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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  • User AvatarPeter Martin 12th Nov - 9:24pm
    frankie, OK This is your last chance. You probably think my business cards aren't worth very much. You won't have any "faith" in them as...
  • User Avatarfrankie 12th Nov - 9:07pm
    Peter, Just answer the question " What value has a currency have when people lose faith in it". When you've worked out that simple question...
  • User AvatarAndy Hyde 12th Nov - 9:05pm
    Gary J- Hearing how other Vietnamese people have been trafficked here, since this tragedy, often forced to Europe to pay off family debts at home,...
  • User AvatarGary J 12th Nov - 8:43pm
    But the victims here were not trafficked. They were economic migrants who made a voluntary decision to leave Vietnam and come to Britain illegally. If...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 12th Nov - 8:32pm
    @David Evans: I think your estimate of the number of seats we might win is flawed, because it assumes Uniform National Swing based on 2017...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 12th Nov - 8:28pm
    "Public investment works if it triggers the deployment of private capital, but not as its substitute." ??? Private capital comes from public investment. If you...