In search of Middle East peace

Brendan Donnelly
By Brendan Donnelly

Published in The Times, 9 August 2006

Sir Lord Rees-Mogg reminds us of the “insult to our national independence” offered by the US Government in pressing for the dismissal of Jack Straw (Comment, Aug 7). We have heard the British Prime Minister asking the US President for permission to visit the Middle East as mediator, permission which was brusquely refused.

They manage these matters very differently in France. The French Government refused to join the invasion of Iraq, for reasons that daily seem more cogent. Since the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, France has been the most effective spokesman for the view of British electors that a ceasefire is imperative. These British electors have watched as their Prime Minister echoes the partisan over simplifications of Mr Bush concerning the Middle East.

If Britain aspires to play a significant independent role in the world, then it is in partnership with our European neighbours that we must do it, rather than in the shadow of the superpower on the other side of the Atlantic. Britain can share its sovereignty with other Europeans or cede it to the United States. There is no third way.

Brendan DONNELLY, London N2

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