During last October's Conservative Party Conference, Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, flew to Iraq to announce that the number of British troops on active service in Basra was to be reduced and thousands of our armed forces were coming home early. To this blog, the visit looked suspiciously like an attempt to overshadow the Conservative Conference. At the time, many people, including this blog, were dismayed by what seemed to be the blatant use of our armed forces for political purposes. And it seems that many of the people of Britain saw things the same way. Personally, I believe this misguided visit played a major part in the dramatic collapse in public confidence in the Prime Minister that began on that day, and has continued ever since.
Today, a statement by the Defence Secretary to the House of Commons informed us that not only had Gordon Brown broken with convention by making such a visit during the Opposition's party conference, but that the troop reduction announced are now not going to happen on the anticipated timetable. As a result of increased activity by Shia militiamen in Basra over the last few days, the troop reduction plans have had to be put on hold. Troops who had been planning to come home, following the Prime Minister's promise last October have had there hopes dashed. Lets hope we never see a British Prime Minister behaving in such this way ever again.