The Chatham House Paper

This paper from the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) is causing an awful lot of fuss at the moment.

What it doesn’t say

The question you have to pose is: what is this report suggesting we should have done? It is suggesting we should simply have put our heads down and hoped that we weren’t going to be attacked?
Tony Blair

The report does not say anywhere ‘we should simply have put our heads down’. Blair obviously hasn’t either read it or been well briefed.

“I’m astonished that Chatham House is now saying that we should not have stood shoulder to shoulder with our long-standing allies in the United States,”
Jack Straw

The report says the UK shouldn’t have of been “working shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States as a back seat passenger rather than an equal decision maker.” This is not the same thing as not standing shoulder to shoulder. Our voice was not (eg) listened to over Fallujah.

What the report does say:

The Royal Institute of International Affairs, known as Chatham House, said that Britain’s support for the US did not mean it was an equal partner but a “pillion passenger compelled to leave the steering to the ally in the driving seat”.

The think-tank concluded that “the UK is at particular risk because it is the closest ally of the United States, has deployed armed forces in the military campaigns … in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and has taken a leading role in international intelligence, police and judicial co-operation against al-Qa’ida and in efforts to suppress its finances,” it said.

Chatham House warned that Iraq had created difficulties for the UK and the coalition. “It gave a boost to the al-Qa’ida network’s propaganda, recruitment and fundraising, caused a major split in the coalition, provided an ideal targeting and training area for al-Qa’ida-linked terrorists, and deflected resources that could have been deployed to assist the Karzai government [in Afghanistan] and bring Bin Laden to justice,”

Now go read, and let’s discuss (btw the thread on this starts in the last Turkish Bombing post).

This entry was posted in A Fistful Of Euros, Terrorism and tagged , , , , by Edward Hugh. Bookmark the permalink.

About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".

26 thoughts on “The Chatham House Paper

  1. Hmm. Riding Pillion ? good find, Edward, I can see the cartoons already. I think this is what annoys me the most about Blair?s posture, that he didn?t tell us that the war against Iraq was decided upon in the US before 9/11, and that our main objective was to support America?s new foreign policy ?assertiveness?. I?m not even sure whether he felt that, as British Prime Minister, he really had a choice in the matter. It’s one thing us sitting here pontificating, it’s another imagining pacing up and down no 10 and being responsible for the British national interest.

    I knew all that at the time, and I still supported the war, because Saddam?s regime was so horrendous. What seems inexcusable is the lack of adequate planning for the peace.

    I put that down to the fact that both in the State Department and at the FO, the old ME hands were baffled by the idea that we should allow the Kurds and Shia to take over in Iraq, since our whole policy since the days of Nuri Pasha had been aimed at preventing precisely that. Also, they knew that Iraq?s revolutions have usually been among the bloodiest in the Arab world. The opposition and marginalization of this foreign policy establishment meant that they were not consulted adequately about how to mange things after the technological fireworks display.

    Could Britain really have affected the key decisions, such as the number of troops to deploy and what to do with the personnel of the Iraqi army? In a climate where Rummy was ignoring the advice of his own experts, I doubt he would have listened to ours.

  2. Thanks John, useful comment.

    “I knew all that at the time, and I still supported the war, because Saddam?s regime was so horrendous.”

    Well, this didn’t cut so much ice with me, the Saddam bit I mean, since there have been so many of these types (and no, I am not trying to belittle how horrible Saddam was). I reluctantly went along with it because I believed Blair about WMD’s. I had kind of factored in that Bush wasn’t the straight kind of guy his image presents, so I wouldn’t have taken his word for it against credible UN inspectors, but I just couldn’t believe that Blair would gamble so much on so little (info I mean). Error of judgement on my part, and I now openly accept this.

    I also had in the back of my mind that the Israel/Palestine dispute is the one which has done most over the years to fuel global terrorism, and taking out Saddam could be a first step to a determined and concerted effort to get a settlement. But here again we look like we have drawn a blank.

    If anyone had suggested that this was to introduce democracy in Iraq, I would have said, ‘what, are you stark staring mad?’. The only solution post invasion would have been a break up of Iraq, and a tacit raprochment with Iran, which logically becomes the hegemonic power in the region. The money that has been wasted could have been spent on re-locating those Shia who wanted to get the hell out of Baghdad and into the south in order to avoid a bloodbath.

    (Again, btw, we tacitly accepted this kind of community cleansing in N Ireland, and lamentable as it may be, it is probably a hell of a lot better than the altrernatives).

    On Iran, the military primacy becomes obvious once you took out Saddams existing military hardware. The new Iraqi army is prepared for self-defence, and security, but not for waging war on anyone. The Sunni rump which will be left will be in a similar situation, and I don’t think anyone is going to seriously arm the Kurds, or a conflict with Turkey will be almost guaranteed. What a mess.

    Incidentally I learnt yesterday that Anbar means ‘warehouse’in Persian, and the origins of the name come from the ancient Persian Sassanid Empire, since the whole area served as a massive warehouse for its troops. Nearer to the present era, in 1920 the British sent an army under Lt. Colonel Gerald Leachman to defeat the Sunni rebels. “In a remarkable battle that resonates to this day, Leachman and a sizeable number of his troops were killed on the southern outskirts of Fallujah by rebels led by local leader Shaykh Dhari”. Sound familiar. The warfare tradition of this region doesn’t seem to have been taken seriously in anyones calculations, despite all those silly press articles about Saddam’s ‘Republican Guard’.

    “What seems inexcusable is the lack of adequate planning for the peace.”

    Well this, and the ‘active forgetting’ that seems to have constituted the counter insurgency war. It seems every lesson which might have been considered learnt from the French in Algeria has been rapidly unlearned. This is the most depressing part, to be reduced to the equivalents of the French in Algeria, at least in methods.

    As Bob B said yesterday, slowly but surely the chickens are coming home to roost.

  3. John’s argument is very much to the point… the whole thing was decided and then sold to the public employing whichever storyline seemed most appropriate at the moment. That still leaves a lot of room to ponder about the real motives, especially if one simply does not want to believe that American politicians would accept American casualties and incur hundreds of billions of public cost in order to have private corporations benefit in the magnitude of a couple of hundred millions.

    Still, No. 10 has consistently made the same mistake since Churchill came up with the idea that the US would listen to the UK’s experience in running the world, that being a loyal advisor would keep more influemnce than becoming independent. The three spheres of interest may have made sense back in the 1940s and early 1950s. But the US never cared about their alleged advisor, and the special relationship has had masochistic tendencies well before Blair.

    Still, Edward, I agree that it was strange to see someone allegedly enlighted about the past to behave in just the same way. Maybe there is something in the No. 10 drinking water ;)…

  4. Edward you seem to believe the propaganda that Iraq will be break into three but there is no want under the Sunni’s and Shia to split up. Besides tyhe Shia have the oil and so have also the money to conquer the Sunni part of the country.

    “What seems inexcusable is the lack of adequate planning for the peace.”

    There was adequate planning. The offical objective of a Israel loving, cheap oil selling Iraq was a fairytale from the start and was less likely to succeed to my plan to play for Arsenal. A plan that would lead to a stable democratic Iraq would lead to an American hating, friends with Iran, wants to have nukes and having a richer army than Israel kind of country. So the plan was from the start to do the planning badly leading to an unstable Iraq and having an excuse to why invading the next country is not a bad idea because “we wont make the same mistakes as in Iraq”

    “This is the most depressing part, to be reduced to the equivalents of the French in Algeria, at least in methods.”

    The french had atleast some noble reasons to be in Algeria (the pied noir) and atleast they won. I wouldn’t be surprised if the coalition loses (as in army is overrun not a retreat as in Vietnam)

  5. @ c

    “there is no want under the Sunni’s and Shia to split up”

    Iraq’s most powerful Shia cleric has condemned the wave of violence in the country as a “genocidal war” and demanded that the Iraqi government do more to protect its Shia people against Sunni insurgents. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s comments were relayed by the Iraqi Vice President, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, after he met the cleric yesterday. The Ayatollah has enormous influence over Iraq’s majority Shia population.Mr Abdul-Mahdi said the Ayatollah was especially upset by the recent rush of suicide bombings that have killed nearly 200 people, mainly Shias, in the last week alone. According to Mr Abdul-Mahdi, the cleric described the violence as “this genocidal war”.

    I suppose Sistani is a US/UK ‘puppet’.

    “have also the money to conquer the Sunni part of the country”.

    The money, but what would be the motivation, it’s mainly desert occupied by a group of unruly people highly skilled and dedicated in the art of war. As you point out, the oil is either with the Kurds (assuming they win the battle of Kirkuk) or the Shia, which would give them the resources to relocate their co-religionists. Having seen what has happened to the US, even Iran is unlikely to want to get drawn into Anbar.

    “to why invading the next country is not a bad idea because “we wont make the same mistakes as in Iraq”

    Yes, but why? Why would they want to. As before, I’m trying to follow your reasoning, but I’m having difficulty. The withdrawal from Vietnam didn’t produce another war quickly. My real worry is that the US turns inwards, becomes protectionist, and leaves the rest of us to get on with it. Don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of terrorism headed our way after the civil war in Iraq.

    “some noble reasons”


    ‘the pied noir’


    Again, trying to follow your reasoning, you don’t seem very sypathetic to settlers from Israel, but the French ones are a noble cause. Strange.

    “and atleast they won”

    Well, I wouldn’t put it like that exactly. And when we are looking for the origins of modern Islamic terrorism, this war would be another starting point, especially given the importance of Jihadis coming out of Algeria later.

    You don’t convince me.

  6. There is conflict between the groups but that doesn’t mean that either group wants to split up the country.

    The Sunni part of Iraq is also part of Iraq. Nor can i see the Shia or Sunni give up Bagdad so it is quiet futile to speak about breaking up as staying together is in that case so much easier.

    Vietnam is only 30 years ago so it isn’t exactly long ago that the US was in a foreign adventure. Europe also has the second strongest arrmy in the world so why would it be bad for us if the US takes a step back. Your worry is in fact my hope

    To protect your own people is noble. If they should be there is secondary question. But there are no Americans in Iraq (outside those who follow the army into Iraq) so the American army is not there to protect Americans in Iraq.

    France did win the war in Algeria. When they decided to leave the troubles had died down considerably. The Algerian Jihadis is something that only came up 25 later so i dont see what this has to do if France had won military against the FNL.

  7. “To protect your own people is noble.”

    To give your life for your own people is noble, and to give it for strangers is even more noble. Whatever you think of the motives behind the US and UK involvement in Iraq, this is what a lot of US and British (and other soldiers) have done. In their minds at least (which is what counts) they didn’t die for petroleum, but to try and bring freedom to others. France in Algeria was simply trying to hang on to a colony (as the Brits have on numerous occasions). It was the brutality of how they did it that was striking (so much so that the Argentine military recruited the French directly to assist in the ‘war against insurgency’ there). It is also the brutality used against Grozny, and that used against Fallujah which is equally striking.

    The UK is apparently contemplating a new offence of incitement to terrorism, amongst those indicted might be the people responsible for perpetrating such horrors.

    How did the war in Algeria feed terrorism and anti-European sentiment in Algeria? By creating the desire for revenge. 25 years is but a moment in all this. Those young people learning their arts in Iraq now can be a menace here in Europe 10 years from now. not tommorrow. There is a generational cycle.

    “Europe also has the second strongest arrmy in the world”

    Europe has no army, European states have armies, and at the moment these states are growing farther apart, so the likelihood of this ever being realised is getting more remote by the day. Maybe that is not such a bad thing if so many of us imagine the principal purpose of an army is conquest.

  8. I have to disagree with this post from Edward:

    “(Again, btw, we tacitly accepted this kind of community cleansing in N Ireland, and lamentable as it may be, it is probably a hell of a lot better than the altrernatives.)”

    Yes, because the ethnic cleansing worked so well in Northern Ireland. Just the way it worked so well in India/Pakistan and in Israel/Palestine and in Nigeria. It seems pretty clear to me that partition and ethnic cleansing did not work in India, and that’s why we had a genocide in Bangladesh, three destructive wars between India and Pakistan, rampant low-level conflict in Kashmir, and the threat of nuclear armageddon on the subcontinent.

    Not to mention the partition of the Ottoman empire that has produced so much good happy feelings.

    Partition, at least as the British practice it, seems to be one of the really bad ideas that people don’t seem to acknowledge. Probably some of that has to do with the fact that it never has anything to do with underlying cultural political truths and everything to do with incompetent bureaucrats drawing lines on maps.

    Here’s an easy one. What possible justification was there for keeping the city of Derry out of the free state? Oh right, loyalists wanted as much as they could grab and the British state went right along with them.

  9. “Europe also has the second strongest arrmy in the world so why would it be bad for us if the US takes a step back.”

    I don’t know if this is based on any statistic or if it’s just a generalization. The UK and French militaries are the only European ones that have any capability to project force beyond their borders. Some parts of the various other countries may be well trained in certain things but they have neither the funding, ability, or typically willingness to project force beyond their borders. European defense has basically been subsidized by the US since 1945. In Bosnia, Kosovo, etc, Europeans have sat idly until the US has acted. Furthermore as Edward said there is no “European Army” much less any planning for the various national militaries to coordinate strategy or even tactics. Europe does not have the ability to replace the US’ military commitments around the globe, much less challenge it.

  10. Regarding US/UK militarism and nefarious plotting to destabilize Iraq, I think far too much credit is being given to these two governments.

    Instability is never what great powers desire. In this instance in both Afghanistan and Iraq, this is giving the opportunity for another regional power (Iran) to move in. In Afghanistan this is probably acceptable compared to what the status quo was. But in Iraq it’s unmistakably the result of poor planning. c, you say the invasion (and future invasions, impossible given the state of the US military) are simply for their own sake.

    The invasion was not the result of the perception of threat, but of opportunity. The US could use a show of force to show that it wasn’t weak or decadent as Al Qaeda has said. Additional motivations were getting rid of Saddam, WMDs, and even energy to a degree. However, due to ideological assumptions, all plans were made based on the best case scenario. The instability in Iraq has decreased oil flow, given terrorists a training ground and a battle cry, allowed Iran to move in, and overstreched the US military and instead of showing it as invincible exposed its weaknesses. How the US would intentionally do this is unthinkable, and the cleverness and clear thinking abilities of the Bush admin (which can’t even act as a coherent unit) are overplayed.

  11. “To protect your own people is noble. If they should be there is secondary question.”

    Colonialism is cool by c.

    “France did win the war in Algeria. When they decided to leave…”

    ’nuff said.

  12. “Again, btw, we tacitly accepted this kind of community cleansing in N Ireland, and lamentable as it may be, it is probably a hell of a lot better than the altrernatives.”

    Hector, I think you’ve misunderstood me, but since I wasn’t clear, this is my own fault. I was talking about during the recent ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland 1960’s – 1990s, and the rehousing of people within places like Belfast to be able to give them protection.

    Busing and flying Serbs and Gypsies out of Kosovo would be another example. It was not my intention to justify the divide and rule policy of British colonialism.

    “Here’s an easy one. What possible justification was there for keeping the city of Derry out of the free state? Oh right, loyalists wanted as much as they could grab and the British state went right along with them.”

    I’m certainly not trying to justify the creation of the six counties. I have always believed that Ireland is an integral whole, and that the protestant extremists are the underlying issue that has to be dealt with.

    Also the Britsh created Iraq, which was were all this started. There could have been a Kurdistan from the begining.

    As to the situation now, I’m not advocating partition, I think the Iraqis themselves will decide. The Kurds do seem to want to come out if and when they can. I accept that the Sunni and the Shia each want to dominate the other, but as the toll in human life grows the Shia may do a de-facto secession, by ring fencing themselves, the real nightmare is Baghdad. Obviously the Sunni will never want to be federated, but since they now don’t have military hardware, and can only fight a guerilla war, its hard to see how they can impose their desire to maintain the marriage.

    I would still favour busing-out Bagdhad’s Shia if the situation got too bad.

  13. C, I admire France?s policy on Martinique, say, but fighting for a colonial settler state opposed by the majority of the population was a doomed cause, whatever temporary lull was achieved, enabling France to disengage. Wasn?t the EU made by men who concluded that once you?ve seen a real war,

    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
    Pro patria mori.

    Unlike Edward, I want to see a European army, but like him, I don?t see its purpose as aggressive. Just another federation-building measure, in fact, and quite adequate to purposes such as Bosnia and Kosovo/Serbia. The restricting factors there were pro-Serbian sympathies and some historical experience of what it feel like being bombed, not handicapa the US suffered. Apart from deterrence, Operation Palliser is the sort of thing we need an army for, and do rather well.

    Edward, I am still confused by Iraq, or rather by what it was Cheney and Rumsfeld hoped to achieve. This wasn?t the oil companies? agenda, that?s for sure. Perhaps it was thought that the armaments industry needed some demand-stimulation? Perhaps it was a ?this is what happens if TH?s even think of pricing oil in Euros? demonstration? I just don?t know. Cui Bono?

    Durodi? : Moreover, what attacks and supposed plots there have been consistently fail to point to any serious threat by terrorists in the areas of chemical, biological and radiological weaponry the public fear most. Yet to read the debate over the last three years one could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Some terrorists might wish to develop and deploy such weapons but, given their current capabilities, this remains very much an aspiration rather than a possibility.

    Gregory & Wilkinson: Achieving the goals of protection and preparedness in the UK is also not an easy task because of the wide dispersal of problem ?ownership? between the public and private sectors. The MI5-based National Security Advisory Centre (NSAC) and the establishment in all police forces of Counter-Terrorism Security Adviser (CTSA) posts are key means of addressing protection and preparedness. However, the scale of the challenge is significant. For example, providing enhanced security around stocks of ammonium nitrate, which is widely used in agriculture, is a major undertaking involving, among others, suppliers, storage site operators and the farming community. On a similar scale there is the problem of gaining adequate knowledge about the daily patterns present in the transport of hazardous materials by road haulage in the UK.

    I find that last G&W point a little worrying, and rather in contradiction to Durodi??s theme. Whoever is thinking these attacks through is not dumb. I hope protection of hazardous materials such as nuclear waste is stepped up. You don?t actually need to own them if you can blow up the train carrying them.

    Is the transportation described here still going on?

    Seeems it is

    I also feel that our senior police officers have done rather well recently and that their ?low man on the totem pole? status vis a vis the intelligence services is not particularly helpful ?tant donn? la conjoncture. The balance is rather different on the continent, one assumes.

  14. “Unlike Edward, I want to see a European army”

    John, just to clarify, I am in favour of a common EU defence and foreign policy, and with a common military facility coherent with those goals. I made the sort of ironic comment, since I feel people imagine armies only act for imperialistic purposes and I certainly wouldn’t want that kind of army.

  15. The FNL was particulary brutal. Unlike the Jihadis in Iraq (I know this sounds weird when they just blow up 100 people but they really are compared with what went down in Algeria) so claims that the Americans and British had noble motives and the French had none may be wrong.

    Are they going to arrest the complete staff of Fox news?

    The reason why Project Europe has run into problems is because it is succesfull. The only time you really can change rules easy is when a state is formed. That is why Holland held a referendum to get a Nee.

  16. A’dam, i didn’t say colonisme was cool and “If they should be there is secondary question.” does indicate that i don’t think that.

    France lost politicaly but clearly won military.

    Edward, the Sunni’s are probably a minority in Bagdad.

  17. I think the report is right; we just have to look at the Azore’s photo to understand that Irak is related in any way with the last terrorist attacks in NY, Madrid and London. Though I don’t think the war is the only reason; and, of course, I don’t think that there can be a “reason” to understand terrorism, ’cause terrorists don’t think like us, and we can’t go into their minds trying to guess what are they thinking when they kill inocents.

  18. The Chatham paper basically confirms what the rest of Europe thinks since several years already- the Brits are nothing but an American colony … very sad development for a country that once had its own empire.

    Personally I believe that Britain lost its independence to the Americans on the day when Rupert Murdoch took over majority control over the British media; today as every British politician knows fully well they have to kowtow to Rupert Murdoch and his right wing neocon vision or Murdoch via his majority control of the British media destroys their political careers.

    And yet Rupert Murdoch via his propaganda empire tells the Brits day after day that the EU and Brussels wants to take away Britain’s sovereignty….. a rather pathetic argument considering that Rupert Murdoch has already taken away whatever British sovereignty there was by brainwashing the British masses with his barrage of American neocon propaganda. SKY NEWS, THE SUN, SUNDAY TIMES, THE TIMES, FOXNEWS and all the other American owned trash have only one mission: to brainwash the Brits and to make sure that the British masses do not deviate from whatever policy is imposed on them by Washington and Tel Aviv. As the message was being lost somewhat in the recent months with the revelations of all the fraudulent claims from Tony Blair about WMD’s we now all of a sudden have some bombs going off in London….

    It would seem now that there is very little hope for Britain- I think most Europeans are just waiting now for the day that an American aircraft carrier tows the British islands to somewhere off the coast of the USA.

    Somehow the Brits simply dont fit with Europe; thats why the British historically have always fled their islands to setup shop in the far corners of the world; its like the Brits cannot stand to live on their own miserable islands- they have to runaway to or invade someplace else. Like the thousands and thousands of Brits in recent years that moved to France looking for a better life and a better managed society where healhcare works, where the public transport is excellent and where the people know how to live life as it should be lived.

  19. Blair and Bush should stop lying to the world and to their own citizens- they should just admit that they invaded Iraq and killed 100,000 Iraqi civilians just so that BP, Shell, EXXON and Chevron could get their hands on Iraq’s oil reserves.

    The hundreds of thousands of British and American soldiers in Iraq should now be privatized and they should become full time employees of the British and American oil companies. After all what these thousands of taxpayer funded soldiers are doing today is guarding oil pipelines and refineries and shooting the locals whenever they come too close to the oil assets which were confiscated by the anglo oil companies.

    The widows of those American and British soldiers which perished in Iraq should be give lifetime pensions from the oil majors just as with any other employee of an oil company who dies during an overseas assignment.

    Stocks options in Exxon, Shell, BP etc should be offered to those soldiers who remain in Iraq- this would also help with recruitment and ensure that young anglo people are still willing to go to Iraq and drive a humvee around Fallujah . That way if they manage to avoid getting blown up they can at least look forward to some major financial rewards when they return back home to their ghettoes in Birmingham, Liverpool etc. Unlike today where if a taxpayer funded American or British soldier dies all they get is a flag and some miserable minimum wage payout for the surviving family members.

    Now that oil is U$ 60/barrel is a great time to privatize the entire American and British army and put them on the payroll of the oil majors. These hundreds of thousands of oil company employees can then run around and spread freedom wherever there are oilwells or strategic pipelines like in Ukraine, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kazahkstan and all those other wonderful places where the Americans and British are spreading their ideals of freedom and liberty for all…

  20. Since the recent London bombing it has been interesting to see how docile and submissive the British people are to their government- the British people do not seem to question the official government announcements about who was involved in these bombings and what exactly happened on the day of the bombings.

    Seems like all of Britain has suddenly forgotten that Tony Blair’s government had completely invented and made up fraudulent claims about WMD’s and the danger posed by Satan Hussein….

    If Tony Blair was lying before and just made up evidence before to achieve his foreign policy goals could it be that in this case of the bombings his government is again trying to deceive the entire British nation ?

  21. @Giovanni

    My impression – awaiting imminent confirmation – is that most of the dead have been killed by one group of Muslims blowing up other muslims.

  22. Helmut, you are being ridiculous. From Japan to Tierra Del Fuego via Batavia, the Volga, and Paraguay, it’s not like the Germans, French, Spanish, Portugese or Dutch stayed at home either. More USians boast German ancestry than British. It’s major icon was built by the French.

    If you believe your explanation of why Brits are moving to France, how do you explain the 250,000 French people living in SE England? How does it explain all the Germans and Austrians in Croatia for that matter? France has good weather, very cheap houses and is close to Britain.

    Are you saying that either the British government or the News Corp empire planted the bombs? Or aren’t you?

    Jan, in what way are British people being submissive? The bomb makes very little difference to whether or not being involved in Iraq was a good idea. What do you expect the people to do? Smash up a few mosques? Your point is as ridiculous and offensive as the one saying that the Spanish just did exactly what Al Qaeda wanted.

    Really this trading in stereotypes is lazy and unpleasant. Worst of all it is wrong. Millions of Britons took to the streets to protest against the war. Britons can’t be simultaneously moving to France because of their acknowledgment of the superior social model and at the same time alien misfits.

    The war was probably a bad idea and definitely should have been done differently. However there was a problem to be solved and nobody had a viable alternative or the strength and coordination to make something happen. Not that it is obvious that the French or Germans would be playing it any better. European bickering and jockeying for position was disastrous in Bosnia and now it is the real European French and Dutch blocking moves endorsed by 12(?) other European contries to allow Europe to function more effectively in concert.

  23. Jack,

    There are no 250,000 French people in Britain. No French people aspire to move to Britain – the only French people in Britain are a couple of hundreds of chefs and sommeliers teaching the Brits about cuisine and wine ; these are short term assignments and all French people eventually go back to France because nothing can compete with the quality of life in France; the excellent transport networks, the healthcare and pension systems – that delicate balance between prosperity and social welfare that works so well in France. It is no wonder that French people have the highest lifespan in Europe and on the planet. Contrast this with Britain where child poverty in rampant and where entire British cities look like they belong in Bangladesh or Pakistan.

    The only other French people who move to Britain are football players who are giving the English lessons in the art of football. That’s about it- there simply is no desire from the French to go and live in Britain unlike the hundreds of thousands of Brits who fled their islands and moved to France where they have access to world class healthcare, top education and unrivalled quality of life and transport networks.

  24. @ Helmut

    I think this argument is way off topic. Personally I am an unashamed Francophile in many ways. I love the country, and am only an hour’s drive away. But this has nothing to do with Iraq, or the labour market structure. However I can’t resist this:

    “It is no wonder that French people have the highest lifespan in Europe”

    Please go here. You will se that the number one is ‘little ol’ Catalan-speaking Andorra, then comes Switzerland, then comes Sweden, then comes Iceland, then comes Italy, and then…… and then comes France.

    Of course if this is representative of how you assemble your facts, one should not be surprised at the conclusions you come to. Oh, yes, the factbook was prepared by the CIA (LoL).

    Also I’m not very convinced that longevity and quality of life are the same thing.

  25. Edward,

    the argument about comparing France to Britain is very relevant to the discussion about Iraq and the Chatham papers – it all comes down to Tony Blair and exposing him for what he is : one big lying fraudster.

    Tony Blair lied to the British people and to all of Europe about Iraq to invade that country and to confiscate its oil wealth. The Chatham papers are absolutely correct when they point out that Tony Blair’s illegal invasion of Iraq is massively increasing the risk of resistance fighters striking back in turn on the British homeland.

    Tony Blair also lies to the rest of Europe when he tries to tell us that the British economic model is preferable to the French of German economic model.

    The fact of the matter is that Tony Blair is once again lying and trying to commit fraud on all of Europe- Britain is one big mess from where people are fleeing to go and live in France. Nobody wants to move to Britain – there is nothing there which is even remotely interesting for the rest of Europe.

    Basically Britain is nothing more than one overpriced city of London that is about to collapse under the weight of its massive real estate bubble; when all of that implodes there will be nothing much left of Britain – no working trains, no industry, no Rover, no Euro, no healthcare, no pensions, stuck in an illegal war thousands of kilometers away.

    Britain is a country that has been purchased by the Americans- the entire country is dotted and occupied by American military installations; more than 60% of the British media is in the hands of Rupert Murdoch- the right wing neocon who is intimitely linked to the right wing American and Israeli administrations.

    So every European should fight this British model that the fraudster Tony Blair is trying to impose on the EU- if we do not resist this English fraud all of our industrial and agricultural prowess will disappear just like it did in Britain under the British economic model. If we do not fight Tony Blair he will try to drag all of Europe into his illegal wars- nobody knows what’s next but it is very likely that Tony Blair and Rupert Murdoch are trying to set the stage for another illegal war on Iran. The recent London bombings give him and the American and Israeli administration the fuel they need to try to justify another illegal campaign in the middle east.

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