May 26th, 2010

Falls The Shadow

Yesterday, in an attempt to stop the shadow of the Iraq war falling across the Gilbertian flummery of the State Opening of Parliament, the Mayor of London ordered the arrest of long-term protester Brian Haw and the clearing away of the peace camp that has grown up around him on Parliament Square. Haw- a bit of a loon, a bit of a hero- has been at his post since 2001- and was celebrated in an installation at Tate Britain by the artist Mark Wallinger.

A spokesperson for Boris Johnson is quoted in the Telegraph as saying;

"The Mayor respects the right to demonstrate – however, the scale and impact of the protest is now doing considerable damage to the Square and preventing its peaceful use by other Londoners including those who may wish to have an authorised protest." 

"Authorised protest"- what a lovely concept! 

"Erm, please sir, do you mind if we protest against that thing you just did?"

"No of course not.  Jolly good show- just stay within the barricades."

"Thank you, sir, that's awfully good of you."

"Not at all. Don't let anyone tell you I can't take a little criticism."

Elsewhere, the contenders for leadership of the Labour party have been been doing their best to distance themselves from the war they enabled. I particularly like this statement from Ed Balls.

"It was a mistake, it was an error. It wasn't just thousands of people lost their lives, it is also millions of people who lost trust in us because they didn't think that we did it in the right way," 

Notice how the death of thousands and the loss of trust in a poxy political party are allowed to sit in the same sentence as if they weighed equally. And do you suppose there's a right way to invade another country and kill its citizens?

The other leading contender, David Milliband, thinks it's time too "move on". He would, by the way, not have voted for the war if he'd known about the absence of WMDs.

Sorry David, Ed, Boris,  but the time to move on will be when every one of those responsible has stood trial for war crimes (which is highly unlikely)  or withdrawn from the public arena in tears (which is more unlikely still) or been shovelled under the earth they encumber- which means not for another forty or fifty years.