Letter: After the war...

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The Prime Minister visits Macedonia and, presto, suddenly our willingness to accept refugees goes up from almost nothing to 1,000 a week.

Good? Well perhaps not. It implies that Mr Blair has not previously understood the situation. Not noticed or not believed the constant news reports, reports from UN representatives who have seen or heard at first hand. It implies that without seeing he cannot comprehend.

What tremendous implications that would have for the conduct of our affairs in general.

Does he, does the Government, yet have any perception, not just of the immediate cost of war, but of the cost of restoring the damage done? So far, presumably, we are faced with our share of an immediate cost of several billion pounds. Later, on the assumption that Serbia and the Balkans cannot just be left to rot, we shall be faced with our share of at least 30 or 40 times that amount. Is anyone planning for that, or is the financial consequence as hazy as the political grasp of the war itself seems to have been?

None of which is to imply that we should not have acted. It is rather to wish that the Government and its allies had acted with a deal more wisdom.