Basis for Iraq war was wrong, admits Blair ally Lord Falconer

Original post from Herald Scotland

‘…………By Magnus Gardham Political Editor

BRITAIN was wrong to join the Iraq war, one of Tony Blair’s closest allies in the build-up to the 2003 invasion has admitted.

Tony Blair

Lord Falconer, the former Lord Chancellor, said the conflict was perceived as a mistake and had damaged Labour.

Interviewed for a BBC Scotland documentary on his party’s plight, he said the basis of Britain’s intervention was mistaken.

He told the programme, to be broadcast tonight (Mon), “We didn’t find weapons of mass destruction there and that was the basis by which we went in.

“So on that basis, we weren’t right to go in.”

The failure of coalition forces to find weapons of mass destruction in Saddam Hussein’s arsenal, the heavy loss of life and continued instability in the country caused growing anger over Britain’s role in the war.

It continues to dog Labour eight years after Mr Blair left office.

Lord Faulkner denied it had damaged Labour more in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK despite the SNP, which opposed the conflict, using it repeatedly as an issue to attack their main opponents.

In a sign of the party’s difficulties, Scottish Labour leadership frontrunner Kezia Dugdale yesterday warned the party faced another “storm” in next year’s Holyrood election, after losing 40 MPs last month.

She told Sky News’s Murnaghan programme she was asking for party supporters to back her “for the short, the medium and the long term” in the leadership election due to be decided in August.

Lord Falconer, a close confidant of Mr Blair, told the BBC: “I think the Iraq war damaged Labour everywhere, and I think that the Iraq war is perceived to be a mistake.

“By Labour, by Tony Blair.

“That damaged Labour right throughout Scotland and England, but I’m not sure that it necessarily damaged Labour more in Scotland than it did in England.”

A so-called “dodgy dossier” produced before the invasion claimed it was “beyond doubt” that dictator Saddam Hussein had continued to produce chemical and biological weapons and was making efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

It also claimed Iraq could deploy biological weapons within 45 minutes of an order to do so.

No weapons of mass destruction were discovered.

Speaking on Sky News, Ms Dugdale said Labour’s decision to campaign alongside the Conservatives during the independence referendum had also damaged the party, though she believed it was “the right thing to do for Scotland” to secure a No vote.

Accepting Scottish Labour faces another tough election next May, she said: “Well our problems didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be fixed overnight either so when I put my name forward for the leadership of my party I asked my colleagues to back me for the short, the medium and the long term.”

She said fellow parliamentarians supporting her bid for the leadership

“understand that this is a long term problem and that we need to fix it in a whole manner of ways”.

She added: “There is a huge amount of change that we need to do within the Scottish Labour party and in terms of speaking to the country ahead so I said yesterday in my campaign launch that it is possible that there is another storm coming for the Scottish Labour party.

“We need to understand the force of that but that doesn’t mean in any way that I have given up on next year’s election.”

Ms Dugdale and her opponent, Eastwood MSP Ken Macintosh, will face each other in the first of four election hustings tonight.

Mr Macintosh will use the Edinburgh event to call for councils to be handed back control over local taxes.

The council tax freeze imposed by the SNP in 2007 has made it all but impossible for local authorities to increase bills.

Speaking ahead of the gathering he said: “John Swinney and Nicola Sturgeon claim the council tax freeze is popular among voters and they may be right, but bribing people to make them like you is not a responsible way to run a government.” ………………’

Is this the proof ‘megalomaniac’ Blair DOES want to rule the world?

Original post from Daily Mail

@……………Ex-PM accused of bidding for global domination after vow to set up ‘leaders club’

  • Vowed to set up exclusive club of ex-statesman in Newsweek interview
  • Described his ideas of leadership as ‘close to a benevolent dictatorship’
  • Hopes to stay active in both politics and business well into his 90s
  • Tory MP Andrew Bridgen claimed Mr Blair came across a ‘megalomaniac’ 

Tony Blair yesterday faced accusations of ‘megalomania’ over an interview in which he vowed to set up his own ‘leaders club’ of ex-statesmen – and appeared to dismiss the need for democracy.

The ex-PM said he wanted to create a ‘cadre’ of former leaders to advise governments, saying: ‘You can get some of these guys who are fantastic executors. Why not use their talents and their experience?’

He added: ‘Why not come and help the president of this country or the prime minister of that country?’

Scroll down for video 

Tony Blair on the cover of Newsweek. The former Prime Minister said his ideas of leadership were ‘close to a benevolent dictatorship’

In the profile in the American magazine Newsweek, Mr Blair also praised the authoritarian military regime in Egypt, which has been accused of human rights abuses, saying: ‘Yes, democracy is important, but democracy is not on its own sufficient. You need effective government taking effective decisions.’

The article – which described Mr Blair’s ideas of leadership as ‘close to a benevolent dictatorship’ – added that Mr Blair had concluded from the foot-and-mouth crisis of 2001, when the army slaughtered ten million sheep and cattle, that soldiers were better at emergencies than governments.

Mr Blair, who made his first intervention in the Election campaign last week with a speech backing Ed Miliband and warning about the risks of leaving the European Union, said that he hoped to stay active in both politics and business well into his 90s.

Blair in his old constituency giving a talk at the Xcel centre in County Durham in support of Ed Miliband. He said he hoped to stay active in both politics and business well into his 90s

Explaining why he had no plans to retire, Mr Blair said: ‘I’ve got decades. I want to be seeing someone when I’m 91 after having had medical tests which show I’m getting younger. The thought of actually retiring is not… look, you have got to have some self-awareness of these things.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen has branded Blair a 'megalomaniac' for his Newsweek remarks

‘And I just know that if I do that, it would literally take me about three days before I was bored out of my mind. Took to drink or something.’

The 61-year-old has been working as a Middle East peace envoy while picking up international consultancy work that earns him millions of pounds a year.

Talking about the group of ex-leaders he hoped to deploy in his business, Mr Blair suggested that only those who had risen to the top of their countries could properly relate to each other.

He said: ‘The moment I’m talking to a new leader and I’m describing what I felt and what the challenges were, there’s a total and instant empathy, an immediate locking on to each other… and I know what it’s like because I’ve sat in the decision-making seat.’

Last night, Tory MP Andrew Bridgen claimed that Mr Blair’s words suggested he has ‘completely lost the plot’. Mr Bridgen added: ‘David Cameron recently announced that he would not serve a third term, on the grounds that all prime ministers go a bit mad after ten years.

‘It is becoming increasingly clear that Mr Blair’s decade in Downing Street has indeed left its mark, and he is now displaying the distinct signs of megalomania.’


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