A rambling, smug and frankly chauvinistic piece purportedly about Jack Straw from Michael White.http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog ... john-smith
Cook is long dead and I will resist rehearsing my still-held doubts about his approach to politics, though whenever I walk through a deserted House of Commons at eight o'clock at night I think of Robin's ardent commitment to "family friendly" hours with a wry smile.
Our last proper conversation was on the morning of the 7/7 bombings when we found ourselves walking across St James's Park towards Westminster after the tube system shut down. He said it would help if there were Muslim members of the G8 group of advanced industrial states. I replied that it would help if they did not cripple their own economies by backward cultural attitudes, to women for example.
Amazing. If only those Muslims were a bit nicer to their womenfolk, then they'd be neoliberal like us. It would also probably help, though, if Britain and America didn't keep bombing Muslim countries back to the stone age or installing/propping up those ultra-repressive dictatorships that are willing to subordinate themselves to Western capital.
Would he have done it again if he had known the intelligence on WMD was defective and the postwar occupation would be a shambles? No, but life is understood backwards while being lived forwards, he notes. Most informed people believed the WMD data at the time. For all its current troubles Iraq is a better place today.
Er, did they? From my recollection pretty much everyone knew deep down that the Campbell dossier was a sham, as it subsequently proved to be, and there were a lot of people who weren't afraid to say so at the time. There weren't one million plus on the streets for the Stop the War demo for nothing. Also, with semi-regular bombings still ongoing and renewed talk of death squads (not least in, er, the Guardian
) I'd be very wary of declaring the Iraq 'reconstruction' any sort of success.