Wednesday, 22 November 2017

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Liberal Future Debate (3) – Is Tony Blair A War Criminal?
GORDON BROWN, former Labour leader and Prime Minister, has recently revealed – see here http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/gordon-brown-claims-knew-no-11469120 here http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/homenews/15641625.Gordon_Brown_says_UK___39_misled__39__over_WMDs_ahead_of_Iraq_war/ and here http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/gordon-brown-iraq-us-wmds-intelligence-blair-saddam-hussein-war-george-bush-rumsfeld-book-a8037686.html – that George W Bush misled Tony Blair over Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction.  Indeed, as the above reports note, the US administration kept quiet about a top secret intelligence report which showed there was NO evidence Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Brown argues that Britain would not have invaded Iraq had we known about it.
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Yet this seems to be contradicted by a previous report in the Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3277402/Smoking-gun-emails-reveal-Blair-s-deal-blood-George-Bush-Iraq-war-forged-YEAR-invasion-started.html – which seems to suggest that Blair had effectively already committed Britain to war.
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Many people think that Tony Blair is a war criminal because of his part in the Iraq war. What do you think?

We know that the Daily Mail doesn’t have a very high opinion of Tony Blair (does anyone have a high opinion of Tony Blair these days?) but if Liberal Future is reading the runes correctly, we feel Blair would have gone to war no matter what.

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We get the impression that Tony Blair wanted to demonstrate how macho he was.  Here was a real tough guy – and not some wimpy kid.  It’s almost as if Tony Blair wanted to emulate Maggie Thatcher when she went to war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands. We also feel that the Iraq war may may have triggered Blair’s almost messianic outlook on life.
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One thing is for sure, many people feel that Blair should be prosecuted for his part in the Iraq conflict.  Here, hundreds of thousands of combatants and non-combatants have been killed or injured.
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We feel that the following article by Nora Johnson (from the 20 – 26 July issue of the Euro Weekly News) perfectly sums up the feelings of many people.  Referring to a TV programme from earlier this year, she seems to imply that Blair should be doing serious jail time.
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We’d ask people to read the article below and answer the question posed by this Liberal Future debate – is Tony Blair a war criminal? To take part in the debate, simply look out it when it appears on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/706779429376233/ and have your say in the comments section.
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Chilcot accuses Blair of not being ‘straight with the nation’ over Iraq
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WARNING: the following contains strong language right from the start!  What the *** …  Well, I’d better tone it down a bit as it’s a family newspaper!
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I thought at first it was a belated April Fool’s joke but no.  The BBC interview I just watched is only too true, and my blood pressure’s rising rapidly.  And not in a good way.
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After weeks of depressing news about Brexit, Putin, Corbyn, Trump’s latest shenanigans, who unexpectedly emerges in the headlines?  Yes.  You guessed: Tony Blair.
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Tony Blair relied on emotional beliefs rather than facts in his decision to take Britain to was in Iraq, Sir John Chilcot, chairman of the seven-year inquiry into the legality of the conflict admitted in the interview.
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Right, so next time I’m caught out blatently lying, Ican claim I was “from my perspective and standpoint, emotionally truthful.”  Thanks, Sir John, for clarifying that.
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Well, apart from the odd timing of Sir John’s admission (the inquiry was published a year ago), what’s also striking about the interview are the oddly evasive answers.  Makes you wonder why he agreed to it all.
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And as for Blair’s decision-making process, what stands out most starkly is the fact that instead of providing a reasoned argument, he’d simply say: “I’m doing this because it’s the right thing to do,” ‘right’ having the smug tone of a vicor’s inner convictions.  Is Sir John correct in describing that as ‘emotion’?
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Blair meddled in thongs he didn’t bother to analyse deeply and regularly mistook his own personal convictions for facts that they certainly weren’t.  astonishgly, he still spins this into big bucks.  Some people can, apparently, fool others (almost) all of the time.
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So, we’ve now entered the post-truth era where emotions, not facts, inform human behaviour and there is no doubt that Tony Blair acted with total ‘emotional’ integrity.  Lawyers will be doubtless be pondering the extent to which this constitutes a plausible defence against other forms of criminality apart from war crimes.  Crimes such as: I just killed my husband/wife/child/friend in an ‘emotional’ reaction to his/their behaviour?  Heck!
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• CHECK OUT Liberal Future here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/706779429376233/
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• CHECK OUT previous Liberal Future debates here:
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Liberal Future Debate (1) – Should We Lower The Voting Age Throughout the UK? http://nationalliberal.org/liberal-future-debate-1-%e2%80%93-should-we-lower-the-voting-age-throughout-the-uk
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Liberal Future Debate (2) – Must The Earth Die Screaming? http://nationalliberal.org/liberal-future-debate-2-must-the-earth-die-screaming
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Liberal Future Debate (3) – Do Sport And Politics Mix? http://nationalliberal.org/liberal-future-debate-3-%E2%80%93-do-sport-and-politics-mix

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From The Liberty Wall – Free Speech: How Do We Protect It? – March Of The Thought Police (Part 2)

‘We need a new fight for freedom of speech. We need a renewed commitment to the freedoms of thought, conscience, speech and the press, and one which is consistent – which defends these freedoms not only for intellectuals and the right-on, as too many free-speech campaign groups narrowly devote themselves to doing, but also for so-called deniers, for the politically weird, for those who are offensive or outrageous or disturbing. For it is only by having unfettered free speech that we can guarantee an open and lively public sphere in which bad claims or ideas might be beaten, and the truth, a real truth, arrived at’.

Brendan O’Neill, Editor, Spiked Online

THIS IS THE second in a four part article looking at the vitally important issue of free speech. Written by Dominic Sandbrook, this article originally appeared earlier this year in the Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4612720/Tim-Farron-s-ousting-Lib-Dem-leader-left-victory.html
Free Speech doesn’t agree with everything Mr Sandbrook writes. We feel that, when it comes to attacks on freedom, he tends to focus solely on the ‘left’. However, we feel that the ‘right’ is simply a mirror image of the ‘left’ and would seek to deny the right to free speech, given the opportunity to do so.

This article continues directly on from the first one which you can find here: http://nationalliberal.org/from-the-liberty-wall-%e2%80%93-free-speech-how-do-we-protect-it-march-of-the-thought-police-part-1

Once again, our sole intention is to stimulate mature debate on issues relating to free speech. It goes without saying that there are no official links between Free Speech, Dominic Sandbrook or the Daily Mail.

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March Of The Thought Police (Part 2)

Free Speech believes that elements of both the ‘left’ and the ‘right’ are dogmatic, undemocratic and totalitarian in nature. They would jump at the chance to curtail the rights of others. Check out https://www.facebook.com/groups/1607711629485795/ for more information

In some ways we have been here before. In the late Sixties and early Seventies, the headlines were full of half-crazed students picketing visiting speakers and staging sit-ins.

But there are two significant differences today.
First, with undergraduate numbers at around two million, there are ten times as many students as they were then — which means universities are more influential than ever. Second, university lecturers have become almost exclusively Left-wing.
In 2015, a pitiful 7 per cent of lecturers voted Conservative; the vast majority voted Labour, Lib Dem or Green.
So perhaps it is no wonder that, according to YouGov survey data, a staggering 66 per cent of 18 to 19-year-olds, and 62 per cent of 20 to 24-year-olds, voted Labour on June 8.
I hesitate to say they have been brainwashed, but at the very least their brains have been given a light rinse.
Perhaps that sounds alarmist. But consider what happened at Tyssen Community Primary School in Hackney, East London, on election day. When voters arrived to cast their ballots, they were met by posters, drawn by the children, demanding more money for schools and libraries.
‘We can’t tell you how to vote,’ read a notice by the posters, ‘but the kids aren’t happy. They want change. Vote with your heart.’
To make matters worse, some of the children’s posters had been adorned with the hammer and sickle. If that isn’t indoctrination, I don’t know what is.
The tragedy is that our schools and universities are supposed to be crucibles of debate where no idea is too outlandish, no opinion too heretical. Instead, they are becoming bubbles of received opinion, echo chambers in which the same lazy prejudices — the vital importance of transgender toilets, and so on — reverberate unceasingly.
Here is just a taste of the madness that has infected our higher education system in the past few years. At Oxford, the ‘equality and diversity unit’ has warned staff and students that if they fail to look people in the eye, or if they ask where people come from, they will be guilty of ‘microaggression’, a kind of ‘subtle, everyday racism’.
At Cambridge, Dr Lucy Delap, deputy director of history and policy, has asked her colleagues to stop using terms such as ‘brilliance’, ‘genius’ and ‘flair’, as they apparently ‘carry assumptions of gender inequality and also of class and ethnicity inequalities’.
At Sussex, students have been warned not to use the pronouns ‘he’ and ‘she’ because they might offend transgendered colleagues.
And at Cardiff Metropolitan University you are not allowed to call girls ‘girls’, nor can you use the terms ‘forefathers’, ‘mankind’ or ‘sportsmanship’. Even complaining about the ‘taxman’ apparently marks you out as a dangerous reactionary.
Risible? Of course. And an embarrassment to our national tradition of a system of education based on open-minded debate and the challenging of received wisdom.
The problem is that too many universities seem incapable of striving for those ideals, preferring instead to close down debate.
At London’s City University, the student union has banned both the Mail and the Sun, accusing them of fostering ‘fascism and social divisiveness’. That, by banning newspapers, they were copying what genuine Fascists once did in Germany and Italy clearly never occurred to them.
To be continued.
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What The Papers Say – The Guardian – Still Puzzled By The Brexit Vote? Take Yourself Off To Blakenall Heath.Still Puzzled By The Brexit Vote? Take Yourself Off To Blakenall Heath.
WHAT THE PAPERS SAY is an occasional series in which we feature articles from the Mainstream Media (MSM) which seem to echo our thoughts or that we find of interest. With this in mind, our attention was recntly drawn to an article – https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2017/oct/12/still-puzzled-by-the-brexit-vote-take-yourself-off-to-blakenall-heath?CMP=share_btn_fb – written by Rev Giles Fraser for the Guardian.

We’ve reproduced it because we feel that it compliments the main thrust of the series of Liberal Future/BreXit Now! articles that we’ve been featuring. Links to these articles (and information about Liberal Future) can be found below the article by Rev Fraser. The Liberal Future articles and Rev Fraser’s article highlight the vast gulf between ordinary working families and the global elite – represented by the likes of multinational corporations, banks and their client politicians – regarding Brexit. We like the way Rev Fraser tells it as he see it – that, in respect of Brexit, many folks have little or nothing to lose – and we feel that Guardian readers especially need to hear it.

It goes without saying that there are no official links between Rev Giles Fraser, the Guardian and the National Liberal Party.

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Still Puzzled By The Brexit Vote? Take Yourself Off To Blakenall Heath.
By Giles Fraser

Rev Giles Fraser is a Church of England priest, journalist and broadcaster. His weekly columns for the Guardian are thought-provoking as he tends to tell it as he see it. This is particularly so with this Brexit article which highlights the vast gulf that exists between ordinary working families and the global elite. Check out his other Guardian articles here: https://www.theguardian.com/profile/gilesfraser

The phone went one Sunday evening. It was the bishop of Wolverhampton, my then boss. There was this job he couldn’t find anyone to do. Would I go and look after a parish to the north of Walsall – https://www.theguardian.com/uk/walsall – called Blakenall Heath? Big barn of a church, no money, struggling. Just for a bit, he said. I’d like you to pack up and go there in a couple of weeks. We did, with a new baby and no idea what we were letting ourselves in for.

People generally didn’t go to Blakenall Heath unless they came from there. Unemployed men would sit around in their front gardens on discarded sofas, looking bored. Some of my parishioners spent all day in their dressing gowns. Burned-out cars decorated the roadside. Back then the vicarage was ringed by flats whose residents would frequently shoot at each other with air rifles. At night, the pellets would ping off our roof. Even the local police didn’t like going into Blakenall Heath. It was treated as a ghetto.

Blakenall Heath seethed with the anger of the unheard. And that anger found its way into my bones. It wasn’t just about the poverty. It was deeper than that. As the months went by, I began to get some sense of what it felt like when nobody listened to or cared in the slightest about what you said. It felt like no one gave a shit. Every now and again the place would show up on some list of crap towns for posh people to snigger at. Other than that, you weren’t noticed.

In Blakenall Heath my politics changed. Both theologically and politically, my student liberalism had few answers for a place like this. Indeed, I began to suspect that the broadly progressive version of capitalism that I had accepted might even be a part of the problem. These weren’t the “left behinds” – a term that implies that with a quick hop and a skip they might just catch up. This place was the inevitable byproduct – waste product, even – of market forces, and the price that more prosperous parts of the country had secretly accepted as worth paying for the many other benefits that capitalism delivered to them. The problem was systemic.

In Walsall, 67.9% voted leave in the referendum – https://www.expressandstar.com/news/politics/2016/06/24/eu-referendum-result-walsall-votes-to-leave-with-huge-majority/ – on a huge turnout. And then, this year, they voted out Walsall North’s londstanding Labour MP, David Winnick – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics/constituencies/E14001011 – who had campaigned to remain in the EU. Remainers will never understand what went on here if they think it’s just about money. Homo economicus – who seeks to optimise their economic prospects through rational self-interest – doesn’t live in Blakenall Heath. Homo economicus doesn’t buy his cooker through weekly instalments at BrightHouse at 69.9% APR – https://www.brighthouse.co.uk/on-finance A remain campaigner told me about a doorstep encounter he had on a bombsite of a council estate in the Midlands. “You have a lot to lose financially if we leave the EU,” he explained, rationally.

“Oh, yes,” she gestured to her run-down surroundings, sarcastically. “I could lose all of this?” Which is why Brexit – https://www.theguardian.com/politics/eu-referendum – pub logic goes something like this: so what if the country collapses economically? At least then they will know what it feels like to be us.

Remain still don’t get why so many people voted leave. They keep repeating that it is the poor who will lose out the most, appealing to Homo economicus. They keep believing that it was stupidity or gullibility that made poor leavers side with dangerous fools like Boris Johnson. But that is not going to cut it. The people who really hate the way Brexit is going are the people who have got something to lose. When you have nothing to lose, being told you could lose it all doesn’t really count for much. Which is why the more Nick Clegg and his Waitrose friends speak of the coming apocalypse, the more some will feel: fine, bring it on.

This logic has understandably panicked the progressive middle classes. But the language of the cliff edge offers little fear to those well practised at falling off it. And until we find a radical way to rebalance our economy, such that all share in its benefits, the middle classes will find that democracy will sometimes hand power to those who are perfectly prepared to play chicken with economic failure.

• CHECK OUT Liberal Future here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/706779429376233/

• CHECK OUT the series of Liberal Future/BreXit Now! articles here:

Liberal Future Says BreXit Now! http://nationalliberal.org/liberal-future-says-%e2%80%a6-brexit-now
Liberal Future: English Youth Say BreXit Now! http://nationalliberal.org/english-youth-says-brexit-now
Liberal Future: Scottish Youth Say BreXit Now! http://nationalliberal.org/scottish-youth-say-brexit-now
Liberal Future: Ulster Youth Say BreXit Now! http://nationalliberal.org/ulster-youth-say-brexit-now
Liberal Future: Welsh Youth Say BreXit Now! http://nationalliberal.org/welsh-youth-say-brexit-now
Liberal Future: Cornish Youth Say BreXit Now! http://nationalliberal.org/cornish-youth-say-brexit-now
Liberal Future: Guernsey, Manx and Jersey Youth Say BreXit Now! http://nationalliberal.org/liberal-future-guernsey-manx-and-jersey-youth-say-brexit-now
Liberal Future: Alderney & Sark Youth Say BreXit Now! http://nationalliberal.org/liberal-future-alderney-sark-youth-say-brexit-now
Liberal Future: Fermanagh, Armagh and Tyrone Youth Say … Choose Freedom – BreXit Now! http://nationalliberal.org/liberal-future-fermanagh-armagh-and-tyrone-youth-say-%e2%80%a6-choose-freedom-brexit-now
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From The Liberty Wall – Free Speech: How Do We Protect It? – Some People Still Believe In Free Speech For All … GET OVER IT!

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WE UNDERSTAND that the above e-poster is the first in a series that will be produced in support of Free Speech.

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The e-poster was recently produced and viralled out by the group Free Speech: How Do We Protect It? One of the main aims of the group is to examine and expose instances whereby elements of the State try to curtail the rights of individuals and/or groups – no matter how ‘unpopular’ they may be..particular interest are articles which show elements of the State trying to curtail free speech and so on

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As the Facebook site – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1607711629485795/ – of Free Speech notes, to ensure that everyone has the right of free speech and assembly, Britain should introduce ‘a formal constitution and bill of rights’ which would be based on the ‘concept of civil and religious liberties for all’.

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hat Britain should have a formal constitution and bill of rights, based on the concept of civil and religious liberties for all. We also feel that a civil rights watchdog should be established to protect the people’s ability to make use of these rights.

We believe in absolute free speech with very few exceptions to this rule – say for those who promote violence. Either we all have rights – or none of us has rights. We support civil and religious liberties for all.You can check out the original e-poster here https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1639828429410422&set=g.1607711629485795&type=1&theater&ifg=1

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Freedom lovers are encouraged to ‘like and share’ the e-poster – and viral it out using all forms of social media. Do it today!

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Essex Voice Says Happy St. Cedd’s Day!

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Essex Voice Says Happy St. Cedd’s Day!
MANY ENGLISH COUNTIES have just one patron saint. For instance, Sussex celebrates St Richard’s Day on 16th June, Yorkshire celebrates Saint Robert’s Day on 7th June, Suffolk celebrates St. Edmund’s Day on 20th November and the green, white and black flag of Devon is dedicated to Saint Petroc.
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Essex, on the other hand, has nearly 20 saints. However, the most prominent is Saint Cedd, with the feast of St. Cedd falling on 26th October.

Born in the kingdom of Northumbria in about 620 AD, his mission was to convert the East Saxons to Christianity. (For those who don’t know, Essex is named after the East Saxons). Cedd founded many churches and monasteries. He later became Bishop of London – which was the East Saxon capital – and died on 26th October, 664 AD. He is buried in a shrine inside the church of the monastery at Lastingham, Northumbria.

Saint Cedd was replaced by Bishop Jaruman – sometimes spelt Jarumann – who soon restored Christianity to Essex (as many East Saxons had reverted to paganism).

The National Liberal Party and Essex Voice (EV) hopes that folks in Essex will celebrate St. Cedd’s Day in style. As issue 1 of EV noted, it’s time to promote a positive identity and vision for Essex. And it’s time to fight the strange form of Essexphobia – where the establishment seems to portray any pride in Essex and the people of Essex in a wholly negative and derogatory manner. With this in mind, we’d ask all readers to viral out this article and e-poster via all forms of social media. Let everyone know that 26th October is our day!
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• GET HOLD of issue 1 of Essex Voice. Simply e-mail natliberal@aol.com and ask for your FREE pdf copy!
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CATALONIA & KURDISTAN: NATIONS WITHOUT STATES JOINT PRESS RELEASE

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