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POLITICAL LETTERS............................................................................................................

About a year before the invasion of Iraq, when the media began discussing the issue, I wrote the first letter in my life to an MP - Michael Foster (Hastings). Since then I've received his circulars on several matters, mostly to begin with on the Iraq invasion, but later on crime which seems to me a diversionary tactic (since I've never expressed an interest).

I wrote frequently in the months leading up to the invasion, until I realised my letters both to Mr Foster and in early 2003 to David Triesman (Labour Party Chairman at the time) were futile - as clearly were the letters of thousands of other concerned individuals, many I dare say more articulate than me, including an ongoing stream of commentary and questions from skilled veteran commentators like John Pilger.

Most of this has been consigned to history, but below are the most recent emails between myself and Mr Foster beginning in August 08 when I replied to his 'Crime' circular. It is a succession of exchanges that continued UNTIL 10.9.09 when a stooge (Mr Leahy) responded instead (pp). And nothing since - apart from a couple of (tedious) 'crime' circulars. Shortly before that date Mr Foster was appointed 'Equality' minister.

My only comment now is that if he's anything like the former boss he seemed to worship (ie, Blair) then the rich are set to get richer and the poor poorer. Which is precisely what has transpired (or, rather, continued to be engineered) during the past 13-years of 'Labour' government. Obviously, this follows a trend: just as Israel's devastating brutal invasion of the Gaza Strip occurred soon after Blair was appointed Middle East 'peace envoy', we now have an 'equality minister' to further the disparity between rich and poor.

'Peace Envoy', 'Equality Minister'.... are these euphemisms new? If so they merely add to the already substantial established catalogue of similar misleading twaddle - not a few entries in which are from the last decade...

My Letter

MP's Reply

 

19.4.10 -...MOST RECENT

9.2.10...

18.9.09

6.9.09

3.8.09

10.7.09

22.6.09

18.6.09 ........(to Media-Show)

18.5.09 ........(+ STW fwd)

18.4.09

2.4.09

....(no reply)

17.2.09

29.1.09 (+ prefaced afterthought)

5.11.08......(+ large attachment)

13.8.08

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.5.10 - MOST RECENT

15.4.10

....(no reply)

10.9.09

.....(no reply)

30.7.09

29.6.09

18.6.09

....(no reply)

20.4.09 (+briefing note)

....(no reply)

27.3.09.... (+attachment)

27.2.09

11.2.09

....(no reply)

24.10.08

 

 

 

 

 

First, in reply to the crime circular:
                                                                   ........Hastings, E Sussex   top

Michael Foster
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA
(via local office)
                                             Your ref: JL/CLAR01015/
13 August 2008

Dear Mr Foster

RE: Crime – your recent circular.

Thanks for your letter on Crime. You state in your fourth paragraph:

“I think the most important human right for people is to feel safe in their homes and communities.”

I entirely agree that this is certainly ONE of the most important rights, so why then does your government persist in spending huge amounts of our hard-earned taxes on not only removing this basic right from millions of people, but in ‘removing’ those people altogether?

According to: http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/iraq/iraqdeaths.html - the Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered Since The U.S. Invaded Iraq  "1,252,595"

The figure for Afghanistan too grows daily.

I know the answer to my question, of course. It is because the Labour Party’s priority for human rights does not match yours. Theirs is to ensure Corporate supremacy in a world where tax-payers exist to be exploited and both civilians and soldiers alike are mere expendable pawns.

YOU have failed to oppose this priority. I realise that if you did otherwise, you would eventually be de-selected in favour of a more compliant replacement. So we are stuck – as an annex to Washington (or rather: a sycophantic ally to the corporate machine that’s slowly, relentlessly gathering the entire planet into its grip.)

Apart from minor peripheral and local issues it is irrelevant which party in the UK rules – quite apart from the fact that votes count for nothing in non-marginal constituencies (when we don’t have proportional representation), and that the usual establishment media propaganda is overwhelmingly powerful in a population constantly driven to ‘make ends meet’ so they hardly have time to think.

From all accounts you are a very good local MP. On wider issues, which are far more crucial (long-term) – and over which, I concede, you are powerless – the situation is different. It is these, though, that count because they ‘inform’ the next generation: if the government itself behaves as a lawless brute in the world, then who are they to dictate to me to do otherwise?

How, too, can any former Labour supporter be expected to support a PM who appoints the likes of Digby Jones to his cabinet, openly declares that the world owes George Bush a great debt, and on top of much other ‘reactionary’ nonsense declared support for those idiot US corporate puppets who control Georgia (after questionable elections that even then had relied on massive US propaganda and resources)? 

 I use the word ‘corporate’ negatively because corporate enterprise these days closely resembles a wild marauding dinosaur whose principle mandate is to expand and get richer ad infinitum - regardless and come-what-may. It should be the work of government to oppress and restrain this monster, this insanity, not feed it – but, of course, it is precisely those corporations and their friends who control governments (most obviously, at least, in the US, UK and now France).

                                                                                                                                                

Yours sincerely

 

Philip Clarke

                   

The response

MICHAEL FOSTER DL MP
Member of Parliament for Hastings and Rye

hoc

HOUSE OF COMMONS
LONDON SW1A OAA

Mr Philip Clarke
Hastings
East Sussex

 Our Ref: MF/01040386/ER.................top

24 October 2008

Dear Philip Clarke

RE: Crime and disorder

Firstly my apologies that due to an oversight a letter you wrote on the 13th August only recently came to my attention.

Please forgive us. We deal with some 15,000 letters a year and we try and respond to every letter or email received, but just occasionally delays occur and we are sorry for that.

You express concern about the situation in Iraq. I share that concern. You say I have failed to oppose 'this priority'. I think that may be a little unfair.

Back in 2003 when the Government asked us to vote on the Iraq war I refused to do so. At the time I was the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Attorney General and I resigned my role in Government in consequence. I normally do support the Government but on that I could not. Indeed, the only other occasion on which I have failed to support the Government is on the upgrading of Trident, which I think is a move in the wrong direction.

Having said that I think that your criticisms do need to be viewed in a wider context.

Your comments about 'corporate supremacy' I do not understand. Those who supported the Iraq war did so because they thought that was right. I disagreed but I do believe it was an honest belief on their part too.

I always think that those who oppose military intervention must also accept that there is a price to pay; it is not conscience free. It so happens that in Iraq it may or may not be that more have died as a result of the intervention than without it, but who knows in the long term. Saddam was killing on a regular basis. Similarly in Afghanistan women were not allowed even to be educated and some of the atrocities that were occurring were quite appalling. Intervention is always a difficult call.

For example, would you have taken action in Rwanda? We didn't, but 2million people died in consequence of our failure. Would you have taken the action we did in

intervening in Sierra Leone? It so happens that there not a shot was fired, but the rebels dropped their weapons once they knew the troops were arriving. I was there last year and I can tell you the Sierra Leone people are overjoyed by our intervention.

If you are interested in doing positive things with people like the Sierra Leoneans we have a friendship connection with Hastings Sierra Leone, our town having recently twinned, do look up their website, which is http://www.hastingshastings.org.uk/ if you are interested.

What I am saying is that the matters you raised are not yes or no situations, well not for me anyway. I make my mind up on a case by case basis and I always use my conscience. If that's the sort of MP you want then you will vote for me. If not, then it's up to you.

What I can tell you is that any concerns you have pale into insignificance compared with the Tory policies. It's worth remembering that without the Tories we would not have gone to war in Iraq. The percentage of Tory MPs who supported the war was far greater than the percentage of Labour MPs.

You are of course right that corporate responsibility is at a low, but sometimes one needs to be pragmatic. We live in the world that exists, not the one that we would wish to.

If at any time you would like to have a chat with me about any of these issues please make an appointment as I should be pleased to talk them through.

With best wishes

Yours sincerely

sig

AND my reply with detailed attachment:

                                               ................Hastings
                                               East Sussex
                                                                    top
Michael Foster
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA
(via local office)
                          Your ref: MF/01040386/ER
5th November 2008

Dear Mr Foster

Thanks for your letter of 24th October. I’m impressed that you should respond to such a candid letter, and personally - perhaps my concerns reflect those of many others?

I have no wish to take-up your time with political argument when you have important practical commitments, so whether or not you read my attached expanded reply is essentially academic. Either way, in examining some of the points you raise it shows my view on the current state of politics – to which I don’t necessarily expect you to respond.

Labour policies have lurched alarmingly to the right in the past decade or so, and by not voting against the Iraq invasion I believe you failed to represent the overwhelming mood of your constituency - to abstain was a cop-out, and to imply that it was a creditable choice is misleading. Even so, if I support anyone at the next election then, in the absence of proportional representation, I will support you because of your exceptional reputation for dealing with individuals and local issues; and as you imply, Tory policies portend far worse.

Yours sincerely

Phil Clarke

                                                        top                                                                          

Attachment - 5.11.08:

What you say about Tory support for the Iraq invasion is true enough – but what was Labour doing to even introduce such a vote? (Did Wilson give parliament a vote on UK involvement in Vietnam?) It should never have been on the agenda, let alone endorsed by the lies and scheming of Blair and his (unelected) porn-hack psychopath collaborator, agent Campbell. What was the NEC doing while this madness was going on? And I was writing 1st Class letters to David Triesman asking why the Policy Committee (whoever they were?) had completely reversed the commendable Labour Party ‘constitution’(?) – a document that formerly forbade the action the Party was about to take.

But the Iraq issue is extremely politically revealing. Even though they supported the invasion, the Tories – once the great folly and fix-up of it had been exposed - could have reneged at the following election, blamed misinformation, promised imminent withdrawal of troops - and won a landslide. So why didn’t they? The public, in that great 2-million-strong demonstration, recognised that such monumental crimes (both moral, and actual as determined by the UN) are far weightier than any domestic policies that favour the elite. Even I – for the first time – would have voted Tory. But no – because, as is now clear, both Tory and Labour are ruled from the same source – the obedience to which prevails above all other considerations. As I’ve suggested previously: the differences between parties these days are becoming increasingly marginal.

You appear, though, unaware of the true agendas regarding the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m baffled that anyone who takes more than a passing interest in world affairs does not recognise what’s behind the shameful, and now well-publicised, 55-year list reproduced on William Blum’s home page: http://www.killinghope.org/ - of which Iraq is just one item and Afghanistan another… invasion upon invasion from which can be discerned the clear US (and at least tacit complicity, UK) agenda over the past half-century or so: to aggressively promote the most glacial capitalism, to destroy any moves towards socialism even when merely partial or embryonic (including where poverty is rife) - before it so improves the lives of an indigenous population that they decide to keep it - and to assert their authority with invincible military power. ‘It’s an ill wind…’ goes the old saying – and the great beneficiary of the disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan has been South America, which nevertheless has been plagued by considerable US interference. But millions of people there have gained enormously from those two major distractions. 

You say: “Those who supported the Iraq war did so because they thought that was right.” How could support possibly have been, as you suggest, down to honest belief? If you reflect, you’ll recall that supporters were predominately corporate moguls like Murdoch, politicians on the right and reactionary commentators. Opposing were scores of Nobel Laureates (more than 70 in the US alone, I believe), academics, military strategists, diplomats, humanitarian workers; and together with an overwhelming majority of public in every country across the world (except the US, a fact which has since reversed), those working in Iraq, unanimously the inspectors on the ground, independent veteran reporters… all solidly and unreservedly voiced strong opposition. Can our MPs possibly be so out-of-touch, so unrepresentative, so ill informed or blind? I don’t think so – I believe they were under huge pressure.

You say: “Your comments about ‘corporate supremacy’ I do not understand.” What part don’t you understand? I realise that you are obliged to take the establishment line, and with perhaps a crushing workload and little time or leeway to look critically at the decisions of those around and above you, or at those of their neocon friends in Washington, you could also be victim to their group-think; either way, given the colossal wealth of opposing evidence, to suggest there was even a morsel of well-meaning concern or benevolence in the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan is ludicrous in the extreme, certainly retrospectively: ie, the many corporate and imperial interests have now long been revealed (together with the more ominous Zionist cause). And surely the suffering consequent of the invasions vastly exceeds the most pessimistic prospects otherwise.

But who, exactly, were we invaders hoping to ‘shock and awe’? The terminology alone demonstrates the breathtaking arrogance and brutality of a primitive, morally bankrupt US/UK superpower mentality, of a giant thug beating down on a defenceless and virtually third-world State. Most of us had to blink ourselves awake before we could believe it was really happening: that OUR government was colluding in such a monstrous crime – and was supported, perhaps even enabled, by people I voted for. “NEVER AGAIN” I declared at the time.

As for Rwanda, I can hear the arguments in the Oval Office: “Why help Rwanda? What are the corporate interests? The ‘capitalist’ elite is the main aggressor – so why intervene?”

And what about now in Congo, whose path to fame is through coltan for cell-phones? Perhaps this is the one instance where military intervention to thwart the Hutu militia might actually be the only solution? Sierra Leone was a miniscule crisis in comparison with others, and a laudable exception – the one positive out of many negatives. I confess I don’t follow these conflicts closely – if at all. But Iraq and Afghanistan being rather more strategically significant in the world order, tend to attract deeper examination and inquiry.

The vast military culture of the US together with its current administration’s stated imperial aims – and the way it bribes and threatens other nations into line (with UK playing the 52nd State?) makes them potentially capable of anything, and provides the main driving force that’s behind that list of perennial atrocities: http://www.killinghope.org/ .

Bush is an oil man, Cheney a Halliburton, and Rumsfeld arms... What do any of them care now? They’re virtually out of it. Although Iraq and Afghanistan can no more be won than was Vietnam or than Hitler (Fascism) could have sustained an occupation of the UK (imagine the resistance!), the devastation and consequences for those maimed and bereaved, will linger, as in Vietnam, for decades. Does anyone in our government have even an inkling of the psychology involved with invasions or their aftermath? To Bush & Co these aspects of their misdeeds are irrelevant, it seems, not part of the agenda. Their only concerns now are: Will the giant oil corporations get the lion’s share of Iraqi oil revenues? Will Cheney get his pipeline across Afghanistan? Will the US get to keep their bases and a permanent foothold adjacent to their arch-enemies Iran and Syria, and act proxy for Israel’s subjugation of those States into the bargain? Even without the Russians, capitalist and elitist propaganda - even when (especially when) forced home with bullets and bombs - fails to convince. If Barack Obama only reins-in this particular folly, then he will have achieved a very great leap. I’m not holding my breath!

Well over a million Iraqi civilians dead, and untold numbers of resistance fighters. How many civilians and Taliban in Afghanistan have been likewise murdered and continue so pointlessly to be? If England was invaded wouldn’t you join in a resistance against the invaders, assuming you didn’t prefer the invader? Would you ever give in? Unless most of a population approve, or are easily repressed or murdered, how can military invasion ever hope to succeed? The fact is they can’t, which makes such invasions nothing but a futile bloodbath. What will be the repercussions? Who cares, I hear those neocons chant, so long as US corporate and imperial interests reign – or somehow benefited from the event (reconstruction contracts, etc)? That’s the agenda – at least, it’s the only agenda to which ALL the evidence points.

John Dewey: "Politics is the shadow cast on society by big business". In the west, at least, I’ve yet to see any flaw in that statement. The Labour Party has utterly betrayed those for whom it was formed: essentially, it has failed to liberate the enslaved, downtrodden masses from the drudgery and exploitation to which the ruling elite (ie: these days, corporate interests) have traditionally subjected them. The original intension was that this ‘liberation’ would not be restricted to within national boundaries – so invading Iraq (quite apart from the murderous sanctions of the 90s) was therefore in clear violation of principle. The greatest victims by far were - as was inevitable - the great mass of ordinary working Iraqis, including women, children and the elderly. As I’ve said, there was never any shortage of evidence or reliable commentators to condemn the sanctions or the invasion. As Saddam Hussein astutely observed when interviewed by Tony Benn shortly before the invasion: It’s about oil, strategic power and Zionism.

One should remember that Saddam Hussein’s atrocities back in the 80s were committed with technology supplied deliberately and knowingly by the west. Who at the time objected? Only when he refused control of Iraq’s oil assets to US corporate interests, and then began dishing-out financial assistance to families of Palestinian suicide bombers, did he evoke US neocon (Zionist) wrath and their pledge back in the 90s to (illegally) remove him. By then, of course – and eventually with all the weapons inspectors and other pressures – Saddam was virtually powerless; he could have been toppled as easily as a house of cards. Ominously, the invasion more resembled an Israeli vendetta than any kind of constructive strategy. Once the war machine was in place, with hubris straining at the leash, Blair and Bush together with their sycophants - and the delighted approval of their elite ‘controllers’ (ie, Murdoch et al, Tel Aviv and Washington) – sat glibly on their crest of group-think, blind to anything but their own immense egos. Whether or not there’s any truth in Robert Harris’s intriguing speculations, they certainly appear now to fit like a glove - especially when Colonel Gaddafi’s son recently observed in connection with the Lockerbie compensation scandal: ‘It’s a game!’… the same kind of horrendous ‘game’, I reflect, that Oliver Stone’s ‘Salvador’ so vividly portrays.

Although I would have gladly marched with Gerry Adams recently in protest at the flaunting parade of British soldiers returning from war (invading, then murdering scores of native Afghans), I nevertheless regard the sad destiny of so many UK soldiers as a great travesty. Very often, so it’s reported, instead of receiving proper treatment for unavoidable psychological damage, they end up on the streets or in prison. It’s inevitable that the military, with its controversial invasions these days, will predominately attract the less astute and the most aggressive young men, mercenary types (the hired gun – what else is a soldier, after all?), especially those unsuited to most normal employment. If these guys didn’t exist, there would be no wars in the conventional sense - there’d be no one to fight them. Mostly, like other petty criminals, the condition of these ex-soldiers - together with many deprived law-biding people - is the result of an emotionally disadvantaged upbringing: ie, ignorant, aggressive or neglectful parents, mainly poor and living in run-down areas… the very people, and the very cycle of deprivation, in fact, that the Labour Party was created to put right.

When I see the colossal expenditure on ‘education’ (a massive burden to council tax payers) – which is more about gearing people for the corporate slave market (I exaggerate – but the point is made), and virtually nothing in comparison is spent on improving conditions for the critical first five years or so of those born to the so-called underclass, and lower-working class, it becomes obvious how far the Labour Party has drifted from its purpose, its roots. Such ‘families’ should receive generous practical assistance of every sort – as should be (and to an extent is these days) received by the elderly. To pay for this, the government only needs to cease the costly insane slaughter in Afghanistan, and maybe tax those corporate monopolies who rip us all off (see below). In the long term, these kind of policies would pay for themselves by ending the absurd cycle of deprivation, misery and crime that many of these people get caught in. Naively, I was once under the impression that the deceptive phrase: ‘Tough on the causes of crime.’ meant an end to this absurdity. No chance!

No chance either of spending a miniscule fraction of those £billions coughed-up so readily to (temporarily?) nationalise unregulated banks (unregulated due to Labour government negligence), to bring a few dysfunctional estates, for instance, into the light? Oh no! Those people are potential corporate and military fodder, the Establishment needs them as they are! More Labour Party betrayal?

Another angle on ‘corporate supremacy’ is the shambles of the energy market. I could go into detail, but it would just waste more of your time because I’m sure you know. The public are victim to all kinds of devious practises by gas, electricity and water industries, and the banks! Together with other effective monopolies like the railways and even the Post Office (still public, but acting commercial), ALL these ought to be publicly owned, and run as public services – and the PFI swindles scrapped. Why should middle-class sharp-witted investors and ‘entrepreneurs’ (more often: sharks) take and take and take in this way from ordinary people who are frequently trapped with a heavy mortgage or rent (and huge council tax - everyone needs somewhere to live)? When banks foreclose on overpriced mortgages and on struggling small businesses, one wonders what government is for… but I was forgetting John Dewey’s observation… so long as some level of stability can be maintained, the greed of the sharks must reign supreme… and the scandal of private involvement in ‘education’ must continue… education or ‘preparation for the corporate slave market’? With loan-sharks and frauds like the ‘Argos Card’ deception – how come such swindles are still legal in the 21st C? What has Labour been doing this past decade? Oh yes, the lurch to the right - and the distraction of brutal, futile invasions.

I’m sorry, but ever since Blair (whose achievements boil down to N Ireland and a handful of windmills – all of which is dwarfed by the enormous negatives of his term) ever since Blair I’ve had about as much faith in the Labour Party (now the mere lesser of evils) than in tooth fairies. When you say “We live in the world that exists, not the one that we would wish to.” I wonder how things would be now if Keir Hardie, for instance, had taken such a defeatist view? Pretty dismal, probably – certainly much worse than is). And all those other decisions under ‘New Labour’ (quite apart from its overwhelmingly counter-productive invasions): for instance, collaborating in US ‘extraordinary rendition’ (hence implicated in torture), bribes in arms trading hushed, arms-related shipments to rogue state Israel, foreign-office support for rogue state Georgia (recently shown to have violated the Geneva Convention), efforts to establish 42-days without trial…. the list goes on… 

A few months ago I attended Tony Benn’s audience at The De la Warr Pavilion – he emphasised the need for continued struggle and protest in order to promote justice and prevent war. I wonder why we need such efforts these days when we have a ‘democracy’, a system of government where our MP is supposed to represent us and collectively put our wishes into effect? I know the answer – as I imagine do most protesters, from Greenham Common to good old Brian Haw. It is, as I’ve said, that we live in a pseudo-democracy, an electoral sham, a system that masquerades as democracy but which is actually, and with the help of subtle and all-pervading media propaganda, overseen and ruled by an ‘invisible’ elite. If only our representatives (you) could get together and correct this perennial injustice, this con, once and for all. I’m still not holding my breath.

In 1997 The Labour Party was given a tremendous, almost unique, opportunity. And after the initial fanfare of euphoria, we all looked on in horror as Blair slowly squandered it like a spoiled child dismantles and ruins an expensive toy. Let’s hope Barack Obama is at long last the genuine face of positive change, and the killing can stop (or will he really spoil it all by launching even greater offensives at Afghanistan, troops charging in with all guns blazing…?).

My perspective on politicians, after Iraq and Afghanistan, and all the other invasions and atrocities – more than five decades of US hegemony - is about the same as that of Harold Pinter, who was once asked:


Do you think that the picture of personal threat which is sometimes presented on your stage is troubling in a larger sense, a political sense, or doesn’t this have any relevance?

PINTER
I don’t feel myself threatened by any political body or activity at all. I like living in England. I don’t care about political structures—they don’t alarm me, but they cause a great deal of suffering to millions of people . . . I’ll tell you what I really think about politicians. The other night I watched some politicians on television talking about Vietnam. I wanted very much to burst through the screen with a flamethrower and burn their eyes out and their balls off and then inquire from them how they would assess this action from a political point of view.


The Art of Theater No. 3 - Issue 39, Fall 1966
Interviewed by Larry Bensky

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

PREFACE (an Afterthought) - to 29.1.09 letter below top


Re-reading the letter below, I notice it could be seen as anti-Semitic. This was unintended - and it's sent now so can't be altered. It should be noted, though, that if, for instance, the issue had involved Michael Portillo instead of Mark Thompson, and Spain instead of Israel, then precisely the same question of divided interests would apply (because of family connections).


Michael Grade is a Jew, but he has not taken the same blatantly pro-Israeli government position as Mark Thompson (although not an editorial position, as executive chairman of ITV I imagine his views would not count for nothing). Indeed, most British Jews, like Gerald Kaufman MP, do not support the Israeli government - quite the reverse, in fact. And many of the people I would count among my all-time heroes are (or were) Jews: ie, Pinter, Hare, Jonathan Miller, Sagan, Chomsky, Zinn... etc, etc. I am neither anti-Semitic or anti Israeli - I am anti massacre and therefore anti Israeli government - or anti-Zionist. About 20% of Israelis share my sentiments (or at least do not share their government's).

Also, I hold no standing in the world; I'm just one of billions of ordinary people who have no position of authority or renown. This means my views, and skills for articulating myself, are of no consequence. Within reason, as a private citizen I can say what I like. If I were DG of the BBC, then this would be another story entirely because my job then would be to serve the interests, not of whatever personal issue concerns me, but of the licence payer, or at least the British public whether Jew, Muslim, atheist, whatever.

But in spite of all this, there is an aspect of distaste in my psyche - as has existed the world over for millennia - for ANY elitist group, be they Jews or Freemasons or mere fervently patriotic or blindly loyal zealots of any nation, cabal or other outfit. Hence, I presume, the very source of anti-Semitism... because generally, Jews are more inclined to favour their wider kin over 'gentiles' (as they call us non-Jews). The same can be said of any group, down to the smallest basic family or commune. But in the same way that Freemasons have a reputation for favouring one another in Law and business, prosecutions and promotions, let's say, Jews have a reputation for exploiting gentiles in every way possible, of seeking always to control and overrule, and to gain wealth and fame, come what may. They seem to regard gentiles as inferior and there to be made use of. Of course, this is a huge generalisation - both on Freemasons and Jews - many of either group belong outside such generalisations. And that is why the blanket term 'anti-Semitism' cannot apply to anyone rational - or considers themselves rational. There will always be those who fail to fit the stereotype, yet who belong to that group, just as there are mavericks of all kinds in various groups throughout any society.

When I was 'victimised' for being English once, though, I felt not in the least offended or angry. In fact, I sympathised - though felt critical of my accuser's lack of insight for using such a wild, though in many ways justified, generalisation. I certainly didn't take it in any way personally. And nor, I'd imagine, would Harold Pinter have taken anti-Semitism personally had it been directed at him as an individual. Probably, in Pinter's case - and other Jewish playwrights (of which there are many, all highly skilled) - none of them, as true intellectuals, would feel personally offended, and would understand the misappropriated sentiments of their accuser? Maybe?


Michael Foster
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA
(via local office)                                                                      top                    .........................................Hastings
                                                             29th January 2009
Dear Mr Foster


I imagine I’m not alone in writing to you about the manifestly partial editorial decision of BBC DG Mark Thompson in his attempt to limit humanitarian assistance for Gaza.


Apparently, less than 2% of ‘complaints’ from the public have supported this decision. Even when Mr Dimbleby asked his audience in Radio-4’s ‘Question Time’ last week (23.1.09), only one hand was raised in support. This demonstrates a complete lack of confidence in the DG’s ability to make a correct decision on this issue, and in whether he is capable of representing the best interests of his paymasters: us, the licence payer.


A few days ago The Guardian carried an article on Thompson’s highly amicable meeting in Israel with Olmert. Thompson, being a Jew, would doubtless have relished this, and would not wish to betray his heritage - certainly not ‘publicly’.


The situation of conflicting loyalties Thompson finds himself in is impossible. No one (except, perhaps, an elected politician) should be expected to hold such a position. Which means either that such editorial decisions (which essentially belong in the same category as Party Political Broadcasts, and should not be subject to an internal editorial censor) should be made by, say, an all-party committee - instead of an individual (certainly NOT an un-elected one) - or else he (or anyone with obvious potential conflicting loyalties) should never have been appointed, and should now be replaced by someone who has no allegiance other than to their employer: ie, the licence payer.


Since public confidence in the impartiality of the BBC has been profoundly damaged by this event, then if nothing is done to correct it the public are likely to strongly resist the continuation of the licence fee method of finance. That Sky is pro-Israel is irrelevant because Sky is a private outfit whose services one can chose to buy or not. But if I want to watch ANY TV, I am forced by law to support what has effectively now become a voice-of-Israel broadcaster (or so one might be forgiven for thinking). Nor is the strength of feeling on this issue confined to the UK, and those Gazans who secured the release of the BBC reporter Alan Johnson last year will doubtless be reassessing their policy.


Now IAEA Chief, Dr El-Baradei, has set a precedent by refusing to attend a scheduled BBC interview, thereby signalling the possible start of a serious loss of credibility for the BBC, and hence a loss of status and reputation as an internationally valued and respected professional organisation – a reputation that may never be recovered.
In view of the above I hope you will press for action to either replace Mr Thompson, force a reversal of his profoundly partial decision (absurdly, claimed by him to be ‘impartial’), or instigate a complete revision of the licence-fee method of funding. No reply to this letter is necessary – just appropriate action. Thanks.


Yours sincerely

Phil Clarke

 

Also sent to: dec.complaintsappeals@bbc.co.uk
AND
office@stopwar.org.uk

no reply from either - 17.2.09

 

HOUSE OF COMMONS
LONDON SW1A OAA
020-7219-3000

OurRef: JL/ISRA01001/01082357 ..............top

 

11 February 2009

Dear Phil Clarke,

RE: Gaza Appeal - BBC and Sky News Refusal to Broadcast

Thank you for recently raising the above issue. I absolutely agree this was a frankly ridiculous decision by the BBC management. At times it appears BBC bosses inhabit a different planet from the rest of us and this is yet another breathtakingly dim decision.

Given that the chief executive of the Disasters and Emergencies Committee (DEC) has confirmed that monies from their appeal will go to help victims on both sides of this conflict, what possible reason is there left for the BBC and Sky News not to screen this vital humanitarian appeal?

Along with more than 100 other MPs I have signed a Parliamentary motion criticising the BBC for refusing to show an emergency appeal for Gaza. I enclose a copy for your interest.

It seems to me that the BBC and Sky are out of step not just with public opinion but with almost every other major media outlet and indeed their own reporters and commentators.

However, terrestrial broadcasters ITV, Channel 4 and Five have all shown the televised appeal from the Disasters Emergency Committee. So in a funny way the BBC and Sky News refusals to broadcast have meant the appeal got a huge amount of publicity and therefore, I hope, raised more money for those suffering in Gaza.

Yours sincerely

Michael Foster DL MP

www.michaelfoster.org.uk

Attached was a list of 197 names ('signatures') from EDM (Early Day Motion) 585 - dated 26.1.09

My REPLY (by email)..................17.2.09..........top

 

Dear Mr Foster,

Re: Gaza Appeal

Thanks for your letter (circular) – a very warming letter, too, from an MP. Good work. But it is chilled somewhat by the alarming fact that less than a third of the House share your insight. What of those others, that remaining 70% of MPs? Are they wimps, Zionists, Fascists or what? Do they have some financial or other interest in siding with Israel in its wanton slaughter of Palestinians, and its continuing effort to prolong maximum suffering? Do those 70% feel safer to remain non-committal or opposed to the admirable humanitarian position you’ve taken?

This is yet another example of parliament being disconnected from the public it pretends to represent. What’s crucial now is that action is taken by parliament to ensure that such decisions cannot in future fall to the whims of some fog-headed (whether partisan, bribed or threatened) manager or other.

Even if collective (via a board), the BBC cannot adopt such partial policies as in this instance and at the same time be funded by a licence fee. These two conditions are utterly incompatible. It’s equivalent to the enforced funding of just one political party – about as anti-democratic as you can get

Neither you nor I agree with Sky’s decision, but being a private outfit, one could argue that it has the right to so decide. This cannot be true for the BBC – and it is precisely THIS that must be addressed as soon as possible.

Well done

Yours sincerely

Phil Clarke

 

 

MICHAEL FOSTER DL MP
Member of Parliament for Hastings and Rye

HOUSE OF COMMONS
LONDON SW1A OAA
020 - 7219 - 3000

OurRef: JL/ISRA01001/01082357 ....................top

27 February 2009


Dear Phil Clarke

RE: Gaza Appeal

Thank you for your letter is response to my own on the BBC's refusal to broadcast the DEC appeal.

I believe you are under the impression that all MPS who did not sign the EDM in some way support the actions of Israel. I can assure you that is not the case.

They're interesting things, EDMs. Only back bench MPs can sign. This is more than a convention; if you're a whip or a minister you're actually prevented from having your name against a motion. The same is true of Parliamentary Private Secretaries (PPSs) meaning that in total around 100 MPS are automatically disqualified from signing.

Many back benchers, however, refuse to sign EDMs at all. Depending on your perspective, this allows them to have an "equal opportunities" policy towards all their constituents. Personally I do not support that stance as EDMs are an effective means of conveying both personal and Parliamentary opinion. They can serve as a useful temperature gauge of MPs' views in certain policy areas; ministers sit up and take note when any motion starts to gain the support of more than 100 or so MPs.

And they're one of the mechanisms that the public have for having a say, albeit indirectly. There are certainly more than a few EDMs which I probably wouldn't have signed had constituents not drawn them to my attention.

But that does not mean if an MP's signature is missing they disagree.

The comedian Mark Steel once tried to suggest that Tony Blair had, in the 1980s, ignored the plight of the Iraqi Kurds who were massacred by Saddam using chemical weapons. He drew this conclusion because Tony had not signed a particular EDM on the subject at the time. A ludicrous conclusion, it would be wrong to suggest the absence of a Member's signature from an EDM will, on every occasion, suggest opposition.

Although I agree with you on the specific issue of the BBC and the DEC appeal - they should have broadcast it -1 still support the independence of the BBC. If the corporation was brought under the direct control of politicians you would create moral hazard and a real risk that the institution could become a politicized. State broadcasters acting as a Government mouthpiece is an all too common occurrence in authoritarian states and it is not a route I would wish to pursue.

Having said that, as an alternative, there may be greater scope for including a greater role for members of the public to influence BBC broadcasting decisions and I hope that is something that can be given^serious consideration in the future. I certainly know I do not want to see a repeat of the/$i^za appeal debacle.

Yours sincerely

Michael Foster DL MP

 

HOUSE OF COMMONS
LONDON SW1A OAA
020 - 7219 - 3000

Our Ref: JL/CLAR010157...........................top

27 March 2009


Dear Mr Clarke

RE: Israeli action in Gaza

You will recall from previous correspondence that I both wrote to the Foreign Secretary and to the Attorney General seeking comment as to whether, in the Government's view, the action by Israel against the Palestinians in Gaza was in breach of international law.

You maybe interested to see a letter I have received back from the Solicitor General, dated 25th February (copy attached). She quite properly reminds me that law officers give advice to Government departments and not to individual MPs, although she does refer to other possible action that is being taken and I will be interested to see what happens in that regard.

For the moment therefore I have simply renewed my request to the Foreign Secretary to ask
(a) what advice he has received from the Attorney General (he may or may not tell me) and
(b) whether he intends to take any other action in consequence.

I do not expect that there will be formal referral to the International Criminal Court but I think it important to keep pressure on Government ministers so that they are aware of how seriously Members of Parliament and the public feel about what happened in Gaza. I will of course let you know if there is anything more to report.

Best wishes

Yours sincerely

Michael Foster DL MP

Attached:

baird mp
Michael Foster MP

House of Commons London SW1A OAA ......top

25 February 2009

Your Ref:JL/ISRA01001/01082357
Ref.6|09|1

Dear Michael [handwritten]

Thank you for your further letter of 27 January to the Attorney General. I am replying in the Attorney's absence

I am sorry that you were unhappy with the earlier response of 5 January, but as you will appreciate from your time as PPS to the previous Attorney the Law Officers are not in a position to give you legal advice on the matters you raised. Your correspondence was referred to the FCO in good faith for their comments on the situation. However I can say that extremely serious allegations about the conduct of both sides during the conflict have been made by the ICRC and others - it is important that these are properly investigated.

You may wish to be aware that the Foreign Secretary has recently received a pre-action protocol letter for the purpose of a claim for judicial review from Public Interest Lawyers on behalf of Al Haq, a Palestinian NGO, concerning the recent conflict.

Yours Ever [handwritten]

VERA BAIRD QC MP

 

My email reply to both previous responses - 2.4.09 .........top

 

Dear Mr Foster,

RE: Gaza

Thanks for your letter of 27th February explaining EDMs so clearly. I can only apologise for my ignorance and troubling you to explain, though this does not address the underlying issue of Gaza.

To briefly relate this to an even more crucial matter: Of all worldly concerns there’s no doubt that climate change and overpopulation should rank far above everything else: human-oriented problems such as the economy, unemployment, the middle east, Afghanistan/Pakistan, Israel/Gaza… even the proliferation of nuclear arms, are as nothing in comparison with what is happening to the biosphere and the inevitable consequences (which are probably irreversible).

We humans resemble a vast family who through ignorance, mismanagement and greed have set fire to our home, our only home - and while mistakenly imagining ourselves with diverse interests, we squabble like spoilt children as this home of ours disintegrates. Whatever wars, slaughter, economic disruption and so on we choose to indulge in, this home of ours keeps burning – and even if we address the fire with every possible means, regardless of cost or effort (as though it was another Hitler… when it is, in fact, far worse than any number of Hitlers), we can still only quell the flames, not repair the damage or prevent the consequences.

That the issue of Gaza and Israel continues after more than 4-decades is symbolic of western (perhaps universal) hubris - just as the essentially continued avoidance of climate change is. It strikes me as incredible that any well-informed politician 60 years ago could have expected to establish a successful (ie, peaceful) lasting Israeli state in Palestine. Is it not obvious that Israel cannot exist as a dominant force in the middle east without conflict, just as any dominant force anywhere cannot exist without being opposed – even when not engaging in aggressive confrontation or occupation?

Likewise for politicians 40 years ago who failed to address the madness of pouring into the atmosphere the exhaust from (today) >80-million barrels of burnt oil/day (not to mention coal and other sources of carbon-dioxide, etc). Is it not obvious that this can only lead to some kind of disaster?

I have been aware of the environmental issue since around 1970 when the current rise in CO2 really began to take-off and MIT published a large comprehensive document called ‘The SCEP Report’ (Study of Critical Environmental Problems). But returning to your letter, and the BBC:

You say in response to my suggestion that BBC policy (not NEWS editorial; though that too might be open to criticism) should be overseen by an all-party committee, that you ‘…still support the independence of the BBC. If the corporation was brought under the direct control of politicians you would create moral hazard and a real risk that the institution could become politicised. State broadcasters acting as a Government mouthpiece is an all too common occurrence in authoritarian states and is not a route I would wish to pursue.’

Isn’t it more than hundred years now in the UK since an all-party committee might be mistaken for a Government mouthpiece? You say there may be scope for members of the public to have an input, but are politicians not (ostensibly at least) representative of the public? And didn’t 40,000 people complain about the refusal of Mark Thompson and his cohorts to allow the corporation to carry the Gaza appeal? Yet they still refused to carry it. The key question is: who is Mark Thompson and who appointed him, and what did those who appointed him know before doing so? Many questions. Personally, regardless of my opinion of some politicians and their activities – they are, after all, representative to some extent of us public in our various guises, good and bad, sharp and dull, etc – I would still trust much more an all party committee of MPs to take key ‘political’ (as opposed to technical/managerial) decisions than some unrepresentative appointee who (if insufficiently professional) may exert his own agenda - as in the current instance.

Discussing the prospective creation of a South Downs National Park yesterday, one commentator observed that it might not be in the public interest for jurisdiction over such land to be taken from local politicians, and instead hand ‘too much power to unelected individuals.’ You might argue for the independence of the NP authority, as with the BBC, but I think there’s a strong argument against it in a country that has an effective political opposition – which admittedly fails miserably now and then (ie, Iraq and the economy, to name but two).

Thank you also for your recent 27th March circular – ref: JL/CLAR01015/

I heard Gerald Kaufman speak eloquently some while ago about the atrocities committed in Gaza, and now a week or so ago we hear ‘confessions’ and details of certain orders given by military officers as related by Israeli soldiers – so perhaps these will help spur our foreign secretary into taking a comprehensive view of the facts and act accordingly.

Yours sincerely

Phil Clarke   
  

 

---------------------------------

Spontaneous email sent 18.4.09:.....................top

 

Dear Mr Foster,

BBC - Independent or Neutral?

Rupert Murdoch is independent, and about as neutral as G W Bush. I wonder what the outcome has been - or what it is likely to be - from the Parlimentary motion you and more than 100 other MPs signed back in February?

You say that you still support the independence of the BBC - but where do you draw the line when the BBC is so far from neutral? I can see an argument for public funding of BBC propaganda in favour of the government or even the 'establishment', but why should the public fund persistent pro-Zionist propaganda? I've noticed this creeping into radio too, both in the kinds of programme and the opinions inherently or incidentally expressed, often subtly, in favour of current Israeli foreign policy - or continued reminders of the history as though attempting to evoke support through sympathy.

I see several commentators asking the same questions, ie: Pilger, Fisk (as below), even Chomsky.... and others besides.     

 

How Can You Trust The Cowardly BBC?

The BBC Trust is now a mouthpiece for the Israeli lobby which abused Bowen

By Robert Fisk

April 16, 2009 "
The Independent"

 

When your TV licence comes up for renewal, won't you be asking the same questions?

No reply necessary. This email is intended merely as nudge - which you probably don't need....

Sincerely

Phil Clarke

 

----------------------------

20 April 2009

Dear Philip Clarke ..........................................................top

RE: Climate Change, Gaza and the BBC

Thank you for your recent email concerning various issues. I will attempt to address each in turn.

In Gaza things seem to be quieter now and aid appears to be getting to the people who need it most. I hope Obama and Israel take the opportunity to push for a permanent peace deal over coming months. However, the constitution of the recently elected Israeli Government does not fill me with hope. Likud and her coalition allies do not have a good track record when it comes to peace initiatives.

As regards the BBC as a publicly funded body it is ultimately answerable to the Government. Indeed, the Government is responsible for appointing the BBC Trusts which oversees the work of the Director General. I take your point in that a cross party committee of MPs could be given responsibility for the BBC. However, the BBC was conceived as being a body free of political influence and given its position as a major global news agency that is a position I would be cautious to alter. Also I do not believe Mark Thompson was in any way acting on behalf of some kind of pro-Israeli agenda.

Moving onto the issue of climate change I agree it is one of the greatest challenges facing the world in the 21st century and the UK needs to face up to its global responsibilities. The Climate Change Act (as summarised in the attached brief) is a groundbreaking piece of legislation - a legally binding target of an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions is a tremendous achievement.

Although the UK emits relatively small amounts of CO2 ("% of the global total) I believe such a target will serve to energise the international community.

At this point I would like to emphasise the fact I am proud of the UK's achievements thus far - our emissions of greenhouse gases are 15.3% below 1990 levels; exceeding our Kyoto target of 12.5%. However, there is much more to be done - climate change is a global issue and I believe the role of the UK must be to show a practical route to a low carbon economy.

There is no easy way to do this - no 'magic bullet' that will resolve the challenges we face.

To that end I believe we need to promote a range of measures and I am pleased that the Government will be setting up a feed-in tariffs for renewable energy. A Feed-in Tariff would obligate electricity utilities to buy a certain amount of electricity from renewable sources at a set (above market rate) price.

This fixed price for renewable energy gives certainty and guarantees for investors, is transparent, easy to administer, promotes diversity of supply and is flexible. Germany introduced a feed-in tariff for renewable energy and now generates 14.2% of its electricity from renewable sources compared with 5% in the UK.

Such a tariff would not only help reduce UK emissions but would also give a boost to a fledgling industry which will be increasingly important in the future - if we can give renewables production a leg up now it can only benefit the economy in the long term.

However, as emphasised above UK emissions constitute just 2% of the global total. We need to make sure that there is sustained pressure internationally to combat climate change. The Kyoto Protocol has been an effective mechanism for change, although undermined by the refusal of the US to ratify, but a new framework must be established by the time it expires in 2012.

At a summit in Bali last year Aagreement was reached on a roadmap for achieving a global climate deal by the end of 2009. Developed and developing countries alike signed up to the agreement, which for the first time ever will bring together all the world's countries to negotiate on a climate treaty to take the world beyond 2012.

I believe this is a fundamental step forward and I know the UK will be playing a leading role in pushing for the strongest possible agreement during the forthcoming negotiations. As emphasised above climate change is a global problem, the UK cannot go it alone. It is only through global agreements that we can truly tackle the challenges before us and the UK will continue to be at the forefront of these efforts at the G8, EU and the UN.

I would also emphasise that each of us has a personal responsibility to change our behaviour. Personally I have switched to a green energy tariff and my car now runs on LPG. However, I appreciate not everyone can do this but if you log on to www.actonco2.co.uk you can use a carbon calculator to calculate your CO2 emissions and get simple advice on how to reduce your carbon footprint.

With best wishes

Yours sincerely

Michael Foster DL MP

 

Get involved online at www.michaelfoster.org.uk

enc:....................................................................................top

Briefing Note from Michael Foster PL MP RE: Climate Change Bill

This Brief summarises the key provisions of the Climate Change Bill as it currently stands. Any further amendments will be voted upon when Parliament reconvenes i.e. the 80% target amendment has not yet been put to a vote so the information below is subject to change.

1.   80% Reduction in UK Carbon Dioxide emissions by 2050

This Bill will enshrine in law the UK's obligation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 80% by 2050 and at least 26% by 2020, against a 1990 baseline. This will be the first such legally binding target in the world.

This target will be subject to review, based on a report from the new independent Committee on Climate Change which could mean an even higher reduction target.

2.   Five-Year Carbon Budgets

These will set binding limits on carbon dioxide emissions for a 5 year period. Three successive carbon budgets (representing 15 years) will always be in law - providing the best balance between predictability and flexibility. These budgets will mean Government and industry always have challenging targets to work towards.

3.   Establishment of a Climate Change Committee

This is being set up as an independent, expert body to advise the Government on the pathway to the 2050 target and to advise specifically on: the level of carbon budgets; reductions needed from different sectors of the economy and on the optimum balance between domestic action and international trading in carbon allowances.

The committee will advise on whether the overall 80% target should be increased and whether it is feasible to include emissions from international aviation and shipping.

4.   Reporting Requirements

For this Bill to be effective there must be scrutiny. The Committee on Climate Change will have a specific role in reporting annually to Parliament on the UK's progress towards achieving its targets and budgets. The Government will then have to lay before Parliament a response explaining progress (or lack there of). This will ensure the public is always fully aware of whether we are on course to meet our goals.

5.   Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

The Bill will require the Government, on a regular basis, to assess the risks to the UK from the impact of Climate Change. The Government will also be required to publish and regularly update a programme setting out how we will address these likely impacts - based on principles of sustainable development to ensure that environmental, economic and social issues are all fully considered.

 

 

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-----------------------------------------

My Email 18.5.09 (Fwd of 'STW' newsletter): ......top

Thanks for your recent letter - will reply soon. Thought you might be interested in today's brief circular from 'Stop the War':

 

--- On Mon, 18/5/09, Stop the War Coalition <office@stopwar.org.uk> wrote

From: Stop the War Coalition <office@stopwar.org.uk>
Subject: Banned by the BBC: See this year's most controversial play
To: stwc@lists.riseup.net
Date: Monday, 18 May, 2009, 9:38 AM

STOP THE WAR COALITION     
NEWSLETTER   
No. 1096  14 May 2009   
Email office@stopwar.org.uk   
Tel: 020 7801 2768   
Web: http://www.stopwar.org.uk     
Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk

ANTI-SEMITIC? UNBALACED? BANNED BY THE BBC

Why does the most controversial play of recent times have   
prominent members of the acting profession lining up to   
perform at a Stop the War event this week at which it will be   
performed. Why are others flooding us with messages of     
support?

Caryl Churchill's play SEVEN JEWISH CHILDREN was written as a response to Israel's barbaric attack on Gaza at the beginning of this year. It has since been performed around the world and provoked controversy everywhere.

It has been accused of anti-semitism and banned by the BBC as "unbalanced". Actors Roger Lloyd Pack, Miriam Margolyes, Timothy West, Prunella Scales, Tim Pigott-Smith, Janet Suzman, Corin Redgrave, and many more, clearly disagree, having sent messages of support to Stop the War for presenting the play this Thursday 21 May.

Miriam Margolyes, who is Jewish, was recently condemned as  anti-semitic in the Australian press for appearing in a   
production of SEVEN JEWISH CHILDREN in Melbourne Australia. Her response was instant: "Jews who know the truth must tell the truth." (See below for more messages of support.)

TONY BENN INTRODUCES TWO PLAYS FOR GAZA   
SEVEN JEWISH CHILDEN and THE TRAINER   
A fundraising event for the Gaza School of Music and Stop the  War Coalition, performed by Roger Lloyd Pack, Janie Dee, Jana Zeineddine and others. Plus music by Palestinian singer Reem Kelani, rap artist Lowkey and Freylekh Klezmer Dance Band. 

  
HACKNEY EMPIRE 291 MARE STREET LONDON, E8 1EJ  THURSDAY 21 MAY 2009 AT 7.30 PM ADVANCE BOOKING:   
ONLINE http://bit.ly/1aE968 OR CALL 020 8985 2424

Caryl Churchill will present her own play SEVEN JEWISH     
CHILDEN, with many of the cast from the original Royal Court Theatre production.

It will play on a double bill with THE TRAINER by David Wilson and Anne Aylor (with contributions from Keith Burstein), of which Michael Kustow, theatre director and former Channel 4 arts commissioner, said after a recent sell-out production: "Gripping drama. A passionate and telling condemnation of an injustice made possible by the anti-terrorism laws."

OTHER MESSAGES OF SUPPORT FOR TWO PLAYS FOR GAZA:

MARK THOMAS, COMEDIAN, WRITER AND ACTIVIST:   
If the media are failing to report the actions of artists and   
performers to work in solidarity with Palestine and against   
Israeli military aggression then we have to speak out even   
louder.

A. L. KENNEDY, AWARD WINNING NOVELIST:     
Glimpses of truth are all the more needed when our media   
culture is in collapse and the humanity the media shows grows  less and less human.

WALTER WOLFGANG, LABOUR PARTY NEC MEMBER:   
Thank you for all you are doing. I shall be at Two Plays for   
Gaza on 21 May.

JOHN PILGER, JOURNALIST:   
I wish you all success with The Trainer and all power to   
everything you do.

TIMOTHY WEST AND PRUNELLA SCALES, ACTORS:   
Have a wonderful evening, you're doing a great job.

TONY BENN INTRODUCES TWO PLAYS FOR GAZA   
SEVEN JEWISH CHILDEN and THE TRAINER   
HACKNEY EMPIRE 291 MARE STREET LONDON, E8 1EJ  THURSDAY 21 MAY 2009 AT 7.30 PM   
ADVANCE BOOKING:   

ONLINE http://bit.ly/1aE968 OR CALL 020 8985 2424

PLUS My reply: ............................................top

Dear Mr Foster,

RE: Climate change, Gaza and the BBC.

Thanks for your letter of 20 April 2009.

Regarding the BBC: If the government is responsible for appointing those who oversee the DG, then as representatives of the public shouldn’t the government respond in some way to erroneous or profoundly unpopular decisions that imply a political agenda (especially when this concerns issues that are highly sensitive both in the UK and internationally, and which can only hinder the alleviation of suffering in a stricken country)? Whether or not your judgment that the DG has no agenda is correct, his decisions – and those of the people who surround and support him – are decidedly out of key: ie, >40,000 public objections were raised…. I wonder, for comparison, how many supporters felt strongly enough to register their approval?      

I would not detract from what you state the BBC was conceived as: “a body free of political influence and… a major global news agency”. Unlike when Alastair Campbell attacked Andrew Gilligan (whose reporting, it turned out, was entirely accurate - yet the affair still led to the demise of the DG), the issue of Gaza, in the instance addressed here, has no connection with that part or function of the BBC which handles news or politics. To confuse the two is a misapprehension of the situation (and could even suggest duplicity!). I believe Mark Thompson should be summoned to an all-party jury of MPs where he would have to justify his decision over the Gaza appeal – and other related editorial decisions that have been raised by, for instance, ‘Stop The War’ and ‘Medialens’. If MPs could not be convinced of his neutrality, then he should be replaced.

As for Climate Change - thanks also for the enclosed document – I realise that the UK’s only hope of significant positive influence is the extent to which it can pursuade other nations: to cut (or not increase) CO2 emissions – esp China, India, Asia….  as their economies expand (which according to recent projections and compared with the current position is likely to be at least considerable… giving little cause for hope). But with no obvious alternative, everything possible should of course be done.

As I mentioned previously, the situation may be far more serious than a major war, even perhaps a global nuclear war. Yet very little seems to change: I can still, for instance, fork-out, say, a measly £100 and get a return flight to Paris instead of using the much more CO2-friendly Eurostar. And I believe plans to expand (instead of shrink) Heathrow remain extant? Both these are absurd in the current circumstances, as also is the insane storage of hot water. Now that the issue of loft insulation has been addressed, I believe the storage of hot water probably should be - it probably wastes more electricity and gas in UK households than anything else. Water should be heated as required, and (as with loft insulation) subsidies should be provided by government to modernise home water-heating systems – and regulations introduced for new homes and installations. I don’t agree with what you imply in your last paragraph: that it should be up to us to exercise personal responsibility. Business notoriously responds only to legislation and regulation. And the public are often too involved with everyday living – making ends meet, etc. to concern themselves beyond what is demanded by law or regulation. For those who are aware and can, you are right to suggest this though; and in addition constant publicity and increased education should take place.

All my life I’ve wondered why electricity is not generated on a massive scale in deserts like the Sahara, as it is now in some parts of Spain using computer operated mirrors that direct sunlight to heat water and drive conventional generators, or power from solar cells, and then to both distribute the electricity where practicable and to otherwise use it to convert sea-water into H2 and O2 for powering cars and ships (and maybe aircraft too)? This would present a problem for oil multinationals and perhaps affect the global political scenario – which I imagine is why no serious moves have been made in this direction. It’s very encouraging, though, to see wind-turbines springing up everywhere these days.

According to your document: UK CO2 is 2% of global CO2 and that it is expected to be cut by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. Why so agonisingly slow when predictions are so severe, costing £bns in floods and droughts, etc? Although 80% of 2% makes the end figure appear insignificant, percentages here mean little except for comparison. Is the base 1990 figure carefully selected as a time of exceptionally high emission levels, I cynically wonder? These are rhetorical questions. The point is – like with recent publicity about MP’s expense claims: Is the intension to deceive or mislead (on behalf of business) or to genuinely aim for the greatest achievable cuts?

The fuss in the media about MP’s expense claims, incidentally, strikes me as out-of-place when the sums involved are insignificant against other questionable government expenditure: ie, insane genocidal wars costing £bns (Iraq & Afghanistan), Trident, Euro-fighters…. the £bns wasted on the beef market some years back (environment-conscious vegetarians must have been stunned at such an allocation of money), etc. The key problem is not MP’s pay and expenses but that government (Labour & Tory alike) virtually always favours business. Presumably this is because most MPs or their Party are obligated to (or their position is threatened by) business: ie, Murdoch. What currently is the media – The Telegraph in particular – trying to hide, I wonder?

To suggest that business interests should always come afterpublic interests would be anathema to the usual media. Why do we not have proportional representation? Why do we still have council tax instead of a local income tax like elsewhere in the world? Why do students have to pay for their education? Can you think of anything more absurd than paying to get trained for a job in industry? As a girl, my grandmother worked in a clothes shop for several years for nothing because ‘she was being trained’. Why aren’t the industries who stand to benefit charged for it? I suppose they think: “..if students can be indoctrinated/conned into paying, then fine. All the more for us shareholders.”

To place public interest first means tight control and regulation of all activities of industry. THIS, above all, is what government and MPs should be far more involved in – and is what people should drag MPs over the coals to achieve. But no, all they’re interested in is a handful of trivia like someone claiming £1,000 for a floating duck-house! Is this really what people care about? To be so preoccupied says a lot more about the British media (and perhaps the general public too) than MPs.

Yours sincerely

Phil Clarke

 

--------------------------------------

18th June 2009.......................................................top

Dear Philip Clarke

RE: Climate Change, Gaza and the BBC

Thank you for your further letter on the above issues.

I agree with your assessment that the British media is often obsessed with trivial or largely inconsequential stories that it routinely sensationalises. The expenses scandal was clearly worthy of coverage but I find it hard to accept that it should dominate the front pages and energy of Government for so long when so many important issues demand attention both in the UK and abroad.

I can assure you Labour sees the public good as an absolute priority. Our core values dictate that we work towards improving the life of all people but especially those who are least well off and most in need of support. Those are the goals of the Government and myself and I can promise you that we shall continue to work to improve opportunities and outcomes for everyone. You may have seen I was recently appointed Minister for Equalities and in this role I shall strive to help disadvantaged groups in society and continue the work towards a more egalitarian society.

With best wishes

Yours sincerely

Michael Foster DL MP

 

---------------------------------..........top

Reply follows what I emailed to radio-4's The Media Show a couple of days ago (18.6.09) when they invited emails to BBC DG Mark Thompson who is scheduled to be interviewed on next week's show (the email was limited to 1000 characters - though I guess there's nothing stopping one from sending several):

Thompson’s influence on BBC policy resembles what would be expected from a Mossad agent: rejection of the Palestine appeal, interminable holocaust references (as if only Zionists suffered)...etc.

Dyke was sacked over Gilligan’s (accurate) reporting – ie, explicit government interference in BBC News & Current Affairs. Thompson’s method is more destructive. Since Dyke’s demise, as a neutral voice the BBC is dead. It has lost all political credibility across the board. Thompson owes his survival, it seems, to the grip Tel Aviv has on Westminster - as it has (directly or otherwise) on virtually all media in the US and UK. This is a shameful end to what was once an esteemed broadcaster that served the world with a level of neutrality for decades.

Why should we have to pay to support what has become in part a Zionist propaganda operation? Will the British public ever get its Corporation back?

See also http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/esp_sociopol_911_57.htm

 

I suspect this email to be (have been) instantly deleted, but if numerous similar ones were sent then the ruthless BIGnut bastards who rule over these issues might just get the heebie jeebies enough - eventually - to cause them to lose grip... optimism knows no bounds!

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Reply to previous letter:

22.6.09............................................................................top

Dear Mr Foster,

Thanks for your letter of 18th June 2009.

(All power to the power-strikers – I hope you support them in their dispute with the unscrupulous TOTAL management. Equality of power management/workers should be seen as fundamental in all industry – laws have been urgently needed for more than a century to enforce this in a constructive way that outlaws exploitation of one side by the other.)

Congratulations on your new appointment as Minister for Equalities. With the trend being decidedly towards greater inequality over the past 12-years since Labour came to power, I guess you’ll have your work cut out. And even if you achieve reversal, you’ll probably need several additional years before the differentials of 1997 can be restored. Though even if you could achieve that, Labour on this particular issue will merely have marked-time – and wasn’t inequality one of the key reasons the party was originally formed? 

What a legacy of 13-years of Labour! And what a huge disappointment to millions. What you in your new appointment can achieve in the next (final?) year probably depends more on policy decisions than the PM. But the PM has nothing to lose and everything to gain from abandoning his absurd exaggerated notions of ‘prudence’ - and for once making some truly bold decisions on issues that concern most thinking people. Blair made bold decisions, all the wrong ones as it turned out – and which utterly contradicted what most people saw as good idea at the time. Gordon Brown’s only chance of re-election as PM is to stop being the cautious, traditionalist, and to spontaneously, pre-emptively do what people want for a change – like he eventually did regarding the Ghurkhas.

Instead of recruiting spiv-entrepreneur media-clots like Alan Sugar, how about recruiting a few top advisors from Greenpeace? That would bring national (and probably international) public applause, though scorn from industry. But government should never represent industry, only us public – though you don’t have to look far to see that it actually does the precise reverse. How about initiating right NOW a process that will lead as quickly as practicable to electoral reform (see p.s. below)? How about right NOW beginning the phasing out of council tax (what could be more fair AS WELL AS attractive to voters?)? How about immediate procedures to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, while boosting various creative and positive forms of aid there according to what locals request, not what we politically and arrogantly choose to foist on them? And why not re-set by law in favour of the tax-payer the vast swindling rip-offs of the public/private partnership deals? Why have the individuals who originally negotiated these not been prosecuted? Why was the guy who allowed the former chairman of RBS to resign not prosecuted? There are many things the PM could do that would impress the nation and boost his chances of re-election next year. The only ‘drawback’ is that they wouldn’t impress businessthe real pet of government.

Sadly, the PM won’t do anything that might offend business or The Establishment – certainly not the things I cite here. And a year from now you’ll be an opposition MP, while business will still reign supreme via their favourites in office. If only I was wrong! How, immediately after glimpsing the precipice, could the PM declare that the Iraq inquiry would not be held in public? It’s scarcely credible how breathtakingly out-of-touch he is – or his advisors are. Who, I wonder, is really running Downing Street?

If I was a politician who took it all seriously, I’d be in constant bewilderment and despair. I know we British public are forced to take the back-seat while the CBI and The City, the big press barons, Tel Aviv and Washington, etc. remain essentially at the helm – but surely the PM has the wherewithal to pull a few ‘minor’ tricks (such as the policy changes I mention, and which favour us public) before his demise, if only to save his reputation? And if he succeeded then maybe his demise would be postponed several years? Some hope!

Either way, I wish you the very best. I’m sure you’ll do what you can – against the odds and with a PM who behaves as if he’s stuck in a straightjacket.

Yours sincerely

Phil Clarke

Ps: the best electoral reform that could be put immediately into effect would be to leave everything just as it is, but to weight each MP’s vote in the house according to the national percentage of votes for their party. What could be simpler or fairer without requiring a huge overhaul?

For instance, if the national vote was 25% Tory, 30% Labour 20% LibDems and the rest Other, then every Labour MP’s vote would be worth 0.3, everyTory MP 0.25, and every Lib Dem MP 0.2. The staff who record and total the votes could easily present the result to the speaker as quickly as now – is it beyond them to perform such a simple calculation, what with modern technology an’ all?

This way we’d have pretty accurate proportional representation plus the advantages of local representative politicians.
 
 -------------------------------------------------

email:

                                                                                                                 ......... Our Ref: MF/01040386/MH...................................top
29 June 2009

 

Dear Phil

RE: Policy Issues

Thanks for your email of the 22nd of June and your kind comments concerning my appointment as Equalities Minister.

We certainly do need to push forward the Equalities agenda although I think you are wrong to suggest that inequality is greater since Labour took office. That is just wrong.

The pay gender gap has closed but not by enough. Issues of sexual orientation and the like have seen enormous advance (Stonewall say so).

But we need to keep our foot down. In terms of average incomes the poorest have benefited the greatest so in absolute terms the Labour Government has made a difference not just to access to public services which have improved enormously but also in terms of the income of individuals in the lower quartile.

But is there much to be done? Yes there is and I hope to at least be a small part of that. What we are desperate to do of course, is to make clear the difference between us and the Tories. We will have to borrow money to protect those most in need. The Tories don’t get it, or perhaps they do and that is even more frightening. The savage cuts that would come about through a Tory government will mean your concerns pale into insignificance. Please do what you can to stop that happening.

Finally on your issue of PR someone else suggested that to me the other day, ie to keep the constituency link but weight the votes. It may be difficult but worth a thought.

With best wishes

 

Michael Foster MP    

 

----------------------------------------------------

email (10.7.09):

From: Phil Clarke .......................................top
Hastings

Drear Mr Foster,

         RE: Policy Issues

Thanks for your reply. I accept what you say, though it differs from what we hear from the 'Established' media - which quite possibly have other agendas - including on Afghanistan (though in this instance more easy to comprehend and believe):

In the light of recent attention on the loss of UK military lives in Afghanistan, and the ever-mercurial nature of explanation for them being there, their only purpose it seems to me which fits the 'great jigsaw' is elucidated in James Cogan's excellent concise summary of the position, entitled 'A War of Colonial Conquest in Afghanistan':

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/jul2009/pers-j10.shtml

True, this is a well-peddled reiteration - and all the more credible in the light of such evidence as in Christopher Bollyen's July 08 'Mapping the Israeli Network Behind 9-11':

http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/esp_sociopol_911_57.htm

...a now aging variation on the 'inside job' hypothesis. And I guess soldiers' families are as familiar with all this as are most senior Afghan civilians who populate the villages of Helmand Province etc, the grief of whose populous must dwarf to insignificance that of the invader's families (UK soldiers) which, unlike the Afghans, number mere hundreds and after all are volunteers. 

All this renders such issues as MP's expenses, swine-flu, etc, insignificant beyond measure. Topically, Climate Change eclipses it - and perhaps the ever-worsening related conditions in Pakistan.... and the relentless horrors suffered by Palestinians under Israel's ruthless iron heel - now stooping to poisoning their drinking water! Better, perhaps, to just shoot them as before?

And while our government engages with such vigour in the Afghanistan attrocities, for Palestine the world stands idly by, so it appears, as if petrified to suggest even the possibility of some kind of an intervention! Why Iraq? Why Afghanistan? Why not rescue Palestine (or invade Israel)? Why not Zimbabwe? The almost proverbial Answer: Israel's ubiquitous, pernicious grip; Oil; and Imperial War of Plunder & Domination (as Mr Cogan so irrefutably concludes).

Why, once again, as with switching Council Tax to Local Income Tax can't this government (in what is seeming increasingly likely to be its final year) just do a few things that the population want for a change? Or at least do a decent thing or two - like withdrawing from Afghanistan, helping Palestine... ???

And if it can't do these things, to explain in simple terms the truth of why the hell not?

I know the world is actually governed by law-of-the-jungle, the strongest keeping the weakest at heel, but headway IS being made over the centuries. It's just so agonisingly slow, with a kind of ten-steps forward, nine back - and sometimes eleven back (as when Blair and Bush reigned). Of course, they were, as ever, just individuals prepared to act figurehead, this time more in favour of their (our) elite/corporate/Zionist masters than us public. But what’s to be lost in attempting a little more headway while there’s a chance?

Thank you

Sincerely

Phil Clarke

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email reply from Mike Foster 30.7.09:

Dear Phil Clarke....................................................top

Policy Issues

Thanks for responding to my earlier communication by your email of the 10th July.  I agree with you about the ‘priorities’ that the media seem to give to the inconsequential.

The only further point I think I would make is that waging war is always, and must be, a last resort.  I am not a pacifist and therefore I accept that the greater good can sometimes involve force.

To explain the coherence or otherwise of British government policy, it has been based rightly or wrongly on our own interests.  That’s why for example we did not go into Rwanda or Zimbabwe .  We did believe that because of the Al Qaeda threat it was important to establish some democratic mandate in Afghanistan .  It’s also the case that I certainly believe we should only take action if authorised by the UN and Afghanistan of course was a UN project (as opposed to Iraq ). 

I’m sure that politicians do not always get these judgements right but the protection of our nation is why I think some decisions are made and some are not.  I always find it difficult that we are prepared to do nothing if we do not have a specific interest, but I guess that that has always been so. 

All these conflicts consist of some at one end of the scale who believe we should take no action in any circumstance, others who believe that an interventionist policy is the right answer to conquer every evil, and those in the middle, which I think the British government are, which is to pursue a conflict only if we regard our own national security at stake.  Within that continuum there will be a lot of debate and disagreement as to where we are. 

Hope that helps.

Best wishes

 

MICHAEL FOSTER DL MP

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My REPLY: email - 3.8.09:

From: Phil Clarke .........................................top
Hastings

Dear Mr Foster,

Thanks for your two circulars on Crime and Climate respectively, and for your email of 30th July. On climate change: why is it still legal for the very rich to zip around in private jets causing massive disproportionate pollution, yet for a smoker it’s illegal to sit smoking in an open bus shelter? This is just one recent example of the immense stupidity of politicians.

Regarding Afghanistan - the questions I would ask are: what is meant by our (British public?) interests, and what are those interests? They are costing £many billions – far more probably than would be required to guard the UK against all sources of terrorism (which I’d have thought can only be provoked by invading other countries). AND: who precisely decides that bombing and shooting which causes inevitable civilian deaths (so far resulting - also inevitably - in huge increases in resistance) is in these mysterious British interests? Because whoever it is making such wild decisions should, at the very least, be fired for stupendous incompetence.

Reflection briefly on Iraq: According to some, more than 1.2-million people have died as a result of the US/UK invading Iraq, and several million have been displaced; and it is generally agreed to have been a monumental folly (as many ordinary thinking people knew in advance – though not, crucially, for the military and the arms industry). And to say that deposing Saddam Hussein could not have been achieved – even assuming it was wise to depose a secular dictator of Iraq – for less than $half-a-trillion or so, is obvious nonsense. I sincerely hope that even the puppet government there continues to resist the bribes and pressures of western oil companies, that they eventually force the closure of all western bases, and generate renewed support for the endlessly persecuted Palestinians – as well as construct some kind of protection against future invasion (whatever that protection  might be???).

And if similar persistent and wholehearted rejection of western interference in Afghanistan transpires then who here will be surprised, even if the main losers will the Afghans? In the circumstances, I certainly won’t. Because that would be precisely what would happen if Britain – yes, this country – was invaded and our citizens imprisoned, tortured, humiliated and murdered, our children and elderly etc, slaughtered and our dwellings demolished by indiscriminate bombing…. Would WE ever capitulate? Our strength and determination to resist would be colossal, even Tories (inc New Labour) and socialists would unite.  

Why are senior politicians (assuming it really is them who make these insane decisions) so breathtakingly stupid? Scarcely to mention, recklessly extravagant with £billions of our taxes.

Or is the whole agenda something entirely different, something not yet touched-on by the usual media? At least there’s no shortage of speculation below the surface and in other media – which if, as seeming increasingly clear, it’s correct (as it was for Iraq) presents a truly damning indictment of our politicians (and political systems that makes their power and iniquity possible).

I suppose this email seems fairly pointless. Maybe it could be seen as written in despair. It’s written, though, in reluctance: a kind of reluctant acquiescence to the great mad human enterprise with all its squabbles and upheavals in what could be a permanently fabulous world for all, but which it is only for some – and for perhaps less than a millennia hence, who knows?

Yours sincerely

Phil Clarke

 

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6.9.09

email From: Phil Clarke .......................................top
Hastings

 

Dear Mr Foster,

Re: Arms Trade

A few days ago on a Radio-4 interview Clare Short said that in order to mollify her objection to the Labour Party's complicit involvement in the (as she and many others saw it: inevitably catastrophic) invasion of Iraq, Tony Blair had promised that the liberation of Palestine would become a top priority. She confessed to her naivete at the time and that TB had lied to her.

Can it really be true that not only was he lying to her, but (ironically) was at the same time allowing huge arms shipments from the UK to Palestine's murderous oppressor - as according to:

SchNEWS, c/o Community Base,
113 Queens Rd,
Brighton, BN1 3XG, UK
Phone: 01273 685913
Email: mail@schnews.org.uk
Web: www.schnews.org.uk

The Docklands biennial  Defence Systems Equipment International (DSEi) arms fair

Over a million people have died since the US/UK invasion of Iraq. 1,400 Palestinian civilians were killed during the Israeli attack on Gaza in January 2009.  The exhibitors at DSEi are the very people who supplied the weapons that made January's massacre possible. They
are making huge profits from these conflicts - the devastation in Gaza was f
acilitated by UK arms sales of over £27 million in 2008.

 

CAN THIS REALLY BE TRUE?

It seems blindingly clear to everyone I've discussed these issues with that the US and UK are the REAL terrorists, and on a scale vastly more lethal and destructive than any of their opponents. Such former Labour Party supporters feel utterly cheated and disenfranchised - the Green Party is our sole refuge, and maybe that's good: at least the Greens wouldn't be so absurd as to pay people to buy a new car (building a new car is environmentally very destructive) instead of modifying existing cars. Unemployment cannot be a problem here when so much needs doing regarding climate change: building and improving railways, power sources, etc.

Legislation to reduce avoidable manufacturing, close-down arms industries that export, and replace these with industries that work to protect us against the effects of Global Warming should be a priority for any government that considers itself electable. Who wants to elect an administration that toadies to people like Murdoch and the corporate system they represent while neglecting public interest and the interests of peace and decency around the world?

Has anyone in Parliament ever reflected on that ancient little psychological parable: 'The Wind and the Sun'?  Obviously not - so much for Afghanistan!

Yours sincerely

Phil Clarke

 

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Email: 10.9.09


Dear Phil Clarke...........................................top


RE: Arms Sales to Israel


Thank you for your recent email regarding arms sales to Israel . I have been contacted by constituents on this issue before and have made the point to the Foreign Office and MOD on several occasions. I believe there is an inconsistency in the way we grant export licenses to Israel when at the same time list them on our ‘major countries of concern’ as regards human rights.

 
Although I feel uncomfortable about the issue it is undoubtedly true Israel has a right to self defence. Military hardware sold to Israel has not been used in regional conflicts and are not used in Human Rights abuses. Indeed, this is a view that was supported by a recent Court ruling. 


However, I share your discomfort at the sale of any arms to Israel. If you hear of any examples where such weapons are used in breach of human rights let me know and I will pursue the matter further.


Yours sincerely 


Michael Foster DL MP

www.michaelfoster.org.uk 

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Email reply - 18.9.09: ...................................top

 

Dear Mr Foster/Leahy,

If, as in your email, the principle of New Labour selling arms to Israel is on the basis that Israel has the right to defend itself, does that mean that if I steal part of my neighbour's garden you'll support the idea that I should be sold a gun so I can shoot him when he tries to retrieve it?

The trouble is that, as in the US, we are stuck with a government that betrays those who elected it. The only realistic alternative is worse: ie, Tories. One has only to reflect on the obvious conclusions from the following (Fourth paragraph of John Pilger's 17th Sept 09 'For Britons, The Party Game Is Over'):

During the 1914-18 slaughter, Prime Minister Lloyd George confided: “If people really knew [the truth], the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course they don’t know and can’t know.” Have we not yet advanced over a century’s corpses to a point where the likes of Brown are denied their mendacious subterfuge? The Afghan war is a fraud. It began as an American vendetta for domestic consumption in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks, in which not a single Afghan was involved. The Taliban, who are Afghans, had no quarrel with the United States and were dealing secretly with the Clinton administration over a strategic pipeline. They offered to apprehend Osama Bin Laden and hand him over to a clerical court, but this was rejected.

Either Brown and his cronies are a monumental fraud, or someone has a gun at their heads - or both?

Recently several people were given long jail sentences for plotting to blow-up civilian airliners. Quite right too - such people should be locked-up. BUT what about those in the British government who conspired in the far greater atrocity against Baghdad in March 2003 - scarcely to mention their part in the 1.3-million lives lost in Iraq since then? When are these maniacs going to be tried and sentenced - but, of course, they're needed for the next atrocity: Afghanistan... and it wouldn’t be terribly expedient to scare current ministers and military officers busy immersing their hands in civilian blood.

Dishing-out £billions to failed banks instead of to (often) impoverished losers who defaulted on inappropriate loans pales to insignificance....

No way does New Labour even begin to represent what I and many friends regard as responsible decent government. Brown may get the little things right, but to many UK citizens he is the same colossal disappointment as Obama to the citizens of the US (and the world). WHAT A PATHETIC LETDOWN! The rip-off corporate system with its propaganda media wins yet again. No real surprise there, I suppose: John Dewey: 'Government is the shadow cast on society by big business.' sounds about right to me. I guess anyone who has the initiative to challenge such gigantic fraud never gets near a look-in. 

Phil Clarke

 

email 9.2.10 ...........................................top

Dear Mr Foster,

The more I read about the Chilcot inquiry the more disturbed I am. The fallacy imbued in the heart of British ‘democracy’ is staggering. While some commentators are concerned with questions to do with the legality of the war, the most crucial issue here is actually the disappearance of ethical judgment from our public and political life. Rather than being concerned with morality and ethics British politicians are concerned with legalism. In other words, if someone would manage to prove that the war was ‘legal’ then the murdering of a million and a half Iraqis would be well justified. Let’s all face it, our politicians are corrupted to the bone.’

No, the above wasn’t written by me, your constituent, but it may as well have been – and by, I’m certain, many thousands of others. It was written by Gilad Atzmon (a musician-composer - well-known both for his fiction and his widely published political analysis: Gilad.co.uk)

In addition, and apart from the ongoing horrors Iraq suffers and the £6bn+ of OUR tax money wasted, it is doubly obnoxious to now watch the culprits squirm as they attempt to extricate themselves from any responsibility for British involvement in the war: Hoon, Straw, Blair, Campbell… etc. Of the politicians, the sole honest voice of Clare Short stands out starkly against the backdrop of shifty conniving conspirators in genocide.

WORSE: the Party has failed even to suspend these self-evidently proven villains who’ve destroyed, for most people, its credibility.

When is the Party going to take action (legal or otherwise) against these individuals? When is there going to be a thorough internal inquiry into how the mysterious (to me) ‘Policy Committee’ re-wrote the Labour Party constitution a few weeks before the invasion of Iraq – when I was writing first class letters to David Triesman in an attempt to find out why that committee had made such drastic changes that rendered the document meaningless?

Without those changes the Party would have been in breach of its constitution – a document created, obviously, precisely to prevent from becoming imminent the kind of situation that was looming. What breathtaking incompetence – to remove a safeguard at the very moment when it’s most needed! What were the rest of the Party doing to allow this?…a question that implies the Party itself to be so inherently corrupt as to dwarf the expenses-scandal out of sight.

As telling as developments mentioned above is the fact that you have not felt inclined to respond to my previous email of Set 18th 2009. I am saddened but not surprised, and look forward to when action is taken to restore the Party’s credibility so that after more than a decade I can support it once again. 

Yours sincerely

Phil Clarke

 

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15th April 2010

Dear Mr Clarke

MP

My Reply:

                           

Your ref: JL/CLAR01015/01040386                          top                                                                                          
Email: philphiluk@yahoo.co.uk
Michael Foster
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA
(via local office)                                                                                                             
                                                                                            19th April 2010
Dear Mr Foster,

Thanks for your 15th April letter. The Iraq issue is not one to brush off – especially when that country is STILL to this day occupied and when, despite Mr Obama’s declared intentions, it will doubtless continue to be occupied until firmly in the grip of the US (empire-doctrine) - likewise Afghanistan. Nor can repercussions that have so far led to more than 1.3-million deaths be brushed away - not when professional estimates of hundreds of thousands were frequently voiced before the invasion. If this country had been invaded, my house destroyed, my friends/relations killed/injured/traumatised… I might well be driven to take some kind of retaliation (and if that would be ‘extremism’, then I wonder what word best describes the vast bombing raids, machine-gunnings, torture and abuse…. etc, etc, etc… that your government helped carry out unprovoked? AND IT’S STILL GOING ON in Afghanistan).

What a legacy! I mean for the Party, playing along with (if not assisting in) all this genocide and horror… which is, as I say, still going on… and then sitting back, like someone who’s just lit the touch-paper of a firework, and blaming the consequences on the saltpetre!

But insane empire wars are not the only issue on which public trust has been betrayed. You know the other issues, and it would take several pages for me to mention just those I know about. But your opposition to Trident seems brave – and it may be responsible for you remaining our MP. Has anyone asked your leader or the Tories how Trident defends us against Al Quida, should the latter threaten to detonate a nuclear device in the west? It’s not impossible that this kind of retaliation against western aggression, cruelty, pillage, etc… might occur, esp if the principal aim is halting spread of the western empire? And everyone knows that Iran’s assumed intension to acquire a nuclear deterrent is entirely down to Israel’s possession of a nuclear arsenal and the continual menace it poses to its neighbours: Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Iran. Something needs doing about Israel NOW! When is the UK going to stop acting the poodle, and regard the US establishment, Murdoch and his entourage of plutocrats as the extreme liability they all are?

This holds true when applied to almost any issue. Essentially, our whole political system is hopelessly decrepit. Concerning anything that really matters, it’s virtually ineffective and is leading the world (let alone the UK) to ruin – and in so many ways. For instance, I hear on the radio this morning that following the volcanic ash situation, airlines are in discussions with governments about being bailed out of possible bankruptcy. They want what the banks got: after many decades of handsome profits, the banks’ decided in their greed/’wisdom’ to implement obviously defective ploys for further boosting profits - and virtually ruined the economy – knowing that good-old UK/US factory-&-office slaves (whether they liked it or not) would be forced to bail them out. As we all know too well: the rich never pay for anything due to the age-old anti-Robin Hood status quo that UK law (and Washington) sustains. The banks, of course, like water companies and the railway system (at least), should never be in the hands of a few private individuals. As for Mr Brown failing to regulate banks because they requested no regulation – nothing could be more obviously ludicrous. Banks, like most industries, are run by and for people whose sole interest in life is enhancing their own personal wealth.

Regarding airlines - after decades of creating far more than their fair share per capita of damage to our climate (while shelling-out vast profits to investors) – they are suddenly grounded. And they’re screaming. Nature has created a little snag that's resulted in what should have been instigated decades ago by ALL governments acting together.

Back in the early 70s I worked in a lab at a scientific instrument company in Cambridge where for a few months Jim Lovelock was a consultant scientist. It was for his invention, the electron-capture-detector, that Lovelock’s skills were sought. In principle, the detector is a simple device where the emissions from a radioactive cylinder are received by a central probe, amplified then measured. Gas passing between the cylinder and probe will alter the signal. The detector, which is extremely sensitive, is fitted to the exit of a tube into which gasses - ie, a sample of the atmosphere - have been injected and separated according to molecular structure. The system, called a chromatograph, is calibrated with known gasses.

Yesterday evening BBC-4 transmitted a documentary (Beautiful Minds: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00s04qp ) on Jim Lovelock and his important work - with which I’m sure you’re at least slightly familiar, if only from his coining of the term ‘Gaia’. This eminent scientist paints a bleak picture indeed, bleaker even than Dennis Potter’s pessimistic vision of our political future. If you don’t have time to see this inspiring 1-hour documentary then I’m sure any scientifically-minded colleague will give you a summary. Lovelock was voicing his concerns way back when I met him, and they may be an exaggeration (though I doubt it), but what he predicted then has come to pass, and the cost that humankind is going to have to pay for the activities of the airlines in particular (whose emissions are hugely disproportionate compared with other hydrocarbon-consuming industries – but them too), is going to be enormous: beside it, £multibillion wars, £multibillion bank bailouts, etc. will be as nothing. We can already see the beginning as islands disappear beneath the Indian Ocean.    

Even the ‘Green Party’ pulls too many punches. So what hope is there? What can one expect from the rest of this primitive political system we seem to be landed with? The entire system is badly in need of a drastic overhaul. TIME FOR A CHANGE, yell the Tories - but not in their direction, nor, for that matter, in any of the Parties' direction (except the 'Greens'). Anyhow, with delusions of exaggerated infinitesimals you’ll be glad to know I’ll be voting tactically  – which means for you. And I do appreciate that you have to balance what your constituents want against what your bosses demand (and what they’ll let you ‘get away’ with), and this against what you personally believe is best all-round. A pretty thankless task, I guess. I was surprised that you took the time to reply to me at what for you must be a pretty hectic period. So despite all the failures of Labour, as I see them, and the differences I have with you - you have my support.

Sincerely

Phil Clarke

 

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5.5.10

REPLY from Michael Foster to several Stopthewar Questions.

Michael Foster
Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Hastings and Rye
01424 460070

www.michaelfoster.org.uk

 

Dear Mr Clarke

Iraq & Afghanistan

Thank you for writing to me concerning my views on the ‘War on Terror.’ I am delighted to have the opportunity to share my views on matters of such importance. I am not a pacifist but believe some of the things done in the name of the ‘war on terrorism’ to be both poorly thought out and morally illegitimate.

1. Do you support the immediate withdrawal of British and NATO troops from Afghanistan ?

We should withdraw as soon as it is possible for the democratically elected Afghan Government to support itself. Doing so before hand would be to leave the Afghani people at the mercy of the Taliban and would render the sacrifices already made futile.

I am delighted that President Obama has a de facto timeline for withdrawal by the end of 2011. I would hope and envision British troops leaving by this date as well.

2. Did you support the war in Iraq ?

No. I resigned my position in the Government over Iraq .

3. Will you oppose any military attack on Iran by the United States and Israel ?

The only legitimate reasons for military attack are self-defence or the prevention of genocide. These conditions are certainly not presently met in relation to Iran and any military attack would be unjustified.

4. Do you support the immediate closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison?

Yes. Sustained detention without trial is wholly illegitimate. I am glad that Guantanamo Bay is slowly emptying; this sorry chapter in Western Democracy can’t end soon enough.

5. Are you opposed to the renewal of Trident nuclear weapons?

Yes and I have voted against renewal in the past.

They are unnecessary to our defence needs, too expensive and a renewal would be in conflict with our obligations under the non-proliferation treaty. With governments sympathetic to disarmament in both Russia and America it is time for Britain to take a lead on the issue.

6. Do you oppose the attacks on Muslims and the growing Islamaphobia in British society?

Yes. Of particular concern to me is the way the media stoke up this kind of prejudice. It can have a real affect on the quality of life of Muslims in Britain and I do all I can to stamp out Islamaphobia wherever I see it.

You may be aware that I recently refused to share a platform with the BNP. I refuse to let anyone use this election as an excuse to attack and bully minorities in this country.

7. Do you agree that the use of anti-terrorist laws to restrict the right to protest is an attack on civil liberties?

Anti-terrorism laws should not be used to restrict the right to legitimate protest, which is absolute in any democracy.

Lessons need to be learned from the policing of large scale protests such as the one at last years G20 event as well as the way stop and search powers are used.

Locally it is a very tight election. It’s neck and neck between Labour and the Conservatives. The Lib Dems can’t win here. I hope you feel able to support me on May 6th as there is a very real risk that by splitting the left wing vote the Tories could come through the middle and win the Hastings and Rye seat.

I hope my answers have been useful in helping you determine who you would like to vote for on Thursday. I can’t promise that you will agree with me on every issue but you can be sure that I will never take a decision with regards war or civil liberties lightly. Human life is far too precious.

With best wishes

Yours sincerely

Michael Foster DL MP

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