Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The special relationship - 1945 - 2009 - RIP

The row over the decision to allow Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi to return to Libya is the final nail in the coffin of our special relationship with America.

It serves us right. If we are going to be an unreliable ally, why should America take any interest in us?

The rehabilitation of Chamberlain

As our collective memory of World War II fades into the distance, I worry that history is repeating itself.

You only have to read William Rees-Mogg's piece: Does appeasement look so bad, 70 years on? to see where we are heading. A revisionist view seems to be taking hold of many in the establishment - the fashionable view of Churchill is that he was a bloodthirsty warmonger who needlessly bombed helpless German civilians. Chamberlain by contrast is seen as a man of peace who took every opportunity to seek a diplomatic solution to Germany's agression.

As the years go by, this argument will only get stronger as people choose to forget the fact that Hitler's war against both the Jews and his neighbours began long before 1939.

These are worrying times.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Is solitary confinement torture?

Whilst on the subject of compassion, I came across a fascinating article in the New Yorker suggesting that solitary confinement is a form of torture. Some refer to it as a "living death". It would appear that being locked up all day in a tiny space for years on end eventually turns you into a vegetable.

I'm no liberal, but I'm not sure about the merits of locking up Zacarias Mousssaoui, Richard Reid and others for 22 hours a day. These guys should be reminded every day for the rest of their lives about what they did, but after several years in solitary, I'm not sure that Mousssaoui will be be in a mental state to be aware of anything.

The stink caused by Al Megrahi's release just won't go away

Some pressing questions about Al Megrahi's release:

1. Could they not have shown compassion by giving him the best palliative care possible whilst keeping him in jail? (He would probably get better healthcare than anything offered in Libya) Why does compassion mean giving a dying mass murderer his freedom? Surely, life imprisonment means losing the liberty to choose where you die as well as where you live (as Geoffrey Alderman has argued).
2. Was Al Megrahi's release motivated by Britain's oil interests? If this is indeed the case, the government has to fall. Any government that chooses to release a mass murderer in order to secure a business deal hasn't a shred of legitimacy. This has the potential to turn into a massive scandal.