When I arrived back in the country on Tuesday, I picked up the news about the vote in the Commons in which the government saw off calls for an inquiry into the Iraq invasion. Blair and that useless poodle Margaret Beckett were taking the line that no inquiry should be held whilst troops are on active service. Moral of our troops, they claim, will be undermined.
Now that I have had time to think about this, and writing with my historian's hat on, the Blair/Beckett position looks more absurd than ever. In 1915 and 1916, when our very independence as a nation was threathened, the forces arranged against us far exceeded those we face today, and millions of our men were on active service in the armed forces fighting abroad, we held inquiries into the Gallipoli landings and the invasion of Mesopotamia (now called Iraq) whilst those campaigns were still underway. Indeed, we even sent Lord Kitchener, then a Cabinet member (War Office) to Gallipoli to see first hand the situation on the ground.
It is not surprising that the government grab any excuse that comes their way to spin their way out of their predicament. What is noteworthy this time was how small the rebellion was amongst Labour MPs. Perhaps the allure of office come the coronation of Flush Gordon is keeping many in line. Also, the fact the Conservatives were voting for the motion would have driven those Labour MPs who want to oppose the government but not defeat it (have cake and eat it Labour MPs are by far the worst sort) would have reduced the rebellion as well to the core opponents.
With the Cameroonies more of a threat to Labour than at any point in recent years, watch out for more Labour discipline. And watch out for Labour MPs shooting off in their local newspapers about how dreadful something is that the government is doing only for them to vote slavishly for the government in Parliament. And with the coronation coming up, look out for a lot of Labour Brown tongues.