This entry was posted on
Friday, September 15th, 2006 at
10:32 am and is filed
under Tony ‘King Blair.
Blair Watch – The Freedom They Died For: Military Families Against the War is planning a peace camp outside the Labour Conference in Manchester. They’ve organised similar events before but this time The Labour council has banned the protest.
BBC – Council accused of censoring demo: About 20 activists were denied permission to pitch tents in Albert Square in front of the Town Hall from 21 September on health and safety grounds. Rose Gentle, from Glasgow, whose 19-year-old son Gordon died in Iraq in 2004 said the council were “doing the government’s bidding”.
Independent – War protesters banned from Labour conference: The city’s Labour-controlled council has denied them permission, on health and safety grounds, to set up a “peace camp” to coincide with the start of the conference on 24 September. Its organiser, Rose Gentle, whose 19-year-old son Gordon was killed in 2004, claimed that councillors wanted to avoid causing Tony Blair embarrassment.
Boy, talk about familiar ground… and then some:
On the afternoon of the 2005 Parliament Square Carol Service (held in defiance of Section 132 of the Serious and Organised Crimes and Police Act 2005), it became clear to Team Blair that they were helpless to stop us without making complete twunts of themselves in front of the media.. so they had some jobsworth from the GLA emailing me at the last minute with some nonsense about keeping off the grass (and ‘kindly’ offering us an alternative venue in Trafalgar Square some 4 hours later… which would have made the protest completely pointless and poorly-attended).
(Psst! Please keep off the grass. Ring any bells?)
But what makes this totally New Labour is the all-too-common tactic of earnestly calling for an open debate on this or that, but not before removing all those who wish to contribute an opposing view:
You may also wish to note that – in recent statements regarding extraordinary rendition – both Straw and Blair echo Craig Murray’s concerns that using intelligence gained by torture is ‘morally, legally and practically wrong’.
They do this while claiming to be unaware of any actual instance of torture, but they can only continue to do so while Murray remains gagged.
The writing was on the wall during the 2005 General Election when Craig Murray, standing as an independent candidate in Straw’s constituency of Blackburn, was excluded from a public debate. It wasn’t until Murray was forcibly removed from the building that Jack Straw felt confident enough to deliver the following answer to this question:
Constituent: “This question is for Mr Straw; Have you ever read any documents where the intelligence has been procured through torturous means?”
Jack Straw: “Not to the best of my knowledge… let me make this clear… that the British government does not support torture in any circumstances. Full stop. We do not support the obtaining of intelligence by torture, or its use.”
UPDATE – Listen to this exchange, and a following interview, here via Blairwatch.
(PS – I think it’s pretty obvious why Team Blair have chosen a non-networking no-comment yes-man to blog from the conference… independent thought can lead to logical conclusions.)