Good for Gordon 7


The Village Voice detect hopeful signs that Gordon is not as much of a poodle as Tony. I hope they are right. It is worth following the link, not so much for my namecheck as for the lovely photo.

http://villagevoice.com/blogs/bushbeat/archive/2007/08/postpoodle_poli.php

It would be churlish not to congratulate the government for at long last calling for the release of five British residents, against whom there is no smidgeon of evidence, held in Guantanamo Bay. My own campaigning on this issue has been mostly with the Save Omar campaign from Brighton. I have no doubt the government’s welcome change of heart is related to the departure of the odious Blair.

The BBC, however, seems to think it necessary to report the story with reference to the dangers the government is running by potentially letting innocent people walk the streets.

In the meantime the government is revealing its callousness towards all Iraqi life by refusing to allow Iraqi interpreters, working for the British forces, to have asylum in the UK. Of course we must, as we leave defeated, get out all Iraqi civilians who have worked for us and their immediate families. I do not want to see our soldiers training their guns on their own desperate staff as the last helicopter takes off.

When the government tried to stop me publishing Murder in Samarkand, one of the more despicable arguments they used was to try emotional blackmail by asking me to consider what reprisals the Uzbek government would take on my ex-staff. The obvious answer to that, is that of course the Uzbek government already knew the whole story, and who my staff were. What we should have been doing was offering to get my ex-staff out with their immediate families and give them asylum. They refused to contemplate that.

In fact the UK Embassy in Tashkent has since I left substantially reduced its local staff and, as far as anyone can tell, now performs no discernible function. I am happy to say that at least three of my close staff members have indeed managed to escape the country so far.


7 thoughts on “Good for Gordon

  • Strategist

    It's natural for the Yanks at Village Voice to see the best of what is a new kid on the block to them – but

    we Brits should not get so carried away. Brown has been in power for 10 years (as the "Prime Minister on domestic policy"), and his record shows he is

    * a control freak to a damaging ("Stalinist") degree – whose instinct is to crush dissent or opposition

    * more responsible than any other New Labour politician for the complete sell-out of the machinery of the British government and the placing of it completely at the disposal of City & big business interests

    * someone with no green credentials whatsoever, having actively pursued anti-environment/pro-big business policies for 10 years as Chancellor

    * someone who has institutionalised corruption and the theft of taxpayers money by big business/big finance through PPP/PFI

    * an anti-democrat, key in destroying any semblance of internal democracy within the Labour Party, central to the rigging of Labour Party internal elections against Ken Livingstone, burying the West Lothian question, and now opposing fair votes (PR), putting Labour party political interest ahead of the public good

    * a master-spinner, who has sucked in way too many people who should know better that he represents a change, when he has changed nothing of substance that would actually make a difference and has no intention of doing so.

  • Craig

    Certainly his apparent attachment to 48 day detention isn't good. But he hasn't actually done anything about that yet; he didn't ramp up the Islamophobia after the Glasgow and London incidents; and all the signs are that he is going to get British troops out of Iraq within 12 months. He has signalled an end to the SOCPA restrictions on demos. I do think this Guantanamo release call is a genuine advance.

    Of course he's not a saint. He's probably a bastard. But I detect signs that he is no more of a bastard than most senior politicians. That is a good step change down from Tony Blair.

    I am not suggesting we relax vigilance for a moment. But it would be wrong not to applaud the move to free the Guantanamo refugees.

  • Chuck Unsworth

    Craig, I admire your boundless optimism.

    I've always regarded Brown as being the Bastards Barstard actually. For ten and more years he's lurked away in the background, actively destroying, controlling and causing mayhem, and never been there to blame when the manure struck the rotating air-conditioning. A true Master of Bastardy in my view.

    And, in all honesty, whilst I hope Brown does do as is rumoured, it's necessary to keep a very close eye on what the other hand is doing at all times. Brown giveth and Brown taketh away, as it were. Why should we think that a man who is so habituated is overnight going to change into the exact opposite of what he is?

    We've had ten years to gauge him as a man and as a Chancellor. Frankly he's simply not up to either task.

  • Strategist

    Of course he's not a saint… But it would be wrong not to applaud the move to free the Guantanamo refugees.

    Fair enough, Craig. What I am trying to counteract is not so much your take on the situation as the views of the so many eternal optimists on the Left who so desperately want to believe in Gordon Brown that they will screen out the clear evidence that he is the enemy, not the friend, of the Left.

    I actually disagree with Chuck that Brown is not up to the job. He has been a pretty effective Chancellor in delivering to his superiors what they wanted from him – putting the machinery of British government at the disposal of the City and big business interests.

    I actually think Brown has the talent to be a good & interesting PM – but only in circumstances where he is dependent on the support of MPs he does not directly control ie a hung parliament situation where he would need all the time to be keeping the support of the LibDems and/or a more effective Labour Campaign Group (ideally some Greens & Respect MPs as well).

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