.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}


Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Should George Bush come to England?

Today Bush arrives in London and you can bet there will be massive protests. Meanwhile the authorities have played all the cards they can to try and reduce protest numbers and diffuse the impact. We've had news stories about how children played truant to attend the stop the war demo and how schools will take a dim view of this behaviour happening again. We've been told, despite the stop the war protests passing off without incident, that the anarchist fringe will be intent on starting riots. We've been reminded again and again about trigger happy US security staff and islamic extremists. The bill for all this will be massive.

More importantly if this goes well for Bush it'll be a step on his road to re-election. Last time out it was suggested (fairly accurately it seems) that he wasn't going to be much of a diplomat. Years of unilateralist bullying, posturing and intimidation later it seems we were right. There will be those who point to various Bush coalitions as evidence to the contrary but this is disingenious. Bush plunged into Iraq with only the British and a handful of of Spanish and Polish troops for company. I still believe the only reason the British are there was because Blair thought that only by being involved could he try and talk Bush into going through the UN - and if that failed we'd have no choice but to go in ourselves. The coalition of the willing apparently numbers 45, but once you're including places like Eritrea and bribing your allies with aid money it looks more like the coalition of the affordable.

Still I'm sure the plan was for Bush to come here and present it as a triumph of his foreign poicy. Look everyone, George can get on with the foreigners - those know it all Democrats were wrong again!

So plenty of reasons for him not to come then? I don't think so. I think we should send him a bill, but more importantly I think we should send him a message. It's not about whether or not he comes, it's about what he gets out of it. I sincerely hope that at some stage he does come face to face with the protestors - the notion of 'free speech areas' that US demonstrators are confined to it one of the most Orwellian notions I've ever come across. I hope that Charles Kennedy gives it to him straight over the war and makes it clear that a lot of British people don't like, trust or respect him. Not because we've been infected by the 'liberal media' but because we haven't been.

So get out there and protest or support. Take to the streets and remind Bush what a functioning democracy actually looks like. We can remind Blair later, assuming Brown doesn't get him first.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home