Freesteel Blog » Still doing my own Public Whip editing

Still doing my own Public Whip editing

Friday, March 6th, 2009 at 5:07 am Written by:

Just showed up at Cambridge to find Francis all het up about the Political Parties and Elections Bill, having read this posting on the Your Right to Know blog about how MPs had just summarily voted to make yet more information about themselves secret.

This connects to the MPs’ expenses debate which I posted about earlier in the year, drawing attention to the paranoid Julian Lewis MP and his concerns over disclosing MPs’ addresses in case some “self-taught follower of al-Qaeda… goes on the internet, conveniently finds 646 addresses and sends 646 packages containing something explosive, horrible or, at the very least, abusive to 646 unprotected mail boxes.”

What an amazingly vivid and childish imagination.

But then you would expect it of a guy who writes prize-winning essays (prize awarded by the, never-seen-a-war-they-didn’t-like, Gentleman’s Club, RUSI) such as “Nuclear disarmament vs. peace in the 21st century”, in which he presents his cockeyed bogus case for nuclear weapons, including the usual lowlights:

  • Only atomic weapons brought Japanese surrender in the Second World War
  • Mutually assured destruction is a safe guarantor of peace
  • There is a propensity for dictatorships to go to war with dictatorships, and for democracies and dictatorships to clash, whilst few – if any – examples exist of liberal democracies attacking each other.
  • If we relied on the protection of American nuclear weapons, then an aggressor is likely miscalculate their commitment to us and annihilate our cities
  • The Non Proloferation Treaty does not commit the United Kingdom to nuclear disarmament
  • The purpose of the British nuclear deterrent is to minimize the prospect of the United Kingdom being attacked by mass-destruction weapons.

For a guy who’s spent so much of his time embedded in the military thinking establishment, he has practically nothing of any interest to say. It’s basically no better than President Bush’s understanding of history, and it ignores interesting questions like:

  • What about the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, also in August 1945, and the suggestion that the development of atomic weapons delayed the acceptance of a Japanese surrender until the technology could be properly tested on human victims?
  • Why exactly doesn’t the US overthrow of the democratic government in Iran in 1953, or the 16 year Vietnam War count in those figures?
  • If nuclear weapons are supposedly the reason why we don’t get attacked, why is it not obvious to ask why we would get attacked, when we don’t have anything anyone wants, like oil?
  • How much closer would we have had to get to nuclear armageddon during the cuban missile crisis before the policy of mutually assured destruction doesn’t look quite such a safe ticket?
  • Do you think Russia will ever bother to point their military forces at us again, now that they can shut off the gas pipeline and bring us to our knees?
  • If everyone knew we weren’t even slightly going to work towards nuclear disarmament, do you think so many countries would have bothered to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?

Anyways, wisdom and intellectual honesty were never qualifications for being an MP, not when you’re spreading the sort of message the purveyors of violence want to hear.

As it was.

For many years, ballot papers in the UK have listed the home addresses of the candidates standing for election, as well as their names and political parties, so people knew exactly who they were.

Julian Lewis knows this, and appeared to come to terms with it, because in the same speech last year about the 646 packages containing something horrible mailed to the 646 MPs, he said:

As Simon Hughes pointed out, once every four or five years we have to reveal our constituency address in the process of getting elected. But the fact that we have to do that with some of our addresses, some of the time, is no reason whatever for our having to do it with all our addresses, all the time, in an easily accessible form. Of course, if someone who is targeting a particular MP and means to track him or her down in order to do him or her harm puts in enough effort, it will be possible to do so.

Nevertheless, this tiny loophole must have bugged him enough because this week he sponsored a whole raft of rule changes to the procedures for Parliamentary elections and got them voted into the Political Parties and Elections Bill. There was no debate about his law changes whatsoever, and a lot of MPs considered it highly irregular to the extent that they even argued with the Speaker about it:

David Heath: Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. [ Interruption. ] I am sorry to weary the House with this boring bit of procedure, which involves whether we debate a matter before it is added to a Bill, but does not that procedure specify that it relates to all Government amendments and new clauses, and was this not a Back Bencher’s amendment or new clause, which is quite different?

Following this altercation, the slimeball who hates everyone who doesn’t love the bomb shouted:

Is there any way in which, within the rules, I can place on the record the fact that although both the Government and the Opposition treated this free vote as a free vote, the Liberal Democrats whipped all their Members to vote one way!

No doubt irrelevant details, such as the fact that the Liberal Democrats assessed President Bush’s gratuitous plan to invade Iraq far better than he and his party did, will get buried when he pens his next childish essay on the subject.

I can’t find anything useful among any of his writings, and I’ve looked hard. There are the usual empty lies like:

Saddam threw the inspection team out of Iraq in 1998. This gave him more than four years to create stocks of chemical and biological weapons which could be hidden in any cellar or hole under a rock in the desert.

Now why would a war-monger want to forget about an important military action like Operation Desert Fox (also in 1998), unless its particulars happened to conflict with the rational for prosecuting the next unnecessary premeditated act of aggression?

Selectivity and the lack of any the need to make excuses for things present in the record abounds.

Meanwhile, in the land of luminaries like George Shultz, US secretary of state from 1982 to 1989, William Perry, US secretary of defense from 1994 to 1997, Henry Kissinger, nobel peace prize winning war criminal and US secretary of state from 1973 to 1977, and Sam Nunn, former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, comes this article in the Wall Street Journal last year:

Toward a Nuclear-Free World

The accelerating spread of nuclear weapons, nuclear know-how and nuclear material has brought us to a nuclear tipping point. We face a very real possibility that the deadliest weapons ever invented could fall into dangerous hands.

The steps we are taking now to address these threats are not adequate to the danger. With nuclear weapons more widely available, deterrence is decreasingly effective and increasingly hazardous.

One year ago, in an essay in this paper, we called for a global effort to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, to prevent their spread into potentially dangerous hands, and ultimately to end them as a threat to the world. The interest, momentum and growing political space that has been created to address these issues over the past year has been extraordinary, with strong positive responses from people all over the world.

Agreeing with their analysis, taking account as it does of all sorts of events and opportunities out there in the real world, means I am a pinko lefty commie, no doubt.

But you’re safe as long as no one who has a chance to vote for you gets told where you live. This provision, of course, does not apply to European Parliamentary candidates, Scottish Parliament candidates, or local council candidates, none of whose lives are at risk, or are worth protecting. It also doesn’t apply to directors of registered companies whose addresses are available for as little as one pound from Companies House.

I wonder how long before they start to claim that, as a consequence of their extreme politicial power over the destiny of the nation, it’s important that we don’t get told where they live either.


  • 1. Tony replies at 6th March 2009, 2:23 pm :

    Tiny nit:

    The 2006 Companies Act changed the position re: directors’ home addresses. Although they still have to register these with Companies House they can also supply a different “service address” (which will likely usually be the Company’s Registered Address). Only the service address will be available to the public.

  • 2. Freesteel&hellip replies at 1st May 2009, 1:07 pm :

    […] am still doing my own public whip editing since no proper professional media organization or Parliamentary “Communications” […]

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