David Kelly and the British political crisis

Owen Jones o.p.jones at btinternet.com
Sat Jul 19 09:28:48 MDT 2003

 There might seem to be an incredible amount of hyperbole surrounding this
incident - for example, during the 2000 fuel crisis, it was also often said
that it was the "most serious crisis of the government so far". Even so,
they went on to win another landslide the following year. However, what has
saved this government time and time again is the absence of any real
opposition in this country. This is because Blairism fundamentally relies on
a bourgeois base, but a demoralised and defeated working class movement has
had no choice but to continue supporting Labour, with the perceived absence
of any realistic alternative.

 The predictions of many long before the first bombs pounded Baghdad was
that the Iraq war would topple the Government. Though perhaps this would not
be as immediate as some predicted, it is true to say that the war has
fatally wounded the Blair Government. Even when it was possible to use the
existence of weapons of mass destruction as a pretext for war, the country
was utterly polarised, well illustrated by the biggest demonstration in
British history on February 15th. Now that this pretext has been proven to
be farcical, it is clear that the Government engaged in gross deception and
waged a criminal war that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people.
Prior to the suicide of Dr David Kelly, this was a regime in crisis. The
middle classes now regard Blair as a liability, whilst for the past couple
of years a new generation of anti-Blairite radicals have replaced the old
guard in the trade union movement. Former cabinet ministers, Labour MPs and
sections of the British media openly called for the resignation of Tony
Blair, something which frankly but a few months ago would have been seen as

 Why have the self-inflicted wounds on Dr. Kelly's wrists in an Oxfordshire
wood triggered such a crisis here? His suicide is effectively the first
fatality in a dispute with the Government over its lies about weapons of
mass destruction - which was used as the pretext for war here. A few months
ago, a document was released by the regime supposedly using top secret
"intelligence" to detail the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. As it turned it
out, the majority of it was an American student's PhD thesis downloaded from
the internet; furthermore, parts of it had been "sexed up" - for example,
"aiding foreign opposition groups" was changed to "funding terrorist
groups". In May, one of the BBC's defence correspondents, Andrew Gilligan,
issued a report claiming that a reliable source had informed him that is the
Government, led by Alistair Campbell - Blair's widely hated chief spin
doctor - who was responsible for this "sexing up". This triggered a vicious
war between the Government and the BBC. Then, the Ministry of Defence
claimed to have uncovered the source for Gilligan's source, a government
scientist who was not senior enough to have the information that was used in
the report. As was noted by the MPs of the parliamentary select committee
who interrogated him, the Government had used him as a "fall guy" to
discredit the source in Gilligan's report, and wrote to complain about his
treatment by Number 10. Thus, the accusation is this - Dr David Kelly was
used by Number 10 in its battle to discredit the BBC, and their pressure
drove him to suicide. Effectively, a popular view is that the machinations
of the Government killed an innocent scientist who had they had plucked for
cannon fodder.

 It is difficult to say what the results of his suicide will be, but an
"independent judicial inquiry" will be held into his death. Almost
certainly, elements of this government will be ousted - notably, the Defence
Secretary Geoff Hoon and the spin-doctor Alistair Campbell. Blair will
probably be able to hang on in the meanwhile, but even prior to this
suicide, many were only giving him months. He is popularly regarded as an
American stooge here, and a sizeable portion of the population could only
cringe in disgust as he lavished the Empire with praise in the American
Congress. Even those who despised all he stood for were once forced to
respect him; now even that is gone. One can only pity the fact that it takes
the death of one British scientist to trigger this catastrophe for Blairism,
rather than the complicity of this sickening puppet regime in the deaths of
thousands of Iraqis.


On 19/7/03 10:51, "Gary MacLennan" <g.maclennan at qut.edu.au> wrote:

> It's hard to pick things from this distance, but I still cannot quite grasp
> the significance of the Kelly suicide. According to the Guardian, the
> Labour Party were targeting him instead of the
> BBC, as that was too united and strong to bring down. So they picked on an
> obscure individual and set out to crush him.  They seem to have succeeded
> all too well.
> But why should this incident be such a blow to Blair?  I would have thought
> that the admissions in his address to the American legislators that WMD
> might(!) never be found would have been the death blow  to his credibility.
> Perhaps Kelly's death is symbolic of the damage done to little people by
> the powerful.  Whatever the case his death seems to have really struck some
> sort of nerve.
> The UK is indeed a strange place - witness the fact that I think more
> Labour MPs voted against Fox hunting, than against the war on Iraq.
> Finally I hope of course that Blair does not survive this, though his
> weasel qualities are so deeply ingrained in him.
> regards
> Gary

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