Monday, May 21, 2007

Brown and Iraq - fears of a legacy of 'careless and insensible dullness' 

Looking at the appalling situation in Iraq and trying to work out what on earth the British Policy will be come Brown’s ascension to Number Ten, it is hard to escape a feeling that Official London is currently at a total loss what to do. Something like the official reactions noted in 1598 by a contemporary diarist. He recorded the English stupor after the massive English defeat in the Nine Years War at the Battle of the Yellow Ford, (aka Blackwater), where an English army was effectively wiped out by the Irish.

This is the greatest Loss and dishonour the Queen hath had in her time…It seems
we are not moved with it, which whether it proceed more of courage than of wit I know not, but I fear that it is rather a careless and insensible dullness.

(John Chamberlain, writing to Dudley Carleton)

Here we are in Iraq with our troops staked out in basically untenable situations along the lines of retreat of our preponderant ally, and Brown apparently refuses to admit we are there in any kind of error. Let us hope that ‘insensible dullness’ is not actually what we observe from him when he finally gets to make decisions instead of touring the country in an unnecessary transition period doing King Lear impersonations. (We shall do such thinks, I know not yet what…)

A sidebar:

England (reinforced by Scotland) of course managed to turn the military tables in Ireland with invigorated ruthlessness in the reign of the new King James Ist and VIth, not an option we realistically have open to us in Iraq. The 400th anniversary of the Flight of the Irish Earls is this year. So far historic commemoration does not seem to be disrupting the settlement in Stormont.

Most English (and come on admit it) Scottish and Welsh readers won’t have the slightest idea of what this Flight involved. So here are a few links giving background and discussion..

Let us hope that our British actions in Iraq do not lead to 400 years of international political poisoning requiring commemoration…

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