Thursday, August 26, 2004

Impeaching Blair

My god! Somebody is actually doing it! After watching discontent simmer on for the last year over the way Tony Blair lied, manipulated, evaded and spun to gain support for the war in Iraq, it has all come to a head. A pair of academics have spent the last six months going over Blair's statements in public and to Parliament, comparing them with what he knew at the time, and concluded that there is a case to answer. Their report (update: - available here) argues that Tony Blair repeatedly lied and breached the responsibilities of his office. And it suggests a solution: impeachment.

Yes, impeachment - the same process that was used against Bill Clinton for rightly regarding his sexual indiscretions as nobody's business but his own. The Americans didn't get it from nowhere, they inherited it from the British Parliament - where it is still on the books despite not having been used for 150 years (having been replaced by the convention of Ministerial responsibility).

The impeachment procedure begins with one MP making an accusation and presenting his or her evidence. If the Commons agrees that there is a case to answer it appoints a committee to draw up articles of impeachment and notifies the House of Lords. If the articles are agreed, prosecutors are then appointed to try the case before the Lords, who are the judges. The Commons decides the sentence if the accused is found guilty.

Eleven MPs have risen to the challenge - sadly none from Labour - and that is more than enough to force a debate. Plaid Cymru MP Adam price makes his case here. I have no illusions about their ability to actually win the vote - but the mere fact that charges are being brought and debated will make it nigh-impossible for Blair to continue as Prime Minister. Hopefully the unctuous little weasel will get the message and resign.

Today is a beautiful day to be alive...