British Elections Neither Free Nor Fair 92


Am posting my CiF article here – with my own original heading – just to safeguard it for eternity.

I was very pleased with the comments on CiF – 73 positive and 3 negative. But less pleased with the Guardian’s treatment of the article. It was never referenced on any of the main pages. It was linked from the CiF front page for only 14 hours – 11 of which hours were between 10pm and 9am.

By contrast, for example, a rubbish right wing article from Charles Crawford claiming that David Cameron’s East European allied parties are not really objectionable, was on the front page of Cif simulatenously and for a total of over 48 hours. Until it was whisked off and hidden at 9.48am, my article was garnering comments quicker than any other.

Here is the article again:

In my diplomatic career, I spent a great deal of time assessing the democratic merit of elections in various countries abroad. That gives me a peculiar perspective in looking at elections in the UK, and wondering what a foreign observer would make of them. I can do this also with the insight of having twice run as an independent parliamentary candidate.

Against international standards, British elections leave a great deal to be desired. The first crucial failing is the lack of an independent administration of the elections. In each constituency, the election is not run by the Electoral Commission, but by the local authority. The national Electoral Commission has only an advisory role and cannot even monitor or instruct local returning officers. The returning officer is almost always the chief executive officer of the local authority.

The problem is that, de facto, those chief executives are party-political appointments. Particularly in the long-term New Labour rotten boroughs of the north, local government appointments are a New Labour nexus. Bluntly put, the New Labour council of a northern town is almost never going to appoint a Tory chief executive.

In fact, the lines between council appointments and party appointments are often blurred. Bill Taylor was Jack Straw’s agent and full-time organiser in Blackburn in 2005. His pay came as a youth organiser for a neighbouring New Labour-controlled council. It would have been illegal for him to be thus employed by Blackburn itself and to campaign in the constituency. Reciprocal agreements between New Labour councils to provide full-time party staff ?” at the council taxpayer’s expense ?” are not uncommon.

There was a time when honesty in public life was such that the party allegiance of a local authority and its staff would not affect confidence in its ability to conduct a free and fair election. The parliamentary expenses scandal has killed the myth that our politics are honest and well motivated. I do not accept local authority chief executives as genuinely independent returning officers.

I will continue to use Blackburn as an illustration, because I have an intimate knowledge, having stood there in 2005. An independent candidate standing against Jack Straw in the coming election, Bushra Irfan, has already been told by the local election office that she will not be able to exercise her right to place her own seals on the ballot boxes, as the hasp only has room for the council’s seals.

She has just erected an election banner on her own property. Within hours, council officials arrived to dismantle it on the grounds that it did not have planning permission. This ignores the fact that election advertising for a “pending election” is specifically exempted from need for planning permission. But aside from that, one wonders whether other planning issues in Blackburn draw the same instant hit-squad response from the council?

Postal voting is a further major area of concern ?” and again, that concern principally centres on the northern cities. New Labour deliberately brought in a massive expansion in the use of postal voting, which was previously available only to the infirm or to those with other legitimate reason for not making it to the polling booth.

The polling booth is the vital question here. Those bits of board that prevent anyone from seeing how you vote, are an essential element of the secret ballot. New Labour has, in effect, deliberately removed it. Any vote made at home is a vote that may be filled in under the coercive eye of an individual able to enter your home and intimidate you ?” something nobody can do in the polling booth.

I am not theorising. Particularly among some patriarchal Asian communities, community leaders and heads of extended families can and do demand to see the postal ballot of those under their sway, before it is posted. Belated “safeguards”, like having to sign the accompanying form, do nothing to stop this domestic intimidation. It is widely recognised that one result of this postal ballot system has been the effective disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of Asian women. Just as bad, it has also disenfranchised lower-status men in many Asian communities.

Again, I speak from experience, having listened to many first-hand accounts from intimidated people in Blackburn ?” and, in every case, the intimidation was to vote New Labour. In the Blackburn constituency in 2005, an incredible 12,000 postal ballots were cast: that represented 29% of the vote, compared to a national average of under 13%. What does that suggest?

But it is still more blatant than that. You will find this next fact astonishing. The regulations have been designed specifically to prevent the exposure of postal ballot fraud. By law, the postal ballots have to be mixed undetectably with the polling booth ballots before they are counted. Therefore, there is no way to prove if, as I suspect happened in Blackburn, a candidate received 25% of secret ballots but 80% of postal ballots.

It is this compulsory destruction of the voting evidence that convinces me that the motivation for extending the use of the postal ballot can only have been a self-serving act by the New Labour government.

But there is a still more fundamental point, which raises doubts about the democratic validity of Britain’s elections ?” and that is the question of whether a real choice is being presented to the voters.

International electoral monitoring bodies pay a great deal of attention to this. For example, in December’s parliamentary elections in Uzbekistan, it was the lack of real choice between five official parties, all supporting President Karimov’s programme, on which the OSCE focused its criticism.

How different is the UK, really? For example, I want to see an immediate start to withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan; I am increasingly sceptical of the EU; and I do not want to see a replacement for the vastly expensive Trident nuclear missile system. On each one of those major policy points, I am in agreement with at least 40% of the UK population, but on none of those points is my view represented by any of the three major political parties. And remember, only those three major political parties will be represented in the televised leaders’ debates that will play such a key part in the election.

Those debates will take place between three representatives of a professional political class whose ideological differences do not span a single colour of the wider political spectrum. Voters in Wales and Scotland are luckier, but for most people, there is little really meaningful choice available.

The Lib Dems are the nearest most people have to a viable alternative. At the last election under Charles Kennedy, they reflected public opinion in opposing the Iraq war, but under Nick Clegg they have become less radical than at any point in my lifetime.

The media limitation of debate to a narrow establishment consensus is not merely a problem at the national level. When I was a candidate in both Norwich North and Blackburn, the BBC broadcast candidates’ debates, but on each occasion I was not allowed to take part ?” even though I was a candidate ?” because the BBC was terrified their audience might hear something interesting. The Electoral Commission specifically recommends that all candidates be invited to take part in all hustings and candidates’ debates ?” but the Electoral Commission is a paper tiger with no powers of enforcement.

Censorship extends far beyond that. A traditional feature of British elections is the electoral communication, under which each candidate can send out a copy of their electoral address, delivered to every voter free by Royal Mail. Under another bit of Kafka-esque New Labour legislation, the Royal Mail now vets the content of every electoral address. The text must be seen and approved by a central Post Office unit before the leaflet can be printed and prepared for delivery.

So much for freedom of speech. The New Labour rationale for this is that the Royal Mail is checking the candidates’ election address does not fall foul of Britain’s notorious libel laws ?” the harshest and most restrictive of any western country. It also has to be cleared for many other laws restricting free speech, many of them introduced by New Labour ?” for example, that it does not “glorify” terrorism, or incite racism or homophobia.

So, if a candidate were to say in their election address that they believe Tony Blair and Jack Straw are war criminals, or (to take a topical example) that Christian bed and breakfast owners ought to be allowed to refuse gay couples, then their election address would be locked by the Royal Mail.

This is crazy. The Royal Mail delivers millions of letters every day. Some of them doubtless contain libellous and even racist statements. The Royal Mail does not open them all and check they are “legal”.

Actually, whisper that softly, we don’t want to give New Labour ideas.

Furthermore, in this case, it is not a court that decides if a statement is libellous, it is the Royal Mail. This is censorship of candidates during an election and without any court injunction. It says yet more about the cosy establishment clique that governs us that none of the major parties is up in arms about this.

Now, we come to the most fundamentally undemocratic aspect of British elections: the electoral system. It delivers massively disproportionate results with minority parties virtually unrepresented in parliament. At the last election, it delivered a good majority to an unpopular Tony Blair, even though New Labour received only 36% of votes cast ?” which represented just 22% of those entitled to vote.

But it does not favour the big parties evenly. New Labour can get a working majority with 34% of votes cast, while the Tories need 39%. If New Labour and the Tories both got 36%, New Labour would probably have almost 50 more seats. The Lib Dems could get 34%, yet win under half the seats that New Labour would get with the same percentage.

On top of which, we will see the irony of politicians rejected by the electorate being given comfy, paying seats in the House of Lords.

So, there we have British elections today: an unfair electoral system, censorship of candidates’ electoral addresses, little real political choice for voters, widespread postal ballot-rigging and elections administered by partisan council officials in a corrupt political climate.

Don’t be surprised if New Labour do that little bit better, when the votes are counted, than you might expect. As Joseph Stalin said, it is not who votes that counts, but who counts the votes.

So are British elections still free and fair? If this were a foreign election I was observing, I have no doubt that my answer would be no.


92 thoughts on “British Elections Neither Free Nor Fair

1 2 3 4
  • Leading British Zionist

    I had a cup of Coffee today, and it was antisemitic because it burnt my will when I spilt it on my lap!

  • technicolour

    MJ: re Israel piece; hard to revist those feelings about Gaza again. Classic polemic about Israel, though. Left me thinking (among other things) that Israel does exist, so what now?

    Have no real right to comment, beyond humanitarianism, but I like the vision of a peaceful single state too, naturally. Presumably that would mean both governments agreeing on something, to start with. Or, more simply, for the people to ignore the governments and tear the walls down themselves, of course. Hard to do.

    What would you do, I wonder, Arsalan or MJ, if you had been born in Israel? Would you leave? Where to? Arasalan, I know wants to leave the UK, but why shouldn’t all of us who recognise our government’s complicity in mass murder leave?

    Or perhaps you would join the Shminitsim? You know, the Israeli conscientious objectors?

    http://december18th.org/

    This is why, Arsalan, I object to you calling all people living in Israel ‘Zionists’ when you equate Zionism with Nazism. Shminitism aside, as I keep pointing out, and you keep ignoring, the majority of people in Israel are in favour of dialogue, not fighting.

    You saw this about white South Africans, so why not about Jewish people?

    Whatever, I don’t blame anyone for failing to describe this situation in a word, though, unless that word is ‘insane’. John Pilger’s going for ‘Americanism’ I notice, but that seems wrong too, like calling Nazism ‘Germanism’.

  • arsalan

    technicolour, have you read what I wrote, or do you just imagine what I write yourself and type a response.

    Read again:

    Posted by: arsalan at April 12, 2010 7:02 PM

  • MJ

    “if you had been born in Israel? Would you leave?”

    technicolor. Absolutely not. I’d stay and enjoy the (eventual) peace. I’ve lived in Israel – on two separate occasions for a few months each time – and it’s difficult to describe the underlying tension of the place. It is a garrison state. Soldiers use public transport. You can’t go on a bus without having a couple of rifles inadvertently pointing at you. Getting out is such a relief if you don’t like that sort of thing.

  • technicolour

    Btw arsalan, would just like to double check. You keep saying that Zionists are not Jewish, so you are not being anti-Jewish. It is a rotten, miserable thing to be anti-Jewish, I agree, like being anti-Muslim.

    So you are just being ‘against the government of Israel and its supporters’. OK, so you go on to extend that to everyone living in Israel, but I’ve addressed that above.

    As far as I know, one is born Jewish, like being born German. Whether one is a Zionist or not has nothing to do with it. So, out of interest, when you talk to your children, or your family in general, do you use the word ‘Jewish’ either

    a) never

    b) sometimes

    c) mainly

  • technicolour

    I meant in this kind of context, obviously. Maybe you refuse to subject your children & friends to such bitter realities, and who can blame you.

  • MJ

    “As far as I know, one is born Jewish”

    Not necessarily. You can convert. Also, you’re only deemed Jewish by birth if your mother is. If you have a Jewish father and a gentile mother then no joy I’m afraid. Unless you convert.

  • arsalan

    Tech

    Zionist means Zionist and Jew means Jew.

    I don’t believe I insult Jews by insulting Zionists because I agree with Natricarter and other Jewish groups that there is no such thing as a Jewish Zionist.

    Most Zionists are Atheists, the few that aren’t are apostates and heretics.

    When I say Zionists I am referring to people who believing in that ideology, including right wing Evangelical American churches, and heretical cults that have broken away from Islam forming religions such as the Qadyanis.

    Tec I have repeated this to you enough times.

    Let this be the last.

    Zionist means someone who believes it is OK for white European Jews to go to Palestine and kick out brown Palestinians both Muslim and Christian, because of the slogan that “God gave this land to us”.

    Some people who believe this claim to be Christians, other claim to be Muslim, but most admit to being atheists.

    (Even though few if any of them believe in God.)

    So lets be clear on this, Zionism I mean Nazism.

    Hitler was a Zionist who believed Germany was his Israel, Germans were his chosen people, and the Jews were his amalikites.

  • Craig

    I don;t support the two state solution. I support a single, race blind, secular state. I regard both the state of Israel and Hamas as weirdo theocratic aberrations.

  • technicolour

    MJ: Thanks for reminder that reality changes. Sounds like Belfast in the 80’s.

    Arsalan, I may have missed a post while thinking, so sorry if there is any misunderstanding. I was mainly responding to your earlier post which first said that there was no ideology behind the invasion of Afghanistan, just bribery and blackmail, then that there was an ideology – racial superiority – and in summary that it was all Zionist.

    I can see a conflation of the first two, the latter pumped up by the media. But Zionism, as you know, was the search for, and creation of, a Jewish homeland.

    Whatever we’re doing in Afghanistan, the connection with Israel is not an ‘ism’. It is that both governments are prepared to be equally ruthless, and against the wishes of the electorate. It’s also that in both cases the paid aggressors are armed by the world’s largest arms dealers (the UK/USA corporations). No surprise there; so are the Indonesians, the Saudis; the Congolese etc etc etc.

    I did read your interesting comments about future possibilities. I see that arguing for a two state solution sounds strangely like arguing for apartheid, but it isn’t, is it? It’s more like the splitting of Ireland and the drawing up of the Six Counties.

    Which had its own severe price and I agree; a peaceful one state solution can only seem preferable. I suppose there will have to be stages to reaching it. In Ireland now, I was starting to forget which was which, but I see the ‘Real IRA’ have started bombing again for some reason. Protection money, probably. Think everyone’s very bored of them, though.

    It’s noticeable that Hamas are desperate enough to do it.

    Pilger’s calling it ‘Americanism’ rather than ‘Zionism’, you might be interested to know.

  • technicolour

    Sorry; that slipped through. It’s noticeable that Hamas have been desperate enough to back the 1967 borders, I meant.

  • dreoilin

    “It’s more like the splitting of Ireland and the drawing up of the Six Counties.”

    –tech

    But after the area had been “planted” a few centuries before, with Protestant Loyalists. Which is rather like what Israel is doing in the West Bank now.

    “I see the ‘Real IRA’ have started bombing again for some reason. Protection money, probably.”

    No, they’re a splinter group who think Sinn Fein sold out on a United Ireland, and they want to start the violence all over again. But they are small in number.

    “Think everyone’s very bored of them, though.”

    No, not bored, rather worried. Because a majority both North and South do not want a return to violence. And this group could provoke a reaction from violent Loyalists.

  • arsalan

    Tec there are big difference between Ireland and Israel. When the UK ruled all of Ireland, all the Irish were British citizens.

    If an Irish person left the country he could go back anytime he wanted, and he could go and live in the UK if he wanted.

    I think who are falling for the two state solution are walking into a great big elephant trap with their eyes wide open. Israel to kick ever greater numbers of Palestinians out of their homes. And if two states are ever declared, I fear that the Palestinians in what they call Israel will be expelled in to the second state, just as the blacks in South Africa were expelled in to the Bantuistans.

    The reason why Israel has excepted the two state solution now, when it had always fought it is the Palestinians are now the majority in all the land controlled by the Zionists. They can no longer pretend to be Democratic any more. So they have to declare Gaza and the west bank as another country.

    But Palestinians with Israeli citizenship are already a quarter of the population. The change in demography had been slowed down previously by emptying the former soviet union, Ethiopia and anywhere else of any one claiming to have some Jewish ancestry. They cant do that anymore because the world is now empty, they have already taken everyone would would consider going. They have stretched the meaning of Jew that it is now impossible to stretch it anymore.

    So now the question must be answer, what will happen when the 25% of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship reach 50%?

    Will they be exterminated or expelled for Israel to be both a Jewish state and a democracy as happened when Israel was founded?

    Because I don’t believe they will through in the towel, admit it was all just a big Mistake and hand power over to the Palestinians like the South Africans did.

    Will Israel admit it was never a democracy and always an apartheid state?

  • technicolour

    Arsalan, I can’t keep repeating myself either. I’d understand you more if you reserved your main ire for the governments, but from you are basically accusing every person living under every government of equal complicity in that government’s crimes. Which, unfortunately, would make just about all of us guilty of something.

    A kind of warped version of original sin, in fact. Can’t agree, I’m afraid.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “Will they be exterminated or expelled for Israel to be both a Jewish state and a democracy as happened when Israel was founded?

    Because I don’t believe they will through in the towel, admit it was all just a big Mistake and hand power over to the Palestinians like the South Africans did.”

    Arsalan

    Absolutely. Expulsion (Nakba Mark II or III) is what will happen. They are quite open about it; it may not be official policy, but it’s spoken about widely and the flags have been up for some time. They will not tolerate losing their majority. If they do take a one state solution, they will immediately expel all Arabs, so creating their dream. They know they will get away with it. If they did it tomorrow morning, nothing would happen to Israel. Nothing ever does. Teflon. Titanium. Uranium. Plutonium. BANG.

    “Power grows out of the barrel of a gun”. Mao was right about that. Horribly, sadly, tragically.

    But Arsalan, while I would love things to go back to the way they were pre-1917 (or even pre-1947), and for people to regard all the land as everyone’s, that’s not going to happen either.

    Given the instransigence of the Israeli state and the loyal dog-like support it gets from the USA, I honestly don’t see a good solution that is realistically going to happen.

    I see only blood.

  • technicolour

    dreoilin: thanks. Yes, quite. I only belatedly found out what it meant to people who had belonged to Ireland to be effectively ripped away from their homeland.

    arsalan; I’m off to bed but will read in the morning, thanks

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Yeah, one ought to draw a distinction b/w people and the state – I realise emotionally the lines gets blurred at times, but I think it’s important for the maintenance of our own humanity, if for no other reason, that we do continue to draw that final line.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Dreoilin, yes, the British State has always been the most adept of all at cleverly instigating divide-and-rule and in some ways may be regarded as one of the most deeply imperialist states in the world. Planting ‘Unionist’ settlers was a typical act. As I’ve said on another thread, over the centuries, the situation regarding Ireland was/ is an ‘exemplar’ of British imperialism.

  • arsalan

    tec I have already tried to explain it every which way.

    Zionist doesn’t mean Israeli!!!

    If it did it would include the 1/4 of the population who are Palestinian.

    Zionist means someone who believes in that Nazi Idiology.

    They may not have ever been to what you call Israel, may claim to be a Christian or even a Muslim. But if they believe in that racist idiology, that “God gave this land to us, and not the people that live their”.

    Why do you keep saying I am attacking people because they have Israeli citizenship, or people for being born there. I have never said any of that.

    I am attacking people for being racists, whereever they are born, whereever they live and what ever religion they claim to belong to.

    I don’t know where you get this idea from that it is about Jews?

    Again I repeat Hitler was a Zionist.

    in hitlers Zionism, the germans were God’s chosen people. Germany was the promised land. People like the Polish were the Palestinians.

    So when I attack Zionism I attack Hitler just as much as a attack the Zionists who believe Palestine is their promised land.

  • arsalan

    Suhayl Saadi

    I agree things are getting worse.

    What I am saying is Israel is using the call for Pre 67 to make the lives of palestinians a lot worse. And it is clear that once final status has been reached on pre 67, things will be much worse than they are now.

    It looks like the west bank will be “given back” in gaza like strips, where life would be worse than gaza due to no access to the sea or tunnels from egypt. Things would be worse still for the hundreds of thousand of Palestinians traped between the Israeli side of the wall and the Palestinian side of the border, because Israel will want to make their lives so hard that they will move to the other side of the wall.

    And then their are the Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, Israel has stated their towns and villiages would be handed over in exchange for all the land Israel will take in the westbank.

    Which means they will lose citizenship in the south african way.

  • Arsalan

    I think Israel will not give anything unless it is made to do it. America can not make Israel do anything, because Israel is the one who makes America do things.

    The solution has to come from us, because it isn’t going to come from them.

    pre17 isn’t just about sorting out the problems in Palestine, the whole of the middle east needs fixing and everyone there knows it.

    Europe in unifying inspite of all the different languages there. It has been made clear to Turkey that it is not welcome in the new Christian club. So we need our own EU. And I believe that unified voice and action is the only way to fix Palestine.

    What I am saying is the likes of France have made it clear that the EU is a christian club where Muslims(Turkey) are not welcome.

    We need to bring back our Khilafah in which Jews(Israel) and everyone else were always welcome, and will always be welcome.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “The solution has to come from us, because it isn’t going to come from them.

    pre17 isn’t just about sorting out the problems in Palestine, the whole of the middle east needs fixing and everyone there knows it.

    Europe in unifying in spite of all the different languages there. It has been made clear to Turkey that it is not welcome in the new Christian club. So we need our own EU. And I believe that unified voice and action is the only way to fix Palestine.” Arsalan

    I know.

  • MJ

    “Zionism was the dream of a Jewish homeland in and around Jerusalem”.

    No. Zionism was the dream of a Jewish homeland. Zionism’s founder, Herzl, at one point suggested Kenya. Although Palestine was the preferred option it was by no means a prerequisite.

  • arsalan

    Tec firstly, Zionists lie when they state their Jewish homeland is in the Bible.

    That isn’t bending of the truth, it is a lie.

    It is a blatantly obvious lie, because the inventor of the lie, Theodor Herzl was an Atheist who did not believe in the Bible or God.

    If it was in the Bible Jews would have always attempted to gain this fatherland. But that never happened. Quite the opposite religious Jews state, that it is forbidden to attempt to create it as it has been promised that a Prophet will come who will bestow that land peacefully.

    Zionists don’t believe in God or the bible and its prophecies so they ignored the bible that forbids them to create Israel because they don’t believe in that rule in the Bible, the bible, the Prophet that is promised or God.

    Let me be clear, the Jewish fatherland is not in the bible, they lie when they say it is. The Bible actually forbids them from creating their Nazi fatherland.

    I have repeated many times that the Nazis copied the Zionists. This obviously means Zionism existed before Nazism!

    To create the Zionist fatherland in Palestine it would require the extermination or expulsion of the lesser races who were their first.

    And Hitler copied this idea to do what he did. to his own lesser races.

  • technicolour

    Well, yes MJ, and Uganda was also suggested, I believe. But the word Zionism comes from Mount Zion (and was apparently dreamed up by a publicist in 1891).

  • arsalan

    MJ many places were suggested. Uganda by the British and Madagasca by the Germans. all would have required the extermination/expulsion of the lesser races there first.

    tec, Zionism was founded before Nazi Germany, so it wasn’t a reaction to it.

    As you mentioned Zionists and Nazis worked togeather, at least in the beginning.

    They both wanted the samething, Jews out of Europe.

    Tec you have a very strang logic. You are repeat the propagander of Zionists.

    I think you need to click on some webpages written by non-Zionist Jews, to realise Judaism and Zionism are nothing to do with each other.

    Here is a list of how Zionists helped Hitler kill Jews:

    http://www.jewsnotzionists.org/holocaust.htm

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Technicolour, I didn’t realise you are a Dr Who fan! The new one’s pretty darned good, I think. As is his assistant.

    “Let me be clear, the Jewish fatherland is not in the bible, they lie when they say it is.”

    Arsalan

    Yes, I believe there are actually some Jews who will not acknowledge Israel because of this.

    Arsalan does make a powerful point when he illumines the common late C19th European nationalism – Germanic constructs of a united ‘promised’ fatherland, etc. inhabited only by a ‘chosen’ people – out of which arose both Zionism and Nazism. The lead-lined intolerance that resides at the centre of Zionism comes from this essential irrationality.

    I think that in the absence of a strong, united Arab/Muslim ‘world’ compelling some form of real negotiated settlement, the imperial project at the centre which Zionism increasingly and very deliberately has come to position itself, will proceed apace, and that project includes, and metaphysically centres-on, the Levant.

    Till then, when one takes the long-view, the children everywhere have been betrayed.

  • technicolour

    Arsalan, I’m not repeating anyone’s arguments. I’m thinking it through. As I said, I think a peaceful one state solution is the ideal. Meanwhile I’ve encountered Jews against Zionism on peace marches. Brave people. Interesting website. Not approporiate to the largely secular Jews I know. But I suppose you don’t acknowledge them, since they’re not religious. I, on the other hand, do.

    Hitler may have taken some ideas from Zionism. He also took and twisted ideas from Nietzsche (who would have rolled in his grave in horror and despair); the Tibetans, advertisers; blah blah blah. That does not make him a Zionist. Or a Nitzschean. Or a Buddhist.

    Suhayl; it is all very informative. I see the analogy. But the Germans already had a national homeland. They were not fleeing persecution (and Arsalan, I said that Zionism was partly a response to ‘people like Hitler’. Jewish people suffered at the hands of both sides in World War 1 again specifically because they were Jewish; the ‘other’).

    Hitler wanted, not a homeland, but an Empire; hence the Third Reich. He used the Zionist leaders. They thought they could use him. What ordinary Jewish people felt is there for people to read, in everything from Defying Hitler to Anne Frank’s diaries.

    (and yes, I thought Dr Who was rather great)

  • technicolour

    It seems to me that while we can concentrate on the sufferings of the victims, and that ideal visions of the future can only help, we must urgently take responsibility for the country in which we live and pay taxes, and for the government which we tolerate. We need to insist on a fundamental change; and yet even here in the UK, without soldiers on our buses and checkpoints on our streets, we seem incapable of doing so. Why?

    Apaprently Eastenders has a current story line about a teenager wanting to join up and fight in Afghanistan. According to the Morning Star, his mother (Carol) is dead against this, and saying that it is a war about cheap oil and gas, not about ‘terrorism’. The arts are fighting back!

1 2 3 4

Comments are closed.