This weekend marks 15 years since Robin Cook resigned as Tony Blair’s Foreign Secretary over the call to go to war with Iraq.
#OTD 2003. Robin Cook (watched on by Jeremy Corbyn) resigns from the Cabinet over Iraq. Cook said "Britain is being asked to embark on a war without agreement in any of the international bodies of which we are a leading partner" pic.twitter.com/OcClRdeSDD
— Tides Of History (@labour_history) March 17, 2018
Like the current crisis with Russia, the UK was being asked to support a confrontation on the basis of evidence that was far from solid.
You know how government ministers always tell us “lessons have been learned” after a serious mistake is exposed?
Here are some of the lessons of Iraq, as detailed in the Chilcot Report:
The Chilcot Report into the Iraq war called for us not to rush to judgement and to act on the facts. @jeremycorbyn is right that we should not be rushing way ahead of the evidence regarding the horrific attack in Salisbury. pic.twitter.com/qeAEERIMI4
— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) March 17, 2018
So Mr Corbyn is right to demand incontrovertible evidence before any action is taken. It’s a shame Theresa May went ahead and accused Russia anyway.
She compounded her error by concocting a new smear about Mr Corbyn – that he supports the Russians.
This is an obvious lie – the Labour leader has been far more outspoken about Russian crime and corruption than the Tories, who have spent years trying to conclude trade deals with President Putin and his deputies.
And the public weren’t having it.
On Saturday morning, they came out in support of Mr Corbyn – in a big way:
I'm a middle-aged Mum, wife, Buddhist & barrister. Fed up with a political & economic system that causes cruel & needless suffering to so many of our citizens. #ISupportJeremyCorbyn
— 🕊CrémantCommunarde#NHSLove❤️ (@0Calamity) March 17, 2018
— Rachael (@Rachael_Swindon) March 17, 2018
I am not part of a Labour Cult, I am just a 54 year old SAH Stroke Survivor of 27 years thus far who is fed up of the establishment status quo and being discriminated against that is aching for real change. #ISupportJeremyCorbyn
— LeonC #PCPEU 🇪🇺 (@LeonC1963) March 17, 2018
I'm a teacher and #ISupportJeremyCorbyn because of his commitment to social justice and good education.
— Mick Walsh (@MickWalsh63) March 17, 2018
— GILL ROSS (@gillross60) March 17, 2018
— Lil'oldme NO# (@relovedreams) March 17, 2018
— The Absolute Boy JC (@TheBirmingham6) March 17, 2018
#ISupportJeremyCorbyn as I saw how the politcal estabslihment & its loyal servants in the media acted in stirring up Anti-Russia Hysteria. Corbyn knows the danger of a possible new Cold-War, stayed calm and took the right position. This is why we need him as PM
— 🇰🇷Shlomo🇨🇷 (@Hapoel4) March 17, 2018
I want change, and a chance for my children and their children to grow up in a country of which they can be proud.
— Michael Westcombe #PCPEU #NHSLove (@MerryMichaelW) March 17, 2018
— Harry Leslie Smith (@Harryslaststand) March 17, 2018
— paul charisse (@PaulCharisse) March 17, 2018
Me: daughter, wife, mum of 2, housing professional, trade unionist so horrified by what the Tories and Libdems have done to society that I'm now standing in the May local elections 😬#ISupportJeremyCorbyn and the manifesto #forthemanynotthefew
— Sam Marshall 🌹✊ (@smarshall2002) March 17, 2018
Even some of his detractors had to admit that Mr Corbyn’s approach is right:
Corbyn's admiration for Russia clouds his judgement But he's not wrong to insist we remain measured in our actions, that Salisbury may still be rogue action to support Putin, not ordered by him and that a crisis needs better than the school boy words of Gavin Williamson yesterday
— Paddy Ashdown (@paddyashdown) March 16, 2018
Even Mr Ashdown’s minor criticism was slapped down, though:
Where is the evidence for this admiration. Corbyn wants to use international laws as agreed by the UK. Tories want to bypass/ignore all international laws as they could well be exposed for the fraudsters they are. https://t.co/PiUYJc8pAu
— Carole Hawkins (@hawkins_carole) March 17, 2018
It seems Mr Corbyn’s supporters were right when they said the Tories’ smear campaigns can only help Mr Corbyn and the Labour Party.
Last week, Survation recorded a seven-point lead for Labour over the Conservatives.
Who knows what it will be, next time?
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