How to get ahead in politics

 

It is a fact and an unfortunate one that when I write about topics beyond our shores, the number of visitors to my blogsite declines sharply. This is unfortunate for two reasons: we should be as outraged over injustice or wrong-doing in other countries besides our own. No man (or woman) is an island, and no island understands itself without understanding the wider world. In addition, we would be foolish if we don’t realize that what happens in the wider world may well have lessons for us.

 

The present Russian spy chemical poisoning episode is one which offers mental nourishment. On the back of her reaction to that poisoning, Theresa May and her government’s poll ratings have gone up and eclipsed those of the Labour party. Theresa May stood up in the House of Commons and declared that Russia was guilty of the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter:“It is highly likely that Russia was responsible” she declared, and said that if Russia didn’t provide a plausible explanation that they were not guilty, then they would be deemed responsible.  Corbyn stood up and urged that such a judgement should be based on evidence.For this he was barracked by the Tory MP s and, shamefully, contradicted by his own MPs. It’s at times like this that you begin to wonder about democracy as an effective system.

 

All of the MPs who heard the debate are aware of the need to support allegations with evidence. Yet the majority of them ignored this notion and condemned Corbyn for even raising it. So too did members of his own party. So too – of course – did rags like the Daily Mail and The Sun. Even worse, media outlets that would say they represent liberal Britain, like The Guardian, have attacked Corbyn for his stance., as did the BBC’s Newsnight.

 

So we have the Tories who happily ignore the need for evidence receiving a boost in their ratings, and those who emphasise the need for evidence being shouted down and the notion of evidence itself derided.And the relevance of all this to us? The fact that the Tories are kept in power by  10 DUP MPs means British involvement here is  skewed even more than usual. Tory contempt for any evidence links neatly with the DUP’s contempt for clear evidence that they initiated and ran a badly-thought-out RHI scheme with a smell of corruption about it.  And then there’s the DUP’s contempt for clear evidence of discrimination, as when DUP MLA Paul Givan pulled the Liofa bursaries and then wished all a Happy Christmas. And as  you probably know by now, the DUP has nothing but  contempt for any electoral map which doesn’t fit in with an electoral map advantaging them.In short, Britain is presently governed by people who don’t give a damn about evidence when they want to present someone or some country in an unfavourable light, and is supported by a party that, in the face of evidence, essentially says “So what?” Well-matched bed-fellows indeed.

 

Can we learn anything new from the response to the Skripal poisoning in Britain?  Well, maybe confirmation of what we learned the hard way during the 1970s and 1980s: things don’t have to be truthful for Britain to declare them gospel. 
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