Peter Hoskin

Dodging Iraq

Dodging Iraq
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Disowning the Iraq War: that's the task which Ed Balls and Ed Miliband have a set themselves today, as part of their continuing efforts to distinguish themselves from the Blair and Brown years.  In interview with the Telegraph, Balls says that the public were misled by "devices and tactics" over the case for war.  And, in the Guardian, Ed Miliband argues that the weapons inspectors should have been given more time, and that the conflict triggered "a catastrophic loss of trust in Labour".  He has since claimed that he would have voted against the war at the time.

Balls and Miliband are clearly trying to take advantage of the fact that, unlike David Miliband or Andy Burnham, they weren't MPs when the decision to go to war in Iraq was prosecuted – and so couldn't have voted either way.  But I do wonder whether it will really do much good.  After all, D. Miliband distanced himself from Iraq during the election campaign, saying that "If we knew then what we know now ... we wouldn't have gone in."  And his involvement with the Blair government, and its decision, doesn't seem to have done him any harm in the leadership stakes so far.

Either way, at least the events of 2003 give them something to talk about other than the biggest political issue of 2010: the public finances.