Thursday, March 11, 2010

Voters are far ahead of the elite – so they'll get no say

Afghanistan should be at the heart of the election campaign. But it won't be because the main parties all support the war

Seumas Milne
The Guardian, Thursday 11 March 2010

"National elections are supposed to be about debating and settling the great issues and controversies facing a country. There are few issues as serious and controversial as the war now being fought by a 10,000-strong British force, in support of more than 90,000 US and other Nato troops, in Afghanistan. As in the rest of Nato, the war is deeply unpopular in Britain, where the most recent poll showed that 69% regard it as unwinnable and 63% want all British troops withdrawn by the end of the year.

But in the coming general election, this ever more bloody conflict is unlikely to intrude into the heart of the campaign, except in well-rehearsed spats about equipment and funding. For all the promise of a great national debate, don't expect one about the life- and-death struggle on the plains of Helmand. The reason is that, unlike in the case of Iraq, all three main parties are signed up to carrying on with a war the public has decisively rejected......"

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