Thursday, January 16, 2003


The question "well what would you do?" has been the prerogative of the radical down the ages. "Let's not behead the king", "Well, what would you do?". "Let's not invite the Dutch in" W,WWYD?

Sometimes it is a genuine question that needs to be answered, but most of the time it is simply fatuous. The job of political conservatism is to tell the difference. To paraphrase Salisbury unless change is absolutely necesary it is absolutely necesary not to change.

Which is why I am dismayed with Michael Gove's recent article when he poses Tony Blair's question "Well, what would you do" as if it deserved an answer and was not simply a piece of empty rhetoric. Michael Gove is a conservative of the Portillo persuasion, and I suppose it is a problem of the Portillo faction in general, as it was a problem in the later days of St Margaret. The assumption that Conservatives should search for dragons to slay, rather than doubting the very existence of these dragons.

Which is why it is a blessed relief to see fellow Times columnist Simon Jenkins pour good Tory scorn on the case for war. He doesn't doubt the need for war for the same reasons as I would, but the scepticism is necesary.

After all even if Saddam gets those weapons of mass destruction how will he get them over here, even if he wanted to? Until there's an answer to those two questions we should file Iraq away with China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Israel, North Korea and any other far away power that I've forgotten with horrible weapons Without Means of Delivery.


Post a Comment

Blog Archive