Thursday, August 18, 2005

Call the liars to account

I do not believe in "democracy". It seems to me just another way for the powerful to keep the disempowered from having their share.

But I do believe in some of the elements of democracy. I believe that if citizens are truly permitted to take part, they can use power wisely. (I do not believe voting once every four years is "taking part" though; however, where there are consultative procedures that have a genuine interest in consensual outcomes -- and they do exist, albeit generally as things to ignore rather than implement -- I support that.) I believe that power, wealth and opportunity should be distributed equally, and it is sometimes possible to be seduced into thinking that our democracies can make that happen -- if the will is there. I believe that the constraint of law, albeit law made by the powerful, is useful because it protects citizens from the arbitrariness of governments, and from the wilfulness of others. I believe that if you lead, you must be willing to be held to account. Indeed, I strongly believe that that is the only condition on which anyone should be allowed to have power in our world. You have it by our consent, and you must show that you use it for us.

I have no hope of Tony Blair being held to account for the illegal invasion of Iraq, which we, the people, opposed fiercely. (I marched with two million people -- two million! In a nation that doesn't bother much with political debate and is not renowned for the scale of its demonstrations, so apathetic are its citizens -- to say no to the war.) I have no hope he will ever pay any kind of price for the lives that he is responsible for ending and the chaos and destruction he ordered in a land that had done nothing to us, to people who had never harmed us and never would. I have no hope that this despicable liar, a disgrace to our nation, a war criminal, a man without honour, who destroyed the Labour ethos and seduced the party's supporters with the carrot of power at any cost, who has sold the country out to big business, allowed the continued disempowerment of the working class and the continued destruction of the unions that once protected it, will ever have his day of reckoning.

But I am still heartened to see that some of the bereaved parents, whose sons were lost in Blair's dirty war, are fighting for justice.

I doubt we'll see him impeached -- although he deserves it and legally he could have it -- but I'd like to see him on the stand, if not in the dock.


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