Nodira and I were visiting Oxford Street today for its ‘Street Party’, which convinced me how much nicer London would be were Oxford Street to be pedestrianised permanently. As we were passing one of the stages for the event, the announcer caught sight of Nadira, and went into a wonderful babble.
‘Look,’ he said, ‘That looks like the wife of that politician bloke from the TV programme. Yes it is her. Oh yes, and that’s him as well. Stood for MP. You know, the one who said Jack Straw’s a bastard!’
It was nice to hear that ring out across Oxford Street, and while the announcer may not have been too politically sophisticated, he had certainly grasped the main message.
Which was, of course, precisely the same message that Walter Wolfgang was trying to get across when the heavies came for him. As well as saying that Straw was talking nonsense, he called him a liar over the Iraq war. Straw of course is a liar, multiple times over. He lied about when the decision was taken to go to war ‘ we know from David Manning’s Downing Street memos that this was before September 11, not after. He lied about the legal advice. He lied to the Security Council ‘ in fact he handed over and defended a whole dossier of lies.
I had the great pleasure to call Straw a liar, twice, on national TV two weeks ago, with 1.4 million viewers. Straw lies when he says that the UK does not knowingly receive intelligence from torture ‘ which, as the excellent David Leigh of the Guardian pointed out, he has secretly admitted we do to the House of Commons intelligence committee. Mr Wolfgang achieved far more than me, but the public must be noticing that a theme is emerging. It is interesting to google ‘Jack Straw’ and ‘Liar’. One of the first things you find is that as Home Secretary he lied over the medical advice on Pinochet’s fitness to stand trial. There are plenty more examples.
The Wolfgang incident highlighted just how authoritarian Labour has become. It is not just that octogenarians get manhandled for indicating dissent. No-one was allowed to speak up for Mr Wolfgang’s viewpoint from the podium. There was no ‘Debate’ at a New Labour rally, any more than there was at Nuremberg when Mr Wolfgang escaped that persecution.
I had believed that, by becoming nominated as a parliamentary candidate for Blackburn, I would have the chance to debate with Jack Straw. But Jack controls Blackburnistan. Blackburn cathedral, Blackburn College and even BBC Radio 5 all held constituency candidates’ debates in which I was not allowed to participate, because Jack’s minders made clear I was not welcome. Jack said he would not take part if I did, and everyone gave in to him. So to a large extent I know how frustrated Mr Wolfgang feels.
Our foreign policy is built on lies. Thank God that people like Mr Wolfgang have the guts to challenge the increasing restrictions on our liberty to argue back. It is to our shame that it takes someone from the generation that already fought for freedom, to remind us of our duty.