WHO SAID WE WONT GET FOOLED AGAIN?
Click the above link, you might like to have a listen while you read but the lyrics to that Who classic, very apt! ‘Meet the new boss, same as the old boss,’ oh yes but…
I really don’t get all this fuss about the BBC’s refusal to air the Disaster Emergency Committee’s Gaza Appeal, for one thing, the Director General could almost be considered ‘dual-nationality’ if this is anything to go by.
OK, it may have cost the appeal a million pound or so but it is debateable as to whether their refusal didn’t just gain the appeal more publicity anyway. But what’s really bugging me and it’s all very well and nice to hear that so many MP’s were falling over themselves to sign the proposed Early Day Motion in protest and while it’s gratifying to hear that the Palestine Solidarity Campaign have included an urging to end the UK’s arms trade with Israel as part of their March 11th National Lobby of Parliament – I can only assume that their enthusiasm for the EDM was an attempt to mask their shame, to try and hide their guilt for the UK’s complicity, as the threatened ‘Shoah’ on Gaza was realized – let’s face it, someone in government must have known about this, the very likely fact that some of the weapons used by Israel passed through Britain some time between October and December of last year – something which the UK government is said to have no control over, you’d think there would be murmurings of discontent, a call for an inquiry perhaps, not a whisper!
Shocking! But then, I almost collapsed and died from hysterical laughter when I heard this, ‘Tony Blair wins a million-dollar prize for global leadership’ – for his determination to find solutions to areas in conflict, no less. Bush’s poodle - committed more UK troops to a battlefield than any other PM since WW2 – Iraq was hardly an act of leadership was it? Maybe he’d like to distribute the money amongst the families of the bereaved in Iraq but that wouldn’t even be a dollar each would it?
Maybe it was for his recent announcement in The Times that ‘Hamas must be brought into the peace process,’ that sounds like a promising initiative but this being Blair and come to think of it, he’s changed his tune and I’m not sure what instrument he plays but you can guarantee, there will be strings attached.
(Just remembered, he plays the guitar, doesn’t he?)
Actually, that Times article helps make my point, as I said, he’s changed his tune because at no point in the previous 18 months as ‘so-called’ Peace Envoy has he called for anything like talking to Hamas. Back in early December of last year he called for a ‘new strategy’ on Gaza but that had more to do with getting the ‘right measures’ in place to see that Hamas would be ousted in forthcoming elections. And then, after a barrage of threats of imminent military force, when asked if he was concerned about the possibility of an Israeli operation, just before Christmas, duly replies:
"All the options for Israel are difficult, but the present option is difficult too. I have already said enough." Gaza, he notes, "is not staying still, because there is no doubt that Hamas is strengthening its grip at the moment, and my own view is that if the people of Gaza thought that there is an alternative and that they could actually rejoin normality again, I think that they would opt for it, so the reason I am being coy about solutions and strategies is that I think that the time to discuss this publicly is not now.
Then he sets off on holiday, leaving Israel to implement his ‘right measures’ and drop the aforementioned weaponry amongst Gaza’s children, weaponry which, according to Baroness Tonge, in a UK parliamentary debate, included shells ‘that are able to do damage over a range of 300 metres. Then and only then, after some kind of vain, criminal even, attempt to bomb the people of Gaza into submission, does he come up with the bright idea of bringing Hamas into the peace process.
This man is not fit for the position of peace envoy but going back to that piece in the Times and just to show how far removed from reality Blair’s brain resides, it says he had appeared to be waiting for the change of government in the US before making any criticism of the Israeli blockade of Gaza and that under the stewardship of their new envoy, Mr Mitchell, Gaza was being offered the possibility of rejoining the West Bank. Rejoin the West Bank? Like it’s some kind of rose garden over there, that’s not what I’ve been hearing and ‘er, excuse me Mr Blair but there is a growing consensus of opinion that is still waiting for ‘the change’ in government, or policy at least, within the US. H’mm, we wont get fooled again, will we?
Since I wrote the above Mr Blair has visited Gaza and this was Alex Thomson introducing his report that day. Why would he appear ‘nervous’ I wonder?
BLAIR CALLS FOR END TO ISRAELI BLOCKADE OF GAZA
First off to the Middle East. In his only major British TV interview Tony Blair talked to me about visiting Gaza today and he called on the Israelis to lift their blockade of the Strip. Further he outlined his three basic principles for the basis of a peace deal. Fascinating stuff on how near we are or should be to talking with Hamas – not least because of Blair’s unique Northern Ireland experience and he makes some telling comparisons.
Characteristically evasive and expansive by turns, looking remarkably well after the stresses of UK leadership (or was it a particularly good make-up job) and yet cautious in his demeanour – nervous, even? I don’t know. All I do know is that he wouldn’t come within miles of us when we were in the area during Israel’s bombardment but clearly feels the need to talk now. An interesting watch I promise you.
Tony Blair interview
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2009
After visiting Gaza, Tony Blair describes the devastation in the region as "shocking and enormous".
Watch Alex Thomson's interview with the Middle East envoy in full: