Daily Archives: August 1, 2006


A class war?

Proving you can be a chinless wonder and an unpleasant bastard at the same time.

One of the points I make in “Murder in Samarkand” is that part of the antagonism towards me in the FCO was class based – I went entirely to state schools.

The FCO were quoted on Radio 4 on 28 July as saying that I was peddling an old-fashioned stereotype, no longer true.

Here is the board of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2004, the year I was sacked as Ambassador. Several of this bunch appear frequently in “Murder in Samarkand”.

Every single member of the board went to private school. (Despite the name, Leeds Grammar is a private school). Which explains a huge amount – including how they can look down their noses at dead children, and think “we must buy Israel more time to complete this.”

Craig

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs who the members of the Departmental Board are, broken down by (a) gender, (b) race or ethnicity, (c) whether they attended public or independent school and (d) whether they attended Oxford University or Cambridge University; and how long each has been in post. [172117]

Mr. Straw: The Data Protection Act prevents us from providing information about the ethnicity or race of individuals. The members of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Board, and the background information requested, as published in Who’s Who, is as follows:

Sir Michael Jay’Sir Michael has been in his current post for two years. He was educated at Oxford and London Universities, and Winchester College.

Sir Stephen Brown’Sir Stephen has been in his current post for two years. He was educated at Sussex University, the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and Leeds Grammar School.

John Sawers’ John Sawers has been in his current post for one year. He was educated at Nottingham University, and Beechen Cliff School, Bath.

Kim Darroch’Kim Darroch has been in his current post for one year. He was educated at Durham University, and Abingdon School.

Martin Donnelly’Martin Donnelly has been in his current post for two months. He was educated at Oxford University and Saint Ignatius College.

William Ehrman’William Ehrman has been in his current post for two years. He was educated at Cambridge University, and Eton.

Richard Stagg’Richard Stagg has been in his current post for one year. He was educated at Oxford University, and Winchester College.

David Warren’David Warren has been in his current post for three months. He was educated at Oxford University, and Epsom College.

Simon Fraser’Simon Fraser has been in his current post for two years. He was educated at Cambridge University, and St. Paul’s School.

Simon Gass’Simon Gass has been in his current post for three years. He was educated at Reading University, and Eltham College.

View with comments

HRW: Israeli failure to distinguish combatants and civilians is a war crime

From Human Rights Watch

(Beirut, July 30, 2006) ‘ Responsibility for the Israeli airstrikes that killed at least 54 civilians sheltering in a home in the Lebanese village of Qana rests squarely with the Israeli military, Human Rights Watch said today. It is the latest product of an indiscriminate bombing campaign that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have waged in Lebanon over the past 18 days, leaving an estimated 750 people dead, the vast majority of them civilians.

‘Today’s strike on Qana, killing at least 54 civilians, more than half of them children, suggests that the Israeli military is treating southern Lebanon as a free-fire zone,’ said Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. ‘The Israeli military seems to consider anyone left in the area a combatant who is fair game for attack.’

This latest, appalling loss of civilian life underscores the need for the U.N. Secretary-General to establish an International Commission of Inquiry to investigate serious violations of international humanitarian law in the context of the current conflict, Roth said. Such consistent failure to distinguish combatants and civilians is a war crime.

View with comments