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January 07, 2004



Oliver, don't take this the wrong way but has it never occured to you to think of a more imaginitive title? By my reckoning, this is your seventh post entitled "Those Liberal Democrat Predictions" and frankly I'm getting a little bored...


Oliver, the state of your comment is becoming more and more predictable, single-minded and above all boring. The fact that Lady Williams made a comment using Kashmir as an example and the fact that there might be a settlement over Kashmir proves nothing. Williams stated that the US administrations policy *could be applied* by India or Pakistan, using it's own defence as reasoning. She did not state "This policy *will* lead to war between India and Pakistan" so I have no idea what you are driving at. Did Charles Kennedy run over your dog or something?

Tom Robinson


>It is throwing a match into a barrel of oil


>sole aim of a metaphor is to call up a visual image

Hmmm, my image is of a match going out. It takes more concentrated heat than that to ignite crude oil. Perhaps Shirley Williams needs to brush up on chemistry as well as the circumstances under which forcible installation of democratic systems is justified. The brushing-up should include consideration of the wild danger which would accompany WMD falling into the hands of murderers.

David Duff

Ignore Sara and Matty! You can never be too cruel to il-Lib-non-Dems, so ground down with your heel as hard as you can.
David Duff

Peter Bocking

"In effect you are exchanging the opinion of the international community for the opinion of the most powerful state" This assumes that the "international community" is an entity rather than disparate nation states with their own self interests.Does Mrs Williams really think that the good opinions of Zimbabwe,Syria or France for that matter count.The US has learnt it's lesson by submitting to a Security Council vote,if you are trying to hobble a giant it is best not to humiliate it at the same time.

Barry Meislin

Far better to glorify extoll a glorious abstraction, such as the UN (while turning a blind eye to its dysfunctionality), than to suffer the so-called arrogance of a democratic nation that responds, when attacked, with a strategy to eliminate those murderous dictators who have been sheltered by that glorious abstraction, under the aegis of "sovereignty" (even as those dictators rape and kill their populations and pocket the wealth of the nations they rule.)

The privilege of a superior morality, no doubt.

Oliver Kamm

Sara - You're not the first person to make this indignant complaint, so let me assure you that I've given the title 'Those Liberal Democrat predictions' to many more posts than seven. The reason is that 'Those Liberal Democrat predictions' is a series of posts (denoted by every episode's having the same title). It stems from the first week of this blog's life, when I commented on Baroness Williams's assertion (30 May 2003) that "Liberal Democrats were the only major party to question the reasons given for the war. Our questions were dismissed contemptuously, and our warnings were rubbished. It is very depressing to see our fears confirmed." I pointed out that the reason Liberal Democrat warnings were rubbished is because they were rubbish. You can go back through the record and check this: the mass casualties among our troops, the refugee crisis, economic recession, the intensification of North Korean diplomatic obduracy, the scuppering of prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and the other disasters predicted by the Liberal Democrats never happened. Given that the Liberal Democrats invite a judgement on the accuracy of their warnings, I have done them the favour and the public service of responding.

Matty - Your interpretation of Baroness Williams's comment, while charitable, is not credible. That pronoun in the last sentence refers not to actions of India or Pakistan but to the promulgation of the Bush doctrine.

I'm sorry you're both bored, but the remedy is in your hands.



The fact that you are getting criticism in the comments is in my opinion a good sign for your blog - it probably means that it is getting a wide readership from all sides of the political spectrum.

The criticism of Lib Dem policy on the Iraq issue is very valid, since the media, on the whole, refuses to ask the Lib Dems to account for their ludicrous predictions and their proposed policy of, in effect, leaving Saddam Hussein in power to continue defying Chapter VII Security Council Resolutions, as well as murdering his own people. Listening to Naughtie or Humphries in interview giving Kennedy a very easy ride whilst crucifying Straw is a case in point.


I'm not convinced your juxtaposition proves anything, Oliver, especially considering the constantly changing nature of the Kashmir dispute.

Still, it's your site. Not sure the Lib Dems are the best targets, but then it's your decision to spend all that time focusing on attacking a party that's never going to achieve power.


"Our questions were dismissed contemptuously, and our warnings were rubbished."

It's funny that Shirley Williams says that, because I remember hearing her claim that "millions of women and children killed" would be the result of the Iraq war.

Phil Rodgers

Of course it's entirely up to Mr. Kamm to post what he likes on his site. But a little more economics and culture certainly wouldn't go amiss.

Oliver Kamm

I'll certainly respond to the demand with pleasure, but I do post quite regularly as it is on both economics and culture.

Jackie D

I don't know about these Lib Dems. As desperate as they are to be taken seriously, as soon as you do, they get quite uncomfortable.


I think some constructive criticism is fine- no party is perfect- but the lack of perspective, or admitting that basic fact, does make one wonder what oliver has against liberalism...

Peter Bocking

If the titles become boring for some,why not spice the up a little.
The Liberal Democrats -Back to the Future.
Where the characters find happiness by selling their cars and return to cottage industries and sibsidence farming.Has a wonderful scene where food convoys from the Third World battle their way along mud tracks to feed the freezing population of the UK.

The Liberal Democrats- Death Wish V.
The electoral response to Lib Dem policies

Phil Rodgers

I'm not expecting Mr Kamm to disengage his teeth from the collective Liberal Democrat ankle. But as Walter Bagehot (quoted in The Independent this morning) said, "Writers, like teeth, are divided into incisors and grinders." All I'm saying is that there's been rather a lot of grinding lately, and it's not nearly as interesting reading as the more incisive articles.

Squander Two

I have dim memories of Mrs Williams from when I was a kid. I remember meeting her in Hertford, probably during the '79 election, and I think I remember having tea at her house once, though I can't be sure 'cause I was very young. Then she formed the SDP and my mother never spoke to her again.

Not exactly on topic, I know, but hey.

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