Categorised | Big Brother, Civil Liberties, Conservatives, General, Labour, Lib Dems |

Government used Veto on Iraq war minutes

The Arrogance of Power

Amidst massive public opposition, this government decided to send out troops to war in Iraq, now they have used a clause in the Freedom of Information Act to block the release of details of meetings in which the war’s legality was discussed. This decision was made by Justice Secretary, Jack Straw and supported by his cabinet colleagues. Straw claims that releasing the minutes would do “seriously damage” to Cabinet government and this outweighed any public interest considerations. Just who the hell does he think he is? This government sent our troops to war, far too many soldiers have lost their lives as a consequence of that decision and the war has cost £billions, yet I haven’t met a single person that supported it. So, in spite of the fact that the government went against public opinion, justified the war on what were at best ‘flaky’ grounds and our soldiers are dying every week, this government does not believe we have the right to know why, how they reached their decision and on what evidence? Does this suggest that this pathetic excuse for a government with spineless cabinet ministers believes that, whilst the people of this country are objective and mature enough to vote them in, that we lack the maturity, gravitas and objectivity to form our own opinions on what this government did in OUR name? Does the arrogance of this government have no limits?

Whilst there may be some justification in using a ministerial veto where national security is in question, it is an abuse in the extreme, to use it simply to save the blushes of those that were party to a decision to take this country to war. Is there a more serious decision for a government to take, than committing their country to war, what possible justification is there in hiding the justification? This is what Jack Straw had to say “there is a balance to be struck between openness and maintaining aspects of our structure of democratic government.” Forgive me Mr Straw, but the commonly held definition of ‘democratic’ is ‘constructed upon the principle of government by the people’. Perhaps what Mr Straw meant to say was authoritarian?

If that was not bad enough, The Conservatives are  quoted as saying the decision was “right” since the release of the minutes would make ministers more reluctant to discuss controversial subjects in future, impeding good government. That is utter crap. We are ALL supposed to be responsible for our decisions, unless or until we are judged to have been incapable of knowing right from wrong at the time. So what gives Cabinet ministers an exemption from common law or makes the Conservatives believe they should be? If ever there was clear evidence of MP’s believing they are a cut above the rest of us, and exempt from the same rules that the rest of us have to abide by, this is it. From the mouths of a senior cabinet minister and a spokesperson for the Conservatives.

David Howarth, Justice spokesman for the LibDems said the decision was “more to do with preventing embarrassment than protecting the system of government“. That just about sums it up, this veto was used to save embarrassment, to protect reputations. In a New Labour democracy, we are not entitled or trusted to form our own opinions on the basis of the facts. What particularly disgusts and shocks me is the fact that Cameron’s conservative party should also support this veto, Cameron should be ashamed and, if he is so contemptuous of the British people, Cameron does not deserve to be elected prime minister of this country.

How can the government of any modern democracy refuse to entrust the electorate with the reasons they decided to take us to war? If the government has nothing to hide, then why do they refuse to release the minutes? Surely if they were fully justified in sending our troops to Iraq, then the minutes will attest to that fact? Of course, Jack Straw is not a particular fan of open government, but this was a decision that had to be agreed by the current cabinet, many of whom were not party to the original meetings. Why did the Cabinet support the use of this ministerial veto based on the grounds of vanity? Perhaps they truly are spineless, maybe they are contemptuous of the British public, or simply willing to cover up for their former masters and colleagues? I don’t know, but something stinks!

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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Liberty Lover Says:

    Shame on you Mr Straw, so much for JUSTICE.

  2. Charlie Says:

    This is the problem with politics in Britain, our politicians are only answerable to themselves. They set their own rules, pay, and expenses and then have committees made up of themselves to back them when they are questioned. The whole Freedom of information debacle is a case in point. They were caught out, so promptly changed the law to exempt themselves! Now they are going even further to hide their expenses. And we tolerate this.

    Of course they claim that they are answerable to the electorate, but four or five years is too long to have to answer for their arrogance. Besides, most of the time we only elect another group who will do precisely the same thing.

    We need some form of independent committee, preferably made up of ordinary people, that monitors and decides on such matters.

    It is beyond ridiculous that in a modern democracy we are now left with no option but to wait for an election, to vote in someone else, who we hope will allow us to see the processes that took us to war, years ago.

    MPs create select committees to bring the bankers in and interrogate them, why can’t we do the same for MPs?

  3. Frustrated Voter Says:

    Absolutely Charlie: Whilst we supposed to be in a democracy, where our votes and as importantly our views, count for something, it doesn’t feel like it. Little wonder that the voters feel disengaged and our MP’s appear to be in a parallel universe.

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