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How Osborne and Cameron differ on Iraq

8 September 2008

5:34 PM

8 September 2008

5:34 PM

Fraser has already commented on the economics side of George Osborne’s interview in The Guardian today, but this little bit about Iraq stood out to me:

“I still have rows with my mother about the Iraq war,” Osborne says. Felicity Loxton-Peacock, noted debutante, anti-Vietnam war protester and former deli owner, feels particularly strongly on the war from her experience as an Amnesty International desk officer, he adds. “Her area was the Kurds, dealing with the brutality of Saddam Hussein’s regime – a point I make to her when we discuss the Iraq war.”

This is a very different tone from the one that David Cameron uses about Iraq. Here is what he said about it in his speech in Pakistan, which Daniel blogged on earlier.

“The experience of trying to build democracies in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and the way in which Western democracies have conducted some aspects of the fight against terrorism have undermined our standing in the world…we cannot drop democracy from 10,000 feet – and we shouldn’t try.”

I’m not suggesting that this is a major split or anything like that, but it does show which one of them stands by their 2003 vote. Regardless of what one thinks about Iraq now – and Cameron is more than entitled to change his mind in the light of events – Cameron’s line about dropping democracy from 10,000 feet is unworthy of him and comes perilously close to being an insult to those members of the coalitions and Iraqis who have been working to build democracy in Iraq from the ground up.


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