Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.

×

Punish the warmongers: vote Lib Dem

This article is one of a series on who to vote for. See this month's print magazine for Kierra Box on why 'The government always gets in' and former British ambassador Craig Murray on why 'A vote for Labour is a vote for torture'.

September 20, 2007
4 min read

The crucial events that led to the occupation of Iraq by the US and Britain are now classified, proven and documented. Blair and his New Labour cohorts, backed by their Conservative allies, lied without shame in order to drag a reluctant country to war. A dung heap of ëfactsí was manufactured by Alastair Campbell and hurled at the media. Those who questioned the justification for war were traduced and harassed. The million and a half who marched to try and prevent the war were ignored. Iraq was occupied. Despite the rushed and half-baked elections there, a savage chaos still grips the country.

The cost of the Iraqi adventure has been heavy. In October a team of medical investigators sent by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore reported that, up until then, more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians had died because of the invasion. Torture, encouraged from above, became a fact of everyday life. Perhaps some good liberal apologist for Blair will soon explain how democratic torture is much nicer than authoritarian torture. Perhaps the belligerati could take this further. Ian McEwanís next novel could sensitively depict the dilemmas of a liberal torturer faced with the barbaric Orient. Why not? We live, after all, in a world where illusions are sacred and truth profane.

Meanwhile, as some Members of Parliament (all non-Labour) contemplate impeaching Blair for lying and other misdemeanors, a general election draws near in Britain. What are we going to do? If Blair wins this election (as appears likely) he will claim, like Bush, that the country supports him in these difficult times. It is for this reason that all those who opposed the war must think carefully before they cast their votes. Abstention is not a serious option. The aim should be to return an anti-war majority to the House of Commons. This requires tactical/intelligent voting in every constituency.

Normally, people vote to assert their political sympathies. But this is not a normal general election. It will be the first opportunity to punish the warmongers. Given the undemocratic voting system, votes cast for the Greens, Respect and others will have nil impact, with the possible exception of Tower Hamlets, where George Galloway confronts the pro-war Oona King. It is possible that in some constituencies the Green/Respect vote could ensure the return of a warmonger, as has happened in certain by-elections. So why not treat this election as special and take the politics of the broad anti-war front into the electoral arena? Vote Lib Dem. If the result is a hung parliament or a tiny Blair majority it will be seen as a victory for our side.

Blair has led this country into more wars than Thatcher and Major combined. He is responsible for more deaths, and that with fewer popular votes to back him. In 1992, the year Neil Kinnock was defeated by John Major, the Labour vote was 11.5 million. In 2001 New Labourís indecent majority was based on a popular vote of 10.7 million. Turnout had dropped from 71 per cent in 1997 to 59 per cent in 2001. Gordon Brown provided a hallucinatory explanation: people were so relaxed and happy under New Labour that they couldnít be bothered to vote. Psephology beckons, Gordon. In reality, it was the collapse of the Tories that distorted the results. New Labourís massive majorities have been based on mass abstentions and a blatantly undemocratic electoral system.

New Labour’s redistribution of wealth has favoured the wealthy. The assault on civil liberties mounted by Blair, Blunkett and Clarke is far more serious than the appalling internment without trial that Edward Heath instituted in Ireland.

So, in constituencies where there are MPs belonging to the anti-war faction, we should vote for them ñ despite disagreements on many other issues. In the warmonger constituencies we should vote tactically. I intend to do so. In my north London constituency the MP is Barbara Roche: pro-war and pro everything else this wretched government has done. I donít simply want to vote against her. I want her to be defeated. That is why I will vote Lib Dem.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X and the 25th anniversary of John Lennon’s death, Verso is publishing an updated edition of Streetfighting Years, Tariq Ali’s memoir of the 1960s

Red Pepper is an independent, non-profit magazine that puts left politics and culture at the heart of its stories. We think publications should embrace the values of a movement that is unafraid to take a stand, radical yet not dogmatic, and focus on amplifying the voices of the people and activists that make up our movement. If you think so too, please support Red Pepper in continuing our work by becoming a subscriber today.
Why not try our new pay as you feel subscription? You decide how much to pay.

Working class theatre: Save Our Steel takes the stage
A new play inspired by Port Talbot’s ‘Save Our Steel’ campaign asks questions about the working class leaders of today. Adam Johannes talks to co-director Rhiannon White about the project, the people and the politics behind it

The dawn of commons politics
As supporters of the new 'commons politics' win office in a variety of European cities, Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel chart where this movement came from – and where it may be going

A very social economist
Hilary Wainwright says the ideas of Robin Murray, who died in June, offer a practical alternative to neoliberalism

Art the Arms Fair: making art not war
Amy Corcoran on organising artistic resistance to the weapons dealers’ London showcase

Beware the automated landlord
Tenants of the automated landlord are effectively paying two rents: one in money, the other in information for data harvesting, writes Desiree Fields

Black Journalism Fund – Open Editorial Meeting
3-5pm Saturday 23rd September at The World Transformed in Brighton

Immigration detention: How the government is breaking its own rules
Detention is being used to punish ex-prisoners all over again, writes Annahita Moradi

A better way to regenerate a community
Gilbert Jassey describes a pioneering project that is bringing migrants and local people together to repopulate a village in rural Spain

Fast food workers stand up for themselves and #McStrike – we’re loving it!
McDonald's workers are striking for the first time ever in Britain, reports Michael Calderbank

Two years of broken promises: how the UK has failed refugees
Stefan Schmid investigates the ways Syrian refugees have been treated since the media spotlight faded

West Papua’s silent genocide
The brutal occupation of West Papua is under-reported - but UK and US corporations are profiting from the violence, write Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson

Activate, the new ‘Tory Momentum’, is 100% astroturf
The Conservatives’ effort at a grassroots youth movement is embarrassingly inept, writes Samantha Stevens

Peer-to-peer production and the partner state
Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Kostakis argue that we need to move to a commons-centric society – with a state fit for the digital age

Imagining a future free of oppression
Writer, artist and organiser Ama Josephine Budge says holding on to our imagination of tomorrow helps create a different understanding today

The ‘alt-right’ is an unstable coalition – with one thing holding it together
Mike Isaacson argues that efforts to define the alt-right are in danger of missing its central component: eugenics

Fighting for Peace: the battles that inspired generations of anti-war campaigners
Now the threat of nuclear war looms nearer again, we share the experience of eighty-year-old activist Ernest Rodker, whose work is displayed at The Imperial War Museum. With Jane Shallice and Jenny Nelson he discussed a recent history of the anti-war movement.

Put public purpose at the heart of government
Victoria Chick stresses the need to restore the public good to economic decision-making

Don’t let the world’s biggest arms fair turn 20
Eliza Egret talks to activists involved in almost two decades of protest against London’s DSEI arms show

The new municipalism is part of a proud radical history
Molly Conisbee reflects on the history of citizens taking collective control of local services

With the rise of Corbyn, is there still a place for the Green Party?
Former Green principal speaker Derek Wall says the party may struggle in the battle for votes, but can still be important in the battle of ideas

Fearless Cities: the new urban movements
A wave of new municipalist movements has been experimenting with how to take – and transform – power in cities large and small. Bertie Russell and Oscar Reyes report on the growing success of radical urban politics around the world

A musical fightback against school arts cuts
Elliot Clay on why his new musical turns the spotlight on the damage austerity has done to arts education, through the story of one school band's battle

Neoliberalism: the break-up tour
Sarah Woods and Andrew Simms ask why, given the trail of destruction it has left, we are still dancing to the neoliberal tune

Cat Smith MP: ‘Jeremy Corbyn has authenticity. You can’t fake that’
Cat Smith, shadow minister for voter engagement and youth affairs and one of the original parliamentary backers of Corbyn’s leadership, speaks to Ashish Ghadiali

To stop the BBC interviewing climate deniers, we need to make climate change less boring
To stop cranks like Lord Lawson getting airtime, we need to provoke more interesting debates around climate change than whether it's real or not, writes Leo Barasi

Tory Glastonbury? Money can’t buy you cultural relevance
Adam Peggs on why the left has more fun

Essay: After neoliberalism, what next?
There are economically-viable, socially-desirable alternatives to the failed neoliberal economic model, writes Jayati Ghosh

With the new nuclear ban treaty, it’s time to scrap Trident – and spend the money on our NHS
As a doctor, I want to see money spent on healthcare not warfare, writes David McCoy - Britain should join the growing international movement for disarmament

Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India
Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India, by Shashi Tharoor, reviewed by Ian Sinclair

A Death Retold in Truth and Rumour
A Death Retold in Truth and Rumour: Kenya, Britain and the Julie Ward Murder, by Grace A Musila, reviewed by Allen Oarbrook