Monday, 19 March 2007

Values, What Values?

Until death matters

Until truth matters

Until justice matters

Let us not proclaim our values

Let us get down on our knees and beg forgiveness

Tony Blair said,

we should not apologise for our values, for what we believe in or for what we do. The fact is that the values that we stand for are values that can unite Muslim, Christian and Jew, and people of different races and backgrounds, and terrorism will be better defeated if we do not apologise for our values but stand up for them.

21 Feb 2007,

How wrong he is!

Our values are not what Blair says they are but are what we do. Unfortunately what we do reflects very badly on us and what we do will not “unite Muslim, Christian and Jew, and people of different races and backgrounds..” but will divide us from them.

Three recent examples demonstrate the gap between Blair’s claims and reality.

Yesterday, I posted ( about two Guantanamo detainees, long-term UK residents, who are free to leave but cannot because the UK government refuses to act for them. These men pose no terrorist threat but because they are not citizens we let them remain in that hell-hole. Obviously there is no legal requirement - nor is there any legal impediment - to repatriate the men but there is a moral imperative on the government to help.

What positive value does Blair believe this demonstrates?

Despite the best efforts of the coroner, we cannot even manage an open and honest inquest into the death, by friendly fire, of Lance-Corporal Matty Hull. The unveiling of truth was hindered by the delays and lies of the MOD and the US DoD. Only the perseverance of the coroner and Hull’s family has dragged such information as is currently available. Hull’s family have seen how little truth matters to our “masters”. Far more important is the requirement not to upset our US colleagues.

What positive value does Blair believe this demonstrates?

What did Baha Mousa, who died in Basra in our Army’s custody, see of our values? Abuse, humiliation, beatings and finally death.

What have his family seen of our values? Appallingly, much much less than even Matty Hull’s family.

According to a report in The Observer (18 March 2007,, a 6 month court-martial found no-one responsible for his death. A refusal to answer questions (or rather “I do not remember”) frustrated the search for the truth. Others were involved, as the Judge-Advocate said, “the ill-treatment of the detainees continued and intensified. Yet none of those soldiers has been charged with any offence simply because there is no evidence against them as a result of a more or less obvious closing of ranks”.

How much does truth matter within the Army?

Baha Mousa’s death is nothing less than racist murder and yet we cannot find those responsible.

What positive value does Blair believe this demonstrates?

Blair, no doubt, would say that these are the exceptions but it is in these “exceptional” ways that values are seen as worthless. Rather than trumpeting our values as being beneficial for others Blair should:

Ensure death matters

Ensure truth matters

Ensure justice matters

And until then

Let him remain silent about our values

Let him get down on his knees and beg forgiveness

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