Alex Massie Alex Massie

The Iraq War’s Real Victims? Laurie Penny and the Narcissistic Left

Don’t take my word for it. Ask the redoubtable Ms Penny herself. Contemplating the “lesson” of the anti-war protests a decade ago, she writes:

Tony Blair’s decision to take Britain into the Americans’ war in Iraq was an immediate, material calamity for millions of people in the Middle East. I’m writing here, though, about the effect of that decision on the generation in the west who were children then and are adults now. For us, the sense of betrayal was life-changing. We had thought that millions of people making their voices heard would be enough and we were wrong.

Poor lambs. Of course there were millions of people around the world – including many in Britain – who would have been disappointed if Saddam Hussein had been permitted to remain in power. Some of them might even have thought this an act of unpardonable betrayal. It is impossible, however, to think they would have whined about it in quite this ghastly fashion.

It gets worse.

What changed in 2003 was that millions of ordinary citizens around the world finally understood that the game was rigged, because only a few weeks after that march Nato went to war anyway. The people had withdrawn their consent, loudly and peacefully and in numbers too big to ignore, and they had been rebuffed with hardly a second thought. Representative democracy had failed to represent.

The pity of it all. What Ms Penny means is that an insufficient number of British parliamentarians agreed with her and her comrades. Which, eagle-eyed logicians will have already noted, is not quite the same thing as the failure of representative democracy. Sometimes folk will disagree with you.  It’s not a betrayal, it’s politics. Get over it. And yourself.

Of course, the country was divided on the wisdom of George W Bush’s mesopotamian adventure.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in