Setting the anti-war record straight

Charles Kennedy, the former Lib Dem leader who died on 2 June, is being remembered in the pro-establishment media for his speech at the mass anti-war demo on 15 February 2003.

But neither he nor his pro-capitalist party was anti-war. Kennedy backed the troops going into Iraq the following month. How was he able to get away with this deception?

Against the objections of the Socialist Party representatives on the Stop the War Coalition committee, the Socialist Workers Party and its allies unfortunately pushed the decision through the committee to give a platform to Kennedy – without any public criticisms – in front of the massive crowd in Hyde Park.

They also refused to allow any speaker on behalf of a socialist organisation. Unchallenged the myth of the ‘anti-war’ Lib Dems could blossom.

This undoubtedly helped to build up their ‘radical’ image, particularly among young people, contributing to Cleggmania and the formation of the Con-Dem Coalition.