Friday, 8 August 2014


The daily tragedy, death and destruction of Gaza, its civilian population reduced to no more than expendable collateral damage to an out of control brutal Israeli Defence Force do not make for good holiday viewing. But as someone who refuses to accept that lives in different parts of the world have differing values and currencies I have tried, often in vain to keep up with events for the 2 weeks I was in Southern Spain.

I could understand why whenever news of the atrocities came onto a TV screen in a bar or restaurant, why the staff quickly changed channels, but it still made me angry. Tiger Wood’s back problems and Frank Lampard’s loan to Manchester City just seem to have far more recreational value than the plight of innocent families blown to pieces by British made weaponry in the name of “the right of defence”
But then things are very much the same at home.

People run away from things that they don’t wish to see, they know how horrible it is, but they don’t want to confront it, they don’t want to look, it’s not a question of denial it’s just natural not to want to be face to face with such horror. The pictures on our TV screens and in the newspapers are in themselves are a watered down version of the unfaceable reality, it is best for us to view to view death from not just a geographical distance but also from a digital one. This sanitised reporting is again a response to our internal discomfort with the truth, the newspapers reporters and photographers and TV commentators are fully aware that if they make us view this macabre death scene in all its full gore and horror that they will be blamed themselves by the public for making them look, making them see.

Thankfully though despite the censorship the world is now seeing, is now facing up to the fact that “something must be done”  But just are the something’s that should be done? Well we can start with a sustainable ceasefire,time alone will tell whether or not the current cease in hostilities has any lasting impact, but we can but hope that it is a start. but then we have had plenty of similar cease fires in the past each being replaced with a return to even more killing. 

We could as a nation once David Cameron has worked out how to spell disproportionate, call for UN action, but we all know that every attempt to make Israel answerable to the world community is thwarted by the US veto on UN votes. It is still very clear that the USA values the Jewish vote far higher than Palestinian life, so we are back to that currency question again in a politics versus people exchange rate system. So what is left? Or more importantly what is left that is worth trying and likely to succeed?

Well we certainly need to continue the current talks we need a “regional” figure to oversee any negotiations and we need to remove from the scene all those who have failed so badly to use the times between conflict to bring about a two sided solution.

We should therefore start with a call for Tony Blair as the Quartets Middle East Peace Envoy to step aside, our hapless former PM who himself took us into the equally horrific illegal war in Iraq has in recent months completely lost the plot. His continued absence from Gaza and his repeated support for Israel’s right to defend itself including recent Israeli TV interviews defending the IDF military response show a remarkable lack of diplomacy and impartiality and place him far too firmly in Netanyahu’s pocket to be taken seriously anymore.

But is our current Prime minister any better? Certainly not, arms sales have increased dramatically to Israel since his taking of office and we now have the contradictory farce of spending UK aid money to build up humanitarian and Social support within Gaza, whilst taking Israel’s blood money to provide sophisticated weaponry to destroy the very aid projects we funded the building of!  I have never been a fan of Baroness Varsi but I must applaud her for accepting in her well-publicised resignation letter that the UK policy to the current crisis is “morally indefensible” and “not in British national interests” and

The end game has to be a political two state solution agreed between Israel and Palestine confirming a viable Palestinian State and agreed removal of Israeli settlements on Palestinians Land this coupled with assurances for Israel in relation to their ever more demanding security concerns.
The “Egypt” proposals should also take seriously the little publicly commented on Hamas 10 point truce initiate. For those (the many I guess) who have not seen this proposal the main points are as follows 1: Withdrawal of Israeli tanks from the Gaza border 2: Freeing all the prisoners that were arrested after the killing of the three youths. 3:Lifting the siege and opening the border crossings to commerce and people 4: Establishing an international seaport and airport which would be under U.N. supervision 5: Increasing the permitted fishing zone to 10 kilometers 6: Internationalizing the Rafah Crossing and placing it under the supervision of the U.N. and some Arab nations 7:  International forces on the borders 8: Easing conditions for permits to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque 9 :Prohibition on Israeli interference in the reconciliation agreement 10:Reestablishing an industrial zone and improvements in further economic development in the Gaza Strip.

But whilst a continued and lasting peace remains for the international community to be without doubt the most desirable and urgent need the world must also own and answer the wider questions of justice and accountability of all parties in relation to the atrocities carried out by both sides. Hamas rocket attacks on Israel may be futile and dealt with at ease by Israel’s Iron Dome defence system, but they are still indiscriminate acts of violence carried out by an elected government against a civilian population, but Israel refuses to sign the International Convention on Human Rights belittles the role of the International Criminal Court and prefers to play hardball with world concerns, so any complaint by them to the Court prosecutor for investigation and trial of Hamas’s actions are a non starter. Palestinian however are now a recognised UN state, can sign the convention and should ask the prosecutor to hold those responsible in the Israeli for giving the orders to butcher innocent children and families to account.
Peace and Reconciliation are non negotiable partners, long standing peace can never hold without tackling head on the thorny  issues of justice and accountability, such was the case in South Africa and Northern Ireland and such we hope will be the case in Israel Palestine.

The old adage “No justice, No Peace” may be over used and under delivered on but for Palestine it will be a pre requisite for the acceptance of a permanent Israeli state as it neighbour and not its prisoner and executioner

Friday, 25 July 2014


The body count in Palestine rises day by day, more protests bring more shootings and more killings and yet Western Governments still seem completely unable or unwilling to challenge the full extent of the Israeli governments brutality.
The completely vacuous comments tripped out to an overly biased press from world leaders including David Cameron in the UK simplistically repeat & reiterate "Israel's right to defend itself" and give too prominent a focus to Hamas's futile rocket attacks. 
These Soundbites are now little more than an embarrassment and an insult to a world community waking up to the realities of the ever growing one sided nature of this horrific conflict. 
Just how many innocent Palestinian civilians and children must die before those over eager to support Israel realise that their inaction and carefully crafted words of comfort to Israel are in fact little less than an accessory to these brutal killings. 
Yes Israel is entitled to its security, yes Hamas must stop firing its rockets, and yes the loss of each and every Israeli life is equally to be condemned by us all, but surely above all the people of the Palestine need world protection from a viscous Israeli government willing to kill innocents by way of collective punishment for the activities of a few. 
Which other government occupies its neighbours towns and cities and wantonly executes people protesting on their own land? 
Israel's purposefully breach of  International Law in support of its continued illegal occupation and resettlement of Palestinian land will only stop if those who gave influence decide to use it."

Friday, 11 July 2014


There are many Israeli citizens who oppose their government’s brutality against Palestine, many brave young people who refuse to serve in the Israel Defence Force or disobey orders on the grounds of pacifism, antimilitarism religion or political disengagement with the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.  Opinion polls undertaken by newspapers such as Haaretz and other polling organisations in Israel show a growing opposition and unease amongst the nation to their government’s forced settlement policy and to continued aggression in the occupied territories and yet the killing goes on.

Of course there are atrocities on both sides, the taking of life from every single Israeli or Palestinian is to be condemned and should be punished in law, and yet as an individual who abhors all violence and as a member of a  “pro peace” Green Party I still  often find myself struggling emotionally when trying to balance the need to promote a calm response from both sides of the conflict against an ever growing body of evidence proving increasing brutality from the IDF on behalf of an Israeli Government.

Like many I welcomed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbass’s denouncement of those responsible for the tragic kidnapping of three since murdered Israeli teenagers. His call for both sides to refrain from violence and his instruction to Palestinian security forces to promote restraint and to stop the PA from being dragged into factional responses were the words of a statesman.

But where is the balance from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in approving operation protective edge?  Where is the constraint in continuing the escalation of operations within the occupied territories and preparing for a ground offensive in Gaza.

These actions perpetuate this viscous circle of violence. They will not stop Hamas’s rocket attacks on Israel, they will simply act as recruitment agents for those intent on engaging in a military solution and ensure a supply of foot soldiers for further unrest in the future. 

Israel’s insistence that Hamas are personally responsible for the original kidnappings despite claims from terror group Ansar as-Dawla al-Islamiya that it was they who were responsible for these heinous teenage murders shows the government to be far less interested in carrying out justice and more determined to dish out collective punishment on the Palestinian people. Punishing the innocent will as history teaches us only escalate the bloodshed as revenge takes precedence over the desperate need for dialogue

So how can we so many thousands of miles away respond and make our voices heard? Well for a start we can all lobby the British Government to condemn Israel’s retaliatory actions in Palestine and to call for military restraint from the Israelis in return to a ceasefire from Hamas. And more important we can lend our individual support for international calls for a military protection force to be based in Gaza and the West Bank

We should also lobby the Foreign Secretary to press the Israeli government to immediately instigate a ceasefire and to practice more restraint.
At present and uncharacteristically William Hague seems to have lost his voice, his usual behaviour when learning of such atrocities elsewhere in the world is to travel the news studios talking tough and warning those responsible for taking civilian lives that Britain will not stand idly by, but this time his restrained utterings seem to be limited to supporting the Israeli Governments actions in bringing those they see responsible on both sides to justice Has he not worked out yet that  Israel is an occupying force, and that their justice is not accepted on the West Bank or Gaza and increasingly it is not acceptable to a world population waking up to the savagery and double standards of the Israeli Government and the complicity of the west in turning a blind eye and suppressing the truth”

He should also be condemning the actions of the United States who have continually vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions condemning Israel for its military operations in Gaza. The US has now over the years used its veto power nearly 100 times on Israel/Palestine, far too often to shield Israel from censure.

As a result Israel’s military machine continues to pound Palestinians civilian areas indiscriminately taking innocent lives on a daily basis. In addition Palestinian teens are now being targeted, killed and left to defend themselves against the anger of both state sponsored death squads and from vigilantes from the Occupied Israeli Settlements.

When I was in the Gaza strip during the second Intifada and I visited Netzarim Junction the day after the murder of Muhammad al Durrah. He and his and his father Jamal were shot whist seeking cover behind a concrete cylinder. The moving TV footage had shown the pair holding on to each other, Muhammad crying, his father waving calling for the Israeli troops to stop firing. During my visit more Palestinians were shot and killed, in my presence, and I travelled to Gaza City Hospital to witness for myself the butchery that the IDF mute out in the name of self-defence. I was told I was never in danger, I believed those who told me as it was clear this was not cross fire it was assassination.

And now it is happening all over again

The world mustn’t think that the murder of Palestinian civilians is simply a vigilante response from radical settlement dwellers, the State of Israel itself is now using the full force of its advanced military arsenal to strafe and blitz civilian populated areas, destroying homes, apartments, mosques and public services. The Palestinian Authority has no army, no air force, no air defence and no way of protecting their civilian population. Israel believes that’s its actions are a proportionate response for the acts of terrorists, they are not they are simply the state sponsored cold blooded murders of innocents”

We all have a duty to speak out and act not just on behalf of the powerless, not even just on behalf of a powerless Palestinian nation, but also on behalf of the growing number of good peace loving people in Israel who increasingly are declaring their governments brutality to be “not in our name”

Monday, 16 June 2014


There is a widely held view, prominent within the British media that Labour backbench rebellion against the Iraq war in 2004 was predominantly based on our rejection at the time of the “dodgy dossier.” Parliament gives voice to this red herring through the over concentration in the chamber on the past and future roles of weapons inspectors and the need for greater clarity on shared intelligence on chemical and nuclear weapons.
Yet for me, at the time one of many anti-war Labour MP’s, weapons of mass destruction were always less concerning than the weapons of mass distraction employed by Bush and Blair to try to excuse their warmongering and their ulterior motives.
At the time, I was also a member of the Labour friends of the Middle East and our own discussions over what was occurring were always far more expansive, and our concerns far more plural.
Those concerns, as they always had been were about the continued fragility of the Middle East states, and the concern that constant interference by the West in the affairs of these states could only lead to further unrest.
These States themselves of course were created on borders drawn up and imposed by “outsiders” undermining local self-determination and preventing any internal Arab solution being found.
So let us now be clear on the real cause of the current bloodletting in Iraq and Syria, let us place the blame squarely where it should rest. The blood indelibly stains the hands of both Tony Blair and George Bush Jr.
I personally recall in 2004 being interviewed under caution by Special Branch officers after a transcript of a meeting between President and Prime Minister came into my possession via my political assistant. The document you may recall was given back to number 10 as its disclosure at that time, in my view, would have placed British Troops engaged in the “theatre of war” in danger.
The two spooks interviewing me were keen to ask questions on my view of President Bush, mostly because I had already admitted discussing the document with colleagues from the Democrat Party in the States. I told them that in my view President Bush was the most dangerous man on the planet and that despite his own well documented claims,  the true axis of evil existed far closer to his home than he had suggested and were in fact resident within the Whitehouse. The two officers were aghast, how could a member of the UK Parliament hold such “extremist” views? Well perhaps if they are reading this today they will understand far better the basis for my concerns.
As Isis (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) continues its offence against ill prepared Iraqi troops to build a Sunni based Islamic State which recognises no borders, the true cost of the West’s illegal occupation of Iraq becomes ever more apparent. Do we never learn? I thought by now that world history would have helped us prevent such mistakes not simply continue to repeat them. It really is very, very simple; any military occupation of any country will simply act as a recruitment agent for the forces rallied against you and any puppet regime placed in power by any evacuating army will always fall over simply by being labelled from the start as contaminated goods.
Tony Blair of course thinks differently, in a recent 3000 word essay he dismisses the claims of those of us who believe his war on terror simply made a bad situation a critical one, he says about the current crisis in Iraq that “We have to liberate ourselves from the notion that we have caused this” and there he goes again trying to “liberate” notions this time instead of nations! Which I guess is an improvement but it doesn't hold true.  Despite the loss of well over 1m troops, insurgents and civilians in Iraq and of course also in Afghanistan since Bush and Blair’s wars began, my former Party Leader still wants us to hold on to the premise that without his involvement it could all have been worse! Open civil war, the use of chemical weapons by all sides, rape used as a war weapon, hundreds of thousands of children dead and dying through hunger and disease, neighbours killing neighbours, ancient cities flattened, villages wiped out and the numbers of fundamental extremists increased tenfold and he suggests it could have been worse! It just doesn't ring true.
What is true of course is that the enforced borders and invented nation states such as those of Iraq established by the British Empire in 1921 and Syria, a 1922 creation of French/British making which also formed the lands of Lebanon and British controlled Palestine, are going to be continuously challenged and fought over by local tribes and faith based militants. 
This will continue until such a time that the Middle East is shaped in a form acceptable to those living in the
Middle East rather than that only acceptable to Western governments still intent on manipulating their own imposed regimes for their own ends.
It is also worth remembering when trying to work out what has gone wrong in Syria, before 1945 that the French Mandate created different States in Aleppo, Damascus, Alexandretta, Apatite, Greater Lebanon and Jabal Al Druze, and that borders in Mesopotamia were also redrawn ignoring the views of those in Kurdistan who were to be denied autonomy for decades to come. And yet now we try to preach to the dispossessed the language of unity!
The answer to the current crisis in the Middle East is not to be found looking down the barrel of guns either in the hands of Western Soldiers or those sold or gifted to Al Qaeda by Western Governments, it is to be found internally through negotiation (enforced if necessary with Arab peace keeping forces on the ground) and through the continued involvement of the Arab League Council. My current belief, uncomfortable as it may seem both to the West and to those of us who seek co-existence and secular nations is that the days of Iraq as a nation state could now be numbered and that will inevitably leave us with separate Sunni, Shia and Kurdish States.

At the moment the need to stop the bloodshed is of course far greater than any desire for perfect multifaceted Muslim nations, but if there is a hope of fixing Iraq’s damaged democracy and creating an Iraq and a Syria where Kurds, Shia and Sunni Muslims and Christians can live in peace together then the UK and the USA need to learn its lessons of the past and in future keep our distance.


I owe readers of this blog a big apology for my absence,

In January I was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder called Polycythemia (lucky me) this basically means the trigger in my bone marrow is bust and my body just keeps out churning red blood cells. The consequence is my blood is like gravy and there is little oxygen in it, the consequence for me was falling asleep, having no energy, shortness of breath and even more weight gain (if that is possible)

Over the last few months I have thought many a good blog in my head, but never had the oomph to type them up, but now thankfully I am on the recovery road, the problem is still there but is being treated, so here's hoping!

And the blogging can continue!


Monday, 10 March 2014


It is somewhat unfortunate for the government and for that matter the UK as a whole that our current Foreign Secretary William Hague is such a maladroit character, the modern day equivalent of Lord Curzon (1919) our William shoots from the hip and never fails to turn a crisis into a drama.
His over eagerness to “talk big” quickly define the bad guys, and to be seen to then side with the good, led the Government down a very dangerous dark alleyway over Syria as his support for the Syrian rebels descended into appeasement and fused support for Al Quida on the ground.

And so it came as no surprise to find the Tory parties own Billy Big Boots at it again in the opening
scenes of the current crisis in Ukraine, warning the Russian federation that it faced "significant diplomatic and economic costs" for its actions “"Be in no doubt, there will be consequences” he said before travelling the news studios to declare that the situation was “certainly the biggest crisis in Europe in the 21st Century” albeit only 14 years in!

Hague’s tough talking of course came before his own civil servants pointed out to him that economic sanctions on Russia would hurt the UK far more than it would Russia, and little press comment (with the exception of Jessica Helgot, Huff Post)  was made about the threat to Britain’s Arms sales! Britain it seems has sold more than £86m of sniper rifles, ammunition, drones and laser technology to Russia in the last 18 months alone.

According to official Whitehall documents There are 271 arms export licenses given for arms sales, air vehicles, military helicopters, and spy equipment to Russia that remain active, despite the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Between 2008-2013  the UK licensed over £406 million in military and dual use licenses to Russia. 

Perhaps William therefore had misplaced his arms sales figures when he told the House of commons last year that "The British Government will not issue licenses where we judge there is a clear risk the proposed export might provoke or prolong regional or internal conflicts, or which might be used to facilitate internal repression.”

He also I guess forgot, prior to sitting down with his European colleagues on Thursday 6th March that for any peaceful outcome for the situation in Ukraine to be possible that Russian President Vladimer Putin, the man whom he accused of declaring “baseless” concerns over ethnic Russians, would by his very central position play a critical part in any future peace contract.

Our EU neighbours and their governments have been thankfully less “Gung Ho” about what we all accept are still very serious matters unfolding on the edges of Europe’s Map, but the over keen and over willing habit of the Foreign Secretary to simply follow the USA’s lead in encouraging the people of nations states to rise in revolution irrespective of their chances of success or of the consequences for the wider civilian population has produced cyclical unrest, mayhem and murder on a tragic scale across Europe and the Middle East as the Arab Spring turned into deadly Winter of international discontent.

Do the governments of the West really care about self-determination? Or are they simply being expansionist in their never ending quest to create more and more puppet regimes for the capitalist machine to exploit?

There are also other valid reasons for us to be very cautious of taking sides in the current Ukrainian crisis too early and that is the unpalatable nature of the parties and groups who are currently leading this latest national revolution.

We should worry that Ukraine’s  newly appointed secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council is none other than Andriy Parubiy, founder of the Social National Party of Ukraine, a fascist party styled on Hitler's Nazis, with membership restricted to ethnic Ukrainians, which went on to become the far-right nationalist party Svoboda, 

We should be cautious of his deputy Dmytro Yarosh, the leader of the Right Sector - a group of hardline nationalist street fighters, who previously boasted they were ready for armed struggle to free Ukraine the Right Sector is an alliance of hardline far right gangs including both Patriot of Ukraine and the paramilitaries of UNA-UNSO, whose members parade in balaclavas and wear uniforms bearing far-right insignia, including the wolfsangel.

President Putin knows all too well the dangers of  UNA-UNSO having witnessed their involvement in fighting against Russian  troops in both Chechnya and Moldova.

Most worrying is though is that the new Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Sych is also member of the Svoboda party. Svobada managed just 10% of the vote in the last Ukrainian election but now since the beginning of the unrest and reformation of the National Government has 7 government ministers in very powerful and pivotal positions.

Amongst Svobada policies you will find plans to put a stop to immigration into Ukraine, and to make sure that only ethnic Ukrainians can be employed as civil servants, these ambitions together with the suggested ban on the use of the Russian Language within Ukraine no doubt did little to alleviate the concerns of President Putin over the future safety of ethnic Russians within Ukraine.

So despite William Hague’s attempts to avert all eyes in the direction of Moscow and pin all blame on Putin, the West is really stuck between a rock and a hard place over how or indeed whether  it should intervene in the  Ukraine, as I write the Crimean Parliament has called for a referendum on reunification with Russia on March 16th and across Ukraine preparations are well underway for a Presidential elections to be held on the 25th May.

As a believer of self-determination I must sit back and hope that both polls enable the hitherto silent majority in the Ukraine and Crimea to find their voice and make their contribution to the debate on Ukraine’s future clear, it may now not be possible for a majority to unite under a one nation banner, ethnic tensions may have been stretched too widely, but we can but hope that the far right in Ukraine are not allowed to benefit electorally from their seizure of power on such a low national support base, and we must also hope for everyone’s sake that our European Partners find a suitable muzzle for our hapless Foreign Secretary before his Lord Curzon impressions morph into some form of modern day Alf Garnett albeit with a Yorkshire accent.

The real accent, and the energy of our leaders should be on finding a peaceful way forward through dialogue and consent and  not simply by grandstanding and showboating to impress our so called friends across the Atlantic.

Monday, 10 February 2014


I wonder if anyone in No 10 Downing Street reads my blog or the Herald And Post website?? If not perhaps they should start to!

Those who read my earlier blog warning the Prime Minister of ‘trouble ahead” should he continue to fail to respond appropriately to the flooding crisis rocking Britain will know only too well that the “events dear boy events” trap was set wide open for him to fall into, and how spectacularly he has fallen.

Of course all politicians and particularly Prime Ministers and Government Ministers will come under fire in times of severe crisis, that’s only natural, but its how they respond or even more importantly IF they respond that matters, and the response from our government on this issue so far has been woeful.

But how can they respond, how can they call upon the state to respond when the state itself has been dismantled to the point of paralysis?

If you cut the Environment Agency’s budget year on year (down 36% since 2010) reduce its staffing levels to the bone (550 job losses last year another 1700 planned in the year to come) then you know that the agency would not be in a position to meet the ever increasing demands  placed upon it.
Equally if you cut Local Authority budgets year on year, farm out all the services to the private sector and reduce “local Government” down to pre war levels then as much as they might like they are not in a position to respond to the crisis.

It’s the same for our Police Forces, our Fire and Rescue Services, who through cuts to front line staff are no longer able to release “spare” capacity. Our Social Work teams are not able to contribute to emergency plans any more due to crippling case loads and chronic under staffing.
And so when the floods come, the true nature of David Camerons “Big Society” adventure is laid bare for all to see.

Its DIY Britain, house holders ferrying sand and bags from the local B&Q to try and save their homes, Farmers setting up makeshift ferry crossings with their tractors, Local Volunteers themselves worried about their own homes, being stretched beyond any acceptable level to fill in where the previous statutory agencies have failed to deliver.

Today on the Lunchtime news a local “unpaid” volunteer flood warden was interviewed and half way through the interview broke down in tears of frustration, pleading for someone from the government, anybody to step in and respond to their crisis.
Her tears were washed away in the ever rising tide, meanwhile “Dave” will chair another Cobra committee and Eric Pickles will try and offload some of the blame on those whose pockets his department has picked over the years, and more and more people will lose faith with our lack of local democracy and inadequate national intervention.

Some of those whose homes have been flooded will I am sure be less pleased to be told now that their Council Tax is still amongst the lowest in the country, and few if any will be feeling that we are “all in this together” 

In a period of 3 years this awful Tory/Liberal coalition has ripped apart the very foundation of our civic society, they have shrunken the state, removed the safety net, and even more unforgivably they have turned their collective heads eyes and ears away from those calling out so desperately for help.

We in Northampton now the full extent of the misery that is bought about by such severe flooding events, I can honestly say that as the MP for the town during the 1998 Floods that the experience changed my outlook forever, leading more than ever to the point of campaigning to make government stand up to its responsibilities and to act on funding flood prevention and take seriously the challenge of Climate Change.

Often in that period since 1998 under two different Governments I have had to come to a conclusion that “they” our political masters were not listening.

And still the cries for help fall on deaf ears!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014


Its not too difficult to determine a point in time when a political pendulum swings, not too difficult to ascertain when a politicians stock is on the wane, and as has been said a hundred times before its "events dear events" which shift governments more than actions. But inaction and or the wrong actions are as equally revealing.

Over the Xmas period and into January 2014 those events and inactions and wrong choices have been made by our Prime Minister in plenty, probably without him even realising what was happening, perhaps he took his eye off of the ball? perhaps he was badly advised? whatever it was, it now looks odds on that next years general Election will lead into more coalition, but this time with the Tory Party firmly in opposition.

Their position was shaky to say the least, the country remains unconvinced that the economy is on the turn and less convinced that it is as a result of anything George Osborne or the Tory Party have done and in the months to come with inflation turning to deflation and interests rates rising to match other cost of living hikes the pips will well and truly start to squeak.

But David Cameron's new year woes have as much to do with him and his party believing that the rest of us "think" like Dave and George, and that their concerns are our concerns. As a result they were too busy making sweeping statements on immigration to notice the real tide of woe engulfing Britain.

They had their eyes on the wrong flood!

Victor Spirescu, a 30 year old Romanian handyman looked rather bemused when he arrived as one of just two migrants on the first flight of the year  from Transylvania. Victor and his indistinguishable fellow Romanian traveller WERE the flood of migrants to hit our shores as warned by UKIP and half of the Front bench in a downward race to the bottom of EU race relations

29m Romanians and Bulgarians will flood Britain looking for work according to UKIP, thats the entire population of both Countries!  The Tories ever keen to trump their new worst enemy rushed through new legislation to curb the impact the invasion would have on benefits and even Ed Milliband chipped in not wanting to be left out of the xenophobe club by declaring that it was right to address "understandable" fears and calling for EU loop holes to be closed.

But it was Victor who spoke with the most conviction and clarity and honesty when he told the hoards of reporters and officials awaiting his arrival at Luton Airport that

"I don't come to rob your country, I come to work, to make money, to go home"

In the 3 weeks following Victors scary welcome to the UK immigration records show that the "tidal wave" of immigrants had risen to a shocking high of 30!

Meanwhile the defenders of Britain's coastline and inland waterways were playing King Canute with a completely different enemy, climate change and severe weather wreaked havoc as thousands of UK homes were flooded, and families evacuated out of their houses over the Xmas break and beyond as they endured three weeks of torrential rain and gale force winds. The worst weather for 20 years the Met office declared, no part of the UK could escape the soaking, but where was Dave?

By the time he got to Kent to face the cameras local residents were all but  ready to lynch him.

"We were left abandoned" said one another angry at the Prime Ministers belated visit said  

"Until Cameron came we had been left abandoned,When we knew he was coming this morning the police showed up, the council turned up but until then the only people helping us were volunteers. It was just a publicity stunt."

We know how they feel in Northampton, and despite the initial interest by the cameras and the politicians it takes months and years for communities to recover from such devastating flood events, something my colleagues in the House of Commons at the time failed to understand and grasp. Its seems as if they still don't get it?

Oh Dear Dave, bad call that, but then again the Environment Agency wouldn't and couldn't have been their for local residents anyway could they? as Dave's government has axed 550 staff from the EA in recent months as part of the "austerity" cuts and slashed the flood defence budget year on year! They put a little bit back in last year and announced it as "new money" but is still remains well below even the 2010 level of investment whilst the water it seems and the anger continues to rise.

I guess this is part of Dave's cutting back on the Green crap? but he has had his eyes on the wrong flood

Whatever the cause of his woes, the outcome is in my view crystal clear.

Bring on Prime Minister number 54


The Green Party continues to lend its unqualified support to the campaign to free Shaker Ammar the last UK detainee in Guantanamo Bay and for the closure of Camp Delta and the removal of all prisoners held therein without trial. 

Justice delayed is justice denied, and throughout history nations and their governments have defied international law to punish and imprison the innocent whilst maintaining their own misplaced commitment to democratic freedoms and human rights.

My own political timeline is marked out in such campaigns. My very first political act was as a fund raiser for the ANC helping to raise funds and bring world attention to the plight of Black South Africans held without trial under Apartheid for crimes that they had never committed. 
In the 1980’s whilst in the Labour Party I also remember well the campaigns we fought to free the Birmingham 6 and the Guildford 4, all innocent victims of the British Government  collusion to punish the innocent borne out of the governments need to find individuals guilty at any cost to use as scapegoats in their war against terror.

But Guantanamo Bay of course is very different to these earlier imprisonments, miscarriages of justice and freedom, because it involves the complicity and almost certain involvement of multiple governments not just as above just one.

These earlier examples however do have two familiar components, 
First of all they involved governments and heads of state willing to breach International Law and the Geneva Convention in order to deprive the innocent of their liberty.
Secondly they then relied on a dominant or mass public being either disinterested, ignorant or suspicious as to the guilt of those being locked away.

Few would now question Madeba’s, the late Nelson Mandela’s innocence, but too few at the time of his arrest and detention were willing to fight for his freedom. Equally at the height of the troubles too many in Britain wanted scapegoats and people to punish to ever lead them to question the innocence of those convicted.

But whilst Guantanamo is very different to the past plights of political prisoners in South Africa or the UK , and whilst it is clear that all those held are held without access to trial, we must still find that that we need to do more to educate inform and explain the facts to the wider world public.
I congratulate the Shaker Aamar campaign for their excellent work in this area and in the production of their “Who am I” video released last year, but after 12 years and too many broken promises I ask once more that we redouble our efforts to expose the lies of the USA and to defend the innocence of those still held.

Any man or Women has the right to answers to four simple fundamental questions when threatened with incarceration.
Why have I been deprived of my liberty?

How can I defend myself against any charges brought against me?

How can I appeal against any miscarriage of justice?

How is it that I can secure my freedom?

The innocent in Camp Delta have been denied any answers to any of those questions since day one of their captivity.

The last question however is the one we must concentrate so hard on today, how can we collectively secure the freedom of those detained against a US government who having accepted the innocence of those held, having given individuals promises of their release, having pledged to close the facility, still carry on their torture and their beatings regardless of world opinion?

There are of course just two reasons left for the failure of President Obama to live up to his promise made in 2010 to close Guantanamo Bay, the first I reject the second I hold to be true.

I reject the idea and perceived threat that by torturing and beating those innocent of any crime that the US has made terrorists out of torture. Of course the few who were arrested as combatants may go on to fight against their captors again, but for the innocent all they wish to do is to return to their families and to live in peace. Having offered passage to Shaker Aamer to return home to his family, successive British Governments have failed to convince the US government of our ability to ensure those released will not take up arms against them? Why this is so it is hard to believe? Of the 14 British detainees so far released the sum total of their crimes committed since return to British Soil is a solitary speeding ticket. So no the threat of future action against the USA is not a valid or credible reason to deny their release, so we are left with only one conclusion.

That is that by their release the remaining detainees will expose and implicate members of international security services including those in the UK who were complicit in the arrests, tortures and beatings which occurred within Camp Delta cages. They are being held simply because they now know too much.

It is for this reason that we must now redouble our efforts to fight for their release but also to be prepared to expose and campaign against the complicity of those whose actions assisted the USA in their crime , and that fight will go far beyond the closure of Guantanamo Bay and Bagram and every other known and unknown detention centres where the hidden and disappeared and are cruelly harmed
We are not the lawmakers, nor are we served with orders to protect the law against itself, we are the campaigners, the public voice, the voice of those unable to speak out, and therefore it is the spirit and not just the form of law that will keep justice alive.

Justice is not a freely given freedom, it is a fought for at each and every step, at each and every turn at each and every demonstration when good people refuse to simply stand aside and ignore the plight of the innocent.

Together, today in unison we fight that good fight.



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