Not having a written constitution allowed Blair and his advisers to go to war without reference to parliament or the public
Tuesday January 1, 2008
".....It has become fashionable to scoff at these rules and to dismiss those who support them as pedants and prigs, but they are all that stand between us and the greatest crimes in history. The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg ruled that "to initiate a war of aggression ... is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime". The tribunal's charter placed "planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression" at the top of the list of war crimes.
If Britain's most prominent retired general does not understand this, it can only be because he has never been forced to understand it. In September 2002, he argued in the Lords that "the time is approaching when we may have to join the US in operations against Iraq ... Strike soon, and the threat will be less and easier to handle. If the UN route fails, I support the second option." No one in the chamber warned him that he was proposing the supreme international crime. In another Lords debate, Guthrie argued that it was "unthinkable for British servicemen and women to be sent to the International Criminal Court", regardless of what they might have done. He demanded a guarantee from the government that this would not be allowed to happen, and proposed that the British forces should be allowed to opt out of the European convention on human rights. The grey heads murmured their agreement......
We have yet to hear one word of regret or remorse from any of the main architects - Blair, Brown, Straw, Hoon, Campbell and their principal advisers - of Britain's participation in the supreme international crime. The press and parliament appear to have heeded Blair's plea that we all "move on" from Iraq. The British establishment has a unique capacity to move on, and then to repeat its mistakes. What other former empire knows so little of its own atrocities?
When people call our unwritten constitution a "gentleman's agreement", they reveal more than they intend. It allows the unelected gentlemen who advise the prime minister to act without reference to the proles. Britain went to war in Iraq because the public and parliament were not allowed to know when the decision was made, what the intelligence reports said, and what the attorney general wrote about the its legality. Had the truth not been suppressed, Britain could never have attacked Iraq......."