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  1. #1
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    Leader of the House of Commons resigns over Iraq war

    Tonight Robin Cook made an electrifying speech to the House of Commons, making clear his reasons for resigning as leader of the House.

    He received an unprecedented standing ovation. Andrew Marr (he was the BBC political editor who put the question to Blair at the Azores summit) said it was:

    Without doubt one of the most effective brilliant resignation speeches in modern British politics


    He said MPs applauding one another was "simply not done" and there were "pretty sick faces" among the ministers on the front bench.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2858957.stm

    Cook is a former foreign secretary and was one of the key figures in Blair's cabinet. He is one seriously intelligent and articulate figure, and it is a real shame that he is no longer in the cabinet (though I totally support his decision to resign).

    Tomorrow parliament will vote on whether to send the troops into war. I've no doubt the government will win, but I suspect they will be reliant upon the votes of the Tory party to do so.

    Claire Short may also resign (if she doesn't it will be because he believes she can play a useful role in helping to rebuild Iraq after the war).

    I wonder just what the effects of this decision to go to war will be for Blair?
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    In a riveting resignation speech to MPs, former cabinet minister Robin Cook attempted a forensic, line-by-line demolition of the prime minister's case.

    And in an unprecedented show of support, his speech was greeted with a highly un-Parliamentary standing ovation and eruption of applause from a large number of Labour backbenchers.

    The Commons has never seen anything quite like it and Speaker Michael Martin was forced to demand order as the extraordinary display showed no sign of abating.

    Mr Cook is seen to have resigned without bitterness or ill-feeling and with his integrity and standing enhanced.

    He voiced his support for the prime minister's efforts in seeking a second resolution.

    But he then went on to set out in the clearest and most comprehensive way yet all the strands of opposition to the government's policy.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2859183.stm
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    So people should resign everytime they don't agree with the PM? Am I the only one that finds that a bit childish?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody
    So people should resign everytime they don't agree with the PM? Am I the only one that finds that a bit childish?
    An unprecedented standing ovation in the House of Commons. Yes, it appear you are.
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  5. #5
    Alt+F4= User Control ;-) rabmurdy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody
    Am I the only one that finds that a bit childish?

    No, calling French Fries 'Freedom Chips' is childish, standing up for your morals is something many of us don't have the strength to do.


    Well done to Robin Cook, if only all politicians were as forcefull and strong willed.


    Claire Short on the other hand risks ridicule if she doesn't resign after saying she would. Apparently around 50 Mps were going to revolt the vote tomorrow if she had carried out her threat, without her specific support they have been undermined.

    And knowing what politicians are like, that won't be forgot in a hurry...
    "If something is too hard,give it up. The moral my boy is too never try anything"
    "Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand"

  6. #6
    Mlle. Ledoyen silver trophy seanf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rabmurdy
    No, calling French Fries 'Freedom Chips' is childish, standing up for your morals is something many of us don't have the strength to do
    Well said

    I'm very pleased that Robin Cook, John Denham and Lord Hunt stood up for what they and many others believe. Claire Short, on the other hand, has announced she will not resign. This could be fatal for her Political career

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2859809.stm

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  7. #7
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    Bah! Too bad Democratic congressmen and Senators didn't resign when Bill Clinton went on Impeachment trial. Republicans could have taken control sooner. Then again, maybe the Dems do have some backbone.
    Aaron Brazell
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    So people should resign everytime they don't agree with the PM? Am I the only one that finds that a bit childish?
    No you're not the only one who finds that childish. So do I. Those who can't or wont play the game always tend to take their ball and run home.

    IMHO, he would have been much more effective staying in the game. Good for Claire Short. At least she's not a quitter.

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    Non-Member mmi's Avatar
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    Thumbs down national security or National Enquirer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sketch
    Bah! Too bad Democratic congressmen and Senators didn't resign when Bill Clinton went on Impeachment trial. Republicans could have taken control sooner. Then again, maybe the Dems do have some backbone.
    I'd argue they didn't feel any need to resign for at least two reasons:

    1) the very high levels of support President Clinton continued to enjoy

    2) the majority view that the impeachment fiasco was a waste of taxpayer dollars and a distraction to the gov't

    perhaps the attention of the "public servants" in the Congress who led this shameful exploitation of our public resources for partisan gain could have been better directed to dealing with issues like worldwide terrorism

    patriots, eh?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmi
    I'd argue they didn't feel any need to resign for at least two reasons:

    1) the very high levels of support President Clinton continued to enjoy

    I assume that was true.

    2) the majority view that the impeachment fiasco was a waste of taxpayer dollars and a distraction to the gov't

    Agreed.

    perhaps the attention of the "public servants" in the Congress who led this shameful exploitation of our public resources for partisan gain could have been better directed to dealing with issues like worldwide terrorism
    Has it entered any of you Brit's minds that Robin Cook's resignation just might be politically motivated given the anti-war sentiment? Does he have aspirations to be PM?

  11. #11
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    Kind of like Tony Blair is by risking his entire political career on the Iraq issue. It certainly shows that he believes in what he is working for.


    Quote Originally Posted by rabmurdy
    Well done to Robin Cook, if only all politicians were as forcefull and strong willed.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody
    So people should resign everytime they don't agree with the PM? Am I the only one that finds that a bit childish?
    No people shouldn't resign over every little disagreement, but the fact that he believes we are going kill Iraqi civillians for somewhat suspect reasons and that we are going to do so without a majority of public support and outside international agreement, it is something most people consider to be a serious issue, not just any disagreement.

    Added to that is that he is a member of the cabinet and would either have to lie when questioned over the war or tell the truth and undermine Blair.

    If you think resignation is wrong then a consider a more clear cut hypothetical situation, Blair says he is going to bring back slavery, would Robin Cook also be wrong to resign over that?

  13. #13
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    Maybe he resigned because he felt he didn't have support for his position. Which was evidenced by the lastest vote just a few minutes ago. Maybe if he hadn't quit and shown moral fortitude to stand up to his viewpoint and position on these matters, the vote would have been different.

    His resignation did nothing to help anyone in the UK let alone Iraq. If his view was that a peaceful means should be pursued, he should have fought for it instead of slinking away. You see this as a victory for the anti-war crowd. However, it was an act of cowardness and the lack of a resolve to stand up for what one believes in.
    Last edited by Hierophant; Mar 18, 2003 at 17:23.
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil100
    No people shouldn't resign over every little disagreement, but the fact that he believes we are going kill Iraqi civillians for somewhat suspect reasons and that we are going to do so without a majority of public support and outside international agreement, it is something most people consider to be a serious issue, not just any disagreement.
    NO! People should resign if, and only if and when they, no longer believe they can have an impact on the decision making process! Can you honestly tell me that his resignation was nothing more than a "political statement"? Or. Or can you honestly tell me that his resignation will severely impact his ability to impact your government's policy? Pardon my bluntness, but what the heck (substitute better word if you wish) did he get elected and put into his position for? To quit! Or to execute?

    I can only tell you that in the eyes of many Americans, he is a quitter and a loser.

  15. #15
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    Interesting that our American friends speak with such authority about the UK political situation.

    The eyes of Americans? Tell me why I should care. (America has clearly demonstrated how little it cares about the views of others).

    All those who resigned have been treated with the greatest respect by those left in office, and vice versa. This is because they understand that the resignations were motivated by moral principle. It is a sad loss to the cabinet to lose Cook (and to him, his salary drops from around 125 K to about 55K).

    Cook's remaining in the cabinet would have required him to toe the party line, to vote for war in Iraq, and to defend the party line in public debate. His conscience would not allow him to do so. I appreciate that this is a foreign concept to some individuals.
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    Quote Originally Posted by allie
    NO! People should resign if, and only if and when they, no longer believe they can have an impact on the decision making process! Can you honestly tell me that his resignation was nothing more than a "political statement"? Or. Or can you honestly tell me that his resignation will severely impact his ability to impact your government's policy? Pardon my bluntness, but what the heck (substitute better word if you wish) did he get elected and put into his position for? To quit! Or to execute?

    I can only tell you that in the eyes of many Americans, he is a quitter and a loser.
    Yes it's more than a political statement as a member of the cabinet, part of his job is to speak on behalf of the government, when questioned over the war should he just lie? Or should carry on saying what he really thinks about it and undermine Blair?

    He was elected to represent the people of his constituency, something which he can do wether he is a member of the cabinet or not.

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    Non-Member mmi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by W. Luke
    ... he should have fought for it instead of slinking away. You see this as a victory for the anti-war crowd. However, it was an act of cowardness and the lack of a resolve to stand up for what one believes in.
    I wouldn't describe the speech he delivered in the Commons as "slinking away" - looks to mme like he fought as best he could

    quite ridiculous, imo, to describe this as cowardice, etc - obviously, he did did "stand up for what he believes in" - and he had the conviction and self-confidence to do so in public
    You see this as a victory for the anti-war crowd.
    I'd suggest others can best speak to how they see things

    will anyone who finds the decision to resign flawed answer neil100's Q about slavery?

  18. #18
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmi
    will anyone who finds the decision to resign flawed answer neil100's Q about slavery?
    I don't see resignation as a signal of standing up for your values over any issue. Including slavery.

    I see it as abandoning the people that voted for them, trusted them, and counted on them being there for them in the highest capacity available.

    AS an aside: Do you realize how stuckup and haughty it makes you look when you go around and correct everyone... Maybe instead of continual "constructive criticism", you should just let people be. Unless I am paying you I don't really expect to be copyedited by you any pages ever.
    Last edited by Hierophant; Mar 18, 2003 at 23:02.
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    Quote Originally Posted by W. Luke
    I see it as abandoning the people that voted for them, trusted them, and counted on them being there for them in the highest capacity available.
    The people that voted for him will still be represented by him wether he is the cabinet or not, people voted him in as an MP not as a minister, he will still get the same single vote on matters as he had before he resigned, in fact he will be able to spend more time on constituency matters now that he doesn't have any cabinet duties.

    Quote Originally Posted by mmj
    will anyone who finds the decision to resign flawed answer neil100's Q about slavery?
    People often avoid questions which are difficult on forums such as this as they can hide behind their computer, you just have to observe the silence from those that believe Israel is perfectly justified in it's actions when they are asked how killing a four year old girl is fighting terrorism to see how people hide when when a question that makes their position uncomfortable is asked.

    Although respect to Wayne for answering and to Hellbent, he usually gives an answer however strange it may be.
    Last edited by neil100; Mar 19, 2003 at 05:10.

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    Quoting GordonB, Interesting that our American friends speak with such authority about the UK political situation.
    Yes, isn't it! Is getting a good dose of your own medicine too much for you?

  21. #21
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    Quoting Neil100. If you think resignation is wrong then a consider a more clear cut hypothetical situation, Blair says he is going to bring back slavery, would Robin Cook also be wrong to resign over that?
    IMHO, slavery has about as much relevancy this situation as a vote on one's state flower.

    IMHO, his grandstanding is about as futile, as the misguided girl's was who offered herself as a human shield to an Israeli tank. Also, irrelevant.

    If he were representing me, I would expect him to use his position to fight for what is right, NOT, quit for what is wrong.

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    Quoting Neil100. People often avoid questions which are difficult on forums such as this as they can hide behind their computer, you just have to observe the silence from those that believe Israel is perfectly justified in it's actions when they are asked how killing a four year old girl is fighting terrorism to see how people hide when when a question that makes their position uncomfortable is asked.
    If you can observe my silence while I'm cooking dinner, or taking a potty break, more power to you!

    With all due respect, this thread isn't about Israel, it's about Robin Cooks resignation!

    Hum. . . Maybe you were you trying to duck a question that put you in an uncomfortable position?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by allie
    Yes, isn't it! Is getting a good dose of your own medicine too much for you?
    mwahahahaha

    hey, I don't claim to have much of an understanding of domestic US politics- though I do reckon I have a better grasp of their foreign policy than most American citizens.

    The reason I commented is that most who passed judgement on Cook seemed to be unaware that he remains an MP- he has simply resigned from cabinet.
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    Quoting GordonB. The reason I commented is that most who passed judgement on Cook seemed to be unaware that he remains an MP- he has simply resigned from cabinet.
    We knew that! At least I knew that. That will teach you not to be so quick to pass judgement on us poor ignorant Americans!

  25. #25
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    I think the bottom line is this, and I've yet to see it rebutted:

    If Robin Cook had remained in the cabinet he would have been forced to vote with the govt (as Claire Short did), and to defend the govt's position in public. (It emerged yesterday that after having a heated debate on tv with an anti-war activist he later approached the activist- a poet whose name I forget- that he was in fact right, but he could not say so whilst remaining in cabinet). The Claire Short incident is certainly unprecedented (criticising the Pm as being reckless in re Iraq, and then remaining in cabinet), but that goes against protocol, and Short, unlike Cook, thinks with her heart, not her head.

    Cook has shown integrity in that he refuses to lie to himself or the public over this most emotive and important issue. I respect him greatly for that. (Interestingly even his ex-wife came to his defence). He's made great personal sacrifice in stepping down, and I know he is sad no longer to be in cabinet, working with Blair, who he deeply respects and admires.

    I take my hat off to Robin Cook. If you haven't seen or read his resignation speech, I suggest you do.
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