Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Iraq Vote

The government won narrowly this evening's vote in the Commons over whether an inquiry should be held into the conduct of the war in Iraq.

The motion, put forward by the SNP and Plaid Cymru, won the support of the Conservatives, the Lib Dems and a significant number of Labour backbenchers, demonstrating amply the cross party concern which the issue causes. However, with enough Labour MPs choosing to abstain, it wasn't quite enough to bring Blair to account on this occasion.

Guerilla tactics, through necessity, might be the usual forte of the nationalist parliamentary groups at Westminster and no doubt govern to a large extent how they are perceived in England. Tuesday's Guardian expressed very well the reasons why the motion was unlikely to succeed. Nonetheless, for all Labour's often tribal dislike of the SNP, the debate showed that when the will exists, even a few good people acting justly can help hold even the most powerful and seemingly untouchable to account.

The SNP and Plaid Cymru deserve credit for giving over one of their few setpiece occasions so this matter could be debated properly by the house. While it speaks volumes for the vacillations of the other party leaderships that this hasn't happened before now the question still remains - why was it left once more to the nationalist parties to bring this matter up for the parliamentary scrutiny it clearly has long deserved?

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