A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

"You're not telling me that we'll win those seats with a 50p tax rate, an amnesty on illegal migration and a return to secondary picketing."

Hazel Blears tells the Party to wake up and smell the coffee.

44 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your not telling me we'll these seats (or for that matter boroughs across London and councils all over the country, plus Scotland, that we no longer control) whilst we persist with the approach that lost all that support in the first place. No change at all makes no sense.

4:39 pm, June 07, 2007

 
Blogger HenryG said...

You're not telling me that we'll win those seats...with top-up fees, 1.9% wage increase for nurses, less junior doctors, extra charges for rubbish collection and no apology for 200,000 deaths in Iraq.

5:13 pm, June 07, 2007

 
Anonymous hazelishistory said...

Well said Henry G.Bye Hazel......you're toast.

5:18 pm, June 07, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Henry

I wasn't proposing that we actually allowed those to be the issues we fight the next election on. It is quite possible to address all of those within a strategic positioning that does not send a signal that we have moved substantively to the left.

5:22 pm, June 07, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nonetheless, Luke, Hazel's message seems to be no change at all. That's not really very attractive.

5:27 pm, June 07, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Read her policy document:

http://www.hazelblears.com/downloads/Hazel_Blears_Policy_document.pdf

It's full of ideas for change - but not ones designed to piss off swing voters.

5:30 pm, June 07, 2007

 
Anonymous Owen said...

and no apology for 200,000 deaths in Iraq.

650,000 deaths actually - and that was according to a report published over six months ago.

By the time this conflict ends (can't see that in the near future, can you?) we can expect a civilian death toll that is drastically over a million.

Whatever happens in the Labour party over the next few years, we have a duty to make sure that this was isn't intentionally "forgotten" the way that Britain's dirty war in Kenya in the 1950s was, for example.

5:32 pm, June 07, 2007

 
Blogger Sham said...

650,000 deaths actually - and that was according to a report published over six months ago.

By the time this conflict ends (can't see that in the near future, can you?) we can expect a civilian death toll that is drastically over a million.


That's a million too many, each one of which is regretted and not the result of allied troops murdering innocent civilians.

The figure is also significantly less than the number of people killed by Saddam, people deliberately murdered by a vile dictator - a man you'd rather was still running Iraq, quite literally getting away with murder.

It's time you supported the democratically elected Iraqi government and criticised the militias responsible for the death toll.

I ain't holding my breath ...

5:46 pm, June 07, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sham's comments are part of the problem - too many people are in denial about the catastrophic impact the war has had on Labour's support amongst key parts of its base.

Muslim Britons for example were once the corest of the core Labour vote. Many are now deeply alienated and unwilling to return to the Labour fold.

Similarly many other voters were either alienated by the war or by the sense that it had damaged their ability to trust Labour.

It cannot be denied in all seriousness that this was a massive reasons why we have lost seats such as Hornsey and Wood Green, Brent East, Bethnal Green and Bow, or why we lost large proportions of our vote not to the Tories but to the Greens, LibDems and Respect in the London borough elections last year.

This particular group of 'swing' voters must be addressed by the party. Pretending that they are not angry or disappointed with us and proposing to do nothing about it is not a solution.

5:57 pm, June 07, 2007

 
Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

I'd have more respect for people like Hazel (and you, to be honest Luke) if they defended the policies they believe in on the basis of their actual merits and their actual belief in them, rather than just pretending that it's the only way to win swing seats. It's a psephological nonsense really, but often the people that use it as a smokescreen are actually very ideological politicans (not necessarily Hazel, actually - but Luke, certainly) and should have the courage of their convictions.

6:17 pm, June 07, 2007

 
Anonymous Owen said...

Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who was responsible for thousands of deaths. However, a) he was armed and supported by Western states during the period of his most intense brutality, when Labour leftwingers like Jeremy Corbyn were camped outside the Iraqi embassy; and b) no, he did not kill anywhere near a million people and no-one has produced an estimate of anything like that figure.

Furthermore, according to the United Nations, at least one million died as a direct result of sanctions. It is frankly impossible to imagine the level of suffering that has been caused by the West in Iraq - by backing a ruthless dictatorship, imposing murderous sanctions, and mounting a disastrous invasion and occupation.

In the first year of the occupation alone, the risk of violent death in Iraq increased by 58 times according to a peer reviewed Lancet report. I think Sham should bear that in mind when he is denouncing those who marched against this disastrous war and suggests that they still support Saddam slaughtering civilians (indeed, Sham should note that one of the specialities of Saddam's gang in the 70s was executing leftwingers - with the help of lists of alleged Communists provided by the CIA).

According to opinion polls carried out by numerous independent organisations and Western forces, the Iraqi people overwhelmingly oppose the presence of Western troops. A poll by the MoD in August 2005 revealed that 83% supported the immediate withdrawal of occupation troops and nearly half supported armed action against coalition forces. Excluding the Kurdish population - who, by and large undeniably are not hostile to the Western presence - these figures reveal overwhelming opposition to Western forces among Iraq's majority Arab population.

Unfortunately it's hard to have any sort of debate with Sham because he never produces facts, just a bit of invective which usually ends with him calling an opponent of the war a card-carrying member of the Ba'athist Party. To be honest he's a caricature of himself and does more damage to Blairism than I could ever hope to achieve.

I would also agree that, as well as causing huge suffering for the Iraqi people and drastically increasing the threat of international terrorism, no other policy has driven away Labour members and supporters as much as this catastrophic war.

6:23 pm, June 07, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The UK and USA are not setting off car bombs and murdering trade unionists in Iraq.

I have no doubt the lunatic fringe in the the UK and the rest of Europe was responsible for Sadam H's defiance of the UN.

And YES It was i my name

8:04 pm, June 07, 2007

 
Anonymous susan calder valley CLP said...

It would really be nice if anonymous posters actually had a bit of courage, wouldn't it? They remind me of kids who knock on doors and run away.Well said, Owen.

8:12 pm, June 07, 2007

 
Blogger Bob Piper said...

anonymous said "And YES It was in my name"

Enough said there, I think!

8:29 pm, June 07, 2007

 
Anonymous Hovedan said...

but the polls show that Harriet is the candidate who appeals most -dont take my word for it - look at You Gov's most recent poll:

`Which do you think would make you more likely to vote Labour? Harriet Harman 17%, 3% above her nearest rival (Benn) and 10% ahead of Hazel.

asked `Which candidate do you think is in touch with family life?' Harriet Harman received 33% her nearest rival (Hazel got 14%)

asked `Which do you think is trustworthy?
Harriet Harman topped the poll at 23%,
her nearest rival Hilary Benn was on 20% and Hazel received 12%

Like you Luke im a moderate realist who wants to win - and the independent polling suggest that Harriet is best placed to do that.

Harriet Harman and Gordon Brown offer an election winning double.

9:19 pm, June 07, 2007

 
Anonymous Ted Harvey said...

Yes Susan it's odd that the anon ones are so adept at throwing around accusations of cowardice at others. And Bob, that was funny when you drew attention to Anon proclaiming "YES it was in my name"

The poverty of the arguments of the pro-war people never seems to change... we have SHAM who(after rolling out totally baseless figures) makes the pathetic deduction that those of us against the neo-colonialism in Iraq "would rather" that Saddam (who we are helpfully told was a vile dictator) "was still running Iraq quite literally getting away with murder". Sadam was of course long previously armed and paid to get on with mass murder by the same hypocritics who now claim to have done good in removing him.

Then we have another Anonymous with an equally barmy assertion that "I have no doubt the lunatic fringe in the the UK and the rest of Europe was responsible for Sadam H's defiance of the UN." If he really has no doubt he should seek some professional help.

The pro-war apologists remind me how not many decades ago, when right- wingers found out someone voted Labour, that was enough for them to tell them "to f*** off to Russia" because seemingly it was such socialists' fault that the Russians were threatening our peace-loving democracy.

The myopic, self righteous and self-serving mindest of macho war apologists seems not to change over the decades.

9:25 pm, June 07, 2007

 
Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

hovedan - they did a similar poll a while ago and Harman was the candidate both most likely to make people vote Labour and most likely to make other people not vote Labour.

Funnily enough, she only quotes the first statistic.

9:42 pm, June 07, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Well I don't post anonymously, and the liberation of Iraq was in my name.

It isn't the UK or the USA that is causing innocent deaths by the thousands in Iraq. Our governments aren't car bombing civilians, they are there on a UN mandate trying to give security and stability to a fledgling democracy.

70 years ago the left would have been sending volunteer International Brigades to fight the fascists - which is what the insurgents are - not calling for the Iraqi people to be abandoned to either a civil war or restoration of a dictatorship.

10:33 pm, June 07, 2007

 
Anonymous Ian G said...

We're not going to win any seats without activists either Luke. While we are showing a modest upturn membership, it's nothing like what we need.

You cheerfully write off the views of well over half the party as being irrelvent and useless. That doesn't strike me as a very good strategy.

I expect we in my CLP are going to get begged to go and help out in the nearest marginal. Once we sent coachloads but help is unlikely to be forthcoming this time round.

11:28 pm, June 07, 2007

 
Blogger Owen said...

Actually, Luke, if you look at the peer-reviewed Lancet findings, you will discover that the biggest single causes of death in Iraq are from aerial bombardment and US army bullets. The report reveals that hundreds of thousands have died from "coalition" violence.

Presumably you welcomed the "liberation" of Fallujah, for example - a city that was pounded into rubble with the resulting deaths of thousands of innocent civilians. I remember one particularly horrowing report of an entire family being mowed down by a US helicopter whilst swimming across the Euphrates in a desperate attempt to escape the assault.

Furthermore, the continued presence of Western troops serves as a magnet for every armed jihadi in the Middle East. This is why the head of the British Army has quite sensibly pointed out that the presence of troops is a cause of instability.

The killing fields of Iraq that the invasion and occupation has created is far worse than that existed under the undeniably brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of the Iraqi people oppose the continued presence of occupation troops.

12:56 am, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger Benjamin said...

I'll break it to you gently, chaps. The Deputy Leader won't set policy or have the power to change it. Gordo does that.

2:12 am, June 08, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But at least the deputy leadership contest could be a signal that the party is willing (and able) to admit to making mistakes and is prepared to listen to concerns. Rather than insisting that Iraq was a good idea, that we have no regrets about the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, blagh blagh blagh. Electing a candidate with credibility who is willing to put their hands up and admit to mistakes will go some of the way to rehabilitating the party with a substantial portion of the voting public. Whatever the diehard loyalists say - that can only be a good thing for Labour.

3:02 am, June 08, 2007

 
Anonymous The moral vacuuity of the hard left said...

Sham's comments are part of the problem - too many people are in denial about the catastrophic impact the war has had on Labour's support amongst key parts of its base.

yeh, f**k dem Kurds. Think of the votes.

10:48 am, June 08, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Moral vacuuity', why aren't you campaigning for invasions of Zimbabwe, Burma and dozens of other nations around the world where people are oppressed? Or do you only advocate humanitarian intervention when you've got the green light from George W (who himself needs to be given permission by godly voices in his head)? You really are morally superior.

11:42 am, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Actually I think regime change in Zim and Burma would be great. The UK doesn't have the spare military resources to do it though - though I have a feeling a batalion of paras landing at Harare airport would probably be enough to collapse Mugabe's rotten government. And I'm not aware that the opposition movements in those 2 countries have called for military intervention.

11:53 am, June 08, 2007

 
Anonymous croslander said...

Yet again the central irony of the Blears pitch

i) Appeal to swing voters (she is bottom of every poll, they all loathe her)

ii) Rebuild the party (she has just 200 members in her CLP, came bottom of the YouGov poll of members, got just 36 clp noms and scraped onto the ballot paper)

12:32 pm, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger Sham said...

Anon 11:42 said: "'Moral vacuuity', why aren't you campaigning for invasions of Zimbabwe, Burma and dozens of other nations around the world where people are oppressed?"

I don't know about moral vacuuity's point of view, but I - like Luke - am indeed in favour of regime change in Harare and Rangoon. Now, if this were proposed by Gordon Brown and George Bush, what would the response of the anti-war mafia be? To support it? Not in a million years! The likes of Owen and Susan Press would be marching alongside Galloway and Charles Kennedy in opposing freedom for the Zimbabweans and Burmese.

And speaking of Susan Press, will she now condemn anon 11:42, or does she only speak out against anonymous posters with whom she disagrees?

And Owen, thank you for proving my point with your many apologies for the regime of Saddam Hussein.

"he did not kill anywhere near a million people"

"at least one million died as a direct result of sanctions. It is frankly impossible to imagine the level of suffering that has been caused by the West in Iraq"

That's right, blame the Western democracies for all the deaths, and not the man himself.

"you will discover that the biggest single causes of death in Iraq are from aerial bombardment and US army bullets. The report reveals that hundreds of thousands have died from "coalition" violence."

Blame it on the good guys, eh! Still no mention of the suicide bombers, huh?

And what about the gassing of the Kurds? Forgotten Saddam's record, have we?

12:56 pm, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

Do you know WHEN the gassing of the Kurds took place, sham? Was it when Saddam was dangerous and we were arming him? Or when he was virtually destroyed already and we decided to invade?

1:29 pm, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger Chris Paul said...

Hazel is in a bit of a parallel universe herself. That platform - which is expressed by her in a rather twisted way - WOULD win us back Man Wit and Leeds and a number of other seats actually. She gets this POV largely from talking with her own constituents - we have discussed these things (wo)mano-a-mano - and to be honest she's mirroring not leading here and this is not sustainable politics. Leading is sometimes required we're not effing Lib Dems with no politics and no principles.

The 50p rate is a bit unlikely and if it did setting the threhold carefully would be important ... but cracking down on non-resident, non-domicile rules, various legal avoidance schemes and so on would be hugely popular. In the party and the country too.

An amnesty could provide 400,000 votes for life (plus rising 18s and other dependents etc) hee hee hee as well as appealling to Lib Dem voters in Man Wit, Leeds etc. But what is being suggested is earnt regularisation not amnesty and there are ways for Labour to win the argument FOR some positive action here if we play our cards right.

Many Labour supporters accept that in the case of Gate Gourmet and other vile global capitalist stitch ups that there is a case for solidarity action. This is also party policy, passed 2005.

As Henry G says some of the existing policies Hazel will not trash deserve some rethinking. Not quite the same list as mine. But why call it trashing? Why not refer to adjustments and calibration as we learn from experience. Trashing like lurching is violent language where listening, nurturing and seeing other POVs is needed.

1:56 pm, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger Chris Paul said...

Owen: the Lancet report and the headline figure hasn't got any better science with the passage of time.

It is based on a tiny sample by the standards of the methodology used. And what those who quote it so freely don't seem to get is that it guesses (yes GUESSES) at 650,000 with a VERY WIDE range of other guesses also compatible with the data collected. The various studies - allowing for their different subjects - actually overlap or close when the full ranges predicted (lancet) or actually counted (IBC) and then scaled for systemic error are compared properly.

I know I've promised a post on that at some time and haven't got round to it - though I have collected the resources for it - but it seems to arguing over whether it's 200,000 or 600,000 excess deaths (both within the Lancet's range of predicted figures) is a waste of breath. Either way it's a huge figure. Either way we went to war on some hooky data (cf Lancet). Either way an exit strategy is needed. Mine is (1) confine to barracks and (2) ship out now. But an international force may then be required. UK and USA participation in that may not be the right thing - but who else is going to send their boys and girls to die?

And if we're going to just shoot the breeze about the situation what about Luke's throwaway remark about the International Brigade? Seems to me he has an argument there though it's not a very good one and that needs to be taken down.

I have thought for a long time that there is a valid comparison with the IB - but not in terms of our Imperialist armies.

Anyway this is way off topic. Hazel's characterisation of our "lurching" and "trashing" is what needs examination and response, not a pissing contest on how many have died or even on whether the invasion/liberation was right.

The war is a surprisingly unimportant issue to the constituencies that HB and LA have identified as the ones we need to chase. But it is a very important one to the three or four main constituencies among the 4 million lost voters.

We need to win the argument on which votes we really do need to chase, hold or win back.

And as Doctor Dunc says we need to have LA defend the policies on their merits - if he can - rather than just spinning them as vote winners. That's a desperate and rather unprincipled place to be in my opinion. But as DD says LA is not an unprincipled politician and he mostly agrees the principles as well as thinking they win votes.

2:18 pm, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger Chris Paul said...

One last thing. Luke, a battallion of paras might well be able to take out Mugabe. But not deal with the aftermath of that. What's the plan man?

No plan, no "liberal" intervention.

2:23 pm, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger Owen said...

Sham,

As I've said previously, it's very difficult to debate with you as your contributions are devoid of facts and consist almost exclusively of invective and suggestions that those who oppose the war (which includes the majority of the British public - and indeed 139 Labour MPs at the time) are basically fully paid up members of the Ba'athist Party.

I have always made clear that I regard Saddam Hussein's regime to be a brutal dictatorship that was responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians. My point was that a) he wasn't responsible for the deaths of a million people and no-one has produced an estimate even close to that; and b) he was armed and supported by the West during the period of his most intense brutality.

The gassing of the Kurds at Halabja was a particularly barbaric crime. Leftwingers such as Jeremy Corbyn who spoke out about the crime were relatively lonely voices at the time. Tragically, the components necessary for this chemical attack were supplied by a variety of countries including the US, the UK, West Germany and France. While the likes of Donald Rumsfeld were shaking hands with Saddam and selling him weapons, it was the left that was protesting against this regime.

As I've pointed out, at least one million people died (according to the UN) as the direct result of sanctions. Hundreds of thousands of others have died as a direct result of the invasion and occupation. The fact that far, far more have died as a direct result of 4 years of war than 25 years of Saddam's brutal dictatorship speaks volumes about the scale of the disaster caused by the war - hence, for example, violent deaths increased by 58 times in the first year of the war.

I have mentioned the suicide bombers who are responsible for the deaths of thousands. The Lancet reveals that thousands have died because of such attacks. However, the report points out that car bombs and other explosions were responsible for 14% of violent deaths - as compared to 56% by gunshot wounds (with no specified source) and 31% by coalition forces and airstrikes. Furthermore, I would note that the jihadis have been attracted to Iraq by the presence of occupying troops - hence why, for example, the head of the British Army has made clear that he believes the presence of troops is a contributing factor to Iraq's instability.

2:34 pm, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger Owen said...

Chris Paul - I would welcome your response to the Lancet report but I would, in the most comradely way possible, question whether or not either of us are in a position to question a peer-reviewed study conducted by experts for the world's most prestigious medical journal.

I'd also point out that the methodology has been repeatedly used in the past (for example, in the DRC and Central America) and has been considered reliable.

2:38 pm, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger Owen said...

Since we're talking about Halabja, I thought that Sham might want to see what leading Labour Left MP Jeremy Corbyn was saying at the time:

3 May 1989
"Mr. Jeremy Corbyn (Islington, North) : The Leader of the House must be aware of the deep concern that many British people have about the potential danger of any sale of arms to Iraq. Early-day motion 869 points out that the Iraqi Government have practised genocide against the Kurdish people, have an appalling and disgraceful human rights record and that any trade with Iraq, be it direct sales from Britain, credit that is made available to the Iraqi Government, or diplomatic recognition and support for Iraq, in effect supports Iraq's human rights record and its attacks on the Kurdish people.

[That this House believes that the Government of Iraq has an appalling record on human rights and that it has used chemical and biological weapons against Kurdish people ; believes that it is inconsistent to ban the sale of weapons or weapons material to the Government of Iraq whilst allowing credit and trade ; and therefore demands a ban on all trade with Iraq.]

In those circumstances, may we have a debate in the House on our relationship with Iraq so that those of us who believe strongly that there should be no trade with Iraq while it continues its murderous practices against the Kurdish people, using chemical and biological weapons against them, can argue that all trade should be stopped to show that we are serious in our condemnation of the Iraqi Government's abuses of human rights?

Sir Geoffrey Howe : No one hesitates to condemn the abuse of human rights in Iraq, as in any other country, and the hon. Gentleman is entirely right to draw attention to that. He should also acknowledge that the guidelines on the sale of defence materials to Iraq remain in exactly the same state as they were when they were originally drawn up in the course of the Gulf conflict.

However, as my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office made clear about a month ago, cutting off all trade with Iraq would serve only to create a satisfaction among our industrial competitors and the loss of jobs in Britain. That is not a sensible thing to allow, however much one may abhor the abuse of human rights."

See also:
here and here.

3:02 pm, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger Sham said...

Owen,

If you add up the number of people who died during Saddam's reign, some of which you blame (wrongly) on sanctions, coupled with the deaths in the Iran-Iraq war, the first gulf war, the gassing of the Kurds etc. etc. not to mention his treatment of political opponents (bullets in the back of the head, thrown into vats of boiling oil and so on) this figure far outweighs the number of deaths since 2003 - deaths caused primarily by Islamic extremists, and not coalition bombs & bullets.

So what do we have?

3,000,000/25 = 120,000 deaths per year under Saddam, each one deliberate, each one his fault;

200,000/4 = 50,000 deaths per year since the liberation, the majority the result of suicide bombings and Islamist death squads.

Re: Corbyn - why, when push came to shove, didn't he support the victims of Halabja by voting for the overthrow of Saddam, the man responsible for their deaths.

They weren't gassed by Rumsfeld or Bush or Blair but by Saddam.

End. Of. Story.

3:05 pm, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

"We" i.e. Labour did not arm Saddam - the Tories gave him about 5% of his arms, the vast majority came from the Soviet Union.

Chris - my plan for the aftermath in Zim would be an MDC Government, which would have been elected anyway without ballot rigging.

3:26 pm, June 08, 2007

 
Anonymous Owen said...

More insightful stuff from the Shamster.

Sham, you can't claim that all those died in the First Gulf War - i.e. including the thousands killed by US-led forces - were the responsibility of Saddam's dictatorship; nor is it accurate to add the military casualties on both sides of the armed conflict between Iran and Iraq (in which the West backed Iraq) to the number of civilians killed by the Ba'athist tyranny.

What exactly is the basis for the 3 million you've just claimed? Where are your sources? I'm afraid you can't just pluck a statistic out of thin air - nor can you suggest that someone is an apologist for Saddam's dictatorship if they don't accept a figure you've, well, just made up.

Where have you got 200,000 dead in Iraq since the invasion from? Who is even claiming this figure? The peer-reviewed Lancet report (which you haven't even bothered to engage with) makes clear that far more people have died as a result of coalition violence than as a result of the suicide attacks of fundamentalist terrorists.

As I keep saying, the first Lancet study revealed that violent deaths increased 58 times in the first year following the invasion.

Jeremy Corbyn - a prominent and long-standing advocate of the Kurdish people - did not support the war because he believed (quite rightly, as it turned out) that its consequences would be the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians, civil war and murderous chaos in Iraq, and a massive boost for international terrorism.

No-one has claimed that Bush, Rumsfeld etc personally gassed 8,000 Kurdish civilians at Halabja. What has been pointed out is that the West supported him during that period, had supplied him with the materials necessary to make the weapons, and rebuffed calls by the left to cut relations with Iraq.

I'd also point out that thousands of suspected Communists were killed by the Baathists in the 1970s - partly with lists supplied by the CIA.

If you're going to give me another of your meathead-style replies with no evidence, just a lot of your usual shouting and suggestions that I and other opponents of the war are Baathists, then I reckon we're going to have to wrap this "debate" up, aren't we?

4:17 pm, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger Sham said...

You, Jeremy Corbyn, George Galloway and the rest of your unprincipled mob can squeal all you like but the facts speak for themselves.

More people died as a direct result of Saddam's murderous tyranny - per year and in total - than have died since the liberation. And let me repeat, since you are having difficulty in understanding the difference between the two, that the killing on his watch was DELIBERATE, INTENTIONAL and UNMOURNED; quite unlike that which has happenned since 2003, when the Islamic militias - AND NOT US and UK forces - have gone round killing everyone in sight, Iraqi civilians and coalition troops alike. Understand?

As for you not being an apologist for Saddam, all you've done on this thread, indeed every time you speak on this issue, has been precisely that.

"He wasn't a threat."

"He only killed, I mean, he only killed thousands and not millions."

"It's all the fault of the Yanks for arming him."

"The imperialist scum supprted him in the eighties so I'm gonna support him now."

"You can't blame Saddam for the deaths in the nineties, it's all the fault of the UN sanctions."

"Democracy? It would be wrong to bring democracy to Ira, they don't want it, they'd be better off under Saddam."

"The present Iraqi Government are stooges of the West, a puppet Government, quite unlike the anti-Imperialist hero Saddam."

And on and on and on ...

You can try and defend your record of appeasement, cowardice and treachery all you like, but it won't wash.

Have a good weekend, Mr 8%!

5:42 pm, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger Owen said...

Sham - there's no point continuing this "debate". You don't use any facts (because you don't know any) and you resort to hilarious distortions - I'm loving your paraphrase quotes.

What you don't seem to realise is that, to most people, you come across as a sort of satire or parody of a Blairite. As I've said, your wacky posts do more to discredit Blairism than I could ever aspire to.

Keep up the good work, mate.

6:20 pm, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

Sham, why not actually try and debate the issue? I assume you have strong views about it, so why not engage with others in an honest debate, rather than invent absurdities, put them in their mouths and debate them?

When I was involved in campaigns against the sanctions on Iraq, I'd be at meetings with exiled Iraqi dissidents, a lot of Kurds, a lot of Shia, I assume you're not accusing them of being apologists for Saddam or Ba'athism? Yet, I can tell you now that they were enraged by sanctions (one man I knew, a Kurdish doctor, wanted to send copies of the British Medical Journal to his brother in Iraq (another doctor), and was not allowed to under the sanctions!) And the thing that united them (apart from a righteous anger about Saddam, which they articulated whenever anyone seemed close to being equivocal about the tyrant) was a fear that there might be another war: that the US and UK in particular may invade again. I know we heard from some exiles, in the lead up to the war, that welcomed the policy, but you must understand that there was no unified orthodox position.

I also lost contact with an email/penfriend in Iraq at the time of the invasion - very worryingly - who expressed their extraordinary fear about the war. Again, this was someone who was brave enough to send emails to people in the UK fiercely criticising his government, and I really can't express how extraordinarily offensive your caricature of those who oppose the war really is.

But of course, really we all supported Saddam and oppose democracy in Iraq, don't we?

7:48 pm, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger Sham said...

But of course, really we all supported Saddam and oppose democracy in Iraq, don't we?

Duncan, How else can your opposition to the overthrow of Saddam and therefore to the introduction of democracy in Iraq - as well as a failure to support the democratically elected government in Baghdad (calling for the withdrawal of allied troops, for example) - be interpreted?

Back in 2003, you had no way of knowing what would happen next. Furthermore, had Saddam actually had WMDs, would the ensuing mêlée have been any less fierce? And would the insurgency have been as great had the war been prosecuted with UN backing?

righteous anger about Saddam, which they articulated whenever anyone seemed close to being equivocal about the tyrant

Well, how about some criticism of Galloway, instead of fawning over "gorgeous" George, or worse still voting for him, as so many who opposed the war have done.

Like it or not, that man is seen as the figurehead of the ant-war movement. I'd imagine many of your comrades in Iraq to find this fact sickening.

you resort to hilarious distortions

Caricatures cut both ways.

Those of us who supported the war are not "only interested in the oil", people who "don't care how many Iraqis get killed", "Islamophobic scum who who hate Muslims and want to convert them all to Christianity", etc. etc. - accusations which have been thrown about by many of the anti-war protesters.

Owen, you can laugh all you like, but the quotes attributed to you are not a million miles from the truth.

8:56 pm, June 10, 2007

 
Anonymous jamie said...

"Well, how about some criticism of Galloway, instead of fawning over "gorgeous" George, or worse still voting for him, as so many who opposed the war have done."

"Those of us who supported the war are not "only interested in the oil", people who "don't care how many Iraqis get killed", "Islamophobic scum who who hate Muslims and want to convert them all to Christianity", etc. etc. - accusations which have been thrown about by many of the anti-war protesters."

2 million people demonstrated against the war and 139 labour mps voted against it you stupid wanker

the majority of the british public oppose it

are you suggested that all these people voted for galloway or support these unattributed quotes?

the fact is you'd be a mccarthyite if you were intelligent enough to know what a mccarthyite was. you are literally oblivious to how embarrassing your cringeworthy contributions are - the most ott exaggerations, distortions, and factual inaccurancies

and frankly i know people on the right of the party who regard your contributions as irritatingly counterproductive and embarrassing - because you play right into the hands of the left by demonstrating how braindead some blairites actually are

i've read owen and dunc's comments - the fact you attribute quotes such as "The present Iraqi Government are stooges of the West, a puppet Government, quite unlike the anti-Imperialist hero Saddam." is just so fundamentally bizarre that i just don't know what to say

i'd recommend people avoid debating with this mentally unhinged caricature because i just don't see the point

10:25 pm, June 10, 2007

 
Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

Back in 2003, you had no way of knowing what would happen next.

No Sham, and neither did you. Indeed a lot of Iraqis I spoke to feared that at some point during the war (after hundreds of deaths) there'd be some arrangement and Saddam would remain in power. As indeed, Blair offered on the eve of war (was Blair wrong on that occasion, for you?)

Sham - to whom do you attribute the quotations you include in your post?

I'm not going to get into some debate about George bloody Galloway, as this has nothing to do with him. I assume you would recognise that there is a substantial body of anti-war opinion in the Labour Party and therefore to divert the debate into a discussion of people in a different party is entirely irrelevant.

Sham - I am very pleased that Saddam Hussain is not President of Iraq any more, and I concede that - if I'd had my way - he may still have been President. But to isolate that one single aspect of this and reify it above all else is to engage in fantasy politics. The truth of post-invasion Iraq is in fact even worse than the horrors of pre-war Iraq. I do not say that lightly.

People were hugely brave to vote in the elections in Iraq, but ask any of them and they'll tell you how frustrated they are with the lack of progress, how angry the vast majority are that the occupation is ongoing, and how frightened they are - yes, of sectarian violence, but also of the occupying forces. There are still dawn raids in Iraq by frightening armed men; people are still disappearing. For some it is as if Saddam never went away.

9:58 am, June 11, 2007

 
Blogger Sham said...

"Jamie", do you imagine for one second I actually care what you think?

Jeez, at least have the balls to insult me under your own name, or how about providing evidence of those people who find my contributions "irritatingly counterproductive and embarrassing" ...

1:26 pm, June 11, 2007

 

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