In Denial by Barbara Nadel

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I don’t often write about politics, either in the UK or in Turkey. This is mainly because, as a rule, politicians make me so furious just thinking about them makes me want to weep. It seems to me, especially in recent years, that those in power, wherever they are and whoever they may be, don’t care too much about what ‘their people’ really want. Like millions of others I marched against the war in Iraq in 2003 and like millions of others I was completely ignored by my government. It was at this point I finally decided that if politicians were going to ignore me, I was most certainly going to ignore them. However…

Last week we were treated to a very ‘special’ edition of the BBC political program, ‘Question Time’. For the first time in its history the ‘Question Time’ panel included a leader of a far right party, the British National Party’s (BNP), Nick Griffin. Why was Mr Griffin given air-time alongside people like Labour’s Jack Straw and the conservative peer Baroness Warsi? Because his party has gained a lot of support in the last few years. Nick Griffin, to my absolute horror, is now MEP for the north west of England.

I’m not going to go into why Nick Griffin is where he is or how we as a nation have come to this sorry pass. The fact is that the BNP are a reality and they are attempting to soften their image in order to gain still more votes. On ‘Question Time’ this softening campaign reached new heights. Mr Griffin, when asked by a member of the audience about his well-known Holocaust denial, said that he now believed that six millions Jews as well as an incalculable number of Gypsies, gay people, those with mental illnesses and anyone who openly opposed the Nazis, HAD died in Hitler’s death camps. Apparently some evidence had come to light that had miraculously changed Mr Griffin’s mind. Well, woop de doop! Well done Mr Griffin for joining with the rest of us in believing in something that is about as clear-cut and obvious as the fact that night follows day. He changed his mind? Good God am I, or anyone else, actually expected to believe this nonsense? Holocaust denial is up there with belief in a flat earth. It doesn’t stack up and, in addition and unlike flat earth belief, it is also truly offensive negating as it does the struggle and the suffering of millions. Those who deny the Holocaust are deluded at best. Most of them however, do not just suddenly recant, as Mr Griffin did on ‘Question Time’ – not that I believe that he really did do that at all. Politicians will do just about anything to get themselves elected in my experience. Which brings me to Mr Tony Blair.

Our former Prime Minister Tony Blair came to power as a member of the Labour Party. Apparently espousing a new version of the party called ‘New Labour’ he presented himself to the nation and especially to those who, like myself, believe in equality, as someone who might just help to create a fairer society. I think that at first he may very well have really wanted to do that. Indeed, a measure of success was achieved but then suddenly, Mr Blair was distracted from this course by his friendship with the then new American president, George W Bush – the world’s most powerful man. 9/11 happened and in 2003, after massive protests against military intervention against Saddam Hussein, Blair ordered British troops into Iraq and then completely failed to find any of the weapons of mass destruction that had apparently triggered the invasion. By this time the whole region was in uproar, where it remains to this day. Which brings me again to last week.

Hot on the heels of being expected to believe that Nick Griffin had changed his mind about the Holocaust, last week also raised the spectre of ‘Blair sanitisation’. Tony Blair, a man of already fabulous wealth, would like to be President of Europe and get a big fat salary for that too. Our current Prime Minister and his Foreign Secretary feel that this is an excellent idea which they support completely. So here we enter the land of delusion for a second time. Mr Blair dragged the UK into a war his people didn’t want against a country that (loathe the Saddam regime as one might) was at the time, no threat. A sovereign state, just like the equally reviled but untouched, Zimbabwe, was invaded. Tens of thousands of people have died, been traumatised and wounded. But that’s OK. That was then, this is now and Mr Blair is, we are told, the very best man for the job. Forget about Iraq, forget about all the death, the destruction, the harm that war has done to the whole of the Middle East and forget about the fact that Blair totally ignored the British public. Blair is a brilliant politician, charming and experienced and we should all get behind him and pledge our support.

Well, actually, no I won’t get behind him or support him. Blair and his friends can be in as much denial as they like about what happened and is still happening in Iraq. Like millions of other Britons, I won’t forget and I will never, ever approve. Europe is important, I am proud to be British and proud to be European too. I object to being represented in the world by someone who has ignored international law, ignored democracy and ignored the suffering of others. Mr Blair can make his bid for power but he can do it without me. Once again I am, like millions of others, totally irrelevant.

Now I’ve talked politics and now I’m weeping with rage. Thank God that’s my politics spot done for the next twelve months!

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