Chris Nineham is from the Stop the War Coalition and a former leading activist within the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party. Today, John Rentoul, Tony Blair’s biographer, had the misfortune of having to debate with Nineham on BBC Radio 2. (The debate is available on You Tube)
Rentoul and Nineham were discussing the decision of Tony Blair to donate the advance and any future royalties he receives from his memoirs to the Royal British Legion. Below I copy an extract of the words from Rentoul to which I can only say, “Hear, hear.”
It is certainly extraordinary, sad and tragic that the media, including the BBC, have responded quite so viciously [to Tony Blair’s decision] and is giving airtime to people like Chris Nineham….
The SWP was not against the war, it was in favour in the war, it was in favour of Saddam winning the war, and it was in favour of the British losing. So I don’t think he has got any authority to speak on this subject whatsoever. And I think we should just pay our respects to the bravery of British soldiers who carry out their professional duty in a democracy as decided by parliament in the appropriate way. And people who disagree with this decision should perhaps keep quiet for a day or two.
When Jane Hill, for the BBC, made the point that it was not just the Stop the War Coalition, but that there were also some service families who felt similarly, Rentoul noted:
An unrepresentative minority of service families … are grievously exploited by the SWP and their allies in the Stop the War Coalition. I think the vast majority of service families understand that a professional army carries out its duty as best it can according to the democratic decisions made by a democratic government in the country.
There is an adage that when someone commences a point with the words “The fact is,” that it is often the case that the rest of the sentence contains anything but facts. This point was not lost on Rentoul. After Nineham said, “The fact is the political decisions that are made in Downing Street,” Rentoul interrupted to correct him: “In the House of Commons by a vote of members of parliament.”
What I found particularly amusing was how many times that Rentoul mentioned something about democracy. I suspect that part of the reason is that he knows that the SWP and their ilk wish to overthrow parliamentary democracy and impose a dictatorship on the British population.