The Labour Party is currently holding its annual conference at Brighton. Today a motion calling for British troops to be brought home from Iraq very quickly was defeated by a margin of four to one. Although I had to go out before Jack Straw completed his speech, a resume of the whole thing I have now seen makes considerable sense, politically at least, even if I bridle at some of the quasi-socialist rhetoric his speech was larded with.
I don't agree with much that Tony Blair's government has done but, as I have said before, its policy on Iraq has generally been spot-on. I was never much concerned, personally, with whether there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or not, but if claims that they existed were what it took to achieve the political majority in the House of Commons to sanction our forces going there, then from my point of view I was happy to go along with it. The only downside, that WMD would not be found, would be for Blair to deal with, which from my longer-term perspective is a wholly good thing, but his conviction on the necessity of intervening in Iraq achieved what I saw (and see) as the great advance there - the removal of Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath Party from power. I've written about this aspect a number of times before, but most recently in July; my views since then have not changed in any significant way.