Daily archives: November 16, 2011

Iran War Debate

I may not be able to post tomorrow as I am travelling all day from Ramsgate up to St Andrews to take part in a debate, speaking against the motion that “This House Would Resort to War to Prevent a Nuclear Iran”.

The debate will be in Lower Parliament Hall in St Andrews, starting at 19.30 on 17 November. I am sorry I can’t tell you yet who else is participating, because as with all highly topical debates it has been put together as short notice. I view campaigning to prevent the terrible death toll that a war would bring as my top priority at the moment.

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Will Sir Peter Gibson Live to Inquire?

William Hague today is giving a speech saying that he wishes to “Draw a line” under the question of UK complicity in torture. It is hard to do that when the intelligence services remain today complicit in torture. The British government still gets intelligence from torture from Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt, Jordan, Gambia, Afghanistan and numrous other spots. It remains their contention that it is not illegal to do so provided that three conditions are met: they do not do the torture themselves, they do not ask for the torture to be done, and they do not use the resulting “intelligence” in court proceedings – rather than to assassinate people, detain them without trial, hand them over to another country for more torture or ruin their lives through control orders.

I have written before about the farce of having Sir Peter Gibson, the former Commissioner of the Intelligence Services, conduct an “independent” investigation into UK complicity in torture, while Gus O’Donnell, the biggest liar in the country, will decide what can and what cannot be published. Now the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, has added his voice to the many condemnations of this farcial procedure.

I am going to give evidence to the inquiry, but a key part of the government’s plan is for the inquiry never to actually happen. It has been decided that numerous legal cases and pretend police investigations have to conclude before the inquiry can start – for no real reason I can see. There is, quite literally, no timescale and I am told not necessarily in this parliament. I worry in case Sir Peter Gibson, who was born in 1935, doesn’t live long enough actually to get going. I was born in 1958, and given the glacial rate of progress – indeed absolutely none is visible to the naked eye – I may not live long enough either.

Yet another total betrayal by the coalition government.

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John Bright, Hero

When I give talks I often try to explain myself by listing my political influences: Byron, Hazlitt, Bright, John Stuart Mill. I see the audiences’ eyes rather glaze over. What do they teach them at school nowadays?

Anyway I am delighted to see there is a conference on John Bright in Birmingham on Saturday. Just been sent it, so doubt I shall make it, but sounds great.

Celebrating John Bright

Rather confused about Bill Cash, who from the little I know of him has the opposite view on everything to John Bright. But maybe there is more to him than I realised.

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