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Ian Sinclair: ‘Public didn’t exert enough pressure to prevent Iraq invasion’

Freelance writer Ian Sinclair gave a talk at the University of Lincoln as part of the “Journalists Speak out on Journalism” series on Monday, February 25th, 2013.

Sinclair, whose first book “The march the shook Blair: An oral history of 15 February 2003” was published in February 2013, spoke on the subject of “Giving Peace a Chance: Reporting War – and the Anti-War Movement”.

Speaking about his book, Sinclair said: “The reason I wrote this book was to counter the pessimistic and defeatist attitude. While the march didn’t achieve its primary objective which was to stop the war in Iraq, or more precisely I think to stop British participation in the war, however, I don’t think that’s the whole story.”

He continued: “It is important to remember just how close and how much the anti-war movement came to shaking [Prime Minister at the time, Tony] Blair during that period and nearly stopping the participation.

“I think you can see from 2003 onwards that trust in Tony Blair plummeted. Labour were able to win the 2005 general election; however that was with a significantly reduced majority, which many commentators put partly down to Iraq.”

Sinclair spoke about “Wobbly Tuesday”, a day on which the Ministry of Defence scrambled to change its invasion plans, which he described as “one of the biggest secrets of that period against the Iraq War”.

One onlooker questioned what would have tipped Wobbly Tuesday over, to which Sinclair replied: “My take on it is that the anti-war movement had won the battle for public opinion. The majority of the public were against the invasion, but they didn’t exert enough pressure on the government to stop it.”

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