Calling British ministers to account – or trying to

By Stuart Littlewood

Stuart Littlewood challenges British ministers, through his parliamentary representative, to explain the riddles and contradictions of UK policy towards Israel on the one hand and Iran on the other.

Here’s an easy test of our much vaunted Western democracy – you know, the kind we want to impose on everyone else, especially those nasty uncivilized regimes in the Middle East that go around attacking other nations instead of quietly minding their own business like the US and Britain.

Every so often Members of Parliament at Westminster are allowed to put Parliamentary Questions to ministers. On 30 October there is a session for questions to Foreign Office ministers, and I have been told by several people that they are asking their MP to challenge ministers about the continuing injustice in Palestine.

I hope they will also suggest questions about the sabre-rattling and bully-boy tactics that are designed to hurt the Iranian people economically, for no good reason any of us can see.

Whether or not MPs will agree to table those questions remains to be seen. And whether or not they receive an intelligent reply is anyone’s guess. Let’s see if democracy works to the extent of our servants in Parliament respond at least in word if not action to ordinary peoples’ concerns.

So, I’ve written to my MP Henry Bellingham, who recently lost his job as a Foreign Office minister, asking him to kindly table these two written questions (which require written answers):

Question 1
Israel refuses (unlike Iran) to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and open its nuclear programme to international inspection. It has not signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. It has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, similarly the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Israeli regime continues to defy international law and UN resolutions with its illegal occupation, ongoing confiscation of Palestinian lands, destruction of homes, arrest and imprisonment of civilians, its inhuman blockade of Gaza and many other crimes against humanity – including lethal assaults on peaceful shipping on the high seas bringing humanitarian aid. Instead of rewarding Israel with pledges of everlasting protection and special trade agreements, should not Britain and the international community now discharge their obligation to make Israel accountable?

Question 2
As Iran presents no existential threat to the UK why has HMG [Her Majesty’s Government] not made friends and developed trade with that country – the positive way to influence others – instead of embarking on a plan of economic warfare that is bound to harm its innocent population and needlessly make us more enemies? And how many visits have been made to Iran by senior British ministers in the 33 years since the Islamic Revolution of 1979? What is HMG now doing to re-establish high-level direct diplomatic links?

If I get a reply I’ll let you know.

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