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1/3 of Commons votes NO War. Boston Globe Spins Pro-Blair (english)
27 Feb 2003
Astounding reversal for Tony Blair's war drive. 1/3 of Commons votes No War. Blair was pummelled, but Boston Globe frames it as a victory.
Compare with Times Of India article. The national press headlines the same prowar spin
Boston Globe Spin - compare with Times Of India.
The Globe frames its war coverage under positive-themed headings, such as 'Rallying Support', 'Fighting Terror' , and 'Disarming Iraq'.
The paper's surface texture is basically a pro-war Power Point slideshow. This is a narrative,whose drive, focus and intentionality are clearly aligned with current US foreign policy.
Globe: "Rallying Support", "...Commons Backs Blair.. " - and only recent historical background.
TimesOfIndia: "...Bruising Rebel Vote" - and historical background of 1956 Suez crisis
(Sorry about the bad formatting, cut-and-paste broke up some para's)
Blair bullish after bruising rebel vote
RASHMEE Z AHMED
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
[ THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2003 07:04:59 PM ]
LONDON: Tony Blair's bruised and battered government remained bullish on Thursday about supporting a US-led war on Iraq just hours after what is being described as the biggest revolt within a governing party in parliamentary history.
The rebel vote, clocking in at 199 MPs or one-third of the House of Commons overall, acutely embarrassed Blair's government but did not actually defeat it in statistical terms.
On the morning after 122 MPs or a quarter of his Labour Party joined with opposition MPs to denounce Blair's preparations for war, the British prime minister's senior cabinet colleagues went on the offensive.
Sticking to the script, Foreign Office Minister Mike O'Brien insisted that two-thirds of the British parliament still supported Blair. Blair has a brute parliamentary majority of 410, while most of the main opposition Conservative Party has propped up his government's hawkish and unpopular decision to send one-third of the British army on war duty.
Cabinet minister Margaret Beckett said the rebel vote might send the wrong message to Saddam Hussein, even as the press, public and dissident politicians within and outside Blair's Labour Party said the only message was: 'No' to war.
The House of Commons vote late on Wednesday night, came after a remarkably polite, orderly but passionate six-hour debate largely against the war. It is being seen as a perilously low-point in Blair's seven-year premiership.
Medical similies, such as 'bloodied nose', 'kick in the groin' and 'carnage' are being used by commentators to describe
Blair's condition after being publicly shown up as leading the most divided government, party and country since the
1956 Suez crisis, which forced Anthony Eden's resignation.
The Times, London, illustrated Blair's predicament with a cartoon of the prime minister lying on the Commons' blood-spattered famous green benches. But even as the paper said "the mass mutiny" left Blair "out on a limb", his fiercest critics insisted there was no immediate challenge to his leadership.
But the outcome, seen to represent the largest rebellion against Blair's authority by his own party members, is acknowledged to be a serious embarrassment for his government especially as the British public remains opposed to war.
Commentators pointed out some of the confused signals sent by Thursday's parliamentary debate, sections of which reached oratorical, philosophical and literary heights.
India, Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir and alleged "abuse of international law (on) holding the plebiscite" were dragged into the debate by, among others, Labour's Roger Godsiff who spoke on behalf of his Mirpuri-dominant Birmingham Sparkbrook and Heath constituency.
House of Commons backs Blair on effort to disarm Iraq
By Beth Gardiner, Associated Press, 2/27/2003
LONDON - British lawmakers backed Tony Blair's determination to disarm Iraq yesterday, but members of his own Labor Party mounted their biggest challenge to the prime minister since he came to power in 1997.
While the government carried two votes decisively, the losing dissenters made a stronger-than-expected showing, underlining the strength of opposition to war among Britons and within Blair's party.
The prime minister emphasized that the House of Commons vote was not about whether Britain should go to war against Saddam Hussein - he said it was too soon to make such a decision.
Instead, by a vote of 434 to 124, lawmakers approved a government-sponsored motion that backed the prime minister's efforts to resolve the crisis through the United Nations and called on Iraq ''to recognize this as its final opportunity'' to disarm.
By a tally of 393 to 199, legislators rejected an amendment that said ''the case for military action against Iraq [is] as yet unproven.'' Among those supporting the measure were 122 of Labor's 410 lawmakers, making it the biggest revolt within the usually disciplined party since it took power.
In May 1999, 67 lawmakers opposed the government in what was previously the biggest Labor revolt, over plans to cut benefits for the disabled.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the House of Commons would get another chance to vote on military action if the confrontation escalates, but warned that to protect the safety of British troops it might be necessary for lawmakers to have their say after hostilities begin.
So many saw yesterday's daylong debate and votes as their last chance to weigh in.
''If the government motion is passed unamended by this house tonight, a signal will have been given that this house
endorses the timetable that is now upon us, which leads I fear inexorably to war within the next three to four weeks,''
said Chris Smith, a former member of Blair's Cabinet and prime sponsor of the defeated antiwar amendment.
That timetable, Smith said, ''appears to be determined by the decisions of the president of the United States and not by
the logic of events.''
Both votes showed solid support for the government, but the strength of opposition, particularly within the Labor Party,
was likely to be unsettling for the prime minister.
''It is important to recognize what [the rebels] are saying, but nobody was asking them to go to war tonight,'' Labor Party
chairman John Reid told the British Broadcasting Corp.
The British media focused on the strength of the opposition against Blair. Some say the prime minister could be risking
his job if he leads the nation to war without UN support.
''This is a very significant Parliamentary occasion,'' said Charles Kennedy, leader of the Liberal Democrat party. The
number of dissenters ''sends a potent signal to the governments of both Britain and the United States.''
The prime minister has paid a high political price at home for his staunch support of President Bush's Iraq policy, and
has been struggling to convince a skeptical British public that war may be necessary. Polls show a majority of Britons
oppose any war that lacks UN support.
Many of the lawmakers who supported the government emphasized in debate that they were not voting for war, saying
they wanted UN backing for any use of force and hoped to see weapons inspections continue.
When Labor lawmaker Eric Martlew told Blair as much, the prime minister, referring to a UN resolution that Britain, the
United States and Spain introduced this week, said: ''That's exactly what I want. I can assure him I am working flat out
to achieve it.''
''We are not voting actually on the issue of war tonight, we are voting on the issue of the government's strategy,'' Blair
said as he answered questions from lawmakers yesterday afternoon.
Blair won solid support from the opposition Conservative Party.
''Sometimes it is the threat of conflict which can establish peace,'' Tory foreign affairs spokesman Michael Ancram