I have a friend who reads The Guardian

Well, I say “friend” but in all honesty I tolerate him.

We were talking on the phone last night about Le Duc de Moonbat’s foam-flecked philippic in yesterday’s Grauniad. The conversation went something like this….

Why are people still so rarked up about the Iraq war? Tyrant deposed and executed, consitutional democracy installed in the middle east, oil resources now out in the open global market place, war well and truly over, all for 4,696 coalition dead. In anyone’s history books that is a remarkably successful endeavour.

How does one “install” democracy? Does it work like a Windows service pack?

I’m guessing you try to do it in a similar way that it was installed in Germany and Japan, two countries with barely any democratic history before being defeated in 1945.

Now that’s just a fucking stupid comparison, not even worth rebutting, besides being factually incorrect in the case of Germany.

So why rebut it?

Go on. Enlighten me about Germany’s long and noble history of democracy pre-1945. How long was it? 13 years, many of which were subject to hyperinflation and economic depression? You might want to check your facts before you go round accusing others of making “fucking stupid” statements.

You do know that Germans had democratic rights and parliaments from the 1871 unification, don’t you?

Bloody hell! A fact! Yes, and Bismarck and his successors took a great deal of notice of them.

Is that a retort, an apology or just an attempt to mask your error?

What error? Germany’s was hardly a grand history of democracy, and had always been largely dominated by the aristocratic classes. The favour of the Kaiser tended to count for more than the public vote. The Weimar Republic was considerably more democratic but far, far weaker. So on any analysis you had one country with a pretty damn shaky history of democracy and one with none at all, and both had been highly militarised for a long time and then totally destroyed. Neither particularly promising places to grow a functioning democracy.

So now we’re differentiating based on the level of democracy, because if that was the case then Britain was certainly not democratic at the time, based on the modern conception. Either that or you could just admit your 13 years statement was in fact a sack of shit, which it clearly was.

Not really. Executive power in Britain from well before German unification didn’t depend ultimately or even substantially on the favour of the monarch.

Well, there you are not strictly correct. The differences in the powers of the monarchs were more a matter of style than substance. They both had the power to choose their first minister and both were head of their armed forces. But that is not the point, Germany was a functioning but limited democracy, much as Great Britain was a functioning but limited democracy.

Except Great Britain had a less enfranchised population than the Germans.

I’ll concede that Britain was less enfranchised if you weigh that solely by the number of people who had a vote. But that takes no account of the actual power wielded by each vote. In terms of the principle that the franchise should have the ability to limit the power of the executive and/or monarch, Britain was light years ahead. Parliament had forcibly removed two monarchs centuries beforehand. Britain also didn’t function as a military state. Those are major differences in terms of a country’s readiness for, or acceptance of an effective democracy.

Anyway, back to the war….

You’re on a roll here, pal. Clearly we should have left the Iraqis to be marched off into unwinnable bloodbath wars against their neighbours or gassed and tortured by their genocidal, psychopathic leader, who was a menace to his neighbours, a destabilising influence in the most geo-politically important region on Earth, and someone who by turning his country into a mafia pariah state had provoked its expulsion from the world community.

I seem to have lost my head, what with the American government now blowing up hotels in Baghdad and all.

And what about David Kelly being murdered by his own government?

Yes. The Kelly thing is interesting, isn’t it? What many people aren’t aware of is that Kelly was certain that Saddam had a WMD programme and all that was up for debate was how advanced it was.

His conversations with Gilligan were all about how the government was manipulating his work and that of the counter proliferation teams to support their position that Iraq posed an immediate danger.

The issue of his death is extraordinary. No one buys the suicide theory as it’s just not possible but equally there isn’t a long list of people who would have wanted him dead; possibly the Russians, Syrians or Israelis but that’s about it.

I cannot understand the reason for the secrecy surrounding Kelly’s death.

Well, if he was offed by an intelligence agency from a country that we are trying to build bridges with then that task becomes a whole bunch harder. Callous, but then international relations is not for the faint hearted.

Anyway, it was illegal. Blair should be arrested, charged and tried for war crimes.

What was? The war? I’ve never been able to understand why people think that something that was voted for by Parliament can possibly be illegal.

The UN business is actually irrelevant given that the UN didn’t vote to condemn the war and in fact actually set up offices in Iraq after the invasion, and in any case, both Britain and the US have the right to veto any UN resolution.


Remarkable restraint really. 20 minutes on the phone before he fell back on the Nazi Gambit.

So, all in all, a fairly satisfactory exchange of views, I thought. Some issues were resolved and both parties walked away in agreement.

The international law one is interesting. I prefer to defer to that renowned legal titan, Lord Dubya of Texashicksville, when he said, “International Law huh? I better call my lawyer; he didn’t tell me about that.” I’m sure he didn’t bother.

However, if you have one of those beards without moustaches and you’re running a touchy feely western european sham-democracy that signs up to every deranged treaty that gets shoved under its nose, then inscribes them into its constitution so that buying the wrong kind of cheese in Flanders gets you a 25 stretch in the Hague, keep that international lawyer fucking close, should you be buying cheese in Flanders.

Britain’s constitution being a complex beast, of course, that argument rages and rages.



2 comments on “I have a friend who reads The Guardian

  1. […] I have a friend who reads The Guardian « He's Spartacus […]

  2. I say! That’s interesting! I’d never looked at it that way!

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