Of course I’d like to hear Jack Straw’s thoughts on Isis. Right after I get the Dalai Lama’s views on cage fighting

We might as well ask the opinion of a few random blokes down the bookies

Share

It’s fine that lots of ex-ministers who voted for the war in Iraq are now on the news giving their opinion about what we should do next in Iraq. That’s perfectly reasonable, as long as they start every sentence “Please bear in mind I helped create this cesspit, therefore my comments are less than worthless and if I had any respect I’d bind myself in chains and slither across the floor like an eel for 10 years, living off bugs out of shame. Anyway, thank you for inviting me onto the programme.”

Instead they seem happy to assume the position of an expert. It’s like a presenter telling us “With me to give us his expert analysis on navigating ships is the captain of the Costa Concordia. Captain, lovely to have you here for the regatta, where do you think some of these yachts are going wrong?”

For example, Jack Straw, who was Foreign Secretary at the time the invasion of the Iraq, said on the news “My instinct is for the UK to join US airstrikes.”

And you can see why he trusts his instinct as it’s always been so reliable in the past.

Maybe that’s what happened last time. Jack Straw said “I’m not going to waste time reading documents about Saddam’s weapons, I’m sure he’s got massive destructive ones, because I’ve got a funny feeling.”

Read more:
David Cameron: 'Assad is part of the problem'
Nato summit: Obama's leadership under scrutiny
PM under pressure to negotiate with Isis
Identity of 'Jihadi John' remains a mystery

We might as well give the job of Foreign Secretary to random blokes in the bookies. Then they can make statements such as “This afternoon there were disturbing developments in Ukraine. I don’t know what they were but something in my waters tells me I fancy a punt on an airstrike.”

Labour’s Peter Hain was also on the news, explaining how we should deal with Isis, as was Margaret Beckett. But they both forgot to mention that they were in the Cabinet that went along with the invasion that made such a mess of the place. They could try this method on Crimewatch, interviewing Fat Ernie on what can be done about the disturbing number of people having their legs broken in North London, without mentioning the role of the Fat Ernie gang that goes round North London breaking people’s legs.

Peter Hain’s view now is “We must work with Assad” in order to destroy Isis. And he might be the right man to sort that out, as he must still have Assad’s number from when Blair invited him to London as a “great reformer”. To be fair, Blair’s description has turned out to be accurate, as Syria is now so reformed some of it is barely recognisable.

Iain Duncan Smith is keen on supporting airstrikes as well, and we should respect his judgement. Because when Tony Blair was trying to convince us that Saddam had destructive weapons, IDS said it was even worse than we thought and Saddam could “strike most of Europe including London.”

This has to be admired, as it was even more wrong than the normal weapons of mass destruction theories. It’s as if Neville Chamberlain had a colleague who said “Not only will there be peace in our time, but Germany in the 1940s will be remembered above all for its bright sandy beaches”.

The politicians who backed the war on the grounds of Saddam’s weapons probably weren’t just making a mistake. They believed the stories about his weapons because they wanted to believe them. There were plenty of people who didn’t fall for it, so shouldn’t these be the people who are now interviewed?

News at Ten would make more sense if it started “As the crisis in Iraq escalates, Mrs Tilbury from the Co-op, who always said invading Iraq would end in tears, gives her first interview on how she would deal with the Islamic caliphate.”

Analysis:
Background: Isis now controls an area the size of Britain
Analysis: What is it like to be held hostage by Isis militants?
Background: Iraqi soldier survives mass execution
Comment: Sending troops to fight Isis is not the answer
Comment: 'I was nearly an American jihadi'
Profile: Who are Isis?

The pretence that the invasion played no part in shaping the troubles of today is an impressive leap of imagination, like an arsonist saying, “I did set the house on fire, but I don’t see how that contributed to the house burning down”.

At the time of the invasion there was no al-Qa’ida in Iraq at all, but now we’re describing the latest groups as even worse than al-Qa’ida. That has to be one of the most spectacular failures ever, doesn’t it? Imagine in 2003 if someone had predicted things would get so bad, we’d think, “I wish we could go back to the days of al-Qa’ida. At least they were polite. And say what you will about bin Laden, he kept his cave spotlessly clean. And his little films always had a beginning, a middle and an end”. 

But it doesn’t seem to have affected the politicians who got everything so wrong. They’re still asked their opinion as if it’s valuable – the past gibberish never mentioned – like a football manager who was sacked for his team losing every single game after he insisted on playing a midfield of four squirrels, but is still invited onto Match of the Day as an expert pundit.

This would still make more sense than asking the invaders of Iraq what to do with Iraq, as would Sky Sports showing cage-fighting with analysis by the Dalai Lama, or Songs of Praise introduced from St Joseph’s church in Henley-on-Thames by the military command of Isis.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Representative

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To promote and sell the Company...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager - Civil Engineering

£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Business: This company is going thro...

Tradewind Recruitment: KS1 & KS2 Teachers Required

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind Recruitment are currently working...

Day In a Page

Read Next
John Rentoul outside the Houses of Parliament  

If I were Prime Minister...I would be like a free-market version of Natalie Bennett

John Rentoul
 

Letter from the Political Editor: With 100 days still to go how will Cameron, Miliband and Co. keep us all engaged?

Andrew Grice
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea