Socialist Worker

LETTERS: Boris Johnson’s Libya insult exposes warmonger Tories

Issue No. 2575

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson (Pic: Foreign and Commonwealth Office)


Boris Johnson’s latest comments on Libya have rightly provoked anger.

Johnson said Libyan city Sirte is a perfect opportunity for British businesses—“all they have to do is clear the dead bodies away”.

Many people across the political spectrum said Johnson is not fit to be foreign secretary, after the comments. Some said he should resign.

But while politicians and the media rightly condemn Johnson, where was the condemnation on those who voted for bombing Libya in the first place?

The majority of Tory MPs, 279, voted for military intervention in Libya. These include the first MP to criticise Johnson for his comments, Heidi Allen.

While insulting, Johnson’s comments were hardly surprising.

After all, he was recently caught muttering a poem by Rudyard Kipling celebrating British colonialism while visiting a Buddhist temple in Myanmar.

But crucially, these comments are not just a simple Boris Johnson style gaffe.

They actually reflect the Tories’ true mindset. Wherever there is disaster or war, profits can be made. It’s all part of the sick nature of capitalism.

Johnson didn’t even attempt to hide the potential to do business with his fatcat developer mates.

He said, “There’s a group of UK business people, wonderful guys who want to invest in Sirte, on the coast”.

The worst part about this is the sickening hypocrisy from the Tories.

They say that Johnson’s comments don’t represent their party.

But in reality, this is just another deal that would be done behind closed doors.

Saying these things in public just isn’t the done thing.

The Tories’ outrage is that their warmongering and plundering have actually been exposed to the public in broad daylight.

Katherine Igidbashian, North London


Fire union supports fracking protesters

I would like to clear up the involvement of firefighters in the Kirby Misperton anti-fracking camp. The police asked us to attend the camp and remove a protester from a tower.

The Kirby Misperton campaigners have got the full solidarity of myself and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

I voted in support of the anti-fracking resolution brought before FBU national conference and I believe fracking has no place in our country, let alone North Yorkshire.

I signed up to support the Frack Free United campaign earlier this year.

I am disgusted and disappointed that firefighters were put in such a position by the police and senior fire service managers deciding to force firefighters to attend the site last week.

We are clear this is not the role of the fire service. We are there to render humanitarian services and save life and property, not provide law and order intervention.

I have raised the issue with the assistant chief fire officer.

He was set to speak to his counterpart in North Yorkshire Police to suggest that the fire service cannot be used in such a way again.

North Yorkshire FBU will decide whether we need to take further measures to prevent our members being exposed to such situations again in the future against their wishes.

Steve Howley, North Yorkshire FBU branch secretary


Disabled people have a right to work

If you interviewed me for a job and looked through my CV you would see a confident, hard-working individual.

But I am a guide dog owner.

I don’t like being out of work and constantly on the receiving end of snide comments.

I am currently volunteering and actively involved in disability rights activism. But I would rather be in paid employment.

I don’t have all the answers but through my experiences I am sure that we can work together to make paid employment worthwhile for all parties.

If all employers, public and private sector, are able to take themselves out their comfort zone we can have positive action.

Joanna Penn, Lowestoft


Britain helped create the Vietnam disaster

The Attlee Labour government sent over 20,000 British troops into Vietnam in September 1945 to help re-impose French rule. This is missing from Ken Burns’ recent documentary on the Vietnam War (Socialist Worker, 27 September).

British troops occupied Saigon and fought fierce battles with the Vietnamese resistance, claiming to have killed over 600 of them.

The British burned down whole districts of the city in reprisal for resistance attacks. Fighting continued into the following year with the last British soldiers being killed in Vietnam in June 1946.

Without this assistance, the French would never have been strong enough to return and take control.

This would have saved the country from decades of warfare.

John Newsinger, Brighton


Solidarity for Irish abortion vote

Some 150 activists recently gathered at the Scottish parliament to support women’s right to choose in the forthcoming Irish referendum on abortion.

It was called by the Scottish-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign.

The turnout and enthusiasm far surpassed what the organisers had been expecting.

With the referendum still months away this is a good sign of the sort of international solidarity that can be built as it approaches.

Penny Gower, Edinburgh

Abortion Rights Cardiff recently opened their exhibition celebrating 50 years of the 1967 Abortion Act and 50 years of activism.

At least 50 people attended.

Julie Morgan, Labour Assembly Member and long term activist in the the movement and Jo Stevens, MP for Cardiff Central, came and spoke.

The fight goes on!

Teresa Goss, Cardiff


Hypocrisy of free market

the Tories never seem to stop talking about the supposed benefits of a free market.

Theresa May even called it the “greatest collective agent of human change”.

But they have never been committed to fully implementing it.

Instead they support many restrictions.

Immigration controls are one example. Airlines are certainly not free to transport anyone they want.

Timothy Baldwin, York


Don’t stoop to their level

I’m not impressed at all with the front page of Socialist Worker “Sack Tory Rats” (Socialist Worker, 4 October).

I think using “vermin” as an insult is crass, and socialists should be raising the level of debate. Socialist Worker should not try to be a left wing Sun.

Graeme Tweedy, Devon


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