaster

    I don’t know what you mean by this.

    I stated that I believe Blair was foolish in what he did. All I am saying is that to suggest he and Bush are to blame for everything, and no blame is to be placed on people in the Middle East who have acted in a cruel and violent manner is to me racist. It is in effect saying the people in the Middle East can’t be blamed at all, because they are far below westerners in intelligence and ability to reason so, like little kids, we just have to accept they do silly things because they know no better.

  • Matthew.
    I’m not sure what it is you don’t understand? I think what I said was pretty clear.

  • Matthew Huntbach 30th May '17 - 6:43pm

    Glenn
    I don’t in particular recall British governments “peddling myths about moderate Islam”. Of course, if you believe there is no such thing as moderate Islam, you should be calling for Muslims to be banned from Liberal Democrat membership on the grounds that they are incompatible.

    Neither do I see that Britain had any particular selfish interest in seeing the dictators in Iraq and Syria deposed. What actually seems to be the case is a “damned if we do and damned if we don’t” mentality, so people with an axe to grind against the west blame the west for everything no matter what it does – it is bad if it intervenes, it is bad if it does not. And you seem to want to support that sort.

  • Mathew,
    You misquoted me. I never said Islam. I said Islamism. Islam is the religion. Islamism usually describes the beliefs of radical political groups . As for the rest. I don’t agree. I also never said anything about self interest.

  • Matthew Huntbach 31st May '17 - 2:07am

    Glenn

    Well, according to what you are saying, the British government was actually promoting “Islamism”, if that is what you do mean by “peddling myths”. That is somewhat different from what those Islamists say when they accuse us all here in Britain of being “crusaders”, wanting to impose Christianity on Muslim countries.

    This mad claim was supported by many of those here who used it to attack Blair, making this suggestion that he was doing was some sort of attack on Islam. Why do people continue suggesting that, or using words that can be interpreted like that? If it really was the case, wouldn’t there have been a whole load of Christian evangelists following the troops in the invasion of Iraq?

    I have fully accepted that Blair was very wrong in what he did. However, I refuse to accept the common line that he and Bush are all to blame, and no blame at all falls on those in the Middle East who followed the deposition of the dictator by deciding to behave in violent and cruel ways to each other. As I have said, to me, that line is racist.

  • Matthew,
    I think that when we talk about backing rebel forces who then turn out be branches of various Islamist groups that is exactly what they are doing. The same thing happened in the 80s when the Mujahedeen. were promoted as brave freedom fighters. Bin Laden and Abu Hamza both had links to that particular cause.
    I never blame Bush and Blair entirely. However Blair certainly did drag Britain into military action based on lies about WMDs and an imminent threat to Britain. That isn’t a mistake. That’s dishonesty and manipulation. My view is not that they were trying to impose Christianity. but was mostly about trying to reshape countries and spheres of influence in the wake of the collapse of the USSR. The big problem is that a lot of the rebel forces we are and were promoting as alternatives are made up of religious fanatics who see absolutely no difference between the influence of Russia and the USA or Britain. In the short term these groups will use the help we offer them to overthrow whatever government they pit themselves against. In the long term they remain opposed to any form of Western influence and secularism. Here’s what get’s me. When we were using the RAF to help rebel forces in Libya, Journalists could talk to Libyan government officials, could stay in hotels in Tripoli, report on the progress of the war and so on. Now no one would risk going there at all. I think it’s telling that the Manchester bomber had family links to anti Gadhafi groups and was traveling to Islamist hot spots.
    IMO Britain should give up on a bad job gone wrong and refuse to lend anymore military support to Islamist rebel forces because they are not to be trusted.

  • Matthew Huntbach 31st May '17 - 10:11am

    Glenn

    IMO Britain should give up on a bad job gone wrong and refuse to lend anymore military support to Islamist rebel forces because they are not to be trusted.

    Oh, I agree with that. The point I’m making is that the line pushed that the invasion of Iraq was some sort of self-interested attack on Iraqis by Britain and the USA is to me wrong, because I think there genuinely was an intent to do good by bringing down one of the world’s cruelest dictators. That doesn’t mean I think it was the right thing to do, because it was bound to go wrong as it did. I think to paint it as an “attack on Islam” is particularly hypocritical because actually it brought down a dictator who for all his faults did support fairness between religions, and enabled Islamic extremism of various to come to the fore. And I think to keep on pushing the line that Blair was a liar, and not to balance it by saying that those who call what he did an “attack on Islam” are also self-interested liars is to give support to those liars.

    Given that common line put out about bringing down the dictator as an “attack on Islam” we should then have made very clear “Right: we will never do anything like that again, because you have told us not to”. And then we should denounce them as utter hypocrites when they accused us of being bad people for not intervening elsewhere in the Muslim world where bad things were happening. But instead of doing this, it seems too many people want to play the political game of twisting it all so that we in the west are damned if we do and damned if we don’t, while in the Middle East the people there are not to blame for anything that happens as they merrily oppress and kill each other.

  • Matthew’
    As I said before, I never mentioned self interest and I don’t care what the intent was.

    I don’t think that the common line is that bringing down a dictator was an attack on Islam. Sure, some groups peddle the idea. Usually the very groups we were encouraged to support in the first place. I think that the common criticism in the West is that, actually, it was a huge destabilising mistake. Unfortunately, I suspect we’re being pushed to make the same kind of mistake over and over again by people who despite abundant evidence to the contrary still think it will work . None of which alters the reality that Blair was a liar. Obviously, the lies had context, but they remain lies nonetheless.

  • To be fair I think you could argue that spin, economy with the actuality, exaggeration and bluster is closer to the truth about Tony Blair.

    I do agree with some of your points,

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