Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Annan's Attack

There are signs of decrepitude in this government. One of the most extraordinary scenes is Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, phoning members of the Cabinet, to revolt behind Blair's back, on the issue of the Israeli War. Since foreign policy is an issue of collective cabinet responsibility, Straw would be well-advised to shut up rather than act as a conduit for the UN. It is even more extraordinary that the UN Secretary-General deems that he has the right and the power to influence the internal politics of Great Britain. More foolish for the political party that lets him, although on the upside, it weakens Blair further.

According to well-placed sources, Mr Annan rang Mr Straw, now Leader of the Commons, last Wednesday - just hours after four UN peacekeepers were killed by Israeli action in southern Lebanon.

Claims that the UN chief was effectively fomenting revolt in Mr Blair's Cabinet against his decision to stick closely to Mr Bush and refuse to call for an immediate ceasefire will infuriate the Prime Minister.

Mr Annan's office insisted last night that he talked directly to Mr Blair, not behind his back.

Annan may find that his intervention has long-term consequences. Straw's position is compromised as he drew political advantage from open criticism for the Muslim voters in his home constituency. NO doubt he will soon be a backbencher. Annan may now find the United Kingdom lining up behind the United States on the issue of reform, lining him up for a Bolton lockjaw.

That still leaves us searching for a foreign policy.