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  • Questions about the judge in the Roshonara Choudhry case


    by Sunny
    9th November, 2010 at 10:00 am    

    There’s an interesting blog here by Tom Leonard:

    The airwaves and the newspaper columns are presently awash with reports on the case of 21 year old Roshonara Choudhry, who stabbed Labour MP Stephen Timms in the stomach as an act of revenge because he had voted for the bombing and invasion of Iraq.

    Mr Justice Cooke sentenced her to a minimum of 15 years. The tabloids are full with the to-be-expected wordstock about her being “warped”, “brainwashed” “evil” and so forth. And the judge wasn’t slow with the “evil” word himself. He told her “I hope that you will come to understand the distorted nature of your thinking, the evil that you have done and planned to do, and repent of it. You do not suffer from any mental disease. You have simply committed evil acts coolly and deliberately.”

    It wasn’t that word “evil” that struck me as a little odd, rather the word “repent”. Even more somewhat pointed it struck me, that in the trial of a Muslim, the judge should also say ‘I understand that he (Mr Timms) brings to bear his own faith, which upholds very different values from those which appear to have driven this defendant. Those values are those upon which the common law of this country was founded and include respect and love for one’s neighbour, for the foreigner in the land, and for those who consider themselves enemies, all as part of one’s love of God. These values were the basis of our system of law and justice and I trust that they will remain so as well as motivating those, like Mr Timms, who hold public office.’

    Could this judge possibly be telling this young woman to remember that this country of ours is a Christian country, and she ought perhaps to repent of her infidel ways? Surely not! But my curiosity had been aroused enough to start doing a bit of Googling on Mr Justice Cooke, who turns out to be Jeremy Cooke, who was a rugby blue at Oxford before becoming a solicitor in 1973, eventually being appointed a High Court judge in 2001.

    But that wasn’t the only lofty position he was to attain. Just two years later in 2003 Jeremy was appointed vice-president of the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, whose website exhorts lawyers “ to think about joining LCF as an act of commitment that as a Christian lawyer you share in our mission to influence lawyers and the law for Christ… We believe that every Christian involved in the practice, administration, teaching or study of law in Britain, should become a member of LCF so that we can work with you and for you in your calling as a Christian lawyer…. we will work with you and support you in the exciting challenge of being a lawyer for Christ.”

    Of course - this doesn’t take away the heinous of the crime and there’s no doubt that Choudhry should have been sent to prison. But I was a bit taken aback by this. It’s a bit worrying if religion is brought into meting out judgements.

    Read the whole post here.


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    1. sunny hundal

      Blogged: : Questions about the judge in the Roshonara Ali case http://bit.ly/cJeRr0




    1. Mark T — on 9th November, 2010 at 10:21 am  

      It’s a bit worrying if religion is brought into meting out judgements.

      Has it been though? I fail to see how the judgement has been affected by the judge’s religion.

    2. ptl — on 9th November, 2010 at 11:45 am  

      I agree the judge shouldn’t have said this even if it didn’t affect the actual “meting”, re which, an avowedly Christian judge should have heard of tempering justice with mercy. (Yes, she should be in custody.)

    3. ukliberty — on 9th November, 2010 at 12:45 pm  

      I wonder if Sunny or Tom have read the Sentencing Guidelines for attempted murder.

    4. Bob — on 9th November, 2010 at 12:59 pm  

      The Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship is not only a right-wing fundamentalist organisation, it also has a record of anti-Muslim bigotry. Surely it’s unacceptable that someone with Cooke’s background should have been allowed to preside over a case like this in the first place, never mind his use of the trial as a platform to express his own cranky religious views. We covered this on Islamophobia Watch here.

    5. mostly harmless — on 9th November, 2010 at 2:08 pm  

      This is why it is a problem.

      ‘to think about joining LMF (Lawyers Muslim Fellowship) as an act of commitment that as a Muslim lawyer you share in our mission to influence lawyers and the law for Allah… We believe that every Muslim involved in the practice, administration, teaching or study of law in Britain, should become a member of LMF so that we can work with you and for you in your calling as a Muslim lawyer…. we will work with you and support you in the exciting challenge of being a lawyer for Allah.”

    6. Don — on 9th November, 2010 at 2:21 pm  

      What happened to being a Lawyer for Satan?

    7. Rumbold — on 9th November, 2010 at 3:18 pm  

      What happened to being a Lawyer for Satan?

      They ran out of application forms.

    8. Sarah AB — on 9th November, 2010 at 3:27 pm  

      I agree with the post - the comments (though not the judgement) seem inappropriate. I’d read a reference to the remarks in passing somewhere else so it was interesting to read them in full.

    9. damon — on 9th November, 2010 at 3:54 pm  

      Definitely sounds dodgy.

      A judge in Ireland sentenced a Donegal man who had drunkenly told a policeman to ”F*** off back to County Mayo”, to climb a mountain in County Mayo which is a christian pilgrimage site with a chapel on the summit, and to say some prayers up there.

      Which he did.
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11718467

    10. Don — on 9th November, 2010 at 5:33 pm  

      The sentence seems to fit the guidelines right enough, but I agree that espousing one’s personal religious views from the bench is overstepping the mark significantly.

      Remember Cherie Blair and “I am going to suspend this sentence for the period of two years based on the fact you are a religious person and have not been in trouble before,” ?

      I guess that this makes us strident secularists, then.

    11. John Christopher — on 9th November, 2010 at 6:44 pm  

      Sunny wrote:

      “Mr Justice Cooke sentenced her to a minimum of 15 years. The tabloids are full with the to-be-expected wordstock about her being “warped”, “brainwashed” “evil” and so forth. And the judge wasn’t slow with the “evil” word himself. He told her “I hope that you will come to understand the distorted nature of your thinking, the evil that you have done and planned to do, and repent of it. You do not suffer from any mental disease. You have simply committed evil acts coolly and deliberately.”

      This being the case, the question must be asked why didn’t Roshonara Choudhry just strap a bomb onto her back and indiscriminately blow away innocent men, women and children of ALL faiths and none? It’s NOT as if this hasn’t happened before. No, she choose a different route (whether you agree the route itself is right or wrong). Personally, as a committed Christian, the hypocrisy of Mr Justice Cooke’s words, chill me to the bone. Yes Ms Choudhry deserves to go to jail for what she has done. Two wrongs don’t make a right. But I have a grudging respect for someone who evidently is a person of conviction who is willing to stand and fall for something she believes. Does Ms Choudhry represent a clear and present danger to the general public? No! Does she represent a clear and present danger to those war criminals who voted for an illegal war? Yes. I don’t know about anyone else but I can live with that.

    12. earwicga — on 9th November, 2010 at 6:51 pm  

      ‘a person of conviction who is willing to stand and fall for something she believes.’

      That stabbing MP’s who voted for war on Iraq is the way to go? It’s not conviction, it’s criminal.

    13. Don — on 9th November, 2010 at 7:24 pm  

      I don’t know about anyone else but I can live with that.

      You can ‘live with’ killing people who voted in a way with which you disagree? Interesting.

      Does Ms Choudhry represent a clear and present danger to the general public? No!

      That’s a very emphatic ‘no’. How sure are you of that? The next logical step for a person of such conviction is surely that if those who voted for the war should be killed, then those who voted for those who voted for the war are also deserving of death.

      You are using the term ‘war criminal’ very loosely here. So loosely that anyone who can claim a ‘conviction’ and who kills because of it has your (grudging) respect?

      So if an MP who voted for intervention in Kosovo was killed by a serbian nationalist, you would respect their ‘conviction’?

      If a politician who worked towards peace and accomodation in NI were murdered by an IRA off-shoot, you would respect the ‘conviction’ of the gunman?

      How about shooting abortion doctors in the US? There’s some serious conviction going on there. But you could ‘live with that’?

      Most of the rest of us would prefer not to live with that.

    14. Dave — on 9th November, 2010 at 7:29 pm  

      Don
      “You can ‘live with’ killing people who voted in a way with which you disagree? Interesting.”

      He should go and work for the CIA

    15. John Christopher — on 9th November, 2010 at 7:43 pm  

      Don

      I’m not talking about Kosovo or Northern Ireland (both of which I’ve covered as a freelance photo-journalist), I’m talking about Iraq and if I had my way both George W Bush and Tony Blair would be in the dock for treason for what they have done. Now Stephen Timms will have to live the rest of his life with one eye in the back of his head. Compared to what him and his kind did to the people of Iraq, that’s nothing. Mr Timms now knows the truth of the saying, every action has a reaction and his action for voting for an illegal war came back to bite him in the butt, which is more than he deserves. Mr Timms has as much blood on his hands as that of nemesis and is just as guilty.

    16. Refresh — on 9th November, 2010 at 7:52 pm  

      My biggest concern about the judge in question is that he using a public forum to spread lies and deceit a la Phil Woolas.

      Given his wondrous claims for ‘his civilisation’, you would have thought he would have been out marching with the millions opposed to the Iraq war. Clearly he sees himself very much a part of some fundamentalist crusade. And she of course, jihad.

      It takes one to know one.

    17. Shamit — on 9th November, 2010 at 8:01 pm  

      So rule of law has no place - and years of parliamentary democracy needs to give way to wisdom of John Christopher. Not a bad way of looking at things.

      But the problem is- Osama Bin laden, Alwiki, Real IRA, Nutjobs in the tea party, BNP all have the exact same opinion as yourself ie the world would be a better place if we all followed their ways of thinking.

      I prefer elections - I prefer an institutional democracy - and there can be no justification to kill your MP for a decision made by your democratically elected Government and Parliament. There are ways to deal with those sort of things in the rule book - you know.

      Mr. Justice Cooke’s sermon from the bench is disgusting but cold premeditated murder is far worse. I honestly do not understand why any natural born British citizen would go on a killing spree even if they disagreed with their government.

      Sympathies are one thing but when you act out your sympathies - then you become the traitor not the politician. So, I would say Roshonara Choudhry is the traitor not Stephen Timms who made a judgement call based on the information he had at the time. So please.

    18. Don — on 9th November, 2010 at 8:04 pm  

      I’m not talking about Kosovo or Northern Ireland

      I was, because they are relevant to the the idea that conviction is a virtue. Or something to be given respect. If you’ve been to these places you will have seen conviction become lethal a lot. Did you respect it?

      if I had my way both George W Bush and Tony Blair would be in the dock for treason…

      ‘In the dock’ being the key words.

      …which is more than he deserves.

      Are you sure that is what you meant?

      And Nemesis is beyond guilt.

    19. Shamit — on 9th November, 2010 at 8:06 pm  

      However, the judge does not deserve to be sitting on the High Court bench -

      Religious fanatics must never be entrusted with judicial functions in any secular society. At the same time, while everyone is condemning Ms. Choudhary’s actions - many are adding a “but” such as Mehdi Hasan and others.

      Oh Iraq made them do it - I am sorry that is simply no excuse and stop trying to justify criminal action. There are millions in this country who disagreed with the war - but not many chose to go and blow themselves up or attempt to kill a MP.

      If you do not like what your government is doing - become active in politics - work your butt off to make sure they don’t get elected again.

      But stop justifying with the “but”.

    20. Shamit — on 9th November, 2010 at 8:06 pm  

      Refresh - I agree with you 100%.

      Fanatics of the world unite seems to be the message of the times.

    21. ukliberty — on 9th November, 2010 at 8:07 pm  

      I’m talking about Iraq and if I had my way both George W Bush and Tony Blair would be in the dock for treason for what they have done.

      Sure. But would you stick the knife in before or after the trial?

      Now Stephen Timms will have to live the rest of his life with one eye in the back of his head.

      Choudhry did a bizarre eye transplant as well?

    22. ukliberty — on 9th November, 2010 at 8:11 pm  

      The judge is a “religious fanatic” and he is “spreading lies and deceit”. And you guys got this from the quote above? Interesting…

    23. John Christopher — on 9th November, 2010 at 9:21 pm  

      No need to fear the law when you are beyond it. Blair and Bush committed a crime for which they will NEVER see the dock. The rule of law, are you guys kidding?

    24. John Christopher — on 9th November, 2010 at 9:36 pm  

      No need to fear the law when you are beyond it. Blair and Bush committed a war crime for which their victims (which number in the millions) will NEVER see justice. The rule of law, are you guys kidding? You can call Mr Timms many things but innocent is not one of them. The people who were murdered on 9/11 and 7/7, they were innocent, as well as the people of Iraq. To equate warmongering criminals with those of the innocent……there are NO WORDS!

    25. Shamit — on 9th November, 2010 at 9:42 pm  

      No John - you are right. The rule of law does not apply to some people but in this idiotic world they are reserved for political commentators and bloggers. And they are also immune from hypocricy.

      There is a campaign going on about speaking the truth in political campaigns - and Ed Miliband lied to the party and the public about his support for the Iraq war, ie according to Burnham, Ed Balls and David Miliband. But lying to win the labour leadership is okay - because you won’t just be an MP but a potential PM.

      As far nasty attacks go - Ed Balls, Ed Miliband, Gordon Brown, Charlie Whelan, need I say more.

      But hey why spoil a party? Come on. So you are right.

    26. John Christopher — on 9th November, 2010 at 9:58 pm  

      Shamit

      Either we ALL live under the rule of law or we don’t. I’m only guessing but if the law had been fully applied to the likes of Blair and Bush and they had been successfully tried and convicted (and sent to jail for a very long time), I don’t think Mr Timms would have had a knife plunged into him by Ms Choudhry. But….hell I’m only guessing.

    27. ukliberty — on 9th November, 2010 at 10:04 pm  

      John, what are the charges (legal terms, please, no rhetoric) against Blair and Bush?

      I think you were wrong about treason, by the way…

    28. John Christopher — on 9th November, 2010 at 10:10 pm  

      I rest my case………

    29. Shamit — on 9th November, 2010 at 10:19 pm  

      John I was being sarcastic - I agree with UK liberty, you would find it hard to make a case for treason against Bush or Blair.

      In fact, the universal declaration of human rights makes it a crime not to act when genocide happens. So, I guess people could argue those who failed to act against Saddam hussein were guilty of abetting a crime against humanity.

    30. ukliberty — on 9th November, 2010 at 10:30 pm  

      John, I’ve read a few serious, scholarly articles for and against putting Blair in the dock. Not one has suggested it should be for treason, so I wondered what unique insight you had that led you to suggest it.

    31. John Christopher — on 9th November, 2010 at 10:51 pm  

      I’ve been down this road before and it always end with the words….”I did nothing wrong”. I’ve just heard George Bush say exactly that on the BBC. Irrespective of ALL THAT, this assertion will NEVER be tested in court. Ukliberty, you most likely have a much more legal brain than I. I’m no lawyer. I only know wrong from right. Quantum Physics and Chaos Theory can turn black, white and white brown. You and Shamit maintain that Blair and Bush have no case to answer. I beg to differ. I think (along with others far more eminent than me) that Blair and Bush are as guilty as sin. This being the case, like I said, I rest my case because I can no longer argue the absurd. We went to war on a lie and as a direct result good people were murdered and yet the people directly responsible for this did NOTHING WRONG. If Ms Choudhry had been radicalised, then she only had to go to Number Ten Downing St for her source.

    32. ukliberty — on 9th November, 2010 at 10:58 pm  

      You … maintain that Blair and Bush have no case to answer.

      Um no - at no point have I explicitly or implicitly claimed that they have no case to answer. Shall we leave it there?

    33. Don — on 9th November, 2010 at 11:00 pm  

      …I don’t think Mr Timms would have had a knife plunged into him by Ms Choudhry. But….hell I’m only guessing.

      But…,hell you can live with that.

    34. John Christopher — on 9th November, 2010 at 11:42 pm  

      Don

      I’d rather see the guilty have their day in court than the innocent be murdered……And like I said, Mr Timms isn’t innocent.

      Ukliberty

      The white wash that was the Hutton Inquiry, means that I can never “leave it”. Because that’s when I finally realised we would NEVER get justice. Period. Nothing you, me or they say or do will change that one single jot and that is the really scary thing because once you’ve been denied justice, where do you go? What do you do? Except bun up truck and mash up bus!

    35. John Christopher — on 9th November, 2010 at 11:48 pm  

      Bush and Blair committed crimes against humanity (not treason) under international law. Is this fair? Alas they will NEVER see the inside of the dock……

    36. Shamit — on 10th November, 2010 at 12:44 am  

      You probably could get Blair on that - however, the parliament is supreme in our laws - and unless you can prove that there was clear deliberate intentions on part of the then PM to mislead the Parliament then most likely the case would fail. And the witness for defence would be Charles Kennedy the then Lib Dem Leader who until today despite his opposition to the war has maintained that the then Prime Minister genuinely believed that there was a threat.

      Bush would be much harder - US laws clearly states that the President is authorised to take all necessary steps if s/he believes there is a clear and present danger to US national security. And on top of that, the US Congress authorised the action.

      So most likely the courts would throw these charges out. Hence no case.

      But there is no doubt on the premeditated criminal nature of Ms. Choudhary’s actions.

    37. joe90 — on 10th November, 2010 at 11:39 am  

      roshan choudray

      had bob hope and no hope even if the judge was an atheist she was going to jail for a long time.

      But agreed the judge let slip his thoughts that this is a christian country, and suggest its a superior religion :)

    38. MaidMarian — on 10th November, 2010 at 12:22 pm  

      1) Stephen Timms got a very large majority at the 2010 election in a muslim heavy constituency. I see no reasons why one woman’s religiously motivated attempt at murder should be conflated with all muslims. The cynic in me thinks that some treat making a political personal point as more important than the voters.

      2) The judge was kind. The root cause of this sort of crime is radical political islam. Not I hope a comforting thought for those on this thread who would blame western Society, governments and alliances for every ill in the world.

      3) Once again, we hear this horrible view of muslims articluated. It is as if some believe that there is switch marked ‘radical’ in every muslim’s head that gets flicked and causes them to become killers. The fact that these people are from a particular religion does not make their crimes somehow more, ‘legitimate,’ or, ‘understandable.’ The way that democratic leaders are conflated with people that stab MPs speaks volumes about the political agendas.

      4) There was violence and religiously inspired antagnonism prior to the Iraq war. 9/11 for example. Why that gets lost on so many is beyond me - though it is probably something to do with political agendas. There is no reason of any sort for Bush and Blair to face faux-trial or be charged by the running joke that in international law.

      5) The media do play a role. Journalists did a terrible job in Yugoslavia for example - the sun does not shine out of the Serb colon, however much some hacks may want to make an anti-NATO point. People died yet journalists saw nothing more than a stalking horse. I often felt that some journalists should have faced criminal charges for their distortions.

      6) All those terrorists who came to Iraq - they were not there in my name. It is curious that no one seems to want them arrested.

    39. Shamit — on 10th November, 2010 at 12:58 pm  

      “All those terrorists who came to Iraq – they were not there in my name. It is curious that no one seems to want them arrested.”

      Maidmarian -

      But that would take away the claim to fame for so many of our left leaning intellectual leaders.

      Come on if we cannot somehow link back stupid criminal actions to our invasion of Iraq, many of our so called leding light of the intellectual left would have no cause left to peddle false bill of goods with their considerable intellect.

      The Shia militias and the Al-Qaeda network in Iraq was created by the Anglo American forces didn’t you know?

      Or the turnaround of the most militant ridden province in Iraq happened not because of American help with weapons and soldiers and brave local leaders but by some divine intervention.

      ***********************************

      Sorry had to be sarcastic. I am more and more appalled by the way many of our leading commentators while condemning Ms. Choudhary cannot stop themselves from adding a “but” - its all Blair’s fault.

    40. MaidMarian — on 10th November, 2010 at 1:14 pm  

      Shamit - Absolutely right. The reaction to the Timms stabbing story has been the worst kind of apologism.

      If I went out there and I stabbed some, say, black person and claimed that I did it because I was, ‘angry,’ and, ‘radicalised,’ by race relations law would I be so indulged? It is as if something is, ‘legitimate,’ because the talkboard left says so.

      As I understand it Chaudhry was a British citizen of Bangladeshi heritage. If she was actually Iraqi some of the apologies on here might hold a bit more water.

    41. John Christopher — on 10th November, 2010 at 3:02 pm  

      So a democratic mandate gives you the right to sanction mass murder. Springtime for Hitler and Germany……

    42. John Christopher — on 10th November, 2010 at 3:14 pm  

      I feel no need to apologize for the actions of Ms Chaudhry. She did what she did and now she is suffering the consequences of her action, with the loss of her liberty. Justice was not only done but seen to be done. Alas the same will not apply to those warmongering S-O-B’s who sent their countries to war for absolutely no just cause. In the scales of justice, which one, is the greater crime?

    43. John Christopher — on 10th November, 2010 at 3:28 pm  

      MaidMarian wrote

      “If I went out there and I stabbed some, say, black person and claimed that I did it because I was, ‘angry,’ and, ‘radicalised,’ by race relations law would I be so indulged? It is as if something is, ‘legitimate,’ because the talkboard left says so.”

      Well the answer to your question is yes! The murderers of Stephen Lawrence committed murder on that exact premise and they were “indulged” by the Police, CPS and the entire legal system of this country which conspired to make sure those boys will never do time for illegally taking somebody elses life. But, here’s the twist. If Mr Lawrence was to accidently come across one of the murdering bastards and shove a knife into his gut, Mr Lawrence would be arrested and in all likelihood the full weight of the law would be brought down upon him to ensure he was found guilty and sent to jail. Just because something is lawful or legal does not mean that it is ALWAYS right.

    44. Shamit — on 10th November, 2010 at 5:03 pm  

      “Alas the same will not apply to those warmongering S-O-B’s who sent their countries to war for absolutely no just cause.”

      So genocide by a government against its own people is not “cause” for military action.

      Right war wrong time would have had more sympathies from me. But when people go on about no just cause - I just find it ludicrous especially from someone who tries to equate Blair and Bush with Hitler.

      Did Saddam Hussein use nerve gas to kill Kurds? the answer is yes.

      Did Saddam Hussein use terror to kill and subjugate Shia Muslims? Yes.

      And those are crimes against humanity and definitely fall within the parameters of ethnic cleansing.

      Did George Bush and/or Tony Blair order the murder of Iraqi civilians en masse? No.

      Did George Bush and/or Tony Blair fail to realise the impact and unintended consequences of their policy decisions? Yes - but thankfully it is not a criminal offence.

      Did Al Qaeda and Shia militias kill more Iraqi civilians than coalition forces? Yes.

      Did Shia militias and Al-Qaeda terrorise and try to subjugate civilians? Yes.

      So where the fuck is your case again. Jesus Christ - what has Iraqw got to do with this scrwed up young woman who got radicalised by watching some numb nut.

      Stop justifying and trying to draw parallels.

    45. Mark T — on 10th November, 2010 at 5:31 pm  

      The murderers of Stephen Lawrence committed murder on that exact premise and they were “indulged” by the Police, CPS and the entire legal system of this country

      Utter bollocks.

      The reason the murderers got away with it was because of the incompetence of the police, following from their assumption that Lawrence’s death must have been gang-related.

      That is quite different from the murderers being “indulged”.

      And furthermore there was certainly no attempt to legitimize their murder, or explain it - there were no apologists for that gang.

      Stop talking out of your arse.

    46. Shamit — on 10th November, 2010 at 6:34 pm  

      Just to annoy the Blair haters more:

      “….there has to be a shared acceptance that some things we believe in and we do together: obedience to certain values like democracy, rule of law, equality between men and women; respect for national institutions; and speaking the national language. This common space cannot be left to chance or individual decision. It has to be accepted as mandatory.”

      We will not defeat extremism … until we defeat its narrative. This narrative is Islam as a victim of the West, locked in an inevitable cultural conflict with it.

      This narrative links justifiable sentiments (whether you agree with them or not)—anxiety about injustice to Palestinians, dissent over military action in Afghanistan or Iraq, anger about Kashmir or Chechnya, opposition to regimes supported by the West—with an unjustifiable narrative that defines Islam in a way that is contrary to its true teaching …

      This narrative is global. Its ideology is global. It has to be confronted as such. But we are nowhere near doing that. It is funding websites, training its adherents, spreading its message. It is conducting a campaign, occasionally by violence, often by propaganda.

      “The first step in fighting back is to recognize the nature of the struggle. That is why what is happening in Europe today is not some random eruption of anti-immigrant sentiment that will subside as fast as it has arisen. We have seen many of those before. This is different: deeper, more dangerous than any in recent years, and ultimately connected to what is building in the rest of the world. It is time to wake up.”

      These excerpts are part of an article written by Tony Blair yesterday in the Wall Street Journal (come on lefties - have go).

      But I would really like to see some coherent argument against the articulate argument made by the former Prime Minister.

    47. Refresh — on 10th November, 2010 at 6:51 pm  

      Shamit,

      ‘We will not defeat extremism … until we defeat its narrative. This narrative is Islam as a victim of the West, locked in an inevitable cultural conflict with it.’

      This is the narrative drawn up by Blair and presented at Chilcot. To justify his sleight of hand.

      Now what is it with you and Blair, why can’t you let it go? Over the years I am not aware of a single person being convinced by your justfication of what he did.

    48. MaidMarian — on 10th November, 2010 at 6:53 pm  

      John Christopher - Bringing the Nazis into it? The classic sign of a loss of perspective.

      John, there is a problem that you, in common with a great many of the STW-FFP crowd don’t like to mention. Bush and Blair were both reelected. Resoundingly so. Unless you want to tell me that Iraq was not an issue in those elections, this idea that there was no accountability moment is cobblers. What, of course, you want is some great catharsis for your naif world-view pacifism. It is not about the Iraqi on the street - like Choudhry, this is all about you.

      If this were 1936 you would be on here telling us all that Franco really is a good egg. I bet you think Slobodan Milosevic was a misunderstood soul don’t you? You would indulge any sense of victimhood.

      As to Stephen Lawrence (is there any case you don’t use as a stalking horse), all I can add to Mark T’s comment is that a trial was held and a verdict delivered. Is there some reason that you have no faith in justice in that case, but you regard it as the answer to all Ills in Iraq. The cynic in me thinks that ‘justice’ in your view is synonymous with ‘the outcome I want.’

    49. MaidMarian — on 10th November, 2010 at 7:01 pm  

      Shamit/Refresh - On Blair.

      The more compelling argument against Blair and Bush is that their governments were ‘overtaken’ by what a Senate Inquiry called a, ‘collective group think.’

      There was no bad faith on the part of either. Neither lied (at least not in any meaningful way that would pass muster in courts).

      But….There was a reluctance to consider alternative or dissenting ideas. Ample evidence suggesting an active weapons programme in Iraq was presented. Those weapons could even have been taken to Syria. There were no lies but there were these lawyerly arguments that built a case rather than synthesising evidence.

      Blair was rather caught between a rock and a hard place. No way would the right-wing media have let him get away with watching the US go it alone, whatever those media say now. But it was pretty poor government that lead to conviction decisions that could and should have been far more measured.

    50. Shamit — on 10th November, 2010 at 7:35 pm  

      Refresh:

      “Now what is it with you and Blair, why can’t you let it go? Over the years I am not aware of a single person being convinced by your justfication of what he did.”

      Are you now speaking for the rest of the world now? Do you speak for Cameron or the current Government? Many of them subscribe to the Blair perspective and so do many in Labour.

      How do you know how many people accept Blair’s argument? forget me - I am a non entity. You would be surprised how many actually agree with Blair.

      Except people who don’t view the world in the prism of Islam vs the west - or oh the west is always wrong.

      Why can’t you accept that you could be wrong? show me some compelling argument then I might budge but until then sorry won’t do.

      Linking justifiable sentiments with unjustifiable actions has been the hallmark of the loony left and people who view the world through a religious perspective.

      And ever since I can remember you never fail to condemn an extremist (which I agree with) but you also never fail to have the “but” after that - kinda like Mehdi Hasan.

      And in my book there are far worse things than backing Tony Blair.

      And I would back him - I disagree with him on a fair few things such as civil liberties especially as well as not sacking Gordon Brown and a fair few others. But I do accept his world view in most things.

    51. Shamit — on 10th November, 2010 at 7:36 pm  

      Btw, he won the labour leadership hands down against John Prescott.

      He won three elections - and did not have to count on dodgy AV style votes to get into the top job and he won even after Iraq. So may be you could be wrong about Blair?

      Oh no that’s not possible is it.

    52. Shamit — on 10th November, 2010 at 7:40 pm  

      And please try to argue the points he made in the article -

      “….there has to be a shared acceptance that some things we believe in and we do together: obedience to certain values like democracy, rule of law, equality between men and women; respect for national institutions; and speaking the national language. This common space cannot be left to chance or individual decision. It has to be accepted as mandatory.”

      I repost - do you argue against this. If so why so?

    53. Shamit — on 10th November, 2010 at 7:43 pm  

      “This narrative is global. Its ideology is global. It has to be confronted as such. But we are nowhere near doing that. It is funding websites, training its adherents, spreading its message. It is conducting a campaign, occasionally by violence, often by propaganda.”

      A small group of extremists who have hijacked Islam are doing this.

      I never saw you write anything against the Shia Militia in Iraq who killed women for not wearing a veil or slapped them in the streets until America pushed in.

      What about Al-Qaeda foreign terrorists in Iraq who killed at will and was defeated by coordinated efforts by Iraqis in Anwar province and Allied forces?

      What about the Kurds?

      And on domestic policy - well he is head and shoulders above most PMs in recent times. So you get over it.

    54. Shamit — on 10th November, 2010 at 7:49 pm  

      And on foreign policy - aah - the International development aspect would be a lasting legacy for Blair and Brown.

      Britain has given more in aid to developing nations building schools, providing medicines and creating opportunities.

      But of course, as a myopic I accept only Muslim more specifically palestinian victims, you would not see that.

      And you try to claim moral superiority.

    55. Shamit — on 10th November, 2010 at 7:50 pm  

      Maidmarian @49 - spot on.

    56. Refresh — on 10th November, 2010 at 8:50 pm  

      And I thought you’d agreed with me 100% on my response to what the learned fellow had to offer from the bench.

      As for Blair, narrative or none, why would you not let it be tested in court?

    57. Refresh — on 10th November, 2010 at 8:53 pm  

      Maidmarian,

      Group think taking over is not quite what you would expect of a competent PM.

      In a roundabout way I read what you say to mean, that they fitted the evidence around the policy.

    58. John Christopher — on 10th November, 2010 at 8:56 pm  

      MaidMarian

      So NOW you’re saying that if you get elected TWICE, that justifies you going to war on a false premise.

      Shamit

      Let me remind YOU why we went to war. Weapons of Mass Destruction. There weren’t any. End of story. Changing the goal post after the fact cuts little ice with me.

      Mark T

      So I talk utter bollocks! That the police did what they did not out of malice afore thought or plain self interest but out of stupidity and incompetence. I’d love to see you say that to the face of the wife of Ian Tomlinson. Shamit and Maidmarian maybe misguided (along with me) in some of the things we say but you scare the living daylights out of me.

    59. John Christopher — on 10th November, 2010 at 8:58 pm  

      MaidMarian

      So NOW you’re saying that if you get elected TWICE, that justifies you going to war on a false premise. The body of the Hutton Inquiry (not its conclusion) exposes your defence of Blair as a lie. There was plenty of evidence available to Blair contrary to that which stated Iraq was about to declare war on western interest. That’s why Robin Cook resigned.

      Shamit

      Let me remind YOU why we went to war. Weapons of Mass Destruction. There weren’t any. End of story. Changing the goal post after the fact cuts little ice with me.

      Mark T

      So I talk utter bollocks! That the police did what they did not out of malice or designed plain self interest but out of stupidity and incompetence. I’d love to see you say that to the face of the wife of Ian Tomlinson. Shamit and Maidmarian maybe misguided (along with me) in some of the things we say but you scare the living daylights out of me.

    60. MaidMarian — on 10th November, 2010 at 9:14 pm  

      John Christopher - Look, we could carry this on all week and not agree.

      All I can possibly say is that I disagree. There is no need to get hostile.

      Refresh - I agree. There was no bad faith, but poor government. There was not enough allowance for alternatives. This is, of course, not to say that the outcome would have been any different but that the quality of government was inadequate.

    61. shamit — on 10th November, 2010 at 9:33 pm  

      Refresh - I still agree with 100% on that one. But we disagree on Blair

    62. John Christopher — on 11th November, 2010 at 8:53 am  

      MaidMarian

      I wasn’t hostile just robust in my argument. I’d like to think I gave as well as I got. Nowt wrong in a good debate. Like Shamit, I too agree 100% with what Refresh as said regarding Blair. Why can’t we have this whole thing tested in court?

    63. Mark T — on 11th November, 2010 at 10:29 am  

      So I talk utter bollocks! That the police did what they did not out of malice afore thought or plain self interest but out of stupidity and incompetence. I’d love to see you say that to the face of the wife of Ian Tomlinson.

      Yeah, and while I’m at it, perhaps I could lecture her about the injustice of Derek Bentley’s conviction in 1952. I’m sure she’ll be just as interested in that as she would be in how the police mishandled an investigation into a racist murder 17 years ago.

      Or perhaps not. Perhaps - just perhaps - she might be more interested in the specifics of the case involving her husband.

      What do you think?

      Shamit and Maidmarian maybe misguided (along with me) in some of the things we say but you scare the living daylights out of me.

      As you are quite plainly a loon, that’s deeply comforting.

    64. John Christopher — on 11th November, 2010 at 5:49 pm  

      Mark T

      Better a loon than a Fascist!

    65. Shamit — on 11th November, 2010 at 5:52 pm  

      i do not agree with refresh on Blair in any shape way or form. In fact, I think we are polar opposites.

      But we both share an aversion to justices who give sermons from the bench.

    66. Mark T — on 11th November, 2010 at 6:07 pm  

      Better a loon than a Fascist!

      Did you write that just to remove all doubt?

    67. John Christopher — on 11th November, 2010 at 10:22 pm  

      Mark T

      When you want to engage in a reasoned argument, you let me know. I trashed your first argument about the motives of the police and you come back with Derek Bentley. Now unless you know something that the rest of the world doesn’t (that Stephen Lawrence and Ian Tomlinson, were part and parcel of some kind of joint enterprise at the time of their deaths), I simply don’t know what you’re talking about. Instead you resort to insults because you HAVE NO ARGUMENT, calling me a “loon”, who talks “out of his arse”. Ian Tomlinson was just a ordinary working class man trying to make his way home after a hard day at work. And now he is the perfect example of how I’m right and you’re wrong. Shame the man had to die, so the likes of me could finally prove a point. And yes, his family will NEVER see justice and yes this situation didn’t come about by some accident, or stupidity or crass incompetence. It happened because The Met and the CPS made it happened and made it happen by design. We’ve been here before, Blair Peach but he was black and had a chip on his shoulder, so his “death” didn’t count. One other thing….being a “loon” puts me in very good company. Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Loony Tunes gang. I think everyone should embrace their loony side once in a while and throw away the jackboots.

    68. Don — on 11th November, 2010 at 10:42 pm  

      Blair Peach but he was black and had a chip on his shoulder, so his “death” didn’t count.

      You have actually lost touch with reality at this point. Blair Peach was not black and the CPS did not conspire to have Ian Tomlinson killed.

    69. joe90 — on 11th November, 2010 at 10:56 pm  

      post #59

      according to the world of Tony blair he was correct to go to iraq and slaughter a nation, because apparently god told him to!

    70. John Christopher — on 12th November, 2010 at 12:50 am  

      Don

      I never said that the CPS (or the Police for that matter) conspired to have Ian Tomlinson killed. What I actually said was that both the Met and the CPS conspired to prevent the Officer responsible for his death from facing prosecution both in the criminal and civil courts. The general point I was trying to make is that some people are above the law while most of us are below it. Blair and Bush committed a crime against humanity and they will NEVER see the inside of a dock. And the same applies to the policeman who was directly linked with the death of Ian Tomlinson. All three get away with it, scot free. Yet there are those who still fail to recognise the blatant miscarriage of justice. I’m just sick and tired of the neo-con brigade making excuses for things done in the name of lies.

    71. MaidMarian — on 12th November, 2010 at 6:58 pm  

      John Christopher - Is there anything that you will not use for the purposes of moral equivalence?

      Seriously, do you define justice as, ‘the outcome I want?’

    72. raff — on 13th November, 2010 at 4:21 pm  

      this girl was clearly bonkers. But she was pushed in a direction through ideas.

    73. earwicga — on 13th November, 2010 at 5:16 pm  

      raff - There is no ‘but’. I have an idea that no EDL protests should be allowed. I don’t go and stab them. She felt entitled to stab another human being and is now in jail. Good. End of.

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