To clear the way for proposed legislation threatening prosecution for anyone who “glorifies” or “justifies” terrorism, home secretary Charles Clarke is now burrowing through the history books working out what can be described as “terrorism” and what can be termed a justified rebellion against tyranny.
The Dublin Easter Rising of 1916 will be placed in the latter camp so as not to offend the government of the Irish Republic, founded by armed rebels against British colonialism. But what of Tom Barry, Dan Breen and a host of other IRA members who were denounced by the British as terrorists in the independence war which followed?
How many members of Likud, the ruling party in Israel, will face jail if they visit Britain? Few of them would denounce the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946.
This was carried out by the Zionist Irgun led by Menachem Begin, later a Likud prime minister of Israel. The bombing killed 81 people—more civilians than died on 7 July this year in London.
Last week Tony Blair explained to the BBC that terrorism was about the killing of innocent civilians. Yet he and a host of other political leaders justify such actions every day.
The truth is that this legislation is about intimidating and silencing those who might speak out in any way against this government’s permanent war policy.
The real victors in the German elections
The success of the Left Party in Germany’s election lights a beacon for the left across Europe to follow. Unlike in Britain or Italy the radical left was winning votes against a government which opposed the Iraq war and refused to commit troops there.
According to the script the radical left should have been dispatched to the knacker’s yard after history ended with the “triumph of capitalism”. Instead, across the continent there is a growing rebellion against a political system where choice is reduced to that between brands of neo?liberalism.
A resurgent radical left gives a voice to all those left sidelined by the market — from Chemnitz and the Ruhr to the estates ringing Paris and working class communities across Britain.
A hard day’s work never killed anyone?
The press hardly reported this week that 5,000 people die each day across the world from accidents at work or work-related diseases.
The International Labour Organisation found the global death toll was 2.2 million last year. And even this figure is a great underestimate of the true toll.
Exposure to asbestos alone accounts for 100,000 workers’ deaths each year.
The report focuses on China and India, where the push for growth and profits has proved lethal. But these are not the only causes for concern.
Since Tony Blair was elected over 2,000 people have been killed at work in Britain. Yet the number of safety inspectors is being cut and the government refuses to deliver on its promise of a meaningful law on corporate killing.