As the Labour Party continues to be torn apart by the actions of a few hundred arseholes in Parliament, the latest pretender to the throne is Owen Smith MP, whose main asset appears to be that he happened not to be in Parliament back in 2003, so he can’t be accused of having supported the Iraq War…or so the logic goes anyway.
Owen was featured this morning on Radio 4’s Today programme and when asked “Iraq War, For or Against?” he said the following,
Against. I wasn’t in Parliament at the time, I would have voted against, I was opposed to it at the time.
Except of course, he wasn’t. Here’s what Smith actually said about the Iraq War when asked in 2006,
We are making significant inroads in improving what is happening in Iraq.
I thought at the time the tradition of the Labour Party and the tradition of left-wing engagement to remove dictators was a noble, valuable tradition, and one that in South Wales, from the Spanish Civil War onwards, we have recognised and played a part in
When asked whether he would have voted against the war, he told Wales Online that he didn’t know.
Not knowing if you’re opposed to something is what many in the Parliamentary Labour Party have been best at for a long time. Owen himself is known to be very committed to ridding the world of nuclear weapons but wants to keep Trident; he’s also a supporter of women only shortlists, unless people are against them. If Labour want to return to their position as incredible abstainers instead of being the opposition, they may have found their man, although Owen bravely picked a side and voted with the Tories to introduce the welfare cap.
“Labour Politician Tells Lies About War” isn’t a headline which grabs the attention like it used to but it’s beyond a tragic parody that those plotting to oust Jeremy Corbyn and return the party to its right-wing militarist faction can’t find one person who actually opposed the war in Iraq. That person is not Owen Smith. Make no mistake about it, not only did Owen Smith not oppose the war in Iraq, he chose to insult the memory of those who fought in the Spanish Civil War, by comparing the struggle against fascism with the deliberate and murderous deceit of the Government of Tony Blair. The fact men and women from working class communities died in both conflicts does not create moral or political equivalence.
Now he’s been outed on Iraq, expect his campaign to continue to focus on the fact he’s not a Blairite – on exactly the same flawed basis he claimed to have opposed to Iraq War i.e. because he wasn’t there. What was he doing instead? Smith was working as Head of Policy & Government Relations for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. Quite why that makes him more equip to lead a party of the organised working class, only Owen Smith knows…or if his past form is anything to by, doesn’t know.
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