David Hare made an a thought provoking speech at the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression awards. Worth reading, and not just because I get a mention:
But hypocrisy and double standards on the left now seem over-shadowed, dwarfed, obliterated by endemic, instituional hypocrisy on the right or, to put it another way, in government. Better, I think, to be a champagne socialist than a suppository-wielding, water-boarding capitalist.
In Howard Brenton’s play Weapons of Happiness, one character looks puzzeled at another and declares: ‘You really are something of a perpetual absence, old man.’ I’m afraid this line of dialogue always pops into my mind when I catch a glimpse of our present Foreign Secretary David Milliband, a kind of flinching, nocturnal badger of human rights. Again, it’s difficult to recall that the Brown government arrived covertly flagging discontinuity. It was, we were told, full of people who in an epic act of loyalty had been willing to hide their misgivings about the supine antics of the Blair period. While nobody was going as far as to offer what Robin Cook was moved from office for suggesting ?”?” an ethical foreign policy ?”?” nevertheless there was, again, the feeling that a renewed defence of democracy might involve some public restating of absolutes. Do I need to observe no such restatement has followed? More accurately, nothing has followed, except reversion to tribal diplomatic loyalties, the old half-truths and half-lies rolled out on behalf of dodgy allies. In the last two editions of the New York Review of Books you may read Mark Danner’s authoritative accounts of systematic use of torture by the CIA. Humiliation, beatings by use of a collar, sleep deprivation, suffocation by water, kickings, confinement in a box, shackles, prolonged nudity. Strange: we await the appropriate moral outrage from Whitehall.