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British Labour Party

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In September, according to Political Risk Yearbook (2005), during Labour party's annual conference when party members were passionately awaiting Tony Blair's announcement to retire, they instead heard his "decision to support the US-led war in Iraq" (p. 3). Labour party did not support Blair of his policy to go to war with Iraq because it was not the goal of the organization; as it was stated in Political Risk Yearbook (2005), "Labour's losses were largely attributable to popular disfavor with the government's role in the war in Iraq, a policy that Blair pursued despite much resistance from others in the party and the Cabinet. As such, he has received most of the blame for the erosion of the party's support" (p. 15). Labour party, to this day, concentrates on improving public services and economy, and Blair's war policy just "did not fit the description". Furthermore, if Blair was to unconditionally support Bush in almost every aspect, allying himself with America, it does not mean that the Labour party would also support Bush and that party has to closely follow Blair's instructions.

Since that time, Labour party lost majority of their supporters among people as well as created a dividing line among party members, seeding uncertainty among the international community members. To be specific, according to Boston Globe (2003) "Two government officials, junior Health Minister Lord Hunt and Home Office Minister John Denham, resigned from their posts, saying they could not vote for Blair's motion without support of the international community " (p.19). But such actions by Blair's party colleagues did not prevent him from going further with his propositions. According to Political Risk Yearbook (2005), on March 19, 2003, "Parliament [finally] voted to join the US-led coalition going to war against Iraq" (p.16).

During the parliamentary voting on war policy, majority of Labour party did not vote in favor of war, according to Boston Globe (2003); in fact, "An estimated 139 Labor members broke ranks to vote in favor of the antiwar amendment. The number falls short of a majority of the 410 Labor members and of antiwar supporters' hopes that up to 160 Laborites would defy Blair" (p. 19). These numbers further prove the main point that Labour party did not support Blair in his decision to militarily assist the US. Other parties such as Green and Liberal Democratic parties, voted against Blair's policy. The fiercest opponent of the Labour party, however, the Conservative party, surprisingly, voted in Blair's favor, even though there were still 16 anti-war votes on the part of the Conservatives.

Nonetheless, during the elections in 2005, Labour party won the majority of seats in the British Parliament, with Blair as their formal leader; even though one would expect Blair's push for involvement in the Iraqi War to have a rather adverse impact. Having said that, according to the Houston Chronicle (2004), "The results were widely perceived in Britain as a rebuke for Blair's increasingly unpopular support for President Bush over Iraq. Some party officials said they feared they might lose the next national election, expected next year" (p. 8).

Since the time when Blair came to power, Labour party had moved rightward, toward the center as far as the political scale is concerned. Such a movement seems contrary to the traditional values of the Labour party because it has always been regarded as a left-centered party since the days when it was formed.

At this time,



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