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The establishment tells we plebs to sod off again: Blair walks on war crimes, squaddies in the dock

Tom Winnifrith
Sunday 3 July 2016

Britain in 2016 feels ever more like 1792 France. Cherie Blair or Theresa May will soon be saying that we the great unwashed should not worry "let them eat cake" and hundreds of celebrities will put their names to a petition saying what a good idea that is.

It is one rule for the establishment and one for the rest of us. Day after day we are reminded that the millionaire political, business, celebrity and media elite can get away with murder, literally in the case of Tony Blair, while the rest of us just get screwed. No wonder Britain is so angry.

The 40,000 silly people at yesterday's MarchforEurope do not represent that anger. Overwhelmingly middle class Southerners they, or their parents at the bank of Mum & Dad, have done very well as property owners enjoying the post 2008 asset bubble created by QE and funny money interest rates. For those in the Midlands and North where property prices in the post industrial towns have not rocketed, where there have been no real wage rises - unless you are a middle class employee of the State - there has been no financial windfall since 2008. They are excluded. Shafted financially and with no-one speaking up for them. Indeed for ten days now they have been told by large sections of the media and by the middle class liberal establishment that they are ignorant and racist and that their views should somehow be ignored.

And now we discover that when the Chilcot Report in finally published this week, it may slate Tony Blair and Jack Straw for lying and starting an illegal war but they will suffer no consequences. You and I might think that lying to Parliament and to the Country to start an illegal war is a war crime. The establishment may have blood on its hands but Blair & Straw will not be prosecuted for anything.

On the other hand British troops who served in Iraq are still being prosecuted for war crimes. It is really very hard for us sitting in comfortable Britain, safe and sound, to know what happens in the heat of the action fighting a terrorist insurgency and seeing your mates heading home in body bags or missing arms and legs. Some of those squaddies who have faced trial seem to be very marginal cases.

If British soldiers have committed war crimes then they must be prosecuted as we need to show the Muslim world that we are better people than ISIS and operate to a higher moral standard. But that also means we have to prosecute Blair and Straw if they lied to start an illegal war as that too is a war crime. And it is a much more serious one.

The squaddies who were sent to Iraq and who come home in body bags, missing limbs, traumatised or, in a few cases, to face trial are overwhelmingly from working class backgrounds. They did not get the opportunity or breaks that the campus warriors, the middle class kids on MarchforEurope did, they did not get to spend three years studying for a useless degree with a loan they may or may not pay back. They found one way to better their lives and that was to serve Queen and Country, the sort of ambition the middle class kids on the march yesterday would regard as so old fashioned and despicable, happy to deride it as bordering on xenophobia.

In the West it's the grunts who suffer in modern warfare, the children of the under-privileged not the establishment and the comfortable middle classes. And we see once again how they will be screwed while the establishment, in the former of Blair and Straw, gets away with murder.

40,000 fools marching in London yesterday might not understand the iniquity of this. They are, after all on the same side as Goldman Sachs and Big Business in their desire to overturn democracy. But this appalling double standard on Iraq is just another reason why so many in this country are so angry and why that anger is not going to go away.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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