That referendum question
During the Prime Minister's statement about Iraq today I asked a question as to when he is holding a referendum as to whether the occupying troops would stay.
The PM's response was that there was an elected government the view of which they were using. The fact is that only by holding a democratic referendum with a secret ballot would it be possible to determine the viewpoint of the Iraqi people on that specific issue. There is always a tension with occupations. One viewpoint is that any elected government is compromised by the occupation and as a consequence that elected government's view is unreliable.
In fact the only recent TV interview with a member of the Iraqi government, I think the PM, had the individual concerned dissembling massively on the question as to whether the occupation should continue.
Clearly when you are pointing a gun at someone and asking if they are happy that you do this you should not be surprised if people say yes when they are actually unhappy.
The reality about Iraq is that a referendum on the occupation would almost certainly result in a call for the occupation to end. The government's refusal to hold this shows that they know there is not real popular support in Iraq for the occupation.