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The Stirrer’s Talk-In Radio Blog (10)



Two military topics dominated Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg’s Talksport show this week – Britain’s departure from Iraq and The Gurkhas. Worryingly for Gordon Brown, callers reckoned the government got it wrong on both counts.

Julie from Somerset set the tone for the Iraq discussion – she emailed to say that she had lost her son to a roadside bomb in Basra, but could take no consolation from the thought that he had died in vain.

Like virtually every other caller she felt the British public had been deliberately lied to about Weapons of Mass Destruction, and argued that her son had been killed in a war over oil.

Not everyone was unsympathetic to the government. A theme emerged that whatever the pretext for the conflict – which took 179 British lives and perhaps as many as 100,000 Iraqis – Saddam needed to be got rid of.

Several listeners said that he was a “loose canon”, liable to provoke Israel, who would been honour bound to respond, thus inciting other Arab nations to defend Iraq. Better this than World War Three, they said – but calls like this were in a minority.

If there was some glimmer of support for the government over Iraq, there was none whatsoever over the Gurkhas – and that was despite my forceful argument that soldiers from Nepal who signed up before 1997 could not at that time have had any reasonable expectation of ever living in the UK.

On this, 99% of those who contacted the show reckoned that blokes who’d put their lives on the line for Britain deserved the right to live here.

As I mentioned earlier in the week in some cases, support for the Gurkhas was a pretext to bash other immigrant groups, but whatever your view it’s hard to escape the conclusion that at ministerial level the whole affair was seriously botched.

Here was proof positive of David Blunkett’s observation that Labour has lost it political antennae.


The five stories which attracted most calls this week

  1. Iraq
  2. The Gurkhas
  3. Parking Tickets
  4. Stop and Search
  5. Hitch hiking

Listen to Adrian Goldberg on Britain’s Biggest Phone-In between 1am and 6am Tuesday-Friday on Talksport, 1053 and 1089 AM or online at



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