Saturday, 23 July 2016

The Great Deception, Christopher Booker and Richard North

This is an unusual book.  It is part scholarly inquiry, part cheap polemic.  Its subject is the history of the European Union; and it is explicitly revisionist in nature.  Booker and North present themselves as pioneers who are unearthing a story which has been untold or misrepresented.  As the title indicates, it is a story characterised by conspiracy, concealment and deceit.  The authors write of their work - making no concessions to false modesty - that "there is almost no episode of the European Union's history which does not emerge looking radically different from the version which has been generally presented".  An impressive claim; but is it true?

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The key part of the Chilcot Report

Chilcot confirmed one essential point that we probably already knew: that the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 was not the option of last resort.  The invasion happened then because of the military timetable that the Bush administration had committed itself to, not because it was at that point that the options for dealing with Saddam had run out.  Tony Blair chose to stay with the US, and he did so for two reasons.  First, because he and others were concerned about the consequences of not supporting the Americans.  Second, because he felt that he would have influence with the Americans from a position of support which would not be available from a position of opposition.