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Thursday, August 26, 2004

Gratuitous Cruelty to Poodles 

We almost feel bad for Tony Blair. First, his American master tries to give him a Congressional Medal of Honor for his invaluable contributions to the catastrophic fucking-up of Iraq, and he's forced to decline it because members of his own government have just announced plans to impeach him for his invaluable contributions to the catastrophic fucking-up of Iraq. Now, to add insult to injury, it turns out his own wife's law firm will be handling the impeachment process:
Cherie Booth's chambers, Matrix, are to draw up the document to impeach her husband, Tony Blair, for "high crimes and misdemeanours" in the run up to the war against Iraq, it was disclosed yesterday.

The 12 MPs planning to revive the ancient parliamentary procedure - last used 156 years ago against Lord Palmerston - have engaged his wife's chambers to frame the motion because of their record in taking up human rights issues . . . .

Yesterday Elfyn Llwyd, leader of Plaid Cymru, a lawyer and one of the MPs bringing the impeachment, said: "Matrix will not be doing this work on a pro bono basis, they will receive a full fee. Cherie Booth will of course will be ruled out as it would be a conflict of interest."

Matrix Chambers said it was not making any comment about its work on the impeachment of one its member's spouses referring all calls to a public interest rights solicitor in Birmingham . . . .

It was disclosed that the House of Commons authorities have ruled that MPs can use public money - their researchers' allowances - to fund the impeachment process as it is a legitimate parliamentary procedure.
Adam Price, one of the twelve MP's bringing charges against Blair, laid out his reasons in the Guardian:
We now know what Blair knew, and when he knew it, and the contrast with his public statements at the time, which are set out in the report, A Case To Answer, by Dan Plesch and Glen Rangwala, published today. It's on the basis of that report that I am prepared to state - unprotected by parliamentary privilege, unfettered by the rules of parliamentary language and without equivocation - that the prime minister did not tell the truth. Instead he exaggerated, distorted, suppressed and manipulated the information for political ends. This was an organised deception to win over a sceptical parliament and public to the military action he had long ago promised his ally Mr Bush . . . .

His refusal to resign in the face of such evidence is unprecedented. There are strong indications, detailed in the report, that he made a secret agreement with President Bush which is illegal under constitutional law. Yet there are to be no further enquiries, no further comment from the prime minister, and no hope of ever seeing the attorney general's full advice. A motion of no confidence would simply divide the house on party lines and fail to focus on the actions of Blair. And, as John Baron MP recently discovered, accusing another member of misleading the house is deemed "unparliamentary" . . . .

One MP is all it takes to make the accusation of high crimes and misdemeanours against a public official for an impeachment process to begin. Once an MP has presented his or her evidence of misconduct to the Commons in a debate, and if a majority of elected members agree there is a case to answer, a committee of MPs is established to draw up articles of impeachment, which will list each charge individually. The case goes before the Lords . . . .

Today a number of MPs, including myself, are declaring our intention to bring a Commons' motion of impeachment against the prime minister in relation to the invasion of Iraq. This is the first time in more than 150 years that such a motion has been brought against a minister of the crown, and it is clearly not an undertaking we enter into lightly. We do it with regret, but also with resolve. For our first duty is to the people we represent, who feel they were misled, whose trust was betrayed, who have been placed in harm's way by the irresponsible actions of this prime minister. It is in their name that we impeach him. It is in their name, and with all the authority vested in us, that we implore him now to go.
Mr. Price's rousing remarks lead one to dream almost longingly of a scenario in which Bush wins a second term -- with the Democrats retaking Congress (and the power of subpoena that Senate majorities command).

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