This morning in his interview on BBC Gordon Brown gave the impression of someone living in a different world from the rest of us. Defending the international markets, ignoring the prospects of a potential world economic downturn and refusing to condemn the grotesque greed exhibited by the recent huge city bonus payouts demonstrated a politician living in a political bubble of electoral tactics rather than appreciating the real threats of climate change, world economic and political instability and growing inequality. Nothing better illustrated this divergence from the real world than his references to Iraq.
Gordon Brown and the Downing Street spin machine are desperately trying to present last night's evacuation of 500 British troops from Basra Palace as part of a planned process of withdrawal from Iraq.
Let's be absolutely clear. The British troops are being drawn back to the base at the airport because it became increasingly impossible to sustain them in central Basra in the face of continuous attacks by insurgents as they lay siege to the British positions. As one Labour member of the Defence Select Commiittee put it, the Palace could only be kept supplied by the British by "nightly suicide missions."
By any military standards this withdrawal is a humiliating defeat for those politicians, including Gordon Brown and his cabinet colleagues, and the military that dragged our country into Bush's invasion of Iraq without due regard to the consequences for both the Iraqi people and serving British troops. It should not be forgotten that the price of their arrogant folly has so far been the lives of 160 British personnel and at least 650,000 Iraqis. When questioned about the next stage of his policy for Iraq, instead of acknowledging that the only option is urgent withdrawal altogether Brown went into a bizarre promulgation of the need for an economic development forum in the area as though he was dealing with the need for economic development in the North East of England and not in a country that to most observers and the Iraqi people themselves is little short of experiencing a civil war.
Get real Mr Brown. Stop pretending that this is anything other than a retreat and withdraw the troops now altogether.