LibLink: Tim Farron on Chilcot

At the Huffington Post, Tim Farron is decrying the delay to the Chilcot report into the Iraq war.

The publication of the Chilcot report is crucial and the delays are unacceptable – we cannot afford to continue walking in the dark.

The underlying issue which we need to understand and question is the alignment of British foreign policy with American priorities. Has Blair and Thatcher’s determination to maintain “the special relationship” benefitted our country? Should we continue in this vein? The Chilcot report, when it is eventually published, must force us to learn lessons for the years ahead: at the moment we are in limbo. In a year when the country will decide who rules for the next five, this is unacceptable.

Tim’s theme throughout is very much of significance placed by governments on the UK’s “special relationship” with the US and the extent to which this has led to participation in unsound military adventures.

For Margaret Thatcher, our closeness to Washington enabled us to stand apart from the European continent. For Tony Blair, the image of Britain as a transatlantic ‘bridge’ served a similar aim; he moved away from partnership with France and Germany, towards the USA. But Britain is a European country. We share interests with our neighbours across the Channel, and with them face shared threats. Over the past five years, political and military cooperation between Britain and France has grown, though largely unreported to Parliament or the press, as well as with the Netherlands and the Nordic countries. The Eurosceptic insistence that Britain can stand tall in the world without close cooperation with our European neighbours depends upon belief that Washington still sees the British Prime Minister as ‘special’ – and special enough to shore us up against the threats.

Read it all here.

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