Is There No Limit to Labour’s Hypocrisy?
Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 29th August, 2010
According to an exclusive article in the Independent on Sunday, former Foreign Secretary David Miliband says that his conscience is clear over alleged UK government complicity in extraordinary rendition and other instances of the Bush administration’s use of torture in the US ‘war on terror’. He seems to be trying to push some of the blame for tolerating or remaining silent about inhumane practices onto his predecessor Jack Straw, who held the ministerial post in 2001, after 9/11. But as the eminent QC and human rights campaigner Philippe Sands rightly tells the Independent, David Miliband seems to be ‘burying his head in the sand’ over this. I would go further: what he is trying to do is to wriggle out of both the collective responsibility for the Labour government’s acquiescence to disgusting behaviour by US forces and agencies — not to mention the illegal Iraq War! — and his personal responsibility, given what he must have known at the time he was at the FCO. It is just not good enough for him to try and wash his hands of it all now and pretend that somehow New Labour is or was squeaky clean over the matter. This is rank hypocrisy. But then hypocrisy has become the theme tune of Labour’s public campaigning and utterances since the party lost the general election, whether it is attacking the Coalition government for doing things that it intended to do had it been re-elected, or denouncing plans for AV electoral reform, even though that was in the Labour manifesto. Perhaps Labour hopes that if it shouts loud enough and tries to rewrite history to a positively Stalinist degree then somehow the British electorate will believe it is the sweetness-and-light party. But the record of 13 years of New Labour is there and it stinks — as does the hypcorisy of those of the party’s leadership contenders who want to portray themselves as unsullied by what has gone before.