Saturday, February 13, 2010

Goodbye Jenny, don't let the door hit you on your way out...

To be honest, given Jenny Tonge's form on the Israel/Palestine issue, it was only a matter of time before she got herself into trouble again.

Whilst I'm firmly in the two state, negotiated resolution camp, and not exactly renown for being an apologist for Israel, I am astonished that the currently ignoble Baroness does not appear to have understood how she got into trouble in the first place.

Yes, accusations have been made, and yes, one should carry out some investigations. However, those investigations should be to establish whether the accusations are based on any credible evidence. Only if there is genuine cause for doubt do you then start calling for an inquiry by the Israeli authorities.

In fact, you don't even call upon the Israeli authorities to carry out an inquiry. If they are by some chance guilty as charged, they'll cover it up, just as any Government charged with such a heinous crime would. If they are innocent, those making the charges will... accuse them of covering it up. A bit of a Catch 22, that one.

Even if this is too much of a test, one should really consider the weight of the charge too, especially one as serious as that of organ harvesting at the scene of a major tragedy. There can be few more emotive charges, and if I was one of those Israeli Army personnel who had given themselves unsparingly in pursuit of those buried in the rubble, I would be mortified and angry to be on the receiving end of such an accusation.

Worst of all, this is not a first offence. Having lost one job through making a tactless, if understandable comment, she should surely have realised that this latest comment would make her position as a frontbench spokesperson untenable. Indeed, I would suspect my noble Lords McNally and Shutt, our Leader and Chief Whip in the Lords, would have been in touch with her* even before the Leader's Office had placed a call.

It should be remembered, after all, that the Party Leader has no direct say in appointments to positions in the Lords...

* And no, I don't actually know what happened. I have a pretty good idea how it would have done though...


Oranjepan said...

I'd've thought there was plenty of opportunity for some word play with her surname, but I remember when she came to speak at a public meeting here on Iraq a couple of years ago and being shocked at the way she enthusiatically played to one particular side of the onlooking gallery - she really made me have second thoughts about my membership.

So I have to say that I'm glad she has been isolated so decisively by Clegg.

However her existence does push the question of the ongoing problems in the area.

I agree that any solution needs to be negotiated to be successful, but I'm dubious that the proposed 'two-state' solution is ever likely to be successful since it leaves the particular strong areas of contention to be fought over. Such a firm commitment to this definition allows no leeway for any imaginative solutions and is inconsistent with the precedent of the integrationist policy we successfully used to break down the barriers of the cold war.

Therefore the 'two state' solution is easily dismissed as just another temporary ceasefire to be used to rearm and redeploy the forces of state available. There is nothing I can see that is being done to win over this cynicismwhich Jenny Tonge has unfortunately grown to speak for.

So although I support action against her, I also think this should make us reasess what action is being taken to address the cynicism about the current roadmap proposals and where they will ultimately lead, rather than where we might like them to lead or where they are said to be headed.

The people I know who have strong connections to the area are too weary to be taken in by rhetoric, and although hope does spring eternal it does sometimes taste like it is too polluted to drink straight from the well.

yorker said...

You have to ask yourself why the IDF, notorious for wholesale death and destruction against people who can't properly defend themselves (especially in Gaza where they have nowhere to run), shooting children, machine-gunning fishing boats, blocking humanitarian aid, abducting civilians in the middle of the night, bulldozing homes and suppressing peaceful protesters, should be remotely interested is saving people in Haiti, praiseworthy though such a sudden humanitarian conversion may be. I see no reason to be concerned about hurting their feelings - humiliation is their speciality, as anyone who visits the Occupied Territories will see.

Mark says he's firmly in the "negotiated solution" camp when negotiations have consistently failed. What is there to negotiate? Why isn't he in the "enforce the law and UN resolutions" camp?

I agree with Orangepan, there needs to be a reassessment about where this whole problem is heading. If only the leadership would show more grit, and that applies to Parliament in general