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Robin Cook


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I'll make this relatively short. These days it's becoming increasingly difficult to find politicians of principle. Every once over a blue moon someone comes along and shakes the political system and makes a certain impact for the most part relatively brief but still a show stopper. Former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook definitely fell into this category in 2003.


For most people around the world, it's easy to say he was relatively unknown, but in British political circles he was considered a powerhouse. Robin Cook died last week from a heart attack while up in Scotland and many of his former collegues in the House Of Commons have offered nothing but praise for the 59 yr old Scotsman. He was considered to be one of the best political orators and skillful politicans of his generation.


Having served in the Labour Government first as Foreign Secretary and later as Chief Party Whip only to find himself at odds with Prime Minister Tony Blair over the then impending invasion of Iraq in 2003. Just days before the war began he resigned his post as a member of Tony Blair's cabinet, but remained loyal to the Labour Party and virtually remained a backbencher.


Not always popular with the British Press, some considered him aloof and at times he was described as arrogant. He gained respect from the press over his stance in opposition to the war in Iraq. The day he resigned in April 2003, he made one of the best speeches of his political career and received a standing ovation. He was the counter weight to Tony Blair and the press definitely played up to it. He never looked back and remained steadfast in his politcal beliefs. In recent years he became a contributing writer to a national British Newspaper called the Guardian and was a fierce critic of Tony Blair and his handling of Britain's involvement in Iraq.


As I started out my thought was about politicians of principle and for one brief moment in time, Robin Cook was definitely that man in 2003. Whether it was right or wrong let history be the judge of that. I think John Presscott described him as true Labour and that's what he should be remembered for.



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