Today marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, seen by many as the great triumph of Enlightenment thinking and neo-liberal democracy.
But the failure of the major powers to simultaneously achieve any pact on international justice has meant that the first achievement was rendered utterly useless.
While the UN will no doubt be celebrating today, they’d probably be better off considering just how many people have had their rights abused or eroded, in just about every country in the world, in the last sixty years.
Recent leaks and admissions over exactly what Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General said in his two bits of advice to the PM about war in Iraq has been generated by the Labour party to cloud our memories of why it is we opposed the war.
Legality was never the factor that bothered us. It was the only argument that could have been used to physically prevent our troops going into battle; but the argument against the war was always a moral one. And we were right. Today, Iraq still barely has a government, is under foreign occupation and suffers continual attacks from foreign insurgents. It seems trite to mention all this again, but there were no terrorists in Iraq until the US and the UK let them in. 21,000 civilians have died because of our greed. Half a million children died because of the hopelessly corrupt and inept UN Oil-for-Food programme and the allied air-strikes which went on for 10 years.
So now, Tony Blair says that he is happy to fight the election on trust, but at the same time, he makes the insupportable claim that if 10% of Labour voters stay at home, the Tories will get in “by the back door”.
We can trust Blair on some points: he’s committed to curtailing human rights in the UK; he’s willing to support the phoney wars started by the US; he will intentionally mislead the government and the electorate to pursue policies he believes are right; he cannot be trusted.
Of course, Michael Howard is no better.
So it makes sense to vote for smaller parties. England would benefit from an increase in the number of parties asking for support in the election. The Lib Dems might well still be interested in introducing proportional representation as a replacement for our current system.
Give Labour a bloody nose, but don’t let the Tories back in! Is what I think.