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Showing posts with label Tony Blair. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tony Blair. Show all posts

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Labour’s crime – the Iraq War – and my March 2003 fears on the eve of war

I wrote this letter to the Herald on 17th of March 2003. I was then, at least still nominally a supporter of the Labour Party, as I had been all my life and as my family had been.

The war against Iraq began three days later on March 20th 2003 with the U.S. launch of the bombing raid on Baghdad - Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Never in my life have I more wanted to be wrong in a prediction, but what followed unleashed unimaginable death and devastation that lasted from 2003 –2011, beyond my worst imaginings - and, in a very real sense, is not over yet.

The long slow death of Scottish Labour began in March 2003, in significant part due to their moral cowardice at that pivotal moment in history. New Labour – the creation of Blair, Brown and Mandelson seemed to die in 2010, but the rough  beast is stirring again, slouching towards Westminster.

child1child 2

My letter, published in The Herald, 17th of March 2003.

Seventeen and a half per cent of the UK population are children of 15 years of age or younger. (Source of data – CIA website)

41% of the Iraqi population are children o 15 years of age or younger. (Source - CIA website)

Therefore in any “collateral damage” to innocent civilians, 41 children will die or be maimed in every 100. (My source for these statistics - CIA website).

To add to the misery of the Iraqi children already hurt by Saddam Hussein and our sanctions will be an international crime.

Much has been made of Tony Blair’s “sincere conviction” over his stance on Iraq. If sincerity of conviction was the touchstone, the actions of any misguided politician in history could be justified. I hesitate to offer a list of those who pursued policies destructive to justice and life who were “sincere” in their conviction, but produced horrific consequences by their actions.

This coming war is profoundly misconceived and unjust, and Tony Blair is profoundly mistaken to pursue it.

He has wrecked our relationship with our European allies, damaged our international status, weakened our democratic and parliamentary traditions, has perhaps delivered a damaging blow to the Labour Party, and will undoubtedly damage our economy and our security.

As for Scotland’s MSPs supporting Blair's action by their contemptible inaction – don’t look for my vote (Labour for more than four decades) in the May elections.

I now know where the politicians of principle are – a tiny minority in the Scottish Labour group, and a majority in the SSP and the SNP. My advice to the few MSPs of principle left in the Scottish Parliament is to cross the floor now.

Iraq has become the defining political issue of our time, and the question that will be asked of politicians (and all of us) is – where were you when there was still time to stop it?

Peter Curran


Monday, 16 June 2014

Labour and Iraq

Extract from my 2013 blog –

Blair, Brown and Mandelson created New Labour and it worked – Labour was elected and re-elected. The results, over 13 years, are now history.

Two wars, one illegal, the deaths of hundreds of thousands, terrorism brought to UK by the Iraq War, the gap between rich and poor widened, corruption of Parliamentary institutions, the prosecution and imprisonment of Labour MPs, the resignation of the Labour Speaker of the House of Commons in disgrace, the corruption of the Press and the Metropolitan Police, the banking and financial collapse, cash for access, etc.

Hardly a success, except in one key aspect – Blair, Mandelson, Brown, Labour defence secretaries, Labour ministers and many Labour MPs got very rich indeed, in the case of Blair and Mandelson, egregiously rich.

The revolving door between government ministers, civil servants and industry – especially the defence industry – spun ever faster and more profitably.

And the military/industrial complex rejoiced and celebrated New Labour’s achievements.

And now, in 2014?

We have the key figures in the Blair Government that led us to war – Gordon Brown, John Reid,  Alistair Darling, Jim Murphy, et al leading the war against Scotland’s independence.

Iraq has exploded into chaos and near-collapse of the Iraq‘democracy’ set up by the United States and the United Kingdom

What of the report of the Chilcot Enquiry? Delay in publication, talk of redaction of major conclusions and fact.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Who ****** the UK economy 2007-2008?


Labour in UK Government 1997-2010.
Gordon Brown: Chancellor 1997-2007, PM 2007-2010
Alistair Darling: Chancellor 2007-2010
Labour/LibDem coalition in Holyrood 1999-May 2007.

SNP minority government under Alex Salmond: May 2007-2011

Northern Rock crisis and run on the banks -  Sept 2007 (SNP, Alex Salmond in minority devolved government for less than four months.)

RBS and economic meltdown 2008

Which party, which PMs, which Chancellors of the Exchequer, which politicians do you think ****** the British economy?

And a blog of mine from 2012 on the ineffable Alistair Darling, champion of all things British and enemy of Scotland independence - DON'T TRY TO REWRITE HISTORY, ALISTAIR!

The Herald carries a page two article today Darling lays into Salmond over his RBS judgment, and a featured interview with Anne Simpson and Darling on page 12. To say that Anne Simpson’s introduction to her piece is a little partial is probably to understate the case.

“ … Alistair Darling is not someone given to social affectations. Candour not coyness defines him. Yet why is this proud Scot, former chancellor of the Exchequer and committed fiscal Unionist so reluctant to spearhead a campaign against the man who would sever Scotland from the United Kingdom?

“So far Alex Salmond has steered the independence argument exactly to his liking. Meanwhile those who disagree with the First Minister’s plan for radical amputation are without a central figure whose gravitas could pull together a robust opposition.”

"... the man who would sever Scotland from the United Kingdom?"

What, Anne – no approving words on the First Minister’s candour, no plaudits for him as a proud Scot? No recognition that in every word, every policy statement, every media interview, the First Minister makes it clear that his vision for independence and a social union with the rest of the UK after independence is the very reverse of a ‘radical amputation’?

Well, moving on, let’s take a look at ‘candour not coyness’ Darling on ABN Amro -

In 2007 ABN Amro was acquired, in what was at that time the biggest bank takeover in history, by a consortium made up of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Fortis bank and Banco Santander. Here’s what Alistair Darling said in his memoirs about what happened at the end of 2007, just before 2008, the year when the world’s banking system fell apart.

Extract from memoirs - "time to start worrying"

On a Saturday morning, just before Christmas 2007, I answered the door at my home in Edinburgh. There on the doorstep was Sir Fred Goodwin, chief executive of RBS, holding a gift-wrapped panettone.

Although it would mean not having my private secretary with me, I felt entirely relaxed about seeing him alone, at home. I was also intrigued. I had seen other CEOs of the banks alone in the past – none of this was abnormal – but I knew that his asking to see me in private could only mean that he was worried about something.

I had a great deal of sympathy with what Fred Goodwin was saying, but I asked the question: why were the markets singling out RBS for particular concern? His answer was that they felt RBS didn't have sufficient capital. I asked whether he was comfortable that RBS did have sufficient capital, and his response was that he felt that it did. And yet I was worried. It occurred to me that Sir Fred had not come just as a shop steward for his colleagues. He would not admit it, but I sensed that RBS, which until that time had seemed invincible, its directors and senior staff exuding confidence verging on arrogance, was in more trouble than we had thought.

Does this sound like a new Chancellor who had anticipated anything bad in relation to RBS? His pal Fred Goodwin, the CEO of RBS. “which until that time had seemed invincible had just popped in with a panettone. He asks Fred the Shred “why were the markets singling out RBS for particular concern?” Suddenly, the presence of neighbour Fred and his gift-wrapped panettone worries him.

This is the man who criticises Alex Salmond for supporting the ABN Amro deal. One might reasonably assume that Alistair Darling had a helluva lot more information about the ABN Amro deal and his pal Fred than Alex Salmond did, but in December 2007, the end of the year in which the deal was concluded. just before the world fell apart in 2008, he gets belatedly worried about Fred, RBS and his gift-wrapped panettone?

As the SNP commented after Darling ‘criticisms’ -

This is a laughable attempt to rewrite history by Alistair Darling. He was the Chancellor responsible for banking regulation and its failure at the critical time, and he was the Chancellor responsible for the signing off of the ABN Amro deal.

“Labour gave Fred Goodwin his knighthood, and Mr. Darling’s contacts with Fred Goodwin were far more extensive than the First Minister’s. Fred Goodwin was an adviser to Alistair Darling as chancellor, and was still a member of a key Treasury body advising Labour months after the banking crisis and quitting RBS.”

Here is ‘proud Scot’, ‘candour not coyness’ Darling talking to Isabel Fraser very recently. Judge for your self - Alistair Darling -- naive, disingenuous, or just woefully unprepared for Isabel Fraser?

As for Darling’s defining quote, the one used to headline the Anne Simpson interview -

Separation means that once you go, you go. You can’t come back.”

Leaving aside the banality of the statement, it is undoubtedly true – and none of the countries who ‘separated’, or rather secured their independence from Britain over the centuries have ever shown the least signs of wanting to come back …

Friday, 10 August 2012

Scotland’s soul – as perceived in 2009 –before the Faustian bargain with ‘Britishness’ and NATO began to rot it.

Scotland's soul - before devo-max ideas, before consultants got a hold of it, before 'Britishness', before the NATO U-turn, before the removal of Trident WMDs from our waters became an ever more fuzzy concept in timing and execution, before those who had some idea of what that soul really was became described as fundamentalists and were advised to close ranks and stop rocking the boat.

The boat being rocked is, of course, a Trident, NATO-controlled, effectively American-controlled nuclear submarine carrying a destructive power beyond the understanding of some who should know better.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Douglas Alexander at Stirling–the final ‘What Labour Must Do’ speech?

I pose the question in the title, but the answer, sadly,  is no – Gerry Hassan could not resist, and yet another example of the genre is up under his name in The Scotsman today – Scottish Labour must find a new, dynamic story. Perhaps Gerry is encouraged by the fact that the doyen of the genre is off to the antipodes and the field is clear. However, Gerry is always worth reading and his heart and his heid are in the right place, and his voice is and will continue to be a powerful one in the new Scotland.

And so to Wee Dougie’s speech

In my estimation, Douglas Alexander is the most intelligent unionist politician on the UK scene from any party, and therein lies his tragedy, because he is also a Labour careerist whose brightest prospect has always been the high road to England, to Westminster and to an international stage. I have no objection to him being any of these things – the Scottish lad o’pairts whose ambitions are not bounded by national boundaries is a recognised historical figure, prominent in the British Empire and world affairs, including, regrettably, in some of that crumbling empire’s worst excesses.

I just don’t want him to have anything to do with the future of Scotland, or to pretend that he somehow speaks for that future or advances Scotland’s interests in any way by being part of geopolitics based on the US/UK military/industrial war machine and the pretence that the UK is a player of significance on the international stage.

He is a Scot out of the same mould as George Robertson, John Reid, Jim Murphy and Liam Fox, not the infinitely superior mould of Donald Dewar, Robin Cook, John Smith and Henry McLeish.

Fortunately his penetrating intelligence is not accompanied by charisma, his persona being that of a young Minister of the Kirk. We have seen what the lethal mixture of unbridled ambition and charisma can do in Tony Blair, and one of those in a generation is more than enough to leave a trail of death, misery and destruction across half the globe. I also believe that he has a core of genuine values, rather in the way that Gordon Brown does, values that conflict with ambition. In both cases, greater fulfilment might have been achieved by pursuing a career in the ministry. (They both are sons of the manse.)


Douglas started his speech with a reference to Dunsinane, and posed the question “Stands Scotland where it did?”

As I observed in my clip of his Newsnight Scotland interview with Gordon Brewer, he seems oblivious to the fact that the wood of Dunsinane was advancing on a murderous king who had lost his moral compass, and the closest analogy to that is of the Scottish People, represented by the SNP Government that they placed their trust in so decisively, advancing on the party, Labour, that lost its moral compass by associating itself completely with a murderous regime, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The only question is who will play Banquo’s ghost in this new version of the Scottish play?

Douglas then ranges widely in his metaphors, dragging in General Custer with the unlikely figure of the Wee Laird O’Drumlean in the role of the blonde, charismatic Custer in his last stand.

But he goes on to a sober, clear-eyed recognition of the scale of Labour’s Scottish humiliation, and takes as his main theme “Scotland’s political future and Scottish Labour’s place therein”. (The old cadences of the manse and the pulpit echo!)

He claims that the great debate on Scotland’s future will not be “an exercise in accounting but ruefully acknowledges his central role in just such an exercise – Divorce is an Expensive Business 1999 and says that he does not resile from those fears.

Douglas is being disingenuous – he knows that he is now dealing with a sophisticated and informed Scottish electorate who have experienced directly what thirteen years of Labour economics and eighteen months of Coalition economics have done to their lives and their futures. And he is dealing with a Scottish Government who are able to cut through the miasma of scare tactics and media distortions that the unionist parties and their compliant media have traditionally manipulated to misinform the Scottish people. And of course, the exponential growth of the new media has cut through the lies told by the powerful across the globe like a laser beam.

His campaign in Scotland was fronted by a beaming Tony Blair, with the slogan New Labour – New Scotland, an association that now indelibly and fatally tarnishes his campaign and his party. The voice of the Scots who have died since 1999 in pursuit of that vision cry out for justice, as do some of the bereaved.

The facts – and history – having betrayed him, Douglas moves rapidly on to emotion, philosophy and historical allusions to Plato, David Hume, Ivan Illich, Old Uncle Tam Cobleigh and all.

He focuses on Ivan Illich’s concept of telling an alternative story, and recognises belatedly that “ the stories we tell about ourselves, our communities and our nation are thankfully not the exclusive domain of politicians: writers, musicians, poets and artists help shape our sense of self and also our sense of our nation’s story”.

What should sit uncomfortably with him is that most of the writers, musician, poets and artists tell a story of Scotland, its history and its impending independence, a story of freedom, a story of peace and justice and equality and the common man -  a story that Labour has forfeited all right to tell. Of course, he can always call on Eddie Izzard and Billy Connolly, or Niall Ferguson – or maybe Lord George Foulkes to tell their stories and sing their songs.

He goes on a great length about the idea of Margaret Thatcher as villain, as though she was the SNP’s villain, not Labour’s villain. She was certainly the enemy of Scotland, of the Scottish people and of an independent Scotland, as are her Westminster coterie and her Scottish acolytes to this day. What sits uncomfortable with Douglas is that the Scottish people have progressively recognised that Margaret Thatcher was just the figure head and poster girl for a greater, deeper villainy – the villainy of the UK and the British Establishment, and that one of the Iron Lady’s greatest admirers and sedulous imitators was one Anthony Lynton Blair, a Scot of sorts when it suited him, who became her natural successor.

And the Scottish people also recognised that far from delivering them from this exploitative 300 year old tyranny, Labour was and is totally committed to perpetuating it.

The careers paths of Douglas Alexander, of Tony Blair, of Gordon Brown, of John Reid, of George Robertson – and of the likes of Baron Martin of Springburn, of Jim Murphy, of Margaret Curran et al would not be possible without that poisoned Union, and Labour will be condemned to permanent opposition in UK Minus once Scotland goes.

Douglas refers to the “old Labour hymns” becoming increasingly unfamiliar to the Scottish people. They are not unfamiliar, Douglas, they are all too familiar in the tune that they have become – the Dies Irae – the hymn of death, under the flag of blood, the Union Jack.

All the analysis and remedies that follow in your speech are dust and ashes against these facts, Douglas -  a voice crying in the wilderness of Labour values. You and your party - indeed you and your political breed - are on the wrong side of history, on the wrong side of humanity, and certainly on the wrong side of Scotland’s future.

You, and the army of What Labour Must Do voices cannot, and will not offer the real solution to Labour‘s troubles, but the solution will be there for you in Scotland’s independence. On that first joyful day of Scotland’s independence as a nation state, politicians such as yourself will have a clear choice – stand as a candidate under your party banner for a Scottish Parliamentary constituency, or fold your tent, head south and find an English, Welsh or Northern Irish constituency party that will adopt you as their candidate for the UK Minus Parliament, Westmister. In practice, that means an English constituency.

After Scotland’s independence, that won’t exactly be an easy task for you or your ilk, Douglas. You know it, the Jim Murphys know it, the Tom Harrises know it, the Margaret Curran’s know it.  You have made your bed with Westminster and the UK – soon you must lie on it.

As for all the Scottish Lords – aye, weel, there’s a tale to be told …

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Ed Miliband, Blair and the Blairites – and Channel Four’s ‘Dispatches’

I had hoped to bring you a YouTube video today, with Ed Miliband’s conference speech bit on “I am not Tony Blair – but he’s a great man”, intercut with clips from the must-see Channel Four Dispatches documentary, The Wonderful World of Tony Blair.

Well, it’s now up on YouTube, but you can only watch it if you live outside of the UK, i.e. anywhere else in the world. (Those of you who are techno savvy enough won’t find this a problem, but most will.) You’ll have to make do with this -

The reason is not a great conspiracy by Blairites and Unionists against freedom of expression, but the commercial and copyright interests of Channel Four and the programme makers. The full documentary is on YouTube The Wonderful World of Tony Blair and for anyone who doubts that the UK, some of its politicians, some of the Labour Party, and some politicians of every other party profit massively, obscenely and by very dubious methods from their elected position and from the military/industrial complex and non-elected brutal dictatorships, this 50-minute programme is a must watch, must see.

Issues examined forensically by Peter Oborne include Tony Blair’s wealth, his hidden and obscure financial dealings, his financial backers, his mandate  - or lack of one, as part of The Quad - the Middle Eastern dictators, oil interests and brutal undemocratic regimes that are his clients and provide a large part of his income, his selective dealings with Israel and Palestine, and how he interprets his role as Peace Envoy - all this and more.

Blairites will watch it through eyes that cannot, and will not see the true nature of their great leader and hero.

Who are the Blairites?

As Wikipedia and other sources cautiously warn, not all those identified by the media as Blairites would admit to being so, and some may have been mistakenly classified as such. Some clearly were, and now have the moral sense, with the benefit of hindsight, to realise what they allowed themselves to become identified with. Others are expedient closet Blairites who realise the mood has changed in the People’s Party, at least while Ed Miliband is leader, but stand ready in the slips to declare themselves again should he be deposed by, say, David Miliband.

We may say with reasonable certainty that Tom Harris MP and Jim Murphy MP and UK Shadow Secretary of State for Defence are Blairites. (Should they reject this appellation, I will be happy to withdraw my assertion.) I have some reason to believe that John McTernan, political commentator is a Blairite, and so also is Alistair Campbell, but this may only be unfounded rumour, similar to the scurrilous suggestion that Cheri Blair is a Blairite.

David Miliband is undoubtedly a Blairite, as is Jacqui Smith, former Home Secretary, forced to resign over expenses and a claim for pornographic videos rented by her husband. Jacqui Smith is one of those picked to front the Purple Labour concept, a not so thinly concealed attempt to revive the reputation of Blair and Blairism in the Party. I believe she may be a candidate to be BBC Vice-Chairmannow there’s a thought

John Rentoul is a Blairite - the political editor of the paper that claims to be The Independent, a newspaper that does its best to ignore Scotland and Scottish affairs, and whose reputation for high standards of journalistic accuracy and probity has been somewhat dented of late by their star columnist, Johann Hari, who is certainly not a Blairite.

I think we may safely say that if Tom Harris is elected Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, we might have a Blairite Scottish party, and in twenty years time, when Jim Murphy has drunk his fill of UK defence posts, and deigns to consider coming back home as Leader – but hold on – Scotland will be independent long before then …

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Keep the Union and learn to love the Bomb! – happy tweeting time


Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

Independence? Scots can have whatever they want, except defence and foreign affairs. Devo Max? Nae problem! Just leave the UK with the WMDs.


Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

What must a Labour or Tory mediocrity do? Get a defence post ASAP. That's where the power and money lies. It's the nuclear honeypot, stupid!


Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

Labour and Tory politicians get into defence and the war game as fast as possible like money-seeking missiles. Scots can have their devo max


Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

The UK - a state whose operating principle is war. That's where real money, real power lies. The Blair Factor: War = power,influence, riches


Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

Why are unionists committed to devomax? To retain the nuclear war core of UK, control of foreign policy. That's where the money and power is


Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

All unionist parties are committed to devo max. What's left of the Union after devo max? WMDs, foreign policy, defence - the war core of UK.


Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

If the West and Israel had no WMDS, would I support invading other countries to stop them having nuclear weapons. I'm thinking about it ...


Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

US/UK line - our WMDs deter mad dictators elsewhere. They don't know a lot about mad dictators, wherever they are. Dr. Strangelove is alive


Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

Multilateral nuclear disarmament is a smoksecreen for US/UK and Israel keeping their WMDs and trying to stop anyone else having them.

Monday, 13 June 2011

A word from Our Leader …


“I met someone who had been on incapacity benefit for a decade. He hadn't been able to work since he was injured doing his job. It was a real injury, and he was obviously a good man who cared for his children. But I was convinced that there were other jobs he could do.

“And that it's just not right for the country to be supporting him not to work, when other families on his street are working all hours just to get by.

“It's not about responsibility to the state, or the government, but responsibility to your neighbours, your friends and many others who you may never meet but who are affected by your actions.”


“To those entrepreneurs and business people who generate wealth, create jobs and deserve their top salaries, I'm not just relaxed about you getting rich, I applaud you.”


“We will be a party that rewards contribution, not worklessness.”


We need to understand why Labour in government talked about fixing it but didn't.”


“He remembered most the deep fellowship that helped win the war and build the peace. When I think about my children, I want them to grow up in a Britain like that. I want them to understand what makes this country special.”


“The Labour Party - a party founded by hard working people for hard working people - was seen, however unfairly, as the party of those ripping off our society. We were intensely relaxed about what happened at the top of society.”

“So we sent out the wrong message to those at the top of society. And we all know what happened: the banks acting as if there was no tomorrow and causing the worst financial crisis in a century.”

“There is a terrible shortage of social housing in this country.”

“We did too little to ensure responsibility at the bottom.”


“Tony Blair once said he wanted a country "where your child in distress is my child, your parent ill and in pain is my parent, your friend unemployed or homeless is my friend; your neighbour my neighbour. That is the true patriotism of a nation.’


As an exercise in utter vacuousness, this takes some beating. A succession of glib anecdotes, leading to conclusions that could have come from the mouth of a backwoods shire Tory - a series of motherhood statements that could have been uttered by almost any politician in any country in the last fifty years - a total and utter failure to recognise what really ripped the heart out of the Labour Party and destroyed its core values. And last but not least, a pious quote from an obscenely rich man who led the country into two ruinous and criminal wars on lies to Parliament, and who now has an estimated annual income in excess of £15m - Tony Blair.

If this speech was meant to establish Ed Miliband’s reputation, it has, definitively - as the Leader of a party that is to all intents and purposes dead, morally, ethically and intellectually, and as someone who accurately reflects its hollow heart.

The fact that it can demonstrate electoral support in the polls simply shows the awfulness of the present ConLib coalition, and the fact that the voters of  England have few choices.

Thank God the people of Scotland did have a real choice, and made it decisively on May 5th this year.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Did Gadaffi order the Lockerbie Bombing?

Certain things cannot be re-stated too often -

1. Megrahi was found guilty by a Scottish Court.

2. Megrahi was released under Scottish Law on compassionate grounds only, in the belief that the verdict was sound and that he was guilty.

3. No commercial considerations influenced the Scottish Government: there were no negotiations over his release with the UK government: Scotland was not influenced by the UK Government of Tony Blair or  Gordon Brown.

These are the only crystal clear facts in the whole Megrahi/Libya affair. The behaviour of the last UK Labour government was deceitful and contemptible throughout its term in office, influenced by expediency and commercial considerations.

The hypocritical behaviour of the Scottish Labour group in the Scottish Parliament has  been beneath contempt, characterised by utter hypocrisy and political posturing.

The behaviour of the UK Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition government has been no less hypocritical and expedient. As cynical arms dealers to Middle Eastern dictatorships and suppliers of instrument of repression and death to be used against to their people by dictators, Cameron's government - driven into action by the Wikileaks revelations - has been motivated by a wish to secure short term political advantage against the Labour Opposition, and a parallel wish to smear the Scottish Nationalist government with lies about their role in the Megrahi Affair.

In this shameful politicking, they have been aided by the Cabinet Secretary to both the previous and the current UK  governments, Sir Gus O'Donnell.

The latest allegation by a Libyan politician,  that Gadaffi ordered the Lockerbie bombing, which to date is not supported by any facts, and may well be driven by a simple wish to gain favour in the US and UK when his political career is threatened, comes as no surprise to the Scottish Government, who believed that anyway throughout, based on the Scottish Court's guilty verdict.

However, it is not what those who believe Megrahi is innocent wanted to hear, and they are likely to retain their belief that he was either innocent, or did not act alone.

The majority of British newspapers seized on the so far unsupported allegation of Gadaffi's involvement with glee, and published it as a fact on their front pages, motivated by God  knows what agenda, since their thinking  has been marked by a lack of clarity and a total disregard for the facts so far.

One can only assume that the ConLib supporting press hope it will damage UK Labour, the Labour Press hope it will damage Scotland, and both of them think it will somehow protect the rotten, failing political entity known as the United Kingdom.

(Some prominent Scottish bloggers, who ought to know better, have also accepted the Libyan politician's unsupported allegation at face value.)

Whatever the outcome, the central clarity and human compassion of the Scottish Government's decision to release Megrahi on compassionate grounds, and on that alone, will remain unaffected - the only clear, principled decision in the whole sorry affair.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Black Tuesday

I awakened to the radio news of the Christchurch New Zealand earthquake - terrifying sound of the screams of those trapped, injured and dying in the ruined buildings. The television reports, awful as they were, seemed to have edited out such chilling sounds.

And then the calm voice of sanity among it all, Bob Parker, the mayor of Christchurch - a hugely impressive man. No platitudes - no notes - no false assurances - just a steady, calming voice, telling his people how things were, what was being done, the limitations of what could be done, and what they must do to survive this terrible tragedy. This is how politicians should be, how we want them to be, and how they almost never are. The man is measured in a moment, and the moment makes the man.

But this man, fully formed, chosen by his city, is there when they need him most, and they are fortunate to have him, on this showing.

Meanwhile, the UK Prime Minister, the bland, privileged rich boy who is busily destroying our public service infrastructure at home, tours the Middle East accompanied by his merchants of death, promoting the guns, gas grenades, electric cattle prods, etc. that constitute the brutal hardware of repression for dictators everywhere.

The Gadaffi regime collapses around the Colonel in bloodshed and death, with the rats jumping ship in all directions, and some brave pilots defecting rather than murder their own people. But, like Mubarak, he will have his billions salted away in the Swiss banks and elsewhere, and if he can find a safe haven - not easy - can console himself in some luxurious redoubt, surrounded by bodyguards.

Perhaps his old pal, the Peace Envoy, Tony Blair, will pay him a surreptitious visit, and tell him that in time, he can convert to Christianity, join the Blair Foundation and travel the world’s lecture circuits at $100,000 plus a gig, telling American fundamentalist Christians how he found God and redemption.

What a world! The sublime and the awful. Scotland doesn’t have to be a part of the dark side, if it can shake off the corrupt grasp of the United Kingdom. And neither does England, once it abandons its ludicrous nostalgia and imperial dreams, rediscovers itself as a proud independent nation, and embraces the Zeitgeist - freedom!

This is the big moment for the oppressed peoples of the world. Scotland’s little, but highly significant moment is on May 5th. Make the right choice, Scots - choose your ain folk - choose the Scottish National Party.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Question Time, Melanie Phillips and political labels

Question Time last night wasn’t half bad. I did some live tweeting, with the usual results - premature judgements, misspellings, etc.

The right-wing raver slot - which the BBC feels must be part of the panel, in the interests of ‘balance’ - was occupied by Melanie Phillips this week, a regular in this chair. There is no real slot for a left-wing raver because the genuine article is hard to find these days - we have to be satisfied with the likes of George Galloway, who now occupies a political planet entirely of his own creation, a planet - or maybe a rogue asteroid - that now hovers dangerously near to the Scottish Parliament

Bob Crow is sometimes meant to fill the slot, but the format  and  the chairman usually attempt to contain him within the stereotype of trade union militant. Since Crow is anything but a raver, with a much broader political view that just his union, always displaying an icy, objective calmness in all that he says, and refusing to be contained by anyone, this fails, and the programme comes to life, to the discomfiture of the party and media hacks on the panel, the spluttering indignation of the right wing raver, the impotence of David Dimbleby and the delight of the audience -and me. The Question Time panel is not a place for real people. They are supposed to be confined to the audience.

Melanie, however, is entirely predictable, and has been for many years now, so there were no surprises when the question about Egypt’s revolution came up. On any international issue, anything Melanie says has to be decoded in the light of the foreign policy of Israel and its view of Muslims and international terrorism, which to ultra Zionists are one and the same.

There was a certain irony in the fact that the programme was recorded at  the same time - or probably before - the transmission of Louis Theroux’s BBC2 documentary, The Ultra Zionists, at 9.00 p.m. last night.

On other topics, she gives evidence of the penetrating intelligence and incisive comment that once graced the pages of - incredibly - The Guardian. (I remember her from those days, and mourn the loss of the Melanie-that-was.) She is now flits between her two natural journalistic homes, The Spectator and The Daily Mail. Penetrating intelligence and incisiveness are, however, no guarantors of wisdom, clear vision or objectivity, as history - and Melanie - abundantly demonstrate.

My comments on her performance led to a tweeted response from a supporter of Melanie, to the effect that she always spoke the truth, thus enraging ‘the lefties’,  among whose number I am delighted to be included. (Such commentators never think of themselves as righties). Indeed, I count it a badge of honour to be described as a leftist separatist, which appellation happily combines my basic political orientation with my Scottish nationalism. My critic also referred to ‘mad’ lefties, and I had to remind him that in my recollection, this epithet had only been applied before to Mad Mitch of Aden and to a political columnist, panellist and journalist whose name escapes me for the moment.

I was once asked to put my political philosophy in a nutshell, and came up with Left is right and Right is wrong, and that still just about describes my position. Of course, if I wanted to take a more anodyne position, I would describe myself as a social democrat, but many on the right of the political spectrum think of themselves as such, so I am wary of that label.

I visited Melanie's website to update myself on her written views, and found the title of her book The World Turned Upside Down - The Global Battle over God, Truth and Power, a suitably apocalpytic title. I reproduce a paragraph from her plug for her book.

The loss of religious belief has meant the West has replaced reason and truth with ideology and prejudice, which it enforces in the manner of a secular inquisition. The result has been a kind of mass derangement, as truth and lies, right and wrong, victim and aggressor are all turned upside down. In medieval-style witch- hunts, scientists who are skeptical of global warming are hounded from their posts; Israel is ferociously demonized; and the United States is vilified over the war on terror-all on the basis of falsehoods and propaganda that are believed as truth.

Since I disagree with every line and every word of that, and believe that it is Melanie, fundamentalist religion, Israel and US foreign policy that have turned the world upside down, risking a return to the Dark Ages, I offer as an antidote another book - Allies for Armageddon by Victoria Clark, which explores with chilling forensic skill, the destructive links between right-wing, American Rapture fundamentalist Christians, the ultra zionists and the Bush/Cheney regime that dragged the world, and the UK under Blair into the present lethal instability of global politics and two disastrous wars.

And that’s about all I have to say for today. Have a good weekend …

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Blair at the Chilcot Enquiry

Blair's evidence to the Chilcot Enquiry - if indeed responding to questions by a group of what George Galloway called "Establishment stooges" on the BBC's  Question Time last Thursday, a gaggle of the great and good who had already had their collective hamstrings cut by the restrictive terms of the Enquiry can be called giving evidence - took place in a fog of moral righteousness by the media, who focused on whether or not he would apologise for the Iraq folly and his pivotal role in it, and the question of his belated admissions that, far from 'not doing God',  he believed he had a hot line to the Almighty throughout.

This, of course, played into Blair's hands, and allowed him to slide away from any  difficulties over facts by expertly playing what he sees as his aces - personal sincerity, total moral conviction, and the belated, but carefully judged regrets over the death and suffering his vaulting ambition and cynical real-politicking have visited on an entire nation, Iraq, and  the brave members of the British Armed forces and other war coalition countries' military personnel who lost their lives or were maimed, physically and psychologically, by loyally doing their duty as defined by a misguided Parliament and nation.

Aided by the inabilty of the Enquiry to take evidence under oath, the denial to  Chilcot by the Cabinet Secretary of the right to use and quote from the key correspondence and transcriptions of the Bush/Blair dialogues, the absence of any legally qualified person to conduct the kind of forensic cross-examination necessary to extract  the truth from a man whose entire political legacy, not to mention his current international - and obscenely lucrative - business interests are threatened by the truth, he was able to duck and weave behind his various baffle walls from the feeble blasts of the Enquiry team.

So what he knew, and when he knew it, the critical commitments made by him to  his US master, and the real nature of the behind-the-scenes dialogue with the Attorney General remain as cloudy as before.

What we are left with is the messianic Blair, a Christian fundamentalist believer, who, like his superior, George W. Bush, was certain that he had God's hand on his shoulder, possessed by a burning belief in his own righteousness, who  did the right  thing  as he saw it at the time - even though his omniscient God seemed to have missed the inconvenient absence of WMDs - and had no regrets about removing the brutal dictator, Saddam Hussein, at whatever cost to Britain and Iraq, a calculated decision that immediately catapulted him into international superstardom and richness.

He will never appear before a war crimes tribunal at the Hague, and his position as icon to the American Right and the military/industrial complex is not only secure, but enhanced. Anthony Lynton Blair, peace envoy, is now a greater danger to world peace than he was before the Chilcot Enquiry started.

Monday, 25 October 2010

The Cuts – impact on Scotland’s finances

The biggest UK spending cuts since World War Two - £81 billion over four years. Guiding principles (according to George Osborne) – fairness, reform and growth.

My view – too fast, too soon, directed at the wrong targets, and leading to unfairness, hardship and possibly economic collapse: driven, not by economics or rational thought, but an atavistic Tory instinct to destroy the public sector.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS): “With the exception of 2% of the richest households, it is a budget that hits the poor and families worst …

£3.3 billion will be cut from Scotland’s current £29.2 billion budget for 2010-2011 in the period up to 2014-2015. (£13.8 billion in 1999 to the current level).

Bear in mind that this is against the fact that Scotland’s budget has been rising steadily over the years - in common with every other area of the UK - because of inflation and increasing pressure on resources, a significant proportion of it directly due the problems relating to the abuse of alcohol – pressures on medical services, attendance at work and the police, pressure that the Scottish Government has been ruthlessly and cynically blocked from addressing by The Three StoogesGray, Goldie  and Scott – and their politically-motivated hostility to minimum pricing for alcohol.

Who is doing this to Scotland? The Tories and the LibDems, in their expedient, power-hungry and now notorious coalition, the ConLibs – the LibDems conned by the Tories into becoming their fall guys for the destruction of a caring society, fronted by George Osborne’s hapless puppet, Danny Alexander – a Scot.

Who was responsible for the economic shambles that led to this? Labour, under the Blair, Brown, Mandelson gang, later metamorphosed into the Brown, Darling, Murphy gang. An Englishman, three Scots and a half-Scot, Blair, never quite sure what nationality he was, someone whom a prestigious Scottish college, Fettes, probably wishes it could airbrush out of their distinguished alumni – or maybe they don’t

Labour, now protesting the economic vandalism for which they created the raison d'être, pleads a global financial meltdown as their excuse, suffering collective amnesia over the fact that the UK economy, under their disastrous 13-year stewardship, was uniquely unprepared to meet the global threat.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

More Megrahi nonsense from Menendez

Nobody came to Senator Menendez's kangaroo court in the US - a publicity stunt masquerading as a Congressional enquiry - so he had to make things up. His representative who came to Scotland - and failed to take notes at a meeting with Scottish Government officials - has total recall of a load of nonsense.

Fortunately our government officials did take notes. Of course, Holyrood's ****hole in residence, Richard Baker, predictably aligned himself with the US and Menendez. Perhaps he should have consulted his new boss, Ed Miliband, who if he has any sense will rapidly distance himself and the Labour Party from the Deal in the Desert/BP conspiracy theory - Jack Straw certainly did.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Baron Prescott and Iraq

John Prescott – now Baron Prescott of Kingston-upon-Hull – is the man who was supposed to represent true working class values in the money, celebrity and power-obsessed New Labour. He is now complacently ensconced on the benches of the House of Lords, oozing self-satisfaction from every pore, probably still nursing a self-image of himself as an honest, straight-talking working class boy.

The Chilcot Enquiry eventually got around to him, doubtless worried that his uncertain grasp of the syntax of his native language would pose some difficulties for them. But after all, he is now safely embedded in the British Establishment, and there is little chance that he will say anything to jeopardise that new status and incriminate himself, nor is he likely to shed any light on the criminal venture known as the Iraq War. If he does inadvertently give something away, it can be safely laughed off as “just John just being John”.

In spite of being at the centre of events – he was after all Deputy Prime Minister – his testimony reveals a man almost unaware of the fact that he was part of an unfolding tragedy of global proportions, one that would result in death and destruction for hundreds of thousands, perhaps over a million innocents, the polarisation of relationships between the Muslim World and the nominally Christian West, and destabilisation of the entire Middle East.

A few quotes -

On intelligence reports: “ --- a bit of tittle-tattle here and a bit more information there ---”

On his evaluation of the reports: “ --- they made me a little bit nervous ---“

On Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, former Head of MI5: “She was always on about the threat of terrorism. Along with it came ‘Give me some money.’”

On Tony Blair’s handling of the decision to go to war, and criticisms of his decision: “We have seen a few people gloss over their part in the history of what happened. I have learned that true leadership is not about having the benefit of hindsight. It is about having the gift of vision, courage and compassion, and I believe that Tony Blair had all three.”

Thank you, Baron Prescott of Kingston-upon-Hull, for that deep insight into a man that a large proportion of the world now considers a war criminal, who failed completely to display any vision about the appalling consequences of his actions, who failed utterly in courage in dealing with the Bush Regime, and who, while regularly engaging in displays of gross sentimentality, showed no compassion whatsoever for the lives ruined by his decision.

The multi-millionaire peace envoy to the Middle East, Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, will doubtless be grateful for your heartfelt endorsement. It vindicates his decision to keep you on board throughout his regime to sanitise his government’s actions in Iraq, in the safe and secure knowledge that you would never questions them, because you would never understand them.

Enjoy the ermine, the cosy benches of the Lords and the generous attendance allowance, Lord Prescott – it is small enough reward for loyalty such as yours. Greater love hath no man than he avert his eyes from the transgressions of his friend.

Some quotes on Lord Prescott’s testimony to the Iraq Enquiry -

Rose Gentle, mother of Gordon Gentle of the First battalion of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, an early casualty in Iraq. “I’m disgusted. This is my boy’s life they’re talking about. The smug look on that man’s face made it look as if it was just a joke to him”.

Michael Aston, father of Corporal Russell Aston, Killed in Iraq. “His remarks are absolutely disgraceful – there are 179 families who have lost their loved ones in this war.”

Angus Robertson, SNP Defence spokesman in Westminster.There can be few more serious decisions than taking a country to war, yet John Prescott has dismissed some of the key intelligence as mere tittle-tattle.

see also Fallujah's children - BBC