Daily archives: July 26, 2008

Civility in Politics, and Other Thoughts

My post below brought a comment from Darren who objected to my rather strong and personal attacks on Margaret Curran and Doug Hoyle.

I used to be one of the most civil and orthodox people you might meet. Then I came across the hideous torture in Uzbekistan. I could give hundreds of examples. Two men were boiled alive, a woman was raped with a broken bottle, my neighbour was held down while a truck was driven over her legs, the teenage grandson of Professor Mirsiadov was abducted from outside his home and tortured to death while I was inside eating dinner with his grandfather. And I found that our government not only supported the regime that was doing this as part of the “War on Terror”, but was knowingly and repeatedly receiving and using the intelligence reports that arose from these hideous torture sessions. I then discovered we were doing this not just in Uzbekistan, but all over the world, in support of “extraordinary rendition”.

Then we have the War in Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians – indeed many, many thousands if you only count the children – have been brutally and violently killed as a result of an illegal war launched when we had full knowledge that Iraq no longer had any significant WMD.

We have actively caused the deaths in agony of hundreds of thousands. And yet I found that my colleagues in the diplomatic service were carrying on politely as though none of this had happened – just as those who loaded prisoners on to cattle trucks for Auschwitz were nice people with wives and kids. And I found that at home we were supposed to conduct the charade of party politics in the normal way, as though our government’s actions were not causing screaming deaths in agony. Well. I sincerely hope that the worst that ever happens to Margaret Curran is that I called her a shrew-faced bitch. Compare her distress to that of a mother watching her children die crying with their guts hanging out. Margaret Curran is a lot better off than thousands of very real women, who were just as human as her, and whose lives the illegal wars of New Labour have destroyed.

So think about it, Darren. And fuck the politenesses of politics.

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