Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Disloyal Clare - as Bad as a Tory

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Disloyal Clare - as Bad as a Tory

Article excerpt


CLARE Shor t ' s attack on Tony Blair was about as effective as one of Saddam's Scud missiles, exploding without precision and without warning - but definitely with malicious intent. In an act of gross irresponsibility, she threatened to quit the Cabinet if there was no second resolution supporting a war with Iraq. This was disingenuous to say the least. Short knows better than anyone that she has no power to influence this war outside of the Cabinet and enormous power within it.

With only a few days of diplomacy left before the second vote, her timing could not have been more destructive, nor more self-indulgent.

In describing the Prime Minister as "extraordinarily reckless", Short helped to facilitate war without a second resolution. Every time Saddam can point to a divided British Government it gives him moral currency and reduces the pressure on him to disarm. Failure to disarm makes war more certain.

Ms Short is falling into the old Left trap of benefiting an enemy of mankind in her determination to wage a battle at home. Typically, Short wants it both ways - to be half in and half out, to exercise power without responsibility. If she really believes Blair has decided to go ahead without a second resolution, she should quit now.

If she believes there is any chance, however slim, of influencing the outcome, she should stay in and stay shtoom. This is the kind of loyalty you expect from the Tory party. Short makes much of her old-fashioned Labour integrity, yet where is the loyalty to her own colleagues, many of whom share her beliefs but respect the collective responsibility of government?

If a man as passionately antiwar as Robin Cook can - at least thus far - silently work from within, trying to act as a drag anchor on Blair's determination for war, then why can't she? Short's grandstanding insults those of true conscience inside that Cabinet.

And you only have to look at the Tories to see how disloyalty destroys political parties. …

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