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Wednesday, February 05, 2003

In the mailbox

From time to time, I receive circular emails with a request to pass them on. I have never done this, partly because I regard them as akin to spam and partly because I invariably find it impossible to identify completely with the sentiments expressed in them.

When I returned from Australia, I found more than 1500 new messages in my mailbox and I have been attempting to work through them systematically. It is so easy to delete a message unthinkingly and I have several times had to go back and "undo" the deletion. A great deal of the material was spam. This caused me great irritation. But some of the messages were circular emails about the Iraq situation.

Now, I have never made my opinion on the matter clear and I do not intend to do so now. I prefer to ridicule both (all?) positions. In attempting to make predictions, I have tried to extrapolate from snippets of news to 'foresee' a likely outcome. From the outset, I never thought that Blair would commit the UK to war, seeing him as a moderating influence on the transatlantic gung ho tendency. Given the parlous state of our armed forces and the deliberate prolonging of the firemen's strike, it appeared that Blair was getting his excuses out before the crunch came.

The most significant attribute of the messages I have been getting is the opposition to going to war. Most importantly, these messages come from people not normally associated with pacifist or anti-war sentiments.

When "mainstream" people resort to this sort of action, you have to stop and think. There is no simple position on this matter and it is important that people with their fingers on the "War" button should take this into account. I do not mean that our leaders should blindly follow public opinion but they should give some consideration to thoughtful public opinion.

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