Anniversary of the Iraq War Protests

Anniversary of the Iraq War Protests

(and THAT SPEECH by Lib Dem Leader Charles Kennedy)

Beginning in late 2002, and continuing after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, large-scale protests against the Iraq War were held in many cities worldwide, often coordinated to occur simultaneously around the world. Between six and ten million people took part in protests in up to sixty countries over the weekend of 15th and 16th February. This begs the question, why were the majority not heeded, and why did the war still go ahead?

The answer is an all too simple one.  Successive political leaders in the 20th and early 21st century have perpetuated the myth that our democracy results in governments which represent the will of the majority and pretend that whatever they choose to do is what the nation truly wants..  In fact they do not - and election after election huge majorities of seats are given to the party which - in fact - represents the biggest minority amongst voters. And the result is that successive governments rarely feel obliged to listen to the wishes of the whole nation, instead governing in their own interests.

Imagine just for a second that local government could be reformed to ensure people are more engaged, their votes matter and their voices are properly heard. That rather than putting up barriers to participating in democracy, those barriers were stripped away. That is what has happened in Wales as the Welsh Parliament/Senedd voted 39-16 to pass the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill, a significant piece of legislation which transforms local elections and revolutionises the way councils operate. This must be implemented now in local government and must be the way forward for national elections and the way to have every voice heard.

As someone who voted remain in the Brexit referendum and follows national polls that show, a majority since 2020 think Brexit is negative in many ways for the United Kingdom, it’s frustrating to see the majority powerless, and there must be a better way to run countries with the technology available.

So, what did the protests achieve? They didn’t stop the Iraq war and they didn’t disqualify the people involved from ever holding public office again because the political minority in Britain's two largest parties aren't forced to listen at the ballot box. 

We must use the most powerful tool we have available to reject the binary two-party politics created by our first past the post system.  We must vote only for parties and candidates that support further electoral reform - and that commit to returning power the the voting public through systems of proportional representation at ALL levels of government.  When every vote matters, every voice must be heeded.  And this May, in Wales, we can do just that - because of the proportional representation 'list' vote system that is used.

That's why I'll be voting for the party which stood against the Iraq War back in 2003 - the Liberal Democrats - in May of 2021.

(follow the link below to see THAT SPEECH once more by former Lib Dem Leader Charles Kennedy)

Charles Kennedy's Speech

Article by Ian J Prince

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