Wha Wad Be A Traitor Knave? 436


I was called a traitor by a Conservative MEP in a committee meeting of the European Parliament to which I was giving eyewitness evidence on the UK’s complicity in torture and extraordinary rendition. Doubtless that is recorded in the minutes of the meeting, which means I am marked down on a forest of European Parliament paper as a traitor in each of the European Union’s 24 official languages.

Nobody turned a hair, least of all me. There were some giggles as the Tory MEP immediately walked out of the meeting, which was viewed as childish. But nobody thought of it as way outside the normal levels of political discourse. Indeed it was quite mild by European parliamentary standards. It is, of course, perfectly true that I used to represent the United Kingdom and now it is my dearest wish to destroy it as an institution. It is therefore arguable that I am technically a traitor. I am not scared of names.

My Scottish readers will have realised that this disquisition on treachery is a reference to the Labour Party’s published dossier of evil cybernats. The majority of those cited qualified as evil because of use of the word traitor. I am devastated I did not get included. I am unsure that my ego will ever recover.

It seems to me that, in an argument which revolves around what constitutes a nation, the idea of treachery to the nation is one that logically is bound to intrude, on all sides. Indeed it can be shown to intrude into the entire discourse around unionism and nationalism over centuries. I have used the term myself.

It seems to me context is important. There is a legitimate discourse on whether treachery to either the United Kingdom or to Scotland is involved in the independence conundrum. To make plain that some consider a position or act as traitorous has a place in robust political debate. I deplore the idea that politics must be reduced to genteel commonplaces over tiny areas of disagreement. Passion is important. But to imply violent retribution is different, and comes under bullying and threat.

“Traitor” should not be shunned like a racist epithet. It carries a meaning which is important.


436 thoughts on “Wha Wad Be A Traitor Knave?

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  • John Spencer-Davis

    “Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?
    For if it prosper, none dare call it Treason.”

    John Harington (1561 – 1612)

    J

  • John Spencer-Davis

    Aussie F
    01/07/2015 1:54pm

    William S Burroughs, Nova Express.

    If you are quoting, please could you attribute. Thanks.

    Kind regards,

    John

  • lysias

    What’s wrong with negotiating with Hamas? To reach a negotiated settlement to a war, you have to talk to the enemy.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Craig has been challenged to produce evidence to back up this claim before and singularly failed. It vastly exceeds any other claims regarding the death toll and even exceeds the total killed and missing for the whole conflict to date.”
    ____________________

    Does it really.

    The opposition stated near the end of the war that 25,000 people had been killed and 4,000 had been reported as missing.

    I guess it’s all down to who you believe, even the western puppet government in Libya the National Transit Council puts the overall figure at 30,000.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_2011_Libyan_Civil_War

    But I digress, the main point is that Britain bombed and killed Libyians, to remove a tyrant that Westminster was associated with, and when his worth was no longer valued, we helped to raze Libya to the ground.

  • craig Post author

    If Blair is secretly negotiating with Hamas, that’s far more sensible and apparently altruistic than his general behaviour.

  • glenn_uk

    Lysias: Slight misunderstanding here. Blair is a traitor, he’s also secretly negotiating with Hamas. Two separate concepts.

  • Republicofscotland

    “John Goss, I recently viewed this by Heathcote Williams, which although doesn’t contain any such sensational claims, is more than enough to make anybody think twice about swearing loyalty to Queen & Country;”
    _____________________________

    Macky, John Goss, if you like that sort of thing then this is for you, I watched it a few years ago.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CObE4Cnuw5k

  • craig Post author

    Kempe

    NATO bombed Sirte into oblivion. Pictures all over the web. How many people did they kill? You will have difficulty producing a figure because NATO refuses to count.

  • Macky

    On the subject of Sirte, Wiki states;

    “Six months after the civil war, almost 60,000 inhabitants, more than 70 percent of pre-war population, had returned.”

    So that means from an original population of approx 85,000, the unaccounted for numbers 25,000. I recall reading reports towards the end, that this pro-Gaddafi stronghold place of his birth, was surrounded and being besieged, and that he was holed-up there with 25,000 loyalists. Given both the devastation, and the likelihood of not many of these loyalists managed to get out of there alive, I think that 15,000 killed is probably an underestimation if anything.

  • RobG

    Back in 2011, the NATO bombing of Libya went on for the best part of 8 months. Thousands of sorties were flown, which no doubt dropped American-style bombs which only kill the ‘bad guys’, with ‘intelligent shrapnel’ purposely avoiding innocent civilians.

    Back in the day, a good source of information used to be the Libyan Youth Movement…

    https://www.facebook.com/LibyanYouthMovement

    … although I haven’t had any contact with them since the early days of the revolution. Looking at their latest posts, they do seem to have maintained their integrity.

    Two mega historical things about the ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011: social media and the massive amount of outside influence (ie, the USA).

  • Mary

    Lysias Are you inferring that Hamas is the enemy or were you speaking in general terms?

  • Republicofscotland

    “Thanks RoS. It won’t be tonight though.”
    _____________________

    No John, you’ll need to spread it over a few nights,but there’s some interesting stuff like how the Queen hides her wealth from the public.

  • Macky

    That was a great Galloway clip ROS !

    We need more Galloways & less shills on this Blog ! 😀

  • lysias

    I was surmising that Blair considers Hamas an enemy. If he doesn’t, all the more reason to talk to them.

  • Republicofscotland

    “That was a great Galloway clip ROS !

    We need more Galloways & less shills on this Blog”
    __________________

    Yes Macky it is a good clip, l couldn’t believe what the shill was trying to say, including, claiming the Conservatives saved Libya.

  • Mary

    Sir Nicholas Winton 1909-2015 RIP.

    A fine and remarkable human being.

    ‘Sir Nicholas Winton: I’ve made a difference’

    28 October 2014
    Sir Nicholas Winton tells the Today programme’s John Humphrys about saving the lives of hundreds of children before the Second World War, and how he believes “the world today is in a more dangerous situation than it has ever been.”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-29800804
    4mins 24secs

  • RobG

    Republicofscotland, great link (although I wish Galloway wouldn’t wear that bloody hat).

    I think I can say that the Arab Spring caught everyone completely by surprise. Governments in both the Arab world and the West were a bit like rabbits caught in car headlights. The reaction of the US Government was highly amusing, because of course many of these vile Arab regimes were close allies of the United States. As events unfolded during 2011, in public the US spouted the usual ‘freedom and democracy’ rollocks, whilst behind the scenes doing everything possible to assist some of the vile regimes in quashing popular uprisings. The reason for this is simple: the vast majority of Arabs dislike the USA…

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2010/0806/New-poll-angry-at-US-Arabs-support-an-Iran-nuclear-bomb

    … and democratically elected governments which reflected the will of the people would mean an end of US power and presence in the region.

    ISIS is a direct result of all this.

  • Daniel

    ” so we killed 15,000 in Sirte Libya by bombing them, I’m sure in corridors of Whitehall it will be seen as doing the right thing. ”

    Except of course it isn’t true.

    ” The Afghan war was all about the oil pipeline. ”

    Oh dear oh dear…”

    In the rush to celebrate Cameron’s ‘first taste of military victory,’ the UK media ignored or downplayed a whole host of problems with the war, including:

    – The fact that even establishment think tanks like the International Crisis Group reported that Nato and the ‘rebel’ Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC), rather than the Gaddafi regime, had rejected all peace initiatives out of hand:

    ‘UNSC resolution 1973 emphatically called for a ceasefire, yet every proposal for a ceasefire put forward by the Qaddafi regime or by third parties so far has been rejected by the TNC as well as by the Western governments most closely associated with the NATO military campaign… neither the TNC nor NATO has made a ceasefire proposal of its own and there has yet to be a meaningful attempt to test Qaddafi’s seriousness or pose conditions on acceptance that would subject a putative ceasefire to effective independent supervision’. (ICG, Popular Protest In North Africa and the Middle East, (V): Making Sense of Libya, Middle East/North Africa Report N°107 – 6 June 2011, pp.28-29)

    – The fact that there was no UN mandate for regime change, even though this was very obviously Nato’s illegal aim.

    – The striking lack of evidence – not least from other towns recaptured by pro-government forces – that Gaddafi planned to commit a massacre in Benghazi.

    – ‘Rebel’ estimates of 50,000 dead as a result of the war as far back as the end of August. The Guardian’s Seumas Milne is a rare, honest voice in noting that ‘while the death toll in Libya when Nato intervened was perhaps around 1,000-2,000 (judging by UN estimates), eight months later it is probably more than ten times that figure’. Milne added: ‘if the purpose of western intervention in Libya’s civil war was to “protect civilians” and save lives, it has been a catastrophic failure’.

    – The bombing of Libyan state TV by British aircraft in July, which reportedly killed a number of journalists and was condemned as a war crime by Reporters Without Borders, UNESCO and the International Federation of Journalists.

    – The reduction of Sirte, previously a city of 100,000 people, to a smoking ruin as a result of several weeks of siege. The assault included daily indiscriminate bombing, the cutting off of water, food, medicine and electricity supplies, the shelling of a hospital, widespread looting and massacres. Aid agencies described how the attack had created a humanitarian crisis.

    http://www.medialens.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=653:killing-gaddafi&catid=24:alerts-2011&Itemid=68

  • Daniel

    “NATO bombed Sirte into oblivion. Pictures all over the web. How many people did they kill? You will have difficulty producing a figure because NATO refuses to count.”

    Indeed:

    The reduction of Sirte, previously a city of 100,000 people, to a smoking ruin as a result of several weeks of siege. The assault included daily indiscriminate bombing, the cutting off of water, food, medicine and electricity supplies, the shelling of a hospital, widespread looting and massacres. Aid agencies described how the attack had created a humanitarian crisis.

    http://www.medialens.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=653:killing-gaddafi&catid=24:alerts-2011&Itemid=68

  • Republicofscotland

    RobG. 7.24pm.

    Yeah what is it with that hat? I think it’s a Fedora.

    Yes I agree with rest of your comment

  • Becky Cohen

    I think terms like ‘traitor’ and actually also ‘patriot’ can often be subjective. Those, such as Klaus von Stauffenberg, who were involved in the failed bomb plot attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler for instance, would claim that it was their patriotic duty as Germans to end the Third Reich whereas from the view of the Nazi prosecutors they were denounced loudly as “traitors”. The north American colonists who broke from British rule in 1776 are portrayed in a film starring Mel Gibson which is called ‘The Patriot’, yet at the time they would have been regarded as seditious terrorists, as British subjects who had taken up arms against their King. I think there are such people who are beyond all shadow of a doubt clearly traitors against their country though because they favour another one over that which is their birth (or adopted) nationality. Then again, such a mode of thought only works if one accepts the reality of nationhood in the first place. Strictly speaking, internationalists like communists and capitalists operate within ideologies which ultimately root their loyalties in all other people around the world who share their ultimate aims. Ironically, communists and capitalists who have been intensely protective (less flatteringly some would say jealous) of their nations have unavoidably had a schizophrenic relationship with both their patriotism and the internationalist philosophies upon which their motivations are inescapably based on.

  • Macky

    @Clark, there’s no point replying to your flame-baits, as my replies get deleted, yet your very unproductive flame-baits are still here !

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