We mentioned that Jon Cruddas was reported to be getting ready to join the debate on Iraq. The interview on GMTV Sunday is now being trailed around the net, including by Tom Watson MP. We have some quotes from the interview, which speak for themselves.
It is refreshing to see a serious contender in the deputy leadership contest actually prepared to debate the tough issues, rather than just repeat the Government line.
In the interview, Cruddas says of the war:
Well I think I was wrong, actually. I think you can not look at the situation in and say that it is anything other than a disaster, actually. And I’m not questioning the motives of why we went in, I think the premise was wrong obviously in terms of the weapons of mass destruction. I saw it from the back of the former Yugoslavia issues and Sierra Leone as an attempt to deal with totalitarian regimes, however any look at what we’ve created is not a liberal democracy we sought to create, but is sort of approaching carnage.
He goes on to say:
Well I do regret it, I think the key question is if we know now, if we knew then what we know now, would you still have voted for it, and I can say no, I wouldn’t have done. And I think that’s the key question really. So therefore I do regret the way I voted on it and the key thing now is not to compound the problem but to try and resolve it, so we’ve got to look at the next decision rather than the last one.
Well my position is that I’m not convinced about the need for a renewed nuclear capability. Last week Charles Clarke, for example, made a really interesting speech about whether this was a weaponry for a previous era and that’ basically where I’m at, I will need to be convinced about this and my instinct is to be opposed to it. I want to see the process, I want to see actually a debate across the party about it because I think this is so critical and such a profound issue that the party has to be involved.
Talking about the Labour Party’s future, and whether disagreements with Gordon Brown would cause problems in a future Labour leadership, he says:
No I don’t think so at all actually, I think it would help rebuild a sense of a wider, deeper coalition that is the Labour Party, and I don’t see the status quo as an option for us, we’ve lost more members than we actually have now, since 1997, membership activity is in decline, the active space is in freefall and we need to rebuild this. The only way that we can do this is to try and rebuild a sense of a progressive agenda, now that might be challenging for aspiring leaders of the party, but I think in the end it will be helpful to them.