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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Rules of war

The Wales on Sunday this morning reports that the father of a Red Cap soldier who died in Iraq has blasted "hypocritical" Tories for fielding the face of war against him in the General Election. It appears that the Tory candidate for Sedgefield, where Reginal Keys plans to stand as an anti-war independent, is a Group Captain who previously made his mark as the official military spokesperson during the Iraq war.

The paper argues that the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats had originally planned to pull out of the contest in the Prime Minister's constituency to give Mr. Keys a clear run. I am not sure if this was ever the case. Certainly, there would be nothing to gain for the Liberal Democrats in doing this when one of our top ten campaigning points involves opposition to Bush and Blair on Iraq and we are promoting ourselves across the UK. Quite why Mr. Keys expected the Tories to pull out defeats me. Their position on the war faced several ways at once and left them with no credibility on the issue whatsoever. Why should this change now?

People need to understand that the 'clear-run' election of Martin Bell in Tatton in 1997 was an exceptional event. It is unlikely to be repeated too often in my political lifetime, if at all. By all means, if you have a point of view and want to promote it, seek election in a high profile seat. But in doing so you must expect that other people will want to contest that election as well and you cannot expect to be the only alternative. Voters need to have proper choices not gerrymandered ones.
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