It’s General Election Day in the UK today. I’ve spent the past week sitting in a hospital bed reading the papers. It’s become increasingly clear to me that a large part of the country knows that Tony Blair set out to create a legal and political climate for invading Iraq because that’s what his friend George wanted to do, that he lied and misrepresented the evidence in support of the assertion that Saddam had WMDs, and that pressure was put on the Attorney General (chief Government lawyer) to say unequivocally that the war was legal under international law when that wasn’t his view.
Most people also know that he said specifically in his manifesto that he wouldn’t introduce tuition fees for universities, or raise the National Insurance tax, yet he did both. If you say you’ll do something and don’t, that’s one thing – you can claim circumstances or lack of time, promise to do it next time, and the public can judge whether they believe you. But if you say “Vote for me – I won’t do X” then actually make the effort to write the law and take the time to have it passed, that’s far, far worse.
A large part of the British public know all this… yet they think “hmm, well the economy’s not too bad, and I might be a bit better off under Labour” and are going to vote for his party anyway! “They’re all just as bad”, they say.
If you can’t hold your politicians to account for their honesty, what’s the point of having elections and manifestos? They can just promise anything they like, and then do something different when they get in power. I’m not claiming there’s some knight in shining armour on the political scene – some obvious person to vote for. But if you vote Labour, you are condoning this dishonest behaviour. No “reluctantly voting Labour”; no “vote Labour but hope they have a smaller majority” weaselling will let you avoid this truth. You can’t put “reluctantly” on the ballot paper.
Anyway, if you haven’t voted yet, go and do so. And please – vote for honesty.
 Note to war-supporting US readers: the reason this is a big issue is that “regime change” is not a legal means for invasion of another sovereign nation under international law. The reason this isn’t an issue in the US is that the US leadership doesn’t care a stuff what international law says.