Announcement

Collapse

Welcome to Moorcock's Miscellany

Dear reader,

Many people have given their valuable time to create a website for the pleasure of posing questions to Michael Moorcock, meeting people from around the world, and mining the site for information. Please follow one of the links above to learn more about the site.

Thank you,
Reinart der Fuchs
See more
See less

Death of Robin Cook

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Death of Robin Cook

    Obituary for Robin Cook on BBC website:
    (see also http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4127654.stm)

    Obituary: Robin Cook

    Former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, 59, has died after collapsing while out hill walking in Scotland.

    The Labour MP for Livingston was considered one of the Commons' most intelligent MPs and one of its most skilled debaters.

    He spectacularly resigned from Tony Blair's Cabinet in March 2003 over the Iraq crisis.

    One of the highest profile figures in the Labour party, he delivered a withering speech on the decision to go to war with Iraq, as he quit government ranks.

    Unexpected demotion

    Many people regard Robin Cook's finest moment in the Commons as his devastating analysis of the Scott report on the arms-to-Iraq scandal.

    Just two hours after being handed a copy of the 2,000-page document, the then shadow foreign secretary pulled apart the Tory government's handling of the affair with what was regarded as a bravura performance.

    Some of Mr Cook's enemies regarded him as arrogant and distant, while his supporters believed he should have led his party.

    His time in government will also be remembered for the personal problems which dogged him and for his unexpected demotion from the Foreign Office in 2001.

    Political beginnings

    Mr Cook was born Robert Finlayson Cook on 28 February 1946 at Bellshill, Lanarkshire.

    Nicknamed Robin at school, he attended Aberdeen Grammar School before studying English Literature at Edinburgh University.

    A councillor in Edinburgh between 1971 and 1974, the passionate horse-racing fan was MP for Edinburgh Central between 1974 and 1983.

    He held frontbench posts for Labour since 1986, when he was appointed as a spokesman on economic affairs, which was followed by a long spell as shadow health secretary.

    Mr Cook took over the trade and industry brief in 1992 before becoming Mr Blair's foreign affairs spokesman in 1994 - a role he continued as foreign secretary when Labour came to power in 1997.

    Under Tony Blair, Mr Cook, once a spokesman of the left-wing of his party, dropped previous commitments to unilateral disarmament and a Eurosceptic approach, and praised the prime minister's "third way".

    After high expectations over how he would perform as foreign secretary, he had a rough ride in the role.

    He effectively made himself a hostage to fortune by declaring that he would bring an 'ethical dimension' to foreign policy - a vow which often came back to haunt him, particularly after he sanctioned the sale of 16 Hawk jet fighters to Indonesia.

    Personal problems

    His split and eventual divorce from his wife - with Mr Cook revealing an affair with his secretary to his wife Margaret as they prepared to head off on holiday after a phone call from Downing Street - caused a welter of embarrassing headlines.

    His ex-wife wrote a book in which she said of her former husband: "His self-regard was easily punctured and his reaction was protracted and troublesome." Mr Cook responded by saying the book was "vindictive and undignified".

    Mr Cook was also seen as having committed a major diplomatic clanger during a trip to India and Pakistan with a suggestion that the UK could mediate in any negotiations over Kashmir.

    However, after eventually marrying his mistress, Gaynor Regan, in a secret ceremony, many of Mr Cook's troubles seemed behind him as Labour approached the 2001 general election.

    So it was a major surprise when he was demoted to become Leader of the Commons in Tony Blair's post-election reshuffle.

    Although his new job represented a step down, Mr Cook proved very comfortable in the role and espoused a commitment to modernisation.

    He initiated significant reforms of the House of Commons, with sweeping changes to hours and procedures.

    Attempts to reform the House of Lords, however, proved more difficult, while there was an embarrassing defeat on plans to take select committees out of the control of the whips.

    'Iraq lessons'

    Six months after quitting his cabinet post in 2003, Mr Cook said he had become "increasingly angry" at himself for not trying harder to persuade the prime minister against going to war with Iraq.

    From the backbenches, Mr Cook continued to commentate on the Iraq war.

    Last August, he said Mr Blair should "learn the lessons" of Iraq and make a pledge to the party conference that he would not launch anymore "pre-emptive strikes".

    Shortly before the 2005 election, the former cabinet minister praised Gordon Brown's record.

    Writing in the Evening Standard, he said Mr Brown would take over from the prime minister "sooner rather than later".
    Wasn't greatly enamoured of Mr Cook initially, but hugely impressed by his opposition to the second Iraq war and I'm glad he was able to use his position to continue to draw attention to it.
    _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
    _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
    _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
    _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

  • #2
    That's a bit depressing, actually! I couldn't help liking the guy. Anybody that could take a stand against Blair, like that... :(

    Comment


    • #3
      One of the few with principles. A sad loss, and more proof that exercise isn't good for you... :(
      \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

      Comment


      • #4
        Was afraid this would happen after reading the first reports here he was ill.
        A sad loss for he UK, Europe and the world as he hads proved that not every politician is corrupted by power (or being close to it).
        Google ergo sum

        Comment


        • #5
          How about Blair not going to the funeral, then?
          \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mikey_C
            How about Blair not going to the funeral, then?
            A chap wouldn't break off his holiday, just for something so gloomy as a funeral, now would he? Deserves the rest, after all that hard work.

            Blair's probably been advised that it would undo all the good work that's been done recently, repairing his image as a statesman of substance and stature and a World leader. He'd have been compared, as a living opportunist and American poodle, against a dead politician of principle. Far better, for his image, that he just comes out of it looking like a bit of a callous shit.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by AndroMan
              Far better, for his image, that he just comes out of it looking like a bit of a callous shit.
              Then I think he's been badly advised. Of course, some of us already think Blair is a callous shit - but this snub just turns on their head all his fine words at the weekend about Cook being "an outstanding, extraordinary talent - brilliant, incisive in debate, of incredible skill and persuasive power". It's like saying, 'he was a great parliamentarian, but the bastard wouldn't tow the line and caused me no end of grief over Iraq'.

              I think it's telling that out of the Iraq scandal it was Cook - the man who could never be - who emerged as the moral exempler and Blair - the man who threw away his principals to become leader of his party - who become the figure of untrustworthiness and deceit.

              Blair may have reached the top of the greasy pole, but at what cost I wonder? I suspect (hope) that History will look upon Cook as the winner in this particular moment in time.
              _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
              _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
              _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
              _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

              Comment


              • #8
                Or possibly Brown, who became the invisible man.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jules
                  Or possibly Brown, who became the invisible man.
                  Well, keeping your head down is a good way to avoid any brickbats, but then again it's like, 'What did you do in the War, Daddy?'. I like my politicians to be hot or cold, not lukewarm.* At the end of the day, Blair and Cook each nailed their colours to the flagposts and stood up for what they both believed in.

                  Personally I wouldn't trust Brown as far as I could chuck him (out of an areoplane at 20,000ft without a parachute would be ideal).

                  Hey, a chap can dream, can't he? :)

                  *Actually, that's not how I like my politicians but saying anything else could get me into trouble.
                  _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                  _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                  _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                  _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                  Comment

                  Working...
                  X