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March 20, 2004
Tory Leader Strongly Supports Blair on Terror

Today's Telegraph notes the strong bipartisan support for the UK's approach on the war on terror. Michael Howard, the Conservative Party leader, had been suspected of trying to exploit Tony Blair's vulnerability on Iraq for political gain, but in a speech to News Corporation executives in Cancun, Howard not only fully supported Blair but also blasted the Spanish Socialists for "moral cowardice":

Michael Howard accused the new Spanish government of "moral cowardice" in the face of Islamist terrorism last night as he vowed to match Tony Blair's tough line against the threat of al-Qa'eda. ... "Countries cannot insulate themselves from terrorist attack by opting out of the war on terror," he said. "We cannot buy ourselves immunity by changing our foreign policy. Apart from the moral cowardice of that position, it can never work in practice."

In a speech to executives of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation in Cancun, Mr Howard sought to underline his support for Mr Blair in the "war on terror".

It has been suggested in the US that the fallout from the lack of WMDs would damage Blair in the UK and that the war on terror would suffer as a result -- and that the blame for all of that lay on George Bush's White House doorstep. While Blair may indeed have political troubles over the WMD question, as Bush has, what's apparent is that the strategic alliance between the US and the UK on terror is not only strong, it's also bipartisan, at least on the UK side. Howard even took on Spain for Blair, although I doubt that helping Blair was Howard's primary motivation.

Both Howard and Blair exemplify what can be the nobility of political service -- doing what's best for your country despite the petty, momentary gain that could be had by focusing on partisan cheap shots instead. Too bad certain party leaders on this side of the pond won't take a lesson from this example.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 20, 2004 8:44 AM

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