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Re: International Community?

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


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