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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Another War

The Western Mail is doing its best today to keep the Blaenau Gwent by-election interesting by seeking to pin down the Labour Parliamentary Candidate over his view on the Iraq war. (Meanwhile, Blogger does its level best to stop me posting this comment)

The paper is accusing Owen Smith of misleading what few viewers Waterfront had left after 15 minutes or so of its dreadful by-election special, by claiming that the Western Mail had failed to include in a published interview with him his assertion that he would have voted against the war. Chief Reporter, Martin Shipton, sent him a transcript of the discussion to prove that this was not the case.

It is hardly the most startling of news stories, but nevertheless the Western Mail seeks to make a good fist of it by wheeling out all Mr. Smith's opponents for their 15 minutes of glory. I may be biased but I thought the most cutting remarks came from the Liberal Democrat candidate, Amy Kitcher:

Liberal Democrat candidate Amy Kitcher said, "Owen Smith is the 'take the money and run' candidate. There seem to be no end of Tony Blair policies he wants to run away from. He's happy to take Labour money to bankroll his campaign but won't return the favour by backing Labour policies.

"On Waterfront it was clear Owen Smith's default position was to oppose Labour Government policies. No wonder he wanted to claim he'd have voted against the illegal and unjust invasion of Iraq. Having been playing Labour policy pick and mix during this campaign, I'm sure it's confusing for Mr Smith to remember which, if any, he supports."

The only problem is that whereas the people of Blaenau Gwent will have very strong views on the war, I think it is unlikely that this little spat will even impinge on their consciousness. It is very much a story for the chattering classes. Everybody expects politicians to obfuscate a bit so the fact that one has been caught out doing it is not really groundbreaking.
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