Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Time to take a careful look at "Stop the War"

Often the worst advertisement for a cause or argument is provided by its' most fervent supporters

Although I do not agree with them, there are many sensible, well meaning and intelligent people who want to see an Independent Scotland and they have some good arguments.

But the worst possible advertisement for the case for Scottish independence is provided by some of the more extreme supporters of the SNP and the possibility that such people might lead it must be one of the main things which put many people off voting for an Independent Scotland.

Similarly there are many sensible, well meaning and intelligent people who want to see Britain leave the European Union and they have some good arguments.

But the worst possible advertisement for the case for Brexit is provided by some of the more extreme supporters of UKIP and the possibility that Britain might become the sort of country such people want will almost certainly be one of the main things which puts many people off voting "Leave" in the forthcoming referendum.

And there are many sensible, well meaning and intelligent people who did not want to see Britain extend our air campaign against DA'ESH (the so-called "Islamic State") into Syria and they had some good arguments.

But the "Stop the War" campaign which was founded by Jeremy Corbyn and of which until a few weeks ago he was chairman are the worst possible advertisement for that view.


The Economist view of "Stop the War"

A few days ago "The Economist" magazine published an article which you can read here, which includes the following comments about the "Stop the War" campaign:

"It is not anti-war so much as anti-West; a permanent howl of relativist anguish at NATO and its members. For example, the group could hardly be more indulgent of Vladimir Putin’s wars. It defended the invasion of Georgia as a reaction to “the ambition of the USA to exercise global hegemony”, called many of the Maidan protesters in Kiev neo-Nazis and excused Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine and the Crimea. Tellingly, at its “anti-war” demonstration in London on December 1st a poster emblazoned with Syrian flags and the slogan “Support For Bashar Al-Assad” was brandished above the crowd."

Noting that Jeremy Corbyn's links with "Stop the War" could not be closer, The Economist concluded:

"this group—'a madcap coalition of Trots, Islamists and anti-West fury chimps', as one former Labour MP puts it—will continue to play a central role in the politics of Britain’s main opposition party.

This is a dismal state of affairs. Britain’s left has a rich tradition, dating to the Spanish civil war and beyond, of treating tyranny in one country as a crime against all; of heeding the bell that “tolls for thee”.

Guido Fawkes highlights 14 particularly egregious cases when Stop the War did not call it right., including the instance when they actually called for war against Israel: you would think that calling on people to start a war is a rather peculiar thing for an organisation called "Stop the war" to do, but they only want to stop wars against the enemies of Western civilisation and of Israel.


Dan Hodges view of "Stop the War"

A particularly damning critique of Stop the War comes from Dan Hodges here, when he points out

"Following the Syria vote, Stop The War published an attack on Hilary Benn. Specifically, they challenged his evocation of the International Brigade to highlight the Labour movement’s historic internationalism.

'Benn does not even seem to realise that the jihadist movement that ultimately spawned Daesh [IS] is far closer to the spirit of internationalism and solidarity that drove the International Brigades than Cameron’s bombing campaign,' they wrote.

To anyone with a genuine empathy with the Left’s heritage, the comparison between those who stood on the Ebro confronting Franco’s fascists, and those who stand on the roofs of Raqqa hurling gay men to their deaths, would be so disgusting as to negate any moral, let alone personal, engagement."

The comment referred to above and a few more of the most atrocious comments on the Stop the War website have been taken down but the question has to be asked how on earth they were put up in the first place.

This appears to have been the last straw for Britain's only Green MP - Caroline Lucas has left Stop the War over some of the messages they posted after the Paris bombings.

As former Labour MP Tom Harris put it, Even the Green Party is outflanking Jeremy Corbyn from the Right.

And as Hugo Rifkind wrote in The Times yesterday, the basic problem with "Stop the War" is not that they are against British involvement in military action against DA'ESH in the middle east. It is that they are completely crazy, "frequently anti-Semitic and always absurd." And as he points out

"Corbyn was a founder member and only stood down as chairman in September. If he still doesn't realise they're cranks, what does that make him?"

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