This informative discussion involving key Ministers in the British government, trade unionist activists, a top journalist and key NGO leaders discussed the lack of a Arab response to the crisis in the Darfur, the excuses made by Western intellectuals for suicide bombings and other terrorist acts, Iraq and the need to support democrats, and the future for the UN (and whether or not it is a ‘failed’ organisation).
Hilary Benn MP, Minister for International Development and a candidate for the Labour party deputy leadership, said he wanted to tackle head-on voter’s perceptions about Iraq. In an excellent exchange with Nick Cohen he defended the government’s decision and said we ought to be defending democrats and trade unionists.
Nick Cohen went on to describe the perils of non-intervention:
Pat McFadden MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Cabinet Office and one of Tony Blair’s key advisors at No. 10 in the run up to the Iraq conflict said: –
“We should reject the notion, frequently held, which says that when it comes to security problems at home or terrorist acts abroad, we have brought it on ourselves.
There is nothing inevitable about bombing marketplaces. People chose to do it and it is an outrage against universal values of human decency.”
In reference to the Islamist threat, he added:
“This ideology, bottled up during the Cold War, was leading people to commit terrorist outrages before either President Bush or Tony Blair took office and the threat it poses will remain when both of them have gone. Liberalism, pluralism and democracy are worth defending and it will remain necessary to defend our beliefs and to be strong and vigilant in the face of the security threat facing the country.”
You can watch the rest of the debate here.It’s long-ish, but has been split into bite-sized chunks for easier digestion.
Large hat-tip for getting everything together: migsuk, and big thanks to Claire Leona Apps and Azhur Saleem for filming and editing the whole thing with only a day’s notice!
PS – Don’t forget the Euston Manifesto Conference on Wednesday May 30th at SOAS. Entitled ‘Solidarity and Rights: The Euston Manifesto one year on’, speakers include: Norman Geras, Shalom Lappin, Fred Halliday, Eve Garrard and Michael Walzer. Tickets are £5.50 and can be reserved by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.