The British government needs to change its foreign policy to win back voters who deserted the party over the Iraq war, says Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain, who is seeking to become deputy leader of the ruling Labour Party.For the avoidance of doubt, that's the same UN that has today elected such totems of democracy and human rights as Egypt, South Africa, and Angola onto its Human Rights Council. That one, not a different UN.
In a speech to a mainly Muslim audience in east London on Tuesday night, Hain said that "hundreds of thousands" of Muslims had been lost to Labour as a result of the worsening situation in Iraq.
"We must combine a commitment to reducing inequality at home with a progressive foreign policy abroad," he said in becoming the first minister to directly link the invasion of Iraq with the waning support for the government.
Hain, who is also Welsh Secretary, has in the past been indirectly critical of some of the failings of US foreign policy under President George W Bush.
He was quoted by the Cardiff-based Western Mail as telling his audience that he wanted to "bring back to Labour the hundreds of thousands of Muslim voters we lost in 2005, as a result of the Iraq war."
"We must work to reform and strengthen international institutions like the UN so they can effectively promote democracy and human rights worldwide," the 57-year old deputy leader candidate also said.
"We must also redouble our efforts to prevent the (right-wing) BNP spreading hate and fear in your community," he said.Mr Hain does not appear to have specified quite how the BNP does this. I'd have thought that the people who really spread hatred and fear among Muslims were the men known as "Imams". But, Mr Hain is, like most politicians, more interested in vote grubbing than in honesty.
And, is anyone else revolted by the endless attention given to the wounded feelings of Muslims, not just over Iraq, but over everything else? David Cameron was fawning over them earlier this week, telling us that we mustn't use the term "Islamist", lest the poor dears feel victimised by this, and now Peter Hain is doing the same thing. Why don't some of these politicians go and speak to the native working class once in a while, rather than occasionally leaning down from the Ivory Tower and instucting them not to vote BNP, and to quietly acquiesce in their own destruction and replacement?