Tag Archives: Ming Campbell

Ming Campbell on Chilcot: “My ally right or wrong is not sustainable”

The House of Lords has been debating Chilcot this week.

Ming Campbell, our foreign affairs spokesperson at the time, spoke in the debate. Here’s his speech:

Contrary to popular belief, I have never believed that what we were presented with was a false premise—implying that there was some effort at deception—but I have always believed that it was flawed, and the distinction is important. But it is clear that throughout these events Mr Blair thought that it was the right thing to do—and he still does. That was inevitably a moral judgment, but the strength of it gave rise to the error of making the evidence fit the judgment rather than the judgment fit the evidence.

The belief that the United Kingdom should be with the United States “whatever” was a flawed belief. Indeed, some would say that that single word reveals all that lay at the heart of the disastrous decision to go to war against Saddam Hussein. On reflection, there seems to have been a complete misunderstanding of the position of the United States. George W Bush always wanted regime change—it was no secret—but why was that? It was because around him was a cluster of influential neocons who thought that his father had made a fatal error in not instructing American forces to go to Baghdad at the end of the first Gulf War. If anyone doubts the good reasons for that decision, I suggest they read the memoirs of Sir John Major, who sets out with great clarity his support for that decision.

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Ming Campbell talks EU democracy, security, sovereignty in BBC Big Debate

Yesterday, I went to Glasgow to take part in Radio Scotland’s Big Debate as part of the Remain contingent. As they did during the election, the BBC invited a delicately balanced audience.

I almost combusted on the spot when I saw that there was to be an all-male panel. Then I looked at the Leave contingent, all but one of whom were men and only men spoke. The Remain contingent, however, were almost perfectly balanced and it was the women who actually spoke the most during the hour.

It still feels strange to hear Ming Campbell introduced as Lord Campbell of Pittenweem. His partner on the remain side was the very able SNP MEP Alyn Smith. Both of them were very good at making the positive case for the EU and busting a lot of Leave myths. The Leave panellists were Tory Brian Monteith, who lives in France and is a former Conservative MEP. George Laird is from Labour Leave.

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Lords’ Maiden Speeches: Ming Campbell on the Scotland Bill and the F word

Lord Campbell of Pittenweem (a very pretty fishing village in North East Fife) made his maiden speech unexpectedly early. I had been taking to him a few weeks ago and he had said it probably wouldn’t be till January. He couldn’t resist the temptation to come in on the Scotland Bill, especially as he’d chaired two commissions on how more power could be devolved to and beyond the Scottish Parliament.

Here is his speech in full:

My Lords, I am not entirely clear how to respond to that but I think that the good people of Pittenweem will make their own judgment.

I hope that it will not be thought presumptuous of me to suggest that we should be loath to draw any parallels between the Schleswig-Holstein question and any of the contents of the Bill. It will be remembered that one of those who claimed to understand the question went mad, and it may be thought an unfortunate omen.

Contrary to expectation, this is not the first time that I have spoken in your Lordships’ House. The last occasion was more than 30 years ago but I have good cause to remember it well. Outside, there was a most Indian of Indian summers; inside, being after 1 October, the central heating was going full bore, and I was dressed in full court dress and wearing the necessary full-bottomed wig when appearing before the judicial committee in the Chamber. Notwithstanding that ordeal, worse was to be suffered. I spent a whole day being eviscerated by Lord Bridge of Harwich, whom some of your Lordships will remember for his robust interventions on the judicial committee. It is only very recently, and reluctantly, that I have come to the view that perhaps he did not care for my argument.

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Two Lib Dems standing down: Ming on competitiveness, Iraq and backing Clegg, Teather on “political self harm”

The Observer is interviewing some MPs who have stood down from Parliament. Ming Campbell and Sarah Teather are featured today.

Ming says his proudest moment in his 28 years in Parliament was deciding not to support the war in Iraq:

The second Gulf war, that’s the most significant political thing I’ve been engaged with. We took the decision – not an easy decision – that we were going to thoroughly oppose it, and there were some sleepless nights for me and for Charles . All it needed was a company of American marines to discover two tanks of anthrax – our position would have been wholly undermined. So it was a big risk, but we thought it was right and we thought wasn’t legal.

Ming comes from a different place politically than Nick Clegg, and he hasn’t had a government job. What does he make of our leader?

I’m a great admirer of Clegg, he was my pick and he’s astonishingly resilient when you consider some of the stuff that’s written about him. Forming the coalition was a very brave thing to do – it’s no secret I had some reservations – but if you’re in the ex-leaders club your duty is to follow your leader. If you’ve been through the fire and brimstone yourself, then you really have a duty to ensure that your successor is not subject to that.

Sarah had some pretty astute observations about modern politics which should make us all think about why it’s so deeply unsatisfying. She had been asked if we should worry about the number of women standing down:

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Well, I’d never have guessed THAT about Ming Campbell

Those Buzzfeed UK politics people noticed this today. A definite contender for unfortunate headline of the week.

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Ming Campbell’s response to the Charlie Hebdo shootings worries me

I was more than a little perturbed when I saw Ming Campbell on the BBC News Channel this morning. He was talking about yesterday’s atrocity at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

He started well enough, saying that this was not just an attack on France but on our values, Then he worried me by asking that we now need to ask ourselves how much we need to curb freedom in order to protect it, adding that the bigger the threat, the greater the precautions you need to take.

He brought it back a little by saying that you can’t protect everyone from everything, but there are things you can do to minimise the risk. Then came the killer punch: he said that we may have to consider things that would be unacceptable at other times in order to deal with the extremists.

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LibLink: Ming Campbell: I will vote no to independence because I love Scotland

st Andrews flag saltire scotland Some rights reserved by Fulla TWillie Rennie’s “sunshine strategy”, talking up the positive side of Scotland staying in the UK even got a mention on the Andrew Marr Show during our Scottish Conference. The independence referendum is sorely needing a lift, and on the rare occasion it gets it, it is usually down to a Liberal Democrat, it has to be said. Charles Kennedy, Mike Moore, Willie Rennie and Alistair Carmichael have all added some much-needed appreciation of the UK and thoughtful consideration of the arguments. …

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