Labour bids to banish the ghost of Tony Blair's toxic foreign interventions

Tories accused of making same mistakes as former PM in Mali

A new approach to intervening in foreign countries will be set out by Labour as the shadow Defence Secretary, Jim Murphy, accuses David Cameron of failing to learn the lessons from Tony Blair’s mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ten years after the Iraq War, Labour will attempt to further distance itself from a conflict which alienated many voters by warning against the “ideological” crusade against al-Qa’ida favoured by Mr Blair and Mr Cameron.

The party will say that Mr Cameron risks repeating Mr Blair’s errors in Mali, where 350 British  personnel are supporting the French military operation.

After criticism that it has few policies, Labour is finally starting to show its hand. Ed Miliband will make a major speech on Thursday as he defines what his “One Nation Labour” slogan would  mean for economic policy. He is expected to put squeezed living standards at the top of his agenda, arguing that low and middle-income earners have “never had it so bad”.

Mr Miliband will echo Barack Obama by saying that growth must come “from the middle out” rather than trickle down from those lucky enough to be at the  top.

Meanwhile, Labour’s new thinking on foreign policy will be spelt out today by Mr Murphy. He will say the party cannot turn its back on military action abroad, but will propose earlier, “preventative intervention” through Nato to train other forces in regions where troublespots emerge.

In his speech, the Blairite Mr Murphy will say: “Some of the political language applied in response to recent events [in Mali] has suggested a continuation of the 9/11 world and in turn the strategy then deployed. The Prime Minister’s declaration of a ‘generational struggle’ over-simplifies the nature of the threat and compounds rather than learns the lessons from the past. He called for an ‘intelligent’ response; the real intelligent response is to adapt to developments ourselves.”

The shadow Defence Secretary will also argue: “While Iraq and Afghanistan have been painful and rightly controversial, we cannot hide from the fact that threats overseas may necessitate the use of military force. A belief that we have responsibility beyond our borders is not, as some would have it, ideological, but an essential response to the world in which we live. Our nation should be haunted by the isolationist reticence of Douglas Hurd over Bosnia and the tragedy we witnessed in Rwanda.”

Calling for the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan to be learnt, Mr Murphy will say: “Al- Qa’ida was presented as a coherent entity. While truer in the past, it is now a looser franchise. A search for simplicity led to solutions which paid insufficient regard to the complexity of local circumstance. An almost primitive understanding of the Afghan population, culture and geography prior to Nato intervention severely undermined international attempts to work with proxies and our political strategy was in its conception insufficiently representative...

“Mali shows neither we nor our allies have fully applied these lessons. Mali is a failure in foresight. Mali has been on the critical list for a long time yet action has been rushed with shifting objectives.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Product Manager / Product Marketing Manager / Product Owner

COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Product Manager / Product Owner is required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Content Curator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a mobile television network wi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a fast growing ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: As an Associate Recruitment C...

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash