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    09 July, 2005

    The Politics of Paranoia

    In the inimitable words of Harry's Place:

    Liberty, if it means anything, is the right to tell people what they don't want to hear.

    I seem to have upset Blairwatch with this post. Well, good. It is absolutely clear that some people are not used to having their cosy little worlds and their cosy self-centred self-righteousness challenged with robust comment. Meanwhile, it is also right to condemn the sick comments reported to have been made by Fox News journalists.

    According to Blairwatch, the London bombings were the PM's legacy (mine too, apparently). We are, apparently against dissent and rushing headlong into ''a totalitarian state, where protest is curtailed or banned.' This, of course, is paranoia.

    I have friends, close relatives, party colleagues, and local party members who disagree with me on a number of issues, including Iraq. I have no wish to curtail or ban anyone's right to protest. I was pleased to welcome G8 protestors from the Rhondda to the National Assembly this week and to sign their petition.

    But most of them, and indeed, most of my political opponents in Wales, including, let me say, Plaid Cymru, would know what is right to say and how to behave on a day when atrocities like those of Thursday occur.

    That, amongst other reasons, is why I am with David T. at Harry's Place, with Labour Friends of Iraq, and with Norm.

    There is a very good article by Mary Kaldor in Open Democracy, by the way:

    what kind of revenge is it to attack the city where 2 million people marched against the war in Iraq? Surely this is not the way to get the British out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Some argue that the aim is to divide our city; the terrorists want Muslims to stay at home. They want to create an idea of jihad. But even this hypothesis implies too much rationality. The most that can be attributed to these insane criminals is a desire to be important. They have no other way to make us take notice except violence. They are small people who want a moment of global action.

    This is why the best reaction to this crime is to ignore it – to refuse to allow its perpetrators their moment of notoriety. Of course, it is important to strengthen protection of innocent people, and to track down the criminals and bring them before the courts. But the crime should not be allowed to derail everyday plans and projects.

    So far, the response from the emergency services, from political, religious and civic leaders, and from London’s population has been exemplary. They have offered solidarity to the victims and emphasised the need for Londoners to stick together. The crime has not produced terror or panic. Where possible, people are continuing with whatever was on their agenda where this is not disrupted by transport or by the hideous effects of the explosions.

    Rhondda TV
    The Labour Party

    Recent comments



    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

    Author's editorial policy: This blog does not publish anonymous comments, unless they are really witty and I like them. If you have something to say, then have the courage of your convictions and use your name or an identifiable alias. Even then I reserve the right not to publish comments that are malicious, defamatory, stupid, pointlessly cynical or boring. Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any constituent part or connected body.