British Fall-Out of WTC Bombings

Paul Flewers hatchet.job at
Fri Sep 14 06:01:16 MDT 2001

I said a couple of days ago that Blair used the WTC bombings to get out of
explaining his privatisation to the Trades Union Congress. The TUC
leaders -- that is, the leaders of all the unions in Britain -- followed
this up by closing down the conference in respect for the victims of the
bombing. (To digress a bit, can one expect the AFL-CIO leaders closing down
their annual conference if there had been a WTC-style catastrophe in, say,
Britain or Germany; indeed, could one expect the US media to have the
blanket coverage in such an event?)

I spoke in a left-wing bookshop yesterday to a couple of women who were
delegates at the TUC. Both were furious at the TUC leaders for closing down
the show. They, like me and other left-wingers to whom I've spoken, were sad
about the ordinary people who were killed in the bombings, but why shut down
the conference when there were so many important things to discuss, things
affecting the working conditions and employment terms of millions of workers
in Britain? Blair, as Britain's Prime Minister, did have an excuse; the TUC
leaders didn't. They had promised to articulate the deep feelings amongst
workers over New Labour's attempts to flog off most of the public sector;
these two delegates were convinced that they didn't really want to challenge
Blair too much, and so they shut up shop to avoid doing so, even though
Blair wouldn't be there now. I tend to agree.

Yesterday, the liberal Guardian, pointing to the way that British PM Attlee
had impressed upon Truman in the late 1940s not to use A-bombs against
China, said that Britain could play an important role in quietening down the
war-mongering of Bush & Co. I doubt it; seeing that Blair wanted to set the
Balkan ablaze in the war over Kosovo, and had to be whipped into line by
Clinton, I can't imagine him trying to restrain Bush in bombing Afghanistan
and (I suspect) Iraq. Already, I've seen on the telly US 'experts' trying to
link Bin Laden with Iraq, I reckon that Baghdad will be bombed within a
week. I dearly hope not, but Iraq is an easy target both militarily and,
having demonised for a decade, politically. Afghanistan is a tougher nut to
crack, the Russians and British in the nineteenth century and the Soviet
Union a few years back found that; air raids are pretty much inevitable, but
a land war would be extremely difficult.

An added factor in Britain is the election yesterday of Iain Duncan Smith, a
hard right-winger, as leader of the Conservative Party. An ex-soldier with a
strong 'bash Johnny Foreigner' bent, he will goad Blair even further to the
right and into an even harder military position.

Paul F

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