So remind me again, why should Lord Ahmed should be a Labour peer?

by Rob Marchant

Last weekend, the world was shocked to learn that a Labour peer was allegedly calling for a bounty on the heads of Bush, Blair and Obama. “Allegedly”, because there was seemingly no independent confirmation by UK media of the story, which Ahmed vehemently denied. The Labour party, for once, reacted almost immediately in suspending the whip “pending investigation”.

On Monday, thinking it strange that no-one had seemingly bothered to dig deeper into the clip from Pakistani TV, Uncut did a little more research and was advised, by a friendly Urdu-speaking journalist, that, although the clip appears to contain footage from the relevant speech, it was voiced over and did not confirm his exact words. Alarm bells sounded.

On Tuesday it was confirmed that his exact words were different, that he “only” called for George Bush and Tony Blair to be brought to trial for war crimes, a proposal he boasted that he would personally fund. Oh, and name-checked the leader of the Mumbai bombers in a statement of brotherly solidarity.

So, the Pakistani press misreported. And the British press were lazy.

And you know what? He should go anyway and the whip should stay withdrawn. Here’s why.
First, let’s deal with the issue of fairness. Isn’t it unfair? He didn’t say what they say he did, shouldn’t he stay? But what he did say and do is quite enough, and anyway a reason is scarcely necessary. It’s is not like being sacked from a job, or being convicted of a crime. There is no redress, no tribunal, no appeal. You are there because and only because there is a mutual interest in you sitting on that bench. If you don’t want to be there, resign and become a cross-bencher. And if they don’t want you there, the party has the option to break the deal, too.

Second, there is the question of party discipline. This is not a political point: someone should not go because we disagree with their politics (tempting though that might sometimes be). It is not whether a person is to the right or to the left of the party, but whether or not they are a credible person to represent the Labour Party in Parliament. Is it desirable that a person who represents the party in Parliament goes around doing things which are not only ugly but daft, asking for former western leaders to be tried for war crimes, including one from his own party (to whom, incidentally, he owes his peerage)?

Not terribly good for the party’s image, is it? But it seems our expectations have fallen so far in this regard that we are – extraordinarily – actually relieved to find that he did not actually call for someone to kill Tony Blair and George Bush, and that he did not threaten a sitting president. Well, hoo-bloody-ray.

Ah but, you say, should not parliamentary representatives have the freedom to say whatever they like, without fear of punishment? Well no, they should not.

You take the whip because you agree to an unspoken deal. You can more or less say what you like in a political sense – and in today’s Labour Party, believe me, the rules are pretty broad-minded – but you cannot regularly vote against the party and you cannot bring the party into disrepute.

An MP’s statements are somewhat self-policing, because generally voters do not like people who say pathological things: things which are, say, dotty, hypocritical, nasty, or racist. So MPs try not to say these sort of things because, well, their electorate wouldn’t like it and they might be kicked out. Even if, in the odd case, they might think any or all of these things.

A peer, on the other hand, has almost infinite freedom: there is no constituency and they do not usually have local newspapers picking over their words. In fact, the decent work done by very many of them can pass entirely unnoticed. They can continue to wear the badge of the party that created them during long years of service, rarely having to answer to anyone. Except for an occasional wrist-slapping by the whips’ office, in extreme cases of misbehaviour.

That is, you really have to try hard to get the whip suspended as a lord.

These two points alone should be enough to question Ahmed staying on the Labour benches. But the third is an even stronger one.

The fact is that the name of Ahmed, probably hitherto unknown by the general public, is all too familiar to those of us sickened by the welcoming of terrorist sympathisers in the party we love.

Aside from Labour’s shabby deals with him and others to secure electoral support, the fact is that Lord Ahmed has so much “previous”, as Atul Hatwal noted, that he should, frankly, have had the whip withdrawn a long time ago, as in fact effectively happened to his Lib Dem friend from the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, Jenny Tonge, following some unacceptable remarks about Israel’s right to exist.

You may remember the invitation of extremist Islamist preacher Raed Salah (yes, he of the support of terrorism, violent homophobia, and this delightful video) to speak at the Houses of Parliament, a crushing embarrassment for Labour which was called off at the last minute by House authorities. Who booked the room? Step forward, Lord Ahmed. And there is a catalogue of other interesting deeds recorded here, such as meetings with terrorists Al Qaeda and Hamas, as well as known anti-Semite Israel Shamir.

Yes, it is the same cancerous Islamist sympathiser contingent on the march, as many have highlighted several times. And, little by little, the ignoring of it by the party’s high command continues to drag our party’s reputation south, as the press stories get ever more frequent and prominent.

The fourth reason is simply that restoring the whip sends precisely the wrong message to his friends in the party. Say what you like: the party doesn’t care.

So well done Labour, for having the courage of our convictions for once. Time to hold the line.

***

Update 20/04/1245: We should like to point out an error in the piece where it refers to sharing a platform with a known terrorist, this was incorrect and has now been changed. However, we should point out that Ahmed did express views in solidarity with Saeed, terrorist leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) wanted in the US, who co-planned the Mumbai bombings; that the platform was shared with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), described by Wikipedia as a “far-right party” which enforces Sharia law, and which clearly shares his solidarity with Saeed; and finally, that Ahmed is no stranger to direct contact with terrorists, in 2007 he met with al qaeda fundraiser Abu Rideh when he wanted legal help with his UK control order.

Rob Marchant is an activist and former Labour Party manager who blogs at The Centre Left


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44 Responses to “So remind me again, why should Lord Ahmed should be a Labour peer?”

  1. Nick says:

    Second, there is the question of party discipline.

    ========

    Ah yes, whipping.

    Tell me, how long do I go to jail for if I offer a bribe to an MP?

    How many whips have been prosecuted for offering promotion for voting a certain way.

    Blackmail. How long do I get for blackmailing an MP?

    How many whips have kept things quite in exchange for keeping quite about MP’s horizontal activities, if they voted a certain way.

    No convictions at all.

  2. Erica Blair says:

    Worse than that, he launched an illegal invasion of Iraq, leading to the kidnap, imprisonment and torture of thousands; the creation of more than two million refugees; and the death and maiming of over a million Iraqis.

    Sorry, my mistake.

    That wasn’t Lord Ahmed, that was your ex-boss, millionaire and wanted war-criminal Tony Blair.

  3. paul barker says:

    Couldnt agree more. All parties are broad coalitions but there have to be limits & in looking at cases where the limits are breached you need to see the big picture.
    We in the libdems had similar arguments about jenny tonge with her supporters claiming that her words on that occasion had been misinterpreted. Those who been arguing for her to lose the whip pointed to the bigger picture, not just her exact words but how she said them & who to.

  4. swatantra says:

    Perhaps not a Labour Peer taking the Labour Whip, but PMs have appointed peers to represent various communities and Ahmad may have been amongst the first batch of Muslim peers put into the Lords. What often happens is that once the get in Labour peers veer off the rails and think they can do their own thing and critcise the Party. Then it is only right that the whip be withdrawn and they get kicked out of the Party. Better still would be kicked out of the Lords altogether. But there is no mechanism yet for removing Life Peerages. Pity. The reform of the Second Chamber cannot come soon enough. There are a lot of freeloaders and dross waiting to be removed from the Lords which has built up over the years by bad decisins to put certain people in the Lords, who do us no favours.
    But I would argue that there is room in the 2nd Chamber for unalligned Peers people with expertise and integrity and Peoples Peers. So a Chamber of 80% elected and 20% nominated would be my prefered choice.
    I recall Ahmad was involved in the incident of the teddybear called Mohammad; so he had his uses, but not vey much.

  5. Jonathan Burrard says:

    Easy to extend this fiasco to an argument for Lords reform: by all means give people (even big donors) honorific titles of “Lord/Lady” or “Baron/Baronness” but let’s separate the giving of “honours” from this wholly undemocratic and outdated system under which members of a legislative assembly are appointed for life!

  6. Brian Capaloff says:

    Get it correct please, ref. Jenny Tonge. You describe her comments as ‘some unacceptable remarks about Israel’s right to exist’ and then link to a Guardian article in which she is quoted as saying:

    ‘Israel is not going to be there for ever in its present form. One day, the United States of America will get sick of giving £70bn a year to Israel to support what I call America’s aircraft carrier in the Middle East – that is Israel’.

    Bearing mind the changes since 1948, the first sentence I quote is probably inevitably correct and given how long ‘forever’ is, I would suggest that so is the second sentence, but nowhere does she question the continued existence of Israel, rather she questions it in its present form. To whom is this unacceptable?

  7. @Nick: and your alternative to the whipping system, which exists in every democracy in the world, is…?

    @EricaBlair: Yawn.

    @Paul: Thanks. Yes, Tonge’s behaviour was pretty shocking but his profile has been very similar. Not an isolated incident in either case, but a long history.

    @Swatantra, @Jonathan: yes, I think there is a wider argument about peers to be had about the specific controls over the appointments as well as the actions of peers, which are currently fairly light. Until expenses scandal, I learned yesterday, there had been no suspensions since the 17th century! On the other hand, it is important to note that there are MPs (Corbyn, Burden for example) who have carried out similar actions and with precious little redress. So it’s not just lords.

    @Brian: I suppose you are trying to argue that Jenny Tonge is a terribly nice and well-meaning politician, misunderstood by her party high command. Tonge resigned (but effectively was expelled) because of the last in a long line of unpleasant acts. Good riddance. If you want to defend her, go ahead, but I’m sorry, I’m not going to get into the hair-splitting detail on this.

  8. Dan Fox says:

    Brian,

    And then she said: “and then they will reap what they have sown”.

    What did she mean by that?

  9. rippon says:

    Rob Marchant “yawns” at Erica Blair’s post.

    But if everything she says is true, then it should be Party members’ top priority to address those issues and expunge the poisonous Tony Blair legacy. (All that has happened is that Ed Miliband says that he believes Iraq was a mistake.)

    If everything Erica Blair says is false, then her allegations are very serious, and possibly libellous, and her poisonous arguments should be trounced.

    Either way, it would require serious *engagement* with what she says. All that the lazy Marchant can manage, though, is a “yawn”.

    This is the chilling reality of Marchant’s morality. And his hypocrisy is revealed by this thought experiment: imagine if someone reminded us graphically of the crimes of the Nazis or the crime on 9/11, and a second person reacted with “yawn”. Marchant would not hesitate to condemn that person. Similarly, we should not hesitate to condemn Marchant. Blair’s crimes make Marchant yawn because, after all, it wasn’t *his* son who risked his life to participate in a massive illegal murderous enterprise – so what’s the big deal?

    Marchant considers himself a respectable person and Galloway not. This is a sign of the Orwellian times we live in, when truth, reality and morality can be so blatantly inverted.

  10. Mike Homfray says:

    Jenny Tonge’s remarks were perfectly acceptable. You just don’t agree with them, that’s all. In my view, she is right and you are wrong.

    Compulsory support for the Zionist lie has never been part of the membership requirements of the Labour party and I trust never will. Any more than uncritical support for Islamists. Both positions remain within the party and are likely to do so, and if you intend to dismiss Islamists because they offend your politics, then others will demand the same for Zionists.

  11. To get this straight – you don’t actually have any evidence that he did anything wrong, but want the whip withdrawn because he said something you didn’t like.

    I don’t hold a candle for Lord Ahmed but this is ridiculous.

    I’m assuming (on the basis of ‘discipline’) that Rob Marchant will write an article here tomorrow calling for Lord Sugar to be expelled from the party too for calling for Boris Johnson to be Mayor.

    No double-standards right?

  12. Anon E Mouse says:

    Erica Blair

    The war in Iraq was voted on by the House of Commons. It wasn’t illegal.

    I disagree with slavishly following George W Bush and the fact the MP’s were clearly lied to about the threat from Saddam wasn’t good but in our country Parliament is sovereign and we broke no laws in the actions against that country.

    Mike Homfray – “Zionist lie…”. Please move on – Islam and Judaism are not comparable and your lazy comment simply reinforces that point.

    Remind me when “Zionists” followed a religion that advocates female genital mutilation, honour killings, the stoning of woman for adultery, hanging homosexuals for a sexual preference over which they have no choice, treating woman unequally to men and on and on.

    And while you’re there can you remind everyone when a “Zionist” last blew up woman and children in a suicide bombing or the London underground?

    Waiting for all the waffle to be posted from you….

  13. Sarah AB says:

    @Mike – I also think that the problem with Tonge and Ahmed is more a cumulative one. One further point against Tonge is the way she platform shared with O’Keefe and didn’t take issue with his offensive remarks – here’s a statement opposing O’Keefe. I suppose its writers are just ‘Zionists’ and can be discounted.

    https://gcupalestinesociety.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/ken-okeefe-tainting-campus-palestine-activism-with-his-anti-semitic-rant/

  14. @rippon: I’m afraid my response was somewhat flippant because this is a debate that’s been going on for almost ten years, and no-one has anything new to say. I would comment only that no court has managed to find any case against Blair anywhere in the world. Can we stop now?

    Oh and thanks for your exquisitely melodramatic “chilling reality”. And you see Galloway, the man who acted as a cat on Celebrity Big Brother, as the respectable one of the two of us – fantastic. Well, each to their own, I guess.

    @Mike: “Jenny Tonge’s remarks were perfectly acceptable.” I see, that’s why she was thrown out of her party and roundly condemned by everyone in all three parties, I suppose.

    @Sunny: always a pleasure. Oh, where to start? I “don’t have any evidence”? How about appearing on a platform with a known terrorist, for a start? I bet you didn’t bother clicking on the link to find all the other obnoxious things that Ahmed has done. What exactly is the difference between him and Tonge, who was universally condemned by everyone? Because I just can’t see it.

    @AnonEMouse: quite. It’s the interchangeability of “Zionist” with “Jew” which I find worrying. If you’re about to say something anti-Semitic, just insert the word “Zionist” and, hey presto! No-one can accuse you of racism.

    @SarahAB: indeed. For us to judge Ahmed merely on this one incident would at least be open to question. But he is a serial offender, as most followers of these issues will realise.

    And on O’Keefe, “hear no evil” should be the PSC motto.

  15. Sarah AB says:

    Rob – is there not some ambiguity as to whether he platform shared with a terrorist after all?

    Sunny – and on that basis (and you may not have a problem with this point, and you have certainly been critical of Ahmed on Lib Con) shouldn’t Ken also be expelled?

  16. @Sunny: and one other thing, which you haven’t addressed at all. He is also quoted as saying (by the University of Punjab):

    “if Iran was attacked, the Muslim nation should unite against these powers”.

    That is, if the US (and, I guess, conceivably the UK) decided to attack Iran, which is at least a possibility right now, that Muslims in all countries, including those countries themselves, should rise up and fight those powers, putting religion before country in a presumably violent struggle.

    A question: do you think it is acceptable for ANY member of the UK legislature, irrespective of party, to say such things on a trip to a foreign country, much less one which is a celebrated centre for Islamist terrorists?

  17. Btw, an illuminative link to the University of Punjab writeup of the meeting here:

    http://pu.edu.pk/home/section/seminars/1445

  18. Anon E Mouse says:

    If the Labour Party ever wants to be re-elected in this country it needs to start ridding the party of unacceptable candidates like this guy and Livingston.

    To have members of a party including people with the views these two examples show makes the calling of the tories as “the nasty party” a joke.

    As a minimum wage worker (in total income terms) I want to vote Labour again but will not accept it whilst it’s been hijacked by a bunch of silly socialists and rich toffs like Harriet Harman and Polly Toynbee.

    We need New New Labour and we need it now!

  19. rippon says:

    Rob Marchant is completely detached from the meaning of politics, what it means to people on the ground. As such, you are a consummate Blairite, Rob.

    You say “this [Iraq] is a debate that’s been going on for almost ten years”, indicating your boredom (in a Kevin-Perry “whatever” style). The hypocrisy is revealed by a thought-experiment again. Imagine someone commenting on the perennial holocaust memorial day: ‘This holocaust was *seventy* years ago. Can’t we stop these sombre boring discussions and services by now?’

    We wouldn’t accept that over the Nazi holocaust; we shouldn’t accept it over the Iraq holocaust.

    Actually, the courts in Malaysia have found against Blair; and, in fact, Blair’s position internationally is following a similar path to other war-criminals, e.g. Kissinger, George W. Bush, Rumsfeld, Tzipi Livni, Pinochet. All these people have to think twice before travelling anywhere because there are certain countries where they are liable to arrest.

    But the (non-)actions of courts are irrelevant anyway to discussions about morality. Even when court judgements agree with people’s moral judgements, they are typically years behind anyway, so not relevant to the debate in hand.

    The facts about Iraq and Afghanistan (and elsewhere) are indeed a chilling reality. (One can google “depleted uranium iraq”, for example.) Rob supports Blair’s sanctioning the Allies’ crimes (e.g. illegal weapons). Hundreds of thousands dead, millions of refugees etc are chilling realities. Rob thinks I’m just being “melodramatic”, though.

    You also display profound laziness and stupidity, Rob, when dredging the cliché about Galloway in the BB House. If you weren’t so lazy, you would recognise this simple flaw in your argument. Suppose you dressed up in a silly costume to attend a fancy-dress party; and suppose you indulged in some silly party games there; and suppose pictures of you were taken and published on the net. By your lazy logic, that would then be a reason for dismissing you as a respectable politician. Whereas, if anything, we should commend you for having a jocular side to your personality, able not to take yourself seriously from time to time.

  20. swatantra says:

    … now Lord Sugar’s at it! denouncing Ken. Someone tell me why we ever put people like that into the Lords. Kick him out of the Party. I can’t wait for Lords Reform.

  21. @Sunny, finally you might be surprised to find out that I think both Lords should be disciplined, to different extents. And so, as Sarah AB points out, should Ken. It’s one thing bloggers telling people to vote or not to vote for Labour candidates, it’s quite another when formal representatives of the party do it.

    Campaigning against another candidate, as opposed to telling people not to vote for your own candidate, is formally against party rules and should automatically result in expulsion. I really don’t know why this rule did not apply with Ken or what possible defence he had.

    @Rippon: I am happy to debate, but can’t really be bothered with people accusing me of “profound laziness and stupidity”. Please stop trolling both here and at the Centre Left. Thank you.

  22. Anon E Mouse says:

    rippon – “Iraq holocaust” – This childish language does not enforce your point.

    Remind me when death camps were built and people shipped in on trains to be murdered in ovens on an industrial scale. Remind me when that backward muslim country had a state policy of genocide.

    Your point should be ridiculed along with your nonsense about the illegality of the Iraq War. The war was agreed by the representatives of the people of this country who have supremacy in these matters.

    I don’t agree with the war but the case is not illegal and the matter was most certainly not a “holocaust” which is both demeaning to those unfortunates who were murdered by those right wing fascists last century and your case…

  23. Sarah AB says:

    I agree about the Iran/Muslims point Rob – is there any doubt as to whether this is an accurate report of what he said?

  24. rippon says:

    Rob, you say, “I am happy to debate”, yet neither here nor on Centre Left have you bothered to rebut a single one of the points I’ve made.

    “Trolling” is a word people often use to provide themselves a pretext for dismissing others’ repeated, but inconveniently valid, arguments.

    I apologise for the hurtful “profound laziness and stupidity” phrase.

    Perhaps you could apologise for the ‘hurt’ (deaths, maiming, exodus) of millions of Iraqis in your support for the Iraq invasion.

    Thank you.

  25. rippon says:

    Anon E. Mouse,

    I take ‘holocaust’ to mean mass death and misery (e.g. maiming, refugees, infrastructure collapse). Thus, the word would also be appropriate if the climate-science-consensus is to be believed: failing to curtail carbon emissions will cause a ‘holocaust’ (mass death, misery and exodus).

    You are correct that the holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis was different in its features compared to the one we contributed to in Iraq. (It is a truism that no two holocausts are exactly the same.)

    The difference in features between holocausts means that ‘genocide’ is appropriate in the Nazi context but not in the Iraq one: because we didn’t have a policy of killing Iraqis *because* they were *Iraqis*; we ‘merely’ caused them great death, maiming, exodus (a ‘holocaust’).

    It seems that you want the word ‘holocaust’ to be reserved only for the plight of Jews, whereas I think other peoples have also suffered tragedy on a massive scale (a ‘holocaust’).

    I consider the Iraq invasion to be illegal because that is the majority (perhaps overwhelming majority) opinion amongst international lawyers. I’m no legal expert myself, but I think lying to parliament is also illegal, hence adding to the illegality of the war.

  26. @SarahAB: I’d say not really. It seems pretty unlikely that the source, the University of Punjab, a seemingly respectable academic institution, would deliberately sensationalise or misreport the story, unlike the press who might have an interest in doing so.

    It would be interesting to get a second opinion from another journalist who was there, though. It seems that most Pakistani media are simply copying from the website. I would also point out that neither has Ahmed denied it as inaccurate like he did the apocryphal comment on Obama, although it is potentially the most worrying comment of all.

    The Telegraph, by the way, did not report the university meeting at all.

    In fact, I am not sure Ahmed has made any formal statement on the matter, just some brief verbal comments to the press protesting his innocence.

    @AnonEMouse: just like to thank you for your sensible, balanced comments. It’s particularly good to see someone who had a principled disagreement with the Iraq war and yet does not take the silly “war criminal” stance of many.

    In any event, whether one agrees or disagrees with Iraq, and I accept that many do, it’s hard to see how party representatives calling their former party leader a war criminal helps us get elected. There needs to be party discipline on this issue, other parties would not tolerate it.

  27. rippon says:

    Rob makes an excellent point when he says “it’s hard to see how party representatives calling their former party leader a war criminal helps us get elected.”

    That’s an excellent point because the immorality and collusion in this great crime did indeed go far wider than Blair himself. So one reason why Party members are repelled at labelling Blair correctly (‘war-criminal’) is the uncomfortable awareness that that judgement would then reflect on themselves too.

    Blair played a smart game in bringing so many MPs and Party members with him, because that provides him some human-shielding from being made a scapegoat for his disgraceful Iraq policy.

    Indeed, this is exactly how organised crime works: gangsters rely on each others’ complicity in crimes to provide themselves mutual protection from colleagues selling them out to legal authorities: ‘if I go down, you’re coming with me.’

    The best hope for the war criminals in the Labour cabinet, and their supporters within the party, is to stick together – and dismiss the charge of war-criminality as “silly” and “childish”.

    ‘War criminal’ is a serious charge, though, and, if false, extremely libellous. Therefore, the correct response would be to rebut the charge with the counter-charge of ‘libel’, and to seek to prosecute someone (anyone) for spouting that ‘smear’.

    You can’t go there, though; because then the charge (‘war-criminal’) and counter-charge (‘libel’) would have to be rigorously scrutinised in a court of law. (This has proceeded to its conclusion in at least one country, Malaysia, so far, with the judgement going against Blair.) Best, then, not to make the ‘libel’ counter-charge, to keep the debate out of the courts, and to stick with mild, self-serving, self-comforting counters such as, ‘Oh, you’re just being *silly*. And this debate is so old and boring. And please stop trolling.’

    The chilling reality is that, throughout history, the biggest crimes have always been enabled and committed by society’s most respectable polite people. The Nazis, for example, were the height of respectability, politeness and sophistication in their society at their time.

    No doubt, Rob Marchant thinks this is all just being “melodramatic”; that Iraq was just one policy decision amongst many; and he “respects” people who “disagree” with a policy – but please don’t be rude about it, because, never mind mass death and misery and exodus, the most important thing is that we maintain our respectability, speak politely to each other, and don’t indulge in silly antics (e.g. wearing unflattering catsuits).

  28. Anon E Mouse says:

    rippon – To simply decide that you take a word to have a different meaning than the one the rest of the world believes it to mean is fine.

    To then use your version of the word to reinforce some disagreement you have with a legal conflict overseas is disingenuous in the extreme.

    The only reference to a people in the Oxford English Dictionary is:

    (the Holocaust) the mass murder of Jews under the German Nazi regime during the period 1941-5. More than 6 million European Jews, as well as members of other persecuted groups, were murdered at concentration camps such as Auschwitz.

    Wikipedia is even more specific explaining that since the 1960’s the word exclusively applies to the above persecuted people:

    “since the 1960s, the term has come to be used by scholars and popular writers to refer exclusively to the genocide of Jews”

    Personally I am really not interested in any religion (I am though agnostic) but your claim that I want to use the word exclusively to describe the fascist atrocities against innocent people is exactly opposite to the truth – that is how the word is correctly used and you are incorrect to suggest otherwise.

    I agree that words change their meanings over time and pre-1960’s your description is correct but then people used the word “gay” to have a different meaning many years ago.

    So rippon here’s your chance to admit you are being over dramatic with a word and are also incorrect in your description of a perfectly legal war by our country…

  29. Mike Homfray says:

    What has happened in the past, has happened.

    But I would certainly not want Labour to support any further illegal or unnecessary wars, and a sharp move away from the so-called ‘liberal interventionist’ stance would be preferred.

    I also favour policies which will shift our stance towards more wholehearted support for an independent Palestine and a more critical stance with regard to Israel. Nothing wrong with taking that view, plenty do.

  30. rippon says:

    Anon E. Mouse,

    From ‘Cambridge Dictionaries Online’:

    holocaust noun
    Click to hear the UK pronunciation of this wordClick to hear the US pronunciation of this word/?h?l.?.k??st//?h??.l?.k??st/ [C]
    Definition
    a very large amount of destruction, especially by fire or heat, or the killing of very large numbers of people
    A nuclear holocaust (= destruction caused by nuclear weapons) would leave few survivors.

    – So my use of the word was correct.

  31. Henrik says:

    Keep it up. comrades, there’s always 2020 for the next shot at power.

    What with the barely-disguised anti-Semitism and the rather odd insistence that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was somehow illegal *because I say so* (not aimed at those who had a principled objection to it, incidentally), not to mention the twists and turns folk are taking in order, somehow, to align a social democratic party which grew out of organised labour with an assortment of ill-educated, bigoted, violent and irrational extremists, it’s hard to see why anyone of a normal disposition might be minded to vote for you guys.

    Still, the best of luck with it all.

  32. rippon says:

    Henrik says “the rather odd insistence that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was somehow illegal *because I say so*”.

    I myself have said that most international lawyers who have considered it say the Iraq invasion was illegal.

    That’s a case of either selective inattention or deliberate distortion on your part; or, to be charitable, maybe you just missed it because there is a lot of text to read on this thread.

    Do you deny that most international lawyers who have considered it judge the invasion illegal?

    Also, it seems you’re playing lazy game of bleating ‘anti-Semitism’ whenever you hear anything that might relate to Jews/Israel that you don’t like. Do grow up. The transparent tactic of that cliche is very worn out, along with its sister smears, e.g. ‘self-hating’ for any Jews that are critical of US-Israel policy.

    “ill-educated, bigoted, violent and irrational extremists” is a good characterisation of the Blair cabal that hijacked the Labour Party.

  33. Henrik says:

    @rippon: I know what you’ve said, I just don’t think that an assertion that ‘most international lawyers who have considered it say that the Iraq invasion was illegal’ has any particular status, merit or intrinsic reliability. In intelligence terms, it’s at best D4 – unproved and unsubstantiated statements by a source of unknown reliability and unclear access. Thanks for the ad hominem, by the way.

    I’m not playing any lazy game at all in re anti-Semitism. There’s a corrosive strand of anti-Jewish rhetoric which is common on the Left which disguises itself as anti-Zionism. If it makes long warm showers and cosy cups of tea with Salafist imbeciles easier to digest, good luck with it, but let’s not pretend that you fearless class warriors don’t hate Jews, eh? The alternative explanation is that you don’t, but are merely pretending to in order to curry favour with your new best friends, but that would never be the case, would it?

  34. Sarah AB says:

    @Anon E. Mouse – I think ‘holocaust’ is the wrong word to use about Iraq, but the word ‘Holocaust’ is fairly commonly used in order to include the murder of several hundred thousand Roma as well as many other groups,

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12295614

    and this is acknowledged in the second para of this article.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust

    That doesn’t really conflict with your main point though.

  35. rippon says:

    @Henrik (April 20, 2012 at 11:50 pm)

    re your first para:
    So you do know what I said but chose to mis-characterise it. The possibilities were selective inattention, deliberate distortion or a mistake. You admit to deliberate distortion. Your new contention is that I don’t base my illegality assertion on my ‘say-so’ but on people (e.g. Philippe Sands, QC, Bob Marshall-Andrews, QC) who you don’t consider have any status/merit/intrinsic-reliability.

    re your second para:
    There is no content here, just flowery language and innuendo.

  36. Erica Blair says:

    I see Blairite Marchant is bored by me reminding him of the victims of his ex-boss’s warmongering and wants more of the same in Iran.

    Sarah AB denies the scale of death in Iraq amounts to a Holocaust.

    More proof that Zionists see Arabs and Muslims as non-people.

  37. rippon says:

    @Erica Blair

    It is incorrect to refer to Iraq as a ‘war’ (as in Blair’s “warmongering”, for example). A ‘war’ means military aggression by two sides that are capable of damaging each other. Iraq was not a ‘war’; it was invasion-occupation and state terrorism (of which the bombardment of Fallujah with illegal weapons was one notable example) that precipitated insurgency and retail terrorism.

    You remark on Marchant’s boredom with hearing about victims.

    This is selective boredom. He won’t get bored if you remind him, instead, about the victims of the Nazis or the victims of the 9/11 attack, for example.

    The way *not* to bore him is to parrot the acceptable party lines and not to highlight ugly truths that could potentially cause him discomfort when he looks in the mirror.

    ‘Selection’ is apparently a common trait in the mentality of some people here: selective boredom from Marchant, and selective inattention from Henrik (as I indicated in my previous post).

  38. Henrik says:

    @rippon

    Heh. You signally failed to read what I wrote. I was noting that you hadn’t specified any of the ‘international lawyers’ whose opinions you hold so dear and hadn’t indicated where these opinions are to be found. For all I know, you may well be a global expert on the law of armed conflict, but as it stands at the moment, you’re just some guy on the Internet.

    If my second paragraph was too hard for you, here’s the condensed version:

    a. You appear to be an anti-Semite, or, if not, one who seeks to make excuses for them.

    b. Your lack of sympathy with certain views of British foreign policy somehow causes you to align with a deeply malign, ill-educated political tendency within Islam.

  39. rippon says:

    @Henrik

    “you’re just some guy on the Internet.”

    That applies to both of us.

    So all we have to go on in assessing each other’s arguments is their quality/coherence/honesty/etc.

    First you said the basis of my judgement that the Iraq invasion was illegal was “because I say so”.

    Now you effectively admit that that was indeed a deliberate distortion of what I said. Now you concede that I am merely relaying the opinion of others (since they, not I, am qualified to make that legal judgement).

    You note correctly that I have not provided names/links/references/quotes of any international lawyers. That is a fair point to make; now you are indicating a potential weakness in my argument rather than deliberately distorting it; that is an improvement in your behaviour; well done.

    I spend no time on the international law scene, so the missing info that you have identified (e.g. names, links) does not roll of my tongue. There’s only two legal experts I know of, off the top of my head, who judge the invasion illegal: Philippe Sands, Bob Marshall-Andrews. Moreover, I can quote Sands with “no serious international lawyer regards it [the invasion] as legal.”

    Moreover, there is at least one country (so far) where the question has been judged in a court of law, Malaysia, with the judgement going against Blair. Thus, Malaysia is one country (so far) which Blair will have to delete from his itinery of international travel.

    My taking seriously of the words and judgements from these people (Sands, Marshall-Andrews, Malaysia) you characterise with the mocking phrase “opinions you hold so dear”. I presume, then, that you are happy to dismiss what these people say. That begs the question, Why? What is it that you know about these legal experts that enables you to dismiss them?

    It would be a flawed strategy on your part to pursue the line: ‘I won’t take the international lawyers argument seriously if I’m not provided with names/links to their illegality judgements.’

    I’m choosing not to do that research now; but defenders of the invasion, e.g. Blair himself, deliberately *don’t* want to pursue that line (as you are doing, Henrik) because they know where it would lead (as illustrated by Malaysia).

    Blair’s preferred strategy is inquiries and debates. If you were shrewder, Henrik, like Blair, you too would emphasise that rather than push for more evidence of what the consensus amongst international lawyers really is.

    Again, the first half of your post is something I can reply to, because you have made a substantive point: I did not provide any evidence (initially) to substantiate my international lawyers argument.

    But, again, the second half of your post is indeed “too hard” for me to rebut because, again, there is no content, just you expressing your feelings about me: how I “appear” to you and where you feel my “sympathy” lies.

    The substantive point (‘where’s the evidence?’) was mature. The second half (exactly as in your previous post to me) is infantile innuendo.

    That is indeed “too hard” for me because I do struggle to sink to that level.

    (It seems the substantive point that you are alluding to is: ‘rippon disagrees with military aggression against Iraq, Afghanistan etc and with Israel’s policies; therefore, he is anti-Semitic and aligns himself with militant Islam.’ I suspect that you merely allude to this rather than state it explicitly because you recognise that that is a difficult argument to sustain. Easier to smear an opponent through infantile suggestion than attempt, but fail, to rebut them through mature debate.)

  40. Anon E Mouse says:

    Erica Blair

    Please remind me why female genital mutilation, honour killings, woman being treated unequally to men and being stoned to death for adultery, having acid thrown in their faces for trying to get an education and homosexuals being flogged then hanged in public for a sexual preference they were born with along with numerous other murderous barbaric medieval practices should be compared to the modern state of Israel?

    There is no comparison and the sooner woman in the West start caring about their sisters in other parts of the world the better.

    Remind me when a “Zionist” blew up innocent people on the London underground or on a train in Madrid or those office blocks in New York.

    The types of remarks you make in public are shameful and should have no place in any modern political party in Great Britain. Do you really not care about the plight of woman in other parts of the world?

    I stopped voting Labour when Brown was forced on the party and if people with your views are representative of it’s supporters then I’m glad I did.

    The actions of muslim and arab states around the world should be condemned at every possible opportunity and women should be treated equally under all circumstances and to suggest that muslims in their own countries behave acceptably is tacit approval for what they do. Shame on you….

  41. resistor says:

    ‘Remind me when a “Zionist” blew up innocent people on the London underground or on a train in Madrid or those office blocks in New York.’

    from

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Irgun_attacks

    1937, March 2 Arabs killed on Bat-Yam beach. [12]
    1937, November 14 10 Arabs killed by Irgun units launching attacks around Jerusalem, (“Black Sunday”) [13][14]
    1938, April 12 2 Arabs and 2 British policemen were killed by a bomb in a train in Haifa. [14]
    1938, April 17 1 Arab was killed by a bomb detonated in a cafe in Haifa [14]
    1938, May 17 1 Arab policeman was killed in an attack on a bus in the Jerusalem-Hebron road. [14]
    1938, May 24 3 Arabs were shot and killed in Haifa. [14]
    1938, June 23 2 Arabs were killed near Tel-Aviv. [14]
    1938, June 26 7 Arabs were killed by a bomb in Jaffa. [14]
    1938, June 27 1 Arab was killed in the yard of a hospital in Haifa. [14]
    1938, June (late) Unspecified number of Arabs killed by a bomb that was thrown into a crowded Arab market place in Jerusalem. [15]
    1938, July 5 7 Arabs were killed in several shooting attacks in Tel-Aviv. [14]
    1938, July 5 3 Arabs were killed by a bomb detonated in a bus in Jerusalem. [14]
    1938, July 5 1 Arab was killed in another attack in Jerusalem. [14]
    1938, July 6 18 Arabs and 5 Jews were killed by two simultaneous bombs in the Arab melon market in Haifa. More than 60 people were wounded. [14][16][17]
    1938, July 8 4 Arabs were killed by a bomb in Jerusalem. [14]
    1938, July 16 10 Arabs were killed by a bomb at a marketplace in Jerusalem. [14]
    1938, July 25 43 Arabs were killed by a bomb at a marketplace in Haifa. [14][18]
    1938, August 26 24 Arabs were killed by a bomb at a marketplace in Jaffa. [14]
    1939, February 27 33 Arabs were killed in multiple attacks, incl. 24 by bomb in Arab market in Suk Quarter of Haifa and 4 by bomb in Arab vegetable market in Jerusalem. [19]
    1939, May 29 5 Arabs were killed by a mine detonated at the Rex cinema in Jerusalem. [14]
    1939, May 29 5 Arabs were shot and killed during a raid on the village of Biyar ‘Adas. [14]
    1939, June 2 5 Arabs were killed by a bomb at the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem. [14][20]
    1939, June 12 1 British bomb expert trying to defuse the bombs killed, during a post office in Jerusalem was bombing [14]
    1939, June 16 6 Arabs were killed in several attacks in Jerusalem. [14]
    1939, June 19 20 Arabs were killed by explosives mounted on a donkey at a marketplace in Haifa. [14][21]
    1939, June 29 13 Arabs were killed in several shooting attacks around Jaffa during a one-hour period. [14][22]
    1939, June 30 1 Arab was killed at a marketplace in Jerusalem. [14]
    1939, June 30 2 Arabs were shot and killed in Lifta. [14]
    1939, July 3 1 Arab was killed by a bomb at a marketplace in Haifa. [14][23]
    1939, July 4 2 Arabs were killed in two attacks in Jerusalem. [14]
    1939, July 20 1 Arab was killed at a train station in Jaffa. [14]
    1939, July 20 6 Arabs were killed in several attacks in Tel-Aviv. [14]
    1939, July 20 3 Arabs were killed in Rehovot. [14]
    1939, August 27 2 British officers were killed by a mine in Jerusalem. [14]
    1944, September 27 Unknown number of casualties, around 150 Irgun members attacked four British police stations [24]
    1944, September 29 1 Senior British police officer of the Criminal Intelligence Department assassinated in Jerusalem. [24]
    1945, November 1 5 locomotives destroyed in Lydda station. Two staff, one soldier and one policeman killed. [25]
    1945, December 27 3 British policemen and 4 Basuto soldiers killed during the bombing of British CID headquarters in Jerusalem; 1 British soldier killed during attack of British army camp in north Tel Aviv [26][27]
    1946, February 22 Destroyed 14 aeroplanes at 5 RAF stations. [28]
    1946, July 22 91 people were killed at King David Hotel Bombing mostly civilians, staff of the hotel or Secretariat,
    41 Palestinian Arabs, 15-28 British citizens, 17 Palestinian Jews, 2 Armenians, 1 Russian, 1 Greek and 1 Egyptian. [29][30][31]
    1946, October 30 2 British guards killed during Gunfire and explosion at Jerusalem Railway Station. [32]
    1946, October 31 Bombing of the British Embassy in Rome. Nearly half the building was destroyed and 3 people were injured. [33]
    1947, January 12 4 killed in bombing of British headquarters. [34]
    1947, March 1 17 British officers killed, during raid and explosion. [35]
    1947, March 12 1 British soldier killed during the attack on Schneller Camp. [35]
    1947, July 19 4 locations within Haifa are attacked, killing a British constable and injuring 12. [36]
    1947, July 29 2 kidnapped British sergeants hanged. [37]
    1947, September 26 4 British policemen killed in Irgun bank robbery. [34]
    1947, September 29 13 killed, 53 wounded in attack on British police station. [34]
    1947, December 11 13 killed in attack on Tireh, near Haifa [38]
    1947, December 12 20 killed, 5 wounded by barrel bomb at Damascus Gate. [39]
    1947, December 13 6 killed, 25 wounded by bombs outside Alhambra Cinema. [40]
    1947, December 13 5 killed, 47 wounded by two bombs at Damascus Gate. [40]
    1947, December 13 7 killed, 10 seriously injured in attack on Yehudiya. [40]
    1947, December 16(ca) 10 killed by bomb at Noga Cinema in Jaffa. [41]
    1947, December 29 14 Arabs killed by bomb in Jerusalem. [34][42]
    1947, December 30 6 Arabs killed and, 42 injured by grenades at Haifa refinery, precipitating the Haifa Oil Refinery massacre, which lead to the Balad al-Shaykh massacre. [43]
    1948, January 1 2 Arabs killed and 9 injured by shooting attack on cafe in Jaffa. [44]
    1948, January 5 14 Arabs killed and 19 injured by truck bomb outside the 3-storey ‘Serrani’, Jaffa’s built Ottoman Town Hall [45]
    1948, January 7 20 Arabs killed by bomb at Jaffa Gate. [46][47]
    1948, February 10 7 Arabs killed near Ras el Ain after selling cows in Tel Aviv [48]
    1948, February 18 12 Arabs killed and 43 wounded at a marketplace in Ramla [49]
    1948, March 1 20 Britons killed and 30 wounded in the Bevingrad Officers Club bombing [50]
    1948, April 9-April 11 107-120 Palestinians killed and massacred (the estimate generally accepted by scholars, instead the first announced number of 254) during and after the battle at the village of Deir Yassin near Jerusalem, by 132 Irgun and 60 Lehi fighters. [51][52][53][54][55]
    1948, April 6 7 British soldiers, including Commanding Officer, killed during an arms raid on Pardes Hanna Army camp.

  42. Anon E Mouse says:

    resistor – So I’m right then. Thank’s for the confirmation.

    Where is London, Madrid or New York in your copied and pasted list?

    Perhaps you’d care to answer the substantive part of my comments regarding the barbaric medieval practices toward woman or it would be safe to assume you’re single?

    Typical of the left – take a small piece of a comment and argue until you’re blue in the face instead of addressing the issue of the disgusting way muslims treat woman and homosexuals and why that behaviour should be condemned on every possible occasion.

    All your post does in reinforce how bad Islam is and why the west should start acting to support the people that horrible religion suppresses…

  43. resistor says:

    I’ve only posted the actions of one Zionist terror group before the establishment of the state of Israel. Obviously terror acts by that state subsequent would be a very long list indeed.

    As for London, Madrid or New York? I see you think that terror bombing against Muslims and Arabs don’t count.

    I can see where you’re coming from.

  44. Anon E Mouse says:

    resistor – Your anti-semitism means you are deliberately confusing legitimate actions by democratically elected governments, such as the war in Iraq or political assassinations, as being acts of terrorism which they are not.

    You may not agree with them but your postings here show you are clearly intelligent enough to know the difference yet continue to try to compare the legitimate actions of the State of Israel with murderous terrorists who blow up woman and children or behead people they don’t like.

    On that point I notice you still haven’t tried to justify or even responded to the disgraceful way in which the barbaric religion of Islam mistreats people.

    Go on resistor. Grow a pair and post your opinion on a religion that translates as “Submission”…

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