A full week/day may not have passed since the last time we called someone a wanker – but these are exceptional times.
Those in power have thrown every dirty trick in their arsenal at us, in an attempt to generate support for bombing in Syria. One of the most vile of all these tricks is called Hilary Benn: dynastic politician, millionaire toff and lifelong supporter of the murderous adventures of the British state.
A third generation parliamentarian, he is Grandson of William Wedgwood Benn, the 1st Viscount Stangate. His Niece, Emily Benn led the charge to have Corbyn aide, Andrew Fisher, expelled from the party for appearing to suggest voters should support a rival party, despite the fact Emily Benn did exactly the same thing, sharing a Tweet suggesting those who thought Corbyn’s 50/50 gender balanced cabinet didn’t go far enough should consider joining the Women’s Equality Party. If you think yesterday was the first time the Benn family name has been associated with being a right-wing shitehawk, you’ve not been paying attention.
If one story best sums up Hilary Benn, it’s that he’s the only politician who I can remember protesting against himself. The Blair Government, were famed for their gleeful pursuit of neo-liberal economics on the world stage, the economies of developing nations were smashed up and then sold off to foreign investors in exchange for credit (i.e. debt) from global financial institutions. Within a few weeks of being in his new job as International Development Secretary, Hilary Benn was branded “BP Benn,” for his involvement in approving an IMF loan to BP to build an oil pipeline, despite campaigners pointing out the scheme breached World Bank rules on 173 counts. Human rights concerns, particularly those of people displaced by the despotic Azerbaijani regime, and the environmental damage done were dismissed and the huge project went ahead, to the chagrin of many campaigners. When the G8 was taking place at Gleneagles in 2005, thousands marched across the country on the day and in the weeks before, to protest against Blair and Bush and against their policies which resulted in deliberate impoverishment and environmental destruction. Amongst the marchers was…International Development Secretary and arch-Blairite, Hilary “BP” Benn.
So what does he stand for? As a member of the Government which led the country to war based on a lie in Iraq and which dropped bombs on Afghanistan with no clear plan about what would happen afterwards, Benn has always been a supporter of engineering large scale political violence. He’s a passionate believer in nuclear genocide, favouring the maintenance of a nuclear weapons system intended to end the world as we know it. And he’s becoming quite a fan of George Osbourne’s economic policies, having previously failed to vote against Tory budget cuts.
His Commons Speech on Wednesday, in support of the Government yet delivered from the Opposition dispatch box, was as disgusting and it was dishonest. The applause from the Tories and their warmongering allies was almost as boke inducing as the fawning media coverage. The British press have found their ally in their relentless campaign to bomb foreigners and stick it to Jeremy Corbyn. Benn invoked the memory of those who bravely fought fascism in Spain, as though marching through a lobby with his millionaire pals to vote for someone to bomb someone else was in some way equivocal with those who travelled from the UK to fight Franco. This is particularly galling whilst the UK Government is locking up those who want to travel to Kurdistan to actually fight Daesh.
Benn even threw in some pinkwashing, as if the liberation of LGBTI+ Syrians will be delivered by dropping bombs from Tornado aircraft. As a member of the Government who invaded Iraq, Hilary Benn knows he’s lying to and about those people. He knows this war will not help them because he remembers that while Blair shouted “think of the gays” before Britain invaded Iraq, the reality was that LGBTI+ Iraqis were murdered and entrapped by militias loyal to the occupation, while the US and UK military looked away. Using gay rights to justify violence against Muslims is a disgraceful tactic, often employed by the far right in Western Europe. Benn’s sudden interest in the queer victims of the organised violence (which he’s supporting) is a cynical ploy to exploit existing prejudices within our communities, and it must not be allowed to succeed.
People are understandably furious that we’re again being dragged further into a conflict in the Middle East, including large numbers of Labour Party members and supporters, who may have been under the impression that electing Jeremy Corbyn would ensure this wouldn’t happen again. There are justifiable calls for Labour MPs to be deselected. and one even complained of being called a nasty name. Can you believe it? A member of parliament was called a warmonger for…mongering war? Excuse me for not having much fucking sympathising with the ruling class as they complain of “bullying” from their constituents at this precise moment in time; they may be able to cower away from the impact of their violent attacks in Syria but they do actually have to be contactable by the people they are paid vast sums of money to represent. Those Labour politicians whinging about intemperate Tweets today were yesterday plotting with the Tories to blow people up.
I’m not really concerned with the possible rotation of Hilary’s relatives in their graves – having a different view from your dad is often commendable, treating Syrians like collateral damage in your Labour leadership bid is truly unforgivable.
Fuck the war and fuck all these warmongering wankers.