Author Archives: Arthur Snell

Liberal Democrats need a distinctive message

When I was blown up in Iraq I knew I had to join the Liberal Democrats. The party needs to find its purpose again.

There was a brief silence after the bomb blast. Then shouting, nervous laughter. The Iraqi policeman I had been meeting pointed at the shattered window and stammered, “Shay aadi,” a normal thing. We were both uninjured, but I learned later that several guards had died outside the building. It was 2005 and I was in a Baghdad. Car bombs were normal. As I left the building I noticed a severed, charred hand on the ground.

I was working on a security assistance project. I had been an “on-balance” supporter of the 2003 invasion and felt that it could leave Iraq a better place. But after the realisation that the coalition had lost control, I knew that we had unleashed a terrible whirlwind. The existence of Islamic State now is a direct consequence of the 2003 invasion and its aftermath.

Later that day as the shock of the bombing began to fade, I went online and joined the Liberal Democrats. This was the only party that had taken the correct stance on Iraq. It had done so in the face of media hostility and accusations of a lack of patriotism. But it wasn’t just about Iraq: in 2005, after eight years in power, Labour had done little to tackle inequality and continued to promote international finance as the best engine of economic growth; Vince Cable had started to raise concerns over the unsustainable credit boom as early as 2003. And Labour continued to cling to an unfair electoral system and an appointed legislature stuffed with cronies.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 39 Comments

Opinion: Afghanistan – Fools rush in…

US soldier in Afghanistan. Photo courtesy of US Department of DefenseFor the generation of UK military and civilians that served in Afghanistan over the past 13 years, watching the extensive coverage of the final withdrawal from Helmand province comes with mixed feelings.

As the Foreign Office’s “man in” Helmand during 2010, even then it was obvious to me that the UK media had already made up its mind: the conclusion was we had failed. So, when I read the reports earlier this week that “a third” of Helmand’s schools were still …

Posted in Op-eds | 3 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMoyra Forrest 6th Jun - 4:04pm
    Well done Jamie! Perhaps James Graham's play, This House, could be mandatory viewing for all MPs - principles do matter.
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 6th Jun - 3:48pm
    "Would he have voted for the execution of Charles the First for High Treason?"... Bercow was only born in 1963, so he was only just...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 6th Jun - 3:45pm
    @Alex Macfie Ed Davey May not have attended Eton or St Paul’s; but he certainly didn’t attend his local comprehensive either. His alma mater, Nottingham...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 6th Jun - 3:41pm
    Ed Davey in his interview with the Electoral Reform Society commented "I always caution one little bit which is my tactics about making sure you...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 6th Jun - 3:29pm
    @ Alex Macfie How long have you been involved in politics, Alex ? I ask simply to establish your experience of human nature with the...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 6th Jun - 3:24pm
    Jenny. Barnes 6th Jun '20 - 2:06pm There was a tradition that the local electorate should decide on whether they wanted their MP to be...