Robert Hampton

Another visitor! Stay a while… stay forever!

13th March 2013

Let’s have a heated debate

Sign above a polling station: "Do not sit on the fence"I’m a procrastinator by nature. Back in 2003, I dragged my heels about setting up the blog, and even after the software was installed and ready to go, I didn’t post anything for quite a while. I was eventually persuaded to get my proverbial arse in gear when I realised that I wanted to have my say on the hot topic of the day.

There was a war looming in Iraq, and controversy over the morality and wisdom of invading Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship was raging. What better subject for my second ever blog post, on the second day of the blog?

I’m not one of these people who believe war is always wrong. Similarly I don’t think it’s the solution to every problem. I DO think it should be the last resort, when all sensible diplomatic avenues have been exhausted.

While the UK government always emphasised weapons of mass destruction, the US made no secret of its desire for regime change in Iraq, citing Saddam Hussein’s record of using chemical weapons on his own people. I don’t doubt for a moment that Saddam is evil, but we are setting a dangerous precedent: if you don’t like a government, it’s OK to launch a pre-emptive strike. And if the real reason for invading is out of concern for the Iraqi people, why are we concentrating solely on Iraq and not on the many other dictatorships which are ruled by tyranny and fear?

Looking back ten years later, and I think I was right. The Iraq war was a colossal mistake. Unfortunately no-one in Britain seemed to get punished for it, except the BBC, which got hauled over the coals for reporting the truth.

I haven’t always been so spot on. This post on “chavs” makes me cringe now. What was I thinking?!

Read the rest of this post »

20th October 2010

Another Uninformed Political Post
Posted by at 11.04pm | Politics | No responses

(typing this on a netbook with tiny fiddly keys, please forgive any typos)

I’ve been asked a few times if I feel stupid for voting Lib Dem in the last General Election. The answer I usually give is “yes and no” (a classic Lib Dem position if ever there was one).

“No” because back in May I genuinely believed that the Lib Dems were the best option for the country. This was not as a result of Cleggmania, that (very) temporary hysteria that surrounded the party leader following the televised debates. In fact, I had voted for the Liberal Democrats in every election since I became eligible to vote. I thought they offered something new and interesting, a genuine third way — untried and untested, but that is what’s needed.

“Yes” because the party has, in my view, betrayed the people who voted for it by going into Government with the Tories. At first I was hopeful that a Liberal Democrat presence in the cabinet would restrain the Conservatives and lessen the impact of harsh Tory policies. In fact, the so called “coalition” is really a Conservative government in practice, with Liberal Democrats simply rubber-stamping the policies. A few crumbs (the postponement of Trident, voting reform) cannot make up for threatening the future of the BBC, imposing steep rises in university fees and introducing massive cuts in benefits (and many people who receive benefits are in genuine need, not scroungers as the tabloids like to make out).

The cuts announced today are a case in point. I don’t doubt that cuts need to be made, but these cuts are too harsh and too fast.

I have no idea who I’m going to vote for next time. Maybe it will be Labour, if they get their act together and remember they’re supposed to help the working class, not send them to fight unjustified wars. Ed Miliband is making some of the right noises, so let’s see what happens.