Charles Moore Charles Moore

The Spectator’s notes | 7 July 2016

Also in The Spectator’s Notes: no Orgreave inquiry; relaunch Vote Leave; a party for Remainers; planning for parliamentary

Before she was murdered, Jo Cox MP had written most of a report. She worked on it jointly it with the Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat for the Britain in the World project at the think-tank Policy Exchange. Its publication had been intended to coincide with that of the Chilcot report this week. Because of her shocking death, it is now delayed. But the project wants to continue her work, and the report’s bipartisanship. The essential point on which Mrs Cox (who opposed the Iraq war) and Mr Tugendhat (who served in it) agreed is that total non-intervention is not a foreign policy strategy. If Iraq shows the horrors of ill-planned intervention, Syria shows how non-intervention can cause worse suffering and instability. All those, conservative or moderate left, who call for Tony Blair’s prosecution for war crimes, do not realise how they play into the hands of extremists like Jeremy Corbyn, who teach that any robust western foreign policy is evil. Mrs Cox is doing a service from beyond the grave.

It is funny that Conservative MPs regard Theresa May as a sound, reassuring figure and so, on Tuesday, put her way ahead of her rivals. Listening to her speech launching her leadership campaign last week, I noticed that she trumpeted three times how she had attacked the police about this and that. There is certainly much to worry about in our police force, but should Tories admire a Home Secretary who constantly passes the parcel to them when things go wrong? What would they think of a Defence Secretary who boasted of bashing the army, or a DTI minister who specialised in attacking business?

Such aggression skews everything. On the conservativehome website in May, Nick Timothy, until recently Mrs May’s chief of staff, argued for a public inquiry into the ‘Battle of Orgreave’ during the miners’ strike in 1984.

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