Presidential Crystal Ball gazing

Source: Presidential Crystal Ball gazing

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The case against Jeremy

Last week I invited my Facebook friends to an event which I had been looking forward to attending. Entitled “The case against war” it was a debate organised by my old friend, the Stop The War Coalition, and was due to take place this very evening at Conway Hall in central London. Now I’m not going to it because it is has been changed from a debate to a demonstration and from the nice warm interior of Conway Hall to the chilly exterior of the Houses of Parliament, on Parliament Square. Grrr, brrr.

Just how miffed am I about this? Hm…Very. I had been looking forward to hearing a lively and informed debate, based on facts, not fiction, where intellectuals, deep thinkers, would put flesh on the bones of my conviction that the intensification of military action in Syria will make things massively worse for all of us, not just the Syrians. Having thrice absorbed the 2 hour long documentary film “Bitter Lake” by Adam Curtis about the long history of repeated, failed, interventions by all and sundry in Afghanistan, and having gone to the cinema to see Michael Moore’s “Farenheit 9/11” when it first came out as well as having my own copy of the DVD, and having peace-protest-marched on countless occasions, sometimes with my, then, small son in tow from Embankment to Westminster, from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square [all to no sodding avail] I feel I am more than qualified to call myself “knowledgeable and informed” about the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention Israel and Palestine.

The tendency for conspiracy theorists, on all shades of the spectrum, to go into overdrive at moments such as this, just an eye-blink away from the wicked mass murders in Paris, is not uncommon. What is uncommon is the weirdness of what has happened in this country over the last few days. For me it is akin to living in the Twilight Zone and Groundhog day all in one.

First, we have David “Carlton TV” Cameron beating his chest with his Tonka Toys in his war-war mode, insisting that we have to add ourselves to the list of foreign forces [the French, the Americans, the Saudis etc] who have spent the last 18 months miserably failing to achieve anything other than the expansion of Isis and the creation of endless refugees, on the grounds that what just happened in Paris could just happen to us, unless we Brits also go commando [I use the expression quite deliberately]. This from the man who bemoaned the unholy mess that was and still is Iraq and who [rightly] blamed Tony Blair for lying about weapons of mass destruction and misleading his party into supporting the phoney war there.    [Of course, we only did it to get control of all that petrol. Of course, that’s why we’re about to do it again. NB The story about Turkey buying half price petrol from ISIS is not just a side story – it is the story].

Second, we have Hilary, son of Tony Benn  [and the very spit of his dad], the guest speaker at almost every anti-war protest I went to after September 2001, sticking his face in front of the TV cameras in his capacity as shadow foreign secretary, defending, yes, defending “the case for war” as laid out  [rather like the market trader lays out his genuine Armani shirts] by the British Prime Minister. Tony must be choking on his post mortem Earl Grey.

Third, we have Jeremy Corbyn, leader of her majesty’s opposition, upholder of the red flag, guardian of the democratic process , voice of the common man/woman, and erstwhile head of the Stop The War Coalition caving in to the big bad bullies he misguidedly appointed to his shadow cabinet and allowing a free vote on the proposal to go to war in Syria. All this after taking the trouble to canvass the views of the only people he is actually accountable to [apart from his constituents in Islington North] namely, the membership of the Labour Party, who resoundingly [75%] said no to the proposed war. Did we really have to endure weeks of PMQT’s with JC reading out his list of questions about tax credits and council housing penned by concerned members of the public only to have the case against war nervously folded in two and popped away into his back trouser pocket?

Thanks to Jeremy Corbyn’s wobbly knees the debate has been cancelled and replaced with a protest.