Sunday, 29 November 2009

It's time for some answers

SIX years, 179 lost soldiers and thousands of dead civilians after it began, we may finally be on the verge of getting some clarity about the UK’s ill-fated expedition into Iraq. On Wednesday, the public inquiry into why we went to war finally got underway. Top spies, government advisors, military chiefs, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown will be giving evidence. The hot issue will be why the government was so sure Iraq dictator Saddam had weapons of mass destruction when, even at the time, it was pretty clear he didn’t. After so much death, destruction and suffering, it’s important to get some answers. Of course, it’s good Saddam isn’t ruling his country any more but when our government seems to have misled the nation and sent our brave troops to die in a dodgy conflict, we have to examine what really went on. Unfortunately, while Gordo and his boys bowed to public pressure and decided to hold the inquiry in public, those running it are hand-picked by No 10. Plus, NONE of the witnesses will be required to give evidence under oath. Some people suspect a government “whitewash.” While a lot of important questions will be asked, we’ll probably never find out completely what went on during those dark days back in 2003. We need to remember the sacrifices our troops made and to find out why they were sent to their deaths. However, we also need to help the Iraqis rebuild their country, get our troops out of Afghanistan and make sure that future British governments do not go mental in the Middle East again. I voted against the war in 2003. It’s cold comfort to be proved right when the error is measured in billions of pounds, and hundreds of thousands of avoidable deaths.
WITH the World Cup fast approaching, the South African government is planning to set up 54 special courts so they can deal with rowdy football fans! The World Cup Courts will be in the host cities and will be able to “fast-track” cases involving foreigners. It’s a good idea. If you have your wallet nicked or get a punch in the pub you can give evidence in a couple of days rather than flying back to South Africa after the tournament has finished. It could also put people off footy-related violence. Those idiots who enjoy intimidating other fans or smashing up towns can be in the dock within 24 hours and the South African government has insisted that there will be “no leniency”. Still—I think every football fan will agree on the first person we’d like to see hauled before a judge. For cheating, robbery and crimes against football…Thierry Henry!
IT’S been one of those weeks when the weather has been the main news as huge winter rainfalls caused massive floods. My own area, Montgomeryshire, has been suffering from blocked roads and minor landslides while the situation in Scotland is so bad that people are being told to only make essential car journeys. But, as everyone knows, the centre of destruction is Cumbria. My MP friend Tim Farron has his work cut out sorting out evacuated residents, collapsed bridges, burst banks and millions of pounds in damage. Things got so bad that the army came in to help the emergency services. It’s a scary reminder of just how powerful the weather can be. We often moan about the wind and the rain but just be thankful your house isn’t under eight feet of water! It looks like the worst of the rains may be over but the clean-up hasn’t even begun yet. No one knows how long it will take to repair the schools, roads and houses. Frantic Farron reports that the Cumbrians have all been pulling together to help each other and show a true bit of “Blitz spirit”! It’s this kind of community teamwork that we should be proud of. So,well done to all the residents, emergency services and troops there and to anyone who still thinks there’s no such thing as global warming –– take a hike to Cumbria and see how far you get with that line now.
THERE’s been a spate of bizarre purchases recently! First, some Russian billionaire brought Hitler’s Mercedes for a cool five million quid. The un-named oligarch obviously fancied something a bit different and thought it would be trendy to cruise round in the wheels of one of the world’s most evil men. Then — and I kid you not — someone’s trying to sell Mussolini’s brain on eBay! Now, no one’s quite sure this brain actually belonged to the dead Italian dictator. But it may have been pinched from the hospital where it was stored after his execution back in 1945. His granddaughter Alessandra, a porn star-turned politician, got really angry and made sure eBay took down the offending item. What’s next? Idi Amin’s false teeth? Saddam Hussein’s moustache trimmers? Or even Katie Price’s modesty? Somehow I doubt it. If they
do go up for sale, all three are likely to be fakes.

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