THE BLOG

Sympathy for Terrorism

02/12/2015 12:04 GMT | Updated 02/12/2016 10:12 GMT

David Cameron asserts that Jeremy Corbyn is a terrorist sympathiser. There is a sense in which he is correct. Corbyn has a long record of support for the suffering people of Palestine. He has shared platforms with people who were, allegedly, members of Hamas and Hizbollah. Both of those organisation have used violence for political ends. Corbyn is not a pacifist.

But terrorism and war are both types of violence conducted for political purposes. It has been said that terrorism is the war of the poor while war is the terrorism of the rich.

Who does Cameron sympathise with? To judge by his recent visit to Saudi Arabia he sympathises with a regime soaked in blood. When Corbyn was criticised for an insufficiently low bow at the Cenotaph Cameron showed him how it should be done - a deep obsequious fold from the waist was what he gave to the new Saudi king. This is a regime, let us not forget, which beheads hundreds of people and stones women to death for the crime of adultery.

In 2011 the people of Bahrain held demonstrations. The Bahraini government asked for, and received, support from their Saudi neighbours. The demonstrators were thrown into prison and tortured. Even doctors and nurses who treated injured demonstrators were tortured. These are Cameron's friends.

None of this should surprise us. Cameron continues a tradition of Tory support for violent, oppressive rulers. In 1953 Tory Prime Minister Winston Churchill sanctioned British involvement in a coup that deposed the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran. Britain and the USA installed Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi as Iran's ruler. A report published by Amnesty International in 1967 described the Shah's regime as one of the worst human rights violators in the world. Human rights abuses continue to this day in Iran despite the overthrow of the Shah.

Margaret Thatcher gave political support to General Pinochet and described him as a "true friend" despite the fact that he overthrew the democratically elected government of Chile. She must have known that his regime murdered and tortured many thousands of people. Similarly, Thatcher continued to support the apartheid state of South Africa in its oppression of the black majority population. In that regard it should be recalled that Jeremy Corbyn was arrested in 1984 for picketing outside South Africa House.

It can't even be said that Cameron learns from past mistakes. Recently he rolled out the red carpet for Egypt's new ruler Abdel Fatah al Sisi. This was the man who headed a military coup to overthrow Egypt's democratically elected government. Since the coup (according to press reports) hundreds of political opponents have been sentenced to death or life imprisonment. Dissent has been crushed.

So, when it comes to support for terror David Cameron would do well to look at his own behaviour and the history of his party.

Note: The author is a member of the Green Party. He writes here in a personal capacity.