So we’d probably better comment on Willie Rennie’s personal attack yesterday. It was hardly surprising, and indeed a little flattering that the leader of a formerly-major political party would take time out of his day to send out a press release excoriating little old us and our insignificant wee blog, but it’s still a tad disappointing to see a senior politician happy to tell so many lies in a few short sentences.
We’ll skip through it quickly, then move on with our lives.
“Using the death British servicemen, who aren’t able to answer for themselves, to further political ends, is a deplorable act.”
Clearly typing in a bit of a hurry, there, Willie. But the political end we’re trying to serve is to stop any more Scottish soldiers being killed in an utterly pointless military engagement in a country where we have absolutely no legitimate business, and we don’t consider that “deplorable” in the least. What we consider deplorable is being part of a party who voted to send our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends, fathers and mothers over there to die for nothing in the first place.
We were not invited into Afghanistan. However much we might despise whoever was running the country, it’s not up to us to go charging in there and changing their government for them at the end of a gun. Indeed, invading a sovereign nation for the purpose of regime change – which is precisely what we did in both Afghanistan and Iraq, despite unprecedented protests from millions who took to the streets to voice their objections – is expressly forbidden by international law.
When we leave Afghanistan the Taliban will return, largely undamaged. We will have wasted hundreds of British lives, thousands of Afghan lives, and billions of pounds, and all we’ll have to show for it is the pile of dead bodies.
“These narrow nationalists are trying to portray the English as warmongers who don’t care about lives lost in battle.”
This is a despicable comment, which is not justified by anything on the image. It made no mention of “the English” whatsoever, and none was implied – Westminster MPs of all four British nationalities voted for the Afghanistan invasion. But if those MPs cared about our soldiers’ lives they wouldn’t send them into harm’s way for nothing, and then weep crocodile tears for them afterwards.
“These brave servicemen died for their country, not for narrow nationalists trying to serve their political end.”
That rather depends on your definition of “narrow”. They certainly died for nationalists – British nationalists, obsessed with “punching above our weight” on the world stage and acting as the world’s policemen. The Empire is long over, and everyone knows it except the inhabitants of the Palace Of Westminster, who waste hundreds of billions of pounds desperately clinging on to our seat on the UN Security Council by brandishing nuclear missiles at – well, at who? Nobody knows.
“They were not dragooned into serving their country.”
Nobody said they were. British soldiers are volunteers. But they are entitled to volunteer in the expectation that they won’t be sent off to die for no good reason. Afghanistan had neither invaded nor been invaded by anyone. We had no right to be there, and there was never any prospect of anything being achieved by our presence. It was an exercise in futility, paid for in blood.
“The armed forces defend the United Kingdom with pride and to belittle the role that they play”
Not one word or pixel of the image in question “belittled” British soldiers. They are brave men and women in often dreadful conditions with often dismally-inadequate equipment. Who’s to blame for that? Who sends them out with defective rifles, dodgy radios and insufficient armour? Is it some insignificant blogger, or is it our Honourable and Right-Honourable Members Of Parliament, when they’re not too busy flipping their second homes, enacting policies they stood for election on a solemn pledge not to enact, complying with and then covering up the rendition and torture of innocent detainees, or cutting taxes for their billionaire pals?
“in defending our country”
Defending? Afghanistan represents no threat whatsoever to the United Kingdom, and never did. No Afghani has ever mounted any sort of attack on British soil so far as we’re aware. Neither the 9/11 or 7/7 attackers came from Afghanistan. The deaths of our soldiers didn’t save a single British life – indeed the head of Britain’s own secret services believes our actions put us at greater risk.
(It’s not all downside, of course – they also provided our governments with an excuse to destroy many of the centuries-old civil liberties on which this country was founded and for which it once proudly stood.)
“in some warped attempt to score political points is an action that should be denounced on all sides of the debate.”
Activists for all three opposition parties made a concerted and sustained attempt to whip up a frenzy of hatred over the poster yesterday afternoon, but nobody took the bait. They particularly tried to make a party-political issue out of it, repeatedly and pointedly calling us “cybernats” and demanding the SNP condemn us, even though we’re not members of the SNP and never have been.
(They haven’t done so, yet, although we wouldn’t be surprised if it happened, because otherwise the No parties or one of their tame journalist friends may loudly proclaim the scandal that the SNP haven’t condemned this disgraceful slur – in order to score party-political points, conveniently ignoring the crass irony.)
We’re touched by the support we received, which made up the overwhelming majority of communications we got yesterday. Some of the most moving can be found in the image’s comment thread. We are not sorry for creating and posting the image, though we’re sorry for any offence it may have caused to those who have lost friends or relatives in the military (rather than those who haven’t and are manufacturing outrage for cynical political gain). That’s not why we made it, and we believe with all our hearts in the position it sets out – that Scottish soldiers, our people, should not be sent to die in foreign lands for nothing by the venal, verminous scum inhabiting Westminster.
As it happens, we don’t think English, Welsh or Northern Irish soldiers should either, but with all three London-based parties united in their pious and hypocritical support for the “war”, there are no democratic means by which to extract those troops from the Afghan desert. But in 2014, we can at least save the Scottish ones, by choosing to be a country which cares more for the lives of its young men and women than for the sickening, vainglorious, imperial posturing of its politicians.
Go fuck yourself, Willie Rennie. And that you CAN do in our name.