The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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And before we level too much criticism of the Labour government, I would like to express my view that I believe that this fundamentally a good government made up of honest, committed ministers. There is no big conspiracy. Tony Blair and Robin Cook have spent all of their lives campaigning for human rights and international justice. They have increased overseas aid. Cook was willing to endure a very bad press back home in order to criticise the conduct of his Israeli hosts on a visit to Israel. Arms sales to oppressive regimes are DOWN, particularly to Indonesia. The proportion of applicants for asylum being granted leave to remain has doubled. This is a good government we should want to work with, not throw mud at. As for Peter Hain, he has devoted his life to human rights, particularly the campaign against apartheid. In South Africa he is a hero for his efforts in the struggle against apartheid. For those of us who ever want to make a difference in this world by going into public life in any form, we should have a long think before we criticise people in trenchant terms because they make a different assessment of an issue from that of ourselves, despite their lifelong commitment to human rights. I say this with particular reference to people like Ann Clywd, Glenys Kinnock, Emma Nicholson, etc., who have spent all their lives campaigning against things like arms sales to Indonesia, etc. But the minute they supported NATO actions in Kosovo or the Gulf War, they were instantly condemned by lots of people in very unpleasant language. I simply want to draw attention to the excellent record that many of these people have who we may not agree with, but they are not war criminals, they have not committed genocide, nor are they bigoted or disgusting. They have an honest opinion which in some situations is different from our own. I am therefore arranging for Ann Clwyd to come to Cambridge to speak next term, which she has agreed to do, and hope that it will prove constructive. Alan -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi