Speaking the truth should be something that is commended in this day and age because as George Orwell told us: “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”. So revolutionary in fact that two Liberal Democrat politicians have suffered for telling the truth. They are Jenny Tonge last year and recently David Ward.
So is lying the new norm for politicians? Peter Oborne thinks so and explains it in his book The Rise of Political Lying. Bill Clinton lied; Tony Bliar lied too; Jeffrey Archer also lied and spent time in prison for it and of course we watched as the comical and serious MP expenses scandal unfolded. Lying is now the status quo and Ward was censured by his party for telling the truth.
His comments that led him to being censured were these:
Subsequent explanations by Ward through various media about his comments failed to dampen the onslaught of criticism he faced, but it did motivate his supporters in trying to oppose the criticism. However, his party leader, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, sided with the criticism (the Holocaust Educational Trust formally complained to the party) and disciplined Ward, accusing him of not ‘learning the lessons of the Holocaust’. What lessons is he talking about?
Notice the capitalised ‘H’ in the word ‘Holocaust’. The Holocaust is also taught in the UK’s schools as part of the National Curriculum whilst other genocides and acts of mass murder are not. Numerous museums worldwide are dedicated to the memory and legacy of the Holocaust and there is an internationally recognised Holocaust Memorial Day. This is not to take away from the severity and criminality of the genocide committed by the Nazis, there just seems to be a skewed focus on one episode of mass murder and a near-total neglect of others. So what of other genocides that have occurred? The Islamic Human Rights Commission sought to address this by launching Genocide Memorial Day which “rejects the notion that there is a hierarchy of victims depending on their background” – a clear aim at the Holocaust’s ‘primacy’ over other genocides in history.
Jenny Tonge also suffered at Clegg’s hands for her comments that criticised Israel, with Clegg issuing her an ultimatum that she apologise or resign. Tonge refused to apologise and resigned. At least Clegg is being consistent on this issue, unlike on his manifesto pledges.
Clegg needs to be reminded that Ward’s Bradford East constituency seat was won in part due to MPACUK’s mobilising of the Muslim vote and their campaigning against Labour’s Terry Rooney. Clegg’s actions this week will likely jeopardise the seat for the Liberal Democrats at the next election – Ward won by only 365 votes, so the seat is not a safe one for the Liberal Democrats and there exists a considerable number of Muslim voters in the constituency that will use Clegg’s actions to decide which party to vote for.
Whilst Clegg would wise to remember the case of Terry Rooney, we would all be wise to remember Mahatma Ghandi’s words: “Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.” Thankfully David Ward is most certainly not in a minority of one.
Originally published at MPACUK
- UK: Liberal Democrat MP David Ward says “the Jews” have not learned from the murder of six million in the Holocaust (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)
- BBC still airbrushing David Ward’s remarks (BBC Watch)
- UK Holocaust Memorial Day and remarks by David Ward (Liberal Democrat MP) ( סולידריות ISRAEL soliydariyut)
- Lib Dem MP condemned for linking Israeli treatment of Palestinians with Holocaust (theuglytruth.wordpress.com)
- Lib Dem MP David Ward defends remarks about Israel (guardian.co.uk)
- Action Alert: David Ward and the Holocaust comments (foa.org.uk)
- Holocaust Remembrance – in defence of David Ward (deliberation.info)
- Lib Dem MP accused of “casual antisemitism” (ihatehate.wordpress.com)
- Antisemitism Returns to the UK On Holocaust Memorial Day (algemeiner.com)
- UK Liberal Democrats in a funk over free speech (again) (mycatbirdseat.com)