On Sat 2nd December I was invited to address a Stop the War protest outside RAF Brize Norton.
The base is the main supply station for the British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the speech I delivered on behalf of the Scottish Socialist Party.
Thank you for the invitation and warm welcome.
I am both proud to join you here today and to bring you greetings of peace and comradeship from the Scottish Socialist Party.
I congratulate you for drawing attention to Brize Norton, the place from which Britain in effect services its illegal occupation of Iraq.
As we marched round the base this afternoon I noticed, as I am sure you did, the huge transport aircraft taking off for Iraq or Afghanistan. I could not help think of the 120 young men who left this place in just such an aircraft and have not come back. I think of how a young fusilier called Gordon Gentle felt. I also think of the hundreds of other nameless young men who have come back severely injured and traumatised.
As a Member of Parliament I have had to console families in the city of Edinburgh that I represent who have lost sons.
Our appalling losses, because they are appalling, without need or reason, are of course dwarfed by the losses American families have suffered - 3,000 sons who flew out likewise never came back.
But it is above all the poor innocent Iraqi’s who have been butchered most of all – more than 660,000 of them have died who would still be alive were it not for the illegal invasion of their country by alien forces.
The Scottish Socialist Party has opposed this war from day one and every hour since. And we were right. All of us here were right to speak out and we reiterate the demand we have espoused throughout – we call for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all foreign military forces from IRAQ. And to those who say their WILL be civil war I say the blood thirsty civil war in Iraq that claims more than 100 lives a day – a rate 36,500 a year which equals one 9/11 each month – where is the worlds condemnation this time? All this happens because the troops are there, they are plainly not stopping anything!
Much has of course changed in the last three months. MAKE NO MISTAKE. We are witnessing the endgame of the occupation of Iraq, the endgame of a catastrophic failure of policy by Britain and USA.
What are the signs?
- Labour politicians who supported the war are now recanting and asking for forgiveness. Michael Meacher is one of many who says supporting the war in Iraq was the biggest political blunder of his career – we could have told him that and did at the time.
- Generals and majors who just 6 months ago were demanding more troops must be sent in now risk courts martial by publicly condemning MOD military strategy and press for 50% of the troops to be home by May.
- Public opinion has grown inexorably against the government, against the incessant slaughter and pointless strategy. The extent of this was seen last month in the US elections where BUSH got hammered and the first socialist was elected to the Senate.
And let me ask you what is that smell in the air?
It’s the smell of Tony Blair’s legacy. He will soon be gone and good riddance. But how will he be remembered?
As the man whom brought twenty years of the hated Tories to an end? NO
As the first Labour Prime Minister elected with a working majority?
As the first ever Labour Prime Minister elected three times?
He will be remembered as a liar. One who’s every lie was found out.
Tony Blair is responsible for the deaths of those young men who flew out of here to their deaths and for the US deaths too and above all for the 660,000 Iraqis slaughter. Without him things would be oh so different. All those who perished in this catastrophic policy failure stand in stark contrast to outcome, about to retire on a huge pension into a £4m mansion in Belgravia. The millions scattered in his wake will enjoy no such luxury.
Shame on you Tony Blair you will be remembered by us as the worst Prime Minister this country has ever had.
And on Monday he leaves us his parting gift – Britain’s new and deadliest weapons of mass destruction, the second generation of Trident nuclear missiles based on the Clyde near Glasgow.
Only the weak minded among us – Labour MP’s mainly – would accept there is a democratic debate yet to be held.
Let us here today tell Tony Blair- the man who put the ‘con’ in consultation
- We know the decision has already been taken
- -We know Gordon Brown has already earmarked the £75bn
- We know you will have to rely on Tory votes to railroad it through.
Do not insult our intelligence, you are no democrat, you have no democratic credentials - you supported Regime Change Iraq we, true democrats believe regime change in Iraq is the sole and inviolate right of the Iraqi people and nobody else.
Tony Blair is no democrat; he is a warmonger, a war criminal and militarist.
OUR MESSAGE FROM RAF BRIZE NORTON ON THIS WINTERS DAY IS
NO WARS FORM US IMPERIALISM
NO TO TRIDENT
We stand for greater goals, for peace and social progress all mankind.