“For ten years we’ve been uncompromising in defence of our values, unapologetic that every citizen of every nation deserves the freedom and equal rights of a true democracy.
I believe we were right to do so.”
With these words, David Miliband gave his own father, may he rest in peace, a good slap in the face. The son of a man passionately opposed to the Vietnam War, Miliband spoke today at the Labour Conference to remind everyone that, in truth, not much has changed in the top echelons of the current Labour government.
Miliband went on to make calls for party unity in the face of division over the rights and wrongs in Iraq. For all the cheering that I’m sure there was, though the speech hasn’t been posted on the BBC website yet, for me this demonstrates the key theme of Labour policy over the last ten years.
A lack of imagination.
Continued engagements with European and American governments is the order du jour and a return to United Nations diplomacy is the future.
This leads me to ask, is the honourable Foreign Secretary and member for South Shields, Tyne and Wear really so ignorant of the history of Europe, of the US, of the United Nations?
These are not institutions set up for the betterment of human kind. Far from being the nation capable of doing the most ‘good,’ the United States has its own geo-political interests to look after and will do so regardless of the British. The special relationship remains special only so long as we agree with US foreign policy.
If we need evidence of this, a comparison of the Imam Rapito affair, regarding extradition of CIA personnel accused of extraordinary rendition, with the case of Nat West Three should be sufficient. The juvenile delinquent across the pond will get what it wants.
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The United Nations, a bastion of self-interest for Russia, China, France, the US and Britain, is not the answer either.
Some wonderful examples of double-think pervaded the rest of the speech; Miliband mentions that we, as progressives, should be ‘restless for change,’ but how dare anyone demand a referendum on Europe, for that would simply divide the Party! I wonder has Mr Miliband ever considered that many of us who oppose the constitutional reform don’t oppose Europe at all and are in fact ‘restless for change’ to the “elitist, militarist, corporate and anti-democratic” European Union? [Full text of TUC motion]
The Reform Treaty doesn’t address any of those issues.
Mind you, given that the UK has already opted out of the only worthwhile part of the new Reform Treaty, what does a referendum matter? Are we going to vote against the government? Seems fairly pointless to do so. It just gives more voice to UKIP head-bangers who would claim victory for themselves.
At any rate, to echo Miliband, ten years in government and what have we to show for it in foreign policy? Millions of Muslims who think we’re Robin to Bush’s Batman. Several hundred young British men and women dead, injured or traumatised from their service in a war the nation didn’t want.
Since Miliband brought the matter up, eighteen years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and shouldn’t it tell us something that under a ‘free’ and ‘democratic’ Bundesrepublik, the Monday evening protests have resumed? There is our ‘progress.’