Tuesday, September 21, 2004
How Howard can oppose the war without blushing

Fact 1. America is unpopular.
Fact 2. The Conservatives are unpopular
Fact 3. The Conservatives are especially unpopular with the American Government

So what are the Tories to do? It is now becoming clear that apart from a significant but declining minority that the Tories want to go into the next election oposing the war without appearing opportunistic. So how do they do this?

If the war gets much more unpopular they could just do a handbrake turn with very few negative consequances, however let's try to find a way in which they can back the national interest without appearing opportunistic (yes I know how it reads).

The answer comes from of all sources The Guardian. The paper among all the questions about the war asks "do you favour setting a deadline for the withdrawal of British troops?" 71% say they do.

Imagine Howard on a party political broadcast:

"The Conservatives supported the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. We still think that was right. However we do not support an open ended commitment to keeping British troops in the firing line. It is time for us to say that after a set date. On April 9th Baghdad will have been free for two years. We think that this is enough.

"We think that it was reasonable to have British troops in Iraq for a certain period of time, but two years starts to reek of permenence. We demand that British troops leave Iraq by April 9th, and we hope by well before then. If America doesn't like it, then tough. The job of the British government should be to defend British interests, not American, a job that the present government has failed."

Of course the fact that April 9th is likely to be weeks before the next election has no bearing on the date.


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