2005年04月27日

総選挙まであと1週間、「イラク戦争」が争点のひとつになりつつあるらしい。

「イラク戦争」がイシューになりつつあるという視点から、記事いろいろ。日曜日のデイリー・メール(the Mail on Sunday)へのリーク含む。「イラク戦争」がイシューになりつつあるという点については、共同通信記事
 【ロンドン26日共同】5月5日投開票の英総選挙で、これまで内政問題の陰に隠れていたイラク戦争が後半戦の主要争点となる可能性が出てきた。英各紙が一面で、ブレア首相はイラク戦争の違法性について法的助言を受けていたと報道。野党各党も、同戦争と首相の信頼性を積極的に問いただす姿勢を見せている。
 今回はイラク戦争後初の総選挙だが、与党労働党は同戦争の争点化を避け、訴えの大半を経済など内政問題に割いており、有権者にとりイラク戦争の優先順位は低い。しかし反戦世論が根強く残っているのも事実だ。
 最大野党、保守党のハワード党首は24日のBBC放送で、同戦争で大量破壊兵器が未発見に終わった問題をめぐり「ブレア首相は選挙に勝つためうそをついた」と批判。保守党はイラク戦争に賛成したため、攻撃対象を首相の信頼性に絞り「国民が首相の約束破りにうんざりしているとの意思」を示すよう有権者に呼び掛け「首相の人格を審判する最後の機会だ」と訴えた。


これを前提として、まず、デイリー・メール(日曜)のスクープ。ゴールドスミス司法長官が「イラク戦争は非合法になる」との判断を、当初、示していた文書そのものが、デイリー・メールにリークされたとのことで。(どうしてデイリー・メールなのかはちょっとよくわからないです。)
Proof Blair was told war could be ruled illegal
by SIMON WALTERS, Mail on Sunday 09:12am 24th April 2005
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=346070&in_page_id=1770

それから、それを受けて、BBCラジオ4のTodayに出演したLibDemの貴族院議員ロード・レスターのインタビュー内容など。
Peer Probing Iraq War Legality Claims 'Obstruction'
By Gavin Cordon, PA Whitehall Editor
http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=4458029

さらに、ゴールドスミス司法長官のリーガル・アドバイス問題をずっと追い続けているガーディアンのリチャード・ノートン・テイラーの論説記事。
Blair's evasions will catch up with him
Richard Norton-Taylor
Monday April 25, 2005
The Guardian
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/election/comment/0,15803,1469563,00.html

そして、労働党内部の動き。
Blair warned: More to follow Sedgemore out of the party
By Andrew Grice and Colin Brown
27 April 2005
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/story.jsp?story=633364

※インディペンデントはLibDem支持を明確に打ち出しているので、そこは計算に入れて読むのがよいかもしれません。

以下はインディペンデント記事から。労働党のBrian Sedgemore元議員が労働党を離党してLibDemに入ったが(BBC記事)、総選挙後にそれに倣う労働党議員が多く出るのではないかとの内容を含みつつ、全体の情勢を解説。(なお、先日はStephen Wilkinsonさんという候補者が、労働党を離党してLibDemに入ったということもありました。)
Tony Blair has been warned that other former Labour MPs could join Brian Sedgemore by leaving the party after the general election in a concerted protest against his leadership.
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The Independent revealed yesterday that Mr Sedgemore, who was a Labour MP for 27 years, had joined the Liberal Democrats.
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Although the Prime Minister sought to belittle Mr Sedgemore as someone voters "have never heard of", there were fears in the Labour camp that his decision would make Iraq and Mr Blair's "trust problem" even more prominent issues in the election campaign.
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David Hinchliffe, who is standing down as MP for Wakefield, confirmed Mr Sedgemore's statement that a group of backbenchers had discussed quitting the party en masse after the election in an attempt to provoke a leadership crisis for Mr Blair.
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Mr Hinchliffe said: "I was approached by a colleague who asked me what I intended to do. I said I would remain in the party. The colleague indicated they were likely to leave the party and also that Brian Sedgemore was likely to leave. When he said there have been discussions, Brian is correct."
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Jubilant Liberal Democrats paraded their recruit at their daily press conference. Charles Kennedy, the party leader, hailed Mr Sedgemore's switch as "a pivotal moment" in the campaign. He said it was indicative of "a massive shift of grassroots Labour opinion away from the Government, not just on Iraq but on other issues as well".
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In an appeal to disillusioned Labour voters, Mr Kennedy said: "The Conservatives self-evidently cannot win this general election. People who want to vote against Tony Blair for a variety of reasons can and should vote Liberal Democrat in that knowledge."
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Mr Sedgemore said his defection was a principled stand against the war and what he attacked as "deeply illiberal measures" passed by the Government. "I feel happy and comfortable today, whereas a few weeks ago I felt miserable," he said.
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He was "absolutely sure" that a group of retiring MPs might quit Labour "because I was one of them", but he did not think they would join the Liberal Democrats.
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Mr Blair said: "If he wants to choose to vote Liberal Democrat, and there's not going to be a Liberal Democrat government, that's up to him." He said education and health were more important to voters, who were "not particularly interested in someone they have never heard of who's not even standing as a candidate at the general election".
_
The Prime Minister said he had never presented himself as a "traditional socialist" and contrasted New Labour policies with those of the Liberal Democrats, which he described as
"a joke".
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Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, said: "If people decide that they don't want to support a Labour government and they would prefer to support the Liberal Democrats, then what they are really doing is allowing the Conservative Party to walk in through the back door."
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Michael Howard, the Tory leader, renewed his claim that Mr Blair was a liar, and the Conservatives said they would give Iraq a higher profile in their campaign after Mr Sedgemore's defection, to raise the issue of trust in the Prime Minister. They rushed out a poster featuring Mr Blair and the words: "If he's prepared to lie to take us to war, he's prepared to lie to win an election."
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Labour traditionalists are likely to be upset by a report from the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) to be published today which shows that income inequality is "effectively unchanged" after eight years of Labour rule, despite Gordon Brown's redistributive tax credit schemes. But the IFS says household disposable income has risen in real terms by 2.5 per cent a year between 1996-97 and 2003-04, compared with a 1.6 per cent a year rise under Conservative governments between 1978-79 and 1996-97.
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The study says: "Inequality remains roughly the same as when Labour took office, although this overall lack of change is the combination of rising inequality over the early part of Labour's first parliament and then an apparent, although not yet statistically significant, decline over the second.
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"Our analysis suggests that in the absence of Labour's redistributive tax and benefit policies, inequality might have continued to rise, although perhaps not as sharply as it did under Margaret Thatcher's governments."
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The Liberal Democrats' assault on Mr Blair over Iraq seems to have paid dividends in the polls. The latest daily tracker poll by Populus for The Times and ITV News put Mr Kennedy's party up two points yesterday, after the Liberal Democrat leader put the Prime Minister's record on the war at the heart of his campaign.
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The party was up two points at 21 per cent, compared with the day before, while Labour was down one point on 40 per cent and the Conservatives ­ who also supported the war ­ were down two at 31 per cent.
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Populus interviewed 1,427 adults by telephone between 22 and 25 April.
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Last night a Mori poll for The Financial Times showed Labour's lead slipping among people certain to vote. The survey put Labour on 36 per cent, Conservatives on 34 per cent and Liberal Democrats on 23 per cent.
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The same poll last week put Labour on 39 per cent, the Tories on 32 per cent and the liberal Democrats on 22 per cent.
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