A familiar, if desperate, media push is underway
to convince the British people that the main political parties offer them a
democratic choice in the general election on May 5. This demonstrable absurdity
became hilarious when Tony Blair, leader of one of the nastiest, most violent
right-wing regimes in memory, announced the existence of "a very nasty
right-wing campaign" to defeat him. If only it were that funny. If only
it were possible to read the "ah but" tributes to a "successful"
Labour government without cracking a rib. If only it were possible to read warmongers
bemoaning the "apathy" of the British electorate without one's laughter
being overtaken by the urge to throw up.
Truth can be subverted, but for millions of decent Britons the subversion
is over, and the penny has finally dropped. For that, they have Blair to thank.
On May 5, they will silently go on strike against a corrupt, undemocratic system,
as they did at the last election, producing the lowest turnout since the franchise,
including barely a third in some constituencies. Others will come under extraordinary
pressure to put aside considerations of basic morality and vote for this "successful"
Blair government. They allow me to change that to you ought
to be aware of what this will mean for your fellow human beings.
By voting for Blair, you will walk over the corpses of at least 100,000 people,
most of them innocent women and children and the elderly, slaughtered by rapacious
forces sent by Blair and Bush, unprovoked and in defiance of international law,
to a defenseless country. That conservative estimate is the conclusion of a
peer-reviewed Anglo-American study, published
in the British medical journal the Lancet. It is the most reliable
glimpse we have of the criminal carnage caused by Blair and Bush in Iraq, and
it is suppressed in this election "campaign."
By voting for Blair, you will be turning a deaf ear to the cries of countless
Iraqi children blown up by British cluster bombs and poisoned by toxic explosions
of depleted uranium. These unseen victims of Blair and Bush including Iraqi
women who have developed rare "pregnancy cancer," and children with
unexplained leukemia will not be your concern. According to one of the military
experts who cleaned up Kuwait after the 1991 Gulf war, Blair and Bush have created
"another Hiroshima" in parts of Iraq. You will be voting to endorse
By voting for Blair, you will turn away from the tens of thousands of children
left to starve in Iraq by his and Bush's invasion. On March 30, the United Nations
Commission on Human Rights heard that malnutrition rates among Iraqi infants
under the age of five had almost doubled since the invasion double the
number of hungry children under Saddam Hussein. The author of the report to
the commission, Jean Ziegler, a UN specialist on hunger, said the "coalition"
was to blame.
By voting for Blair, you will be affirming that liar's triumph. Blair is a
liar on such an epic scale that even those who still protect him with parliamentary
euphemisms, like Robin Cook ("He knew perfectly well what he was doing.
I think there was a lack of candor") and the Guardian and the BBC,
now struggle to finesse his perjury.
Take his latest lie. On March 13, Jonathan Dimbleby asked Blair about the
leaked memo of David Manning, the prime minister's foreign policy adviser, in
which Manning confirmed to Blair in March 2002 that he had assured the Americans
"you would not budge in your support for regime change." Blair lied
to Dimbleby that "actually he didn't say that as a matter of fact":
Manning "[made] clear that the development of WMD in breach of the United
Nations resolutions will no longer be tolerated."
Following are the words Manning wrote to Blair: "I said [to Condoleezza
Rice] that you would not budge in your support for regime change but you had
to manage a press, a Parliament, and a public opinion that was very different
[from] anything in the States." There is no mention, nothing, about United
Nations resolutions, or weapons of mass destruction.
By voting for Blair, you will invite more lies about terrorist scares in Britain
so that totalitarian laws can be enacted. "I have a horrible feeling that
we are sinking into a police state," said George Churchill-Coleman, the
former head of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist squad. Like the fake reasons for
Blair's tanks around Heathrow on the eve of the greatest antiwar demonstration
in British history, so anything, any scare, any arrest, any "control order,"
will be possible.
By voting for Blair, you will fall for the spin, the myth, of the social reformism
and "economic achievements" of his government. The ban on fox-hunting
and the lowering of the age of gay consent are political and media distractions
that do nothing to protect a social democracy being progressively shorn of ancient
liberties, such as those enshrined in Magna Carta.
Little of this is up for discussion. In 2005, we have an election, not politics;
a media court, not critical debate. True politics is about all of humanity,
and our responsibility for those who commit crimes in our name. No reverence
for the sanctity of a debased vote or a false choice or the lesser evil of
a nonexistent, sentimental, pre-Blair Labour Party will change that. We owe
that truth to the people of Iraq, at least.