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September 24, 2009

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Paul Flynn

Thank Huw. My pitch at the nrxt election will not be based on 'New Labour" although I will recall the great achievement of the past 12 years. i have NEVER called myself NEW Labour or campaign under that banner. I have be an elected representative in Newport since 1972. You pick up a lot of friends in that time. here are grounds for pessimism nationally, but I see few locally. we have a strong cohort of loyal Classic Labour voters in Newport. After last year's election we still are he biggest party in the city. My mail is daily filled with messages of support.

It is a long story but I have always been in favour of proportional representation. But we are not going to get it in the near future. So voter shave a simple crude choice- Labour or Conservative. Voting for third parties might land them with a Tory MP that they do not want. That's the message for Newport West. I must concentrate on that because it is our job to win Newport West.

Alexander Cronin

Actually, a right wing blog linked it...
http://muffledvociferation.blogspot.com/2009/09/and-while-stinking-rotten-cowards.html

Let's put conscription booths up in Calais for Iraqi and Afghani men... she said..but then again, it's your lot that opened the floodgates with promises of benefits at my expense isn't it?

HuwOS

In 2001 the votes broke down
31.7% for Tories
40.7% for New Labour
and
18.3% for the Lib Dems
In 2005 they got 22.1%
that's a change of 3.8 percentage points and demonstrates the general public's profound lack of interest and concern with the wars.
Some of that increase might be accounted for by the increase in turnout from 59.4% in 2001 to 61.3% in 2005 an increase of 1.9 percentage points.
As it stands, of those who voted 67.6% voted for parties that supported the war and of course 38.7% of the electorate did not wish to even try to make any change and couldn't be bothered voting at all.
If you take the non voters and those who voted torylabour together they make up around 80% of the electorate.
That as I said is a definitive statement of how much the wars concerned the public in 2005 and I doubt they concern them much now.
We may be causing the deaths and maimings of men women and children in Afghanistan or Iraq, the bullets and bombs may be being paid for by us, we could indeed end it all immediately if we wished, the fact is the people don't care and when the next election comes as you point out, they will vote Labour or Tory and we will have more of the same because while you may be against continuing these wars personally, even if you do get elected in 2010 Paul, if New Labour get enough seats then you will be part of them getting back into power and they are not anti these wars, if the tories win, they are not anti these wars, the only sane way for people who oppose these wars to vote is for parties who opposed and continue to oppose them.

Labour could use the break from government anyway as they have a battle within to deal with, they need to reclaim the party from the right now far more than they ever needed to save it from militant, they need to rediscover the principles and reasons why the party was brought into existence in the first place or if they can't be bothered they can consider merging with the tories.


Paul Flynn

Thanks Huw. 26 is a good attendance at a public meeting and it was the right size audience for the room booked. An empty room would have been a problem. No-one took the line of the Government and the Tory frontbench. That was good news.

It was good of the relatives of the local soldier to turn up and speak. They have made the point to me in writing about equipment. I have had only only one previous complaint of this kind. That was in the first Iraq War. I am seeking the details of this instance so that I can follow it up.

It cannot be said that not enough money has been spent overall. It has cost £12bn to fund the Afgahn war. The bill works out at £190 for every man, woman and child in the UK – and would pay for 23 new hospitals, 60,000 new teachers or 77,000 new nurses.

The election point that I made to the man from Pillgwenlly is that in practical terms he has a simple choice it's between the Tory candidate and me-that's not New Labour. A large anti-New Labour vote for Plaid, UKIP LibDems will have one result only- to let the Tory in. The person says that is not what he want but it is what will happen. I have known that person for many many years. He is a good attender of public meetings. In our first-past-the-post systme, voters do have the chance in most constituencies to have anything by a crude choice between one or other of the two main parties. Things are different in Newport East.

In the last election votes were certainly lost by Labour to LibDems because of the Iraq war. Even those of us who voted against the war lost out.

I am not sure where your argument is leading. Angry Plaid supporters who wish to protest about the Afghan war should vote Plaid and possibly unseat the strongest opponent of the war? Not much of a strategy.

Thanks for coming to the meeting. I would have welcomed a chat afterwards but there were several other people who wanted a word.

HuwOS

I attended your meeting yesterday Paul.

The full room contained about 25 people.
This is not an indication of public outrage, unfortunately.
Unanimity also seems far away; what is a vague wish for the war to end (for a variety of different often contradictory reasons) without
there being agreement on what should or should not be achieved by then.
People calling for more or better equipment for our soldiers fighting there certainly is not a call for an immediate end.

The impressive lady, the former human shield who works in Iraq made the most important point of the night, focusing attention on the wounded and maimed non combatants, the people, particularly children who suffer just as grievously as any British soldier highlighted in the BBC programme "Wounded" but who do not receive treatment, prostheses and rehabilitation unless lucky enough to come to the attention of a charity which then has to raise thousands and thousands of pounds to pay for it as well as the difficulties involved in arranging travel to Syria for prostheses to be made and fitted etc.
These people of course have no option but to be where they are, they have not travelled far from home, for the cameraderie and excitement of war, nor do they receive money or support of any kind for being in the warzone that is their home.
Of course, most of this would be affordable for them if paid for by the damages that we certainly owe, such damages of course we will never pay.

Some people questioned what pressure could be put on politicians.
Our democracy is not set up to allow voters to direct the actions of their representatives for fleeting issues that people happen to take on from time to time.
The ultimate power the electorate have, if an issue is important to them is to ensure that they
do not re-elect supporters of the actions they disagree with.
In 2005 they had the chance and expressed no concern with Iraq or Afghanistan when voting for their MPs.
Next year we will again have the opportunity to decide what is most important to us and I believe you expressed the view that the people will either vote Tory or New Labour rather than vote for parties who opposed these immoral wars.
You are probably right of course, which once again emphasises how strongly the wrongs that we have done to those countries rate in the minds and hearts of the general public.
But if people did genuinely care, then the results of the election would be very different and the 2 current major parties would be minority parties after that one day, such is the power that the electorate have but choose not to wield.

I do not wish to be entirely negative Paul, it does you credit that you are willing to engage with people and hold any kind of meetings even if last nights meeting was of a very small number of people who generally agree with your views, the option was certainly there for anyone to attend.

Do you know Paul, what charitable organisations the woman who has been a human shield works with in Iraq and also what charities help those who have been injured and maimed in Afghanistan.
I know some people last night felt moved to give donations, perhaps readers of your blog who were not able to attend might feel the same way.

Dawn

With regards to the 'Volunteers' article - no one asked these guys why they were in Calais. How do we know that they have not fled the country because of political differences etc? How do we know that that these young men don't have families they are supporting? What about the level of unemployment in Afghanistan?

Our 'innocent' young men have volunteered to join a force of occupation. The young men in Calais do not come to OUR country with guns and bombs, all they want is a better life.

And lets be honest, if I were an Afghani mother I'd want my boys to get the hell out of dodge and get themselves a better life elsewhere, I'd rather they chose exile to potential death.

I'm not saying we shouldn't fight for our countries, but what do people not allied to Karzai, the Warlords or the Taliban have to fight for? All sides are horrendous.

Kay Tie

The Daily Mash nails it once again:

http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/politics/politics-headlines/mps-to-receive-afghanistan-guilt-allowance-200909252090/

Tony

Well, if there is a long recess what stops any MP's that don't like that from just going back to the House to debate issues ? Regardless of what the formal position is ?
As I recall the Parliament around the time of Charles 1 met even when he said he did not need them - so if enough MP's feel strongly enough why not just do it ? I'm sure that you could contact all MP's and just because the government / cabinet have little or no ideas, you have, and I think the country might be listening - and after all isn't that was an MP does - represent the people - not the government ..

Paul Flynn

Duffryn Powell, the item was replaced by two items on more important matters. I greatly admire the Baroness. She has been a good minister. I will blog about this later. But I confine my blogs to a limited numbers of subjects each day. I will watch with interest how Max Clifford manages to enrich himself and the allegedly illegal immigrant by spinning the story so that the alleged perpetrator of the deception is portrayed as the hapless victim.

In terms of importance of the issue it is insignificant compared to the Afghan war, global warming, and our wounded troops. Even the thinking behind a new rural tax is a novel news item compared with another predictable Government bashing spree by the tabloids and Max Clifford..

Paul Flynn

Adam made a similar point to yesterday's blog John. I am astonished at the thinking of the soldiers who lost limbs and eyesight in the Afghanistan War. The programme was made to give a certain impression and their lack of expressed resentment at their plight is hard to fathom.

Last night's meeting may be a symptom that public opinion is building up a bow wave of anger on the futility of the Afghan war. I feel a deep contempt for those politicians of all parties who have been constantly gung-ho against this predictable and predicted disaster. Even worse are those former ministers who have profited with consultancies as rewards for prostituting their contacts as ministers. See past blogs on Reid and Ingram

Duffryn Powell

On 22 Sept's blog there was a coment from
Gwyn Jones (below). Where's the answer ?

"I could swear that there was a paragraph supporting Baroness Scotland here this morning. Did you remove it because you now know something that we plebs don't?

Posted by: Gwyn Jones | September 23, 2009 at 04:40 PM"

John

Not everyone is so brain washed that they will risk their lives for a belief/religion or because they identify themselves with a flag or country.Not everyone is so stupid that they will blindly follow there corrupt politcans into pointless wars

The sooner more of us refuse to fight for these stupid causes the sooner war will come to an end.We need to educate our children out of this culture of war being a right response to disagreements. We need to provide alternative employment to many who see the Army as a way to get out of their socially deprived lives. The sooner we have a populace who will refuse to fight the sooner our Politicans will stop playing with the lives of their citizens.

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