Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Tories go for appeasement and reaction

David Cameron’s reshuffle includes a couple of interesting appointments. As he put it:

Two of the big challenges facing this country today are security and community cohesion and we now have two leading experts in these fields in Dame Pauline Neville-Jones and Sayeeda Warsi.

Neville-Jones’s experience is undoubted, but not all experience is good:

As political director at the foreign office and chairwoman of the joint intelligence committee during the Bosnian conflict, Dame Pauline was instrumental in opposing military intervention to stop "ethnic cleansing".
… She and [Douglas] Hurd looked on [Slobodan] Milosevic as a potential force for moderation who could be bargained with.

In July 1996, eight months after serving as Britain's representative at the Dayton peace talks, she was back in the Balkans, flying into Belgrade with Hurd to have breakfast with Milosevic. This time the British duo were in a new role, representing NatWest and selling its services in the management of a lucrative deal to privatise the state-run telecoms industry. At the time, the thousands of dead from Srebrenica were still being exhumed, and anyone with any access to intelligence would have be in little doubt over Milosevic's complicity.

For this, she picked up the nickname ‘Pauline Neville-Chamberlain’.

As for Sayeeda Warsi, I’d not heard of her until now, but she seems to have interesting views as well:

A Conservative activist has fuelled mistrust of the police in Muslim communities by making false statements on the detention of terror suspects. …
Mrs Warsi, 34, the Conservative vice-chairman with responsibility for cities, asserted that the tightening of anti-terrorist legislation had turned Britain into “a police state”.
The claims appear in an article that she wrote for Awaaz, a newspaper read by Asians that is distributed in the West Yorkshire towns and cities that were home to the July 7 suicide bombers. Readers were told by Mrs Warsi that the Government’s anti-terror proposals were “enough to tip any normal young man into the realms of a radicalised fanatic”.

Now, I accept that this is more apologism than appeasement, but try this:

Michael Howard, leader of the Conservative party, disagreed with comments made in a BBC programme on 20/07/2005 by Ms. Sayeeda Warsi, vice-chairman of the party, stating that new anti-terror laws following the 7/7 attacks in London should not stop support for "(the) freedom fight" in Kashmir. She had further stated that "It would concern me if … the definition of terrorism was to cover maybe (the) legitimate freedom fight in Kashmir."

Nice. I bet communities up and down the land are more cohesive already. But don’t worry – in some ways she’s just a very traditional Tory:

Sayeeda Warsi, Conservative candidate for Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, claims that Labour’s lowering of the age of consent from 18 to 16 left children vulnerable to be “propositioned for homosexual relations”, and that homosexuality was being peddled to children as young as seven in schools.

(Hat tips to Adrian McMenamin and Tom Watson.)

Wednesday morning update: Damn. I could have avoided writing all the above and just linked to Unity’s similar (yet more thorough) post. Oh well. Blogosphere, plurality of content provision, great minds link alike, etc.

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