In his first speech as Labour leader, he added, “Iraq was an issue that divided our party and our country…
“I do believe that we were wrong.” Mr Miliband finished, with applauds from the crowds.
A brother’s dismay
However, it was clear that his comments on the war annoyed his brother, and leader opponent, David MIliband, who was caught by ITV cameras asking deputy leader Harriet Harman: “You voted for it, why are you’re clapping?”
This clearly demonstrates David’s uncertainty over his brother’s choice of issue to talk about; one which he, himself, supported.
Ed Miliband was not an MP at the time of the Iraq War, only becoming an MP in 2005, Ed has been criticised by Jack Straw, as stated on the BBC, for not being involved in the run up to the decision to invade, so had “greater freedom to say what we didn’t get it right, but I don’t agree with his view.”
Understandably, for ministers who had voted in favour of the war in 2003 Ed’s commentary on the outcome may be disheartening but I think it was important for the new leader to raise the issue to gain support from the public.
In opposing the war he is representing a large majority of the population’s views and subsequently reaches us, as the voter, to fell they can relate to Miliband more than someone who either did not bring up the issue or supported the invasion.
I think it was important for Ed to address an issue which had caused so much controversy at the time. Although it has been a several years since the invasion began it became a detrimental factor in the reducing support for the Labour party itself.
In the Independent, Tony Woodley, joint leader of Unite, recognised the leaders address of the war, stating that: ‘At long last we have an acknowledgement that the Iraq war was a stain on the character of our party.”
As the new leader, it is Mr Miliband’s responsibility to gain support from the public including those previous labour supporters who felt let down by Blair’s unruly decision.
One member of social networking site, Twitter, has clearly pointed out the media’s focus on Miliband’s opposition to the war on Iraq.
The user, who goes by the name of TheCLDrummer, noted that the Labour leader spoke for almost an hour on a variety of points but demonstrates his despair by the fact that people are “fixating on the fact that he doesn’t agree with the Iraq war”.
The war was such a controversial issue at the time and affects many people: either who know soldiers who have been taken away to fight for months on end, or those who disagreed with the speed at which we invaded Iraq.
Another Tweeter, going by the name of MapMove, said: “I assume the lying cowards and war criminals on his benches will now agree and resign?”
Good point. It will be interesting to see what will happened to those MP’s such as Alasdair Darling and Andy Burnham who voted in favour of the war, seven years ago.
Appealing to the majority
I think that detailing his dismay and regret over the decision, Ed Miliband has implied that he is a strong leader, who is determined and clear minded.
It shows the public that he has similar views as them and understands why Labour’s support had been sabotaged by past decisions.
Raising the issue illustrates that he is determined in gaining lost support from the public and provides a firm basis for his proposals for the future.