The debate between the three establishment party leaders that I have just seen was perhaps one of the most dismal televisual experiences of my life. A debate on global issues which hardly touched on climate change in an international context? A 'debate' on global issues in which all leaders agreed on our insane adventure in Afghanistan, arguing only about how brave they thought British soldiers are?
Regular readers will recall that I have posted about Afghanistan before, and my feelings remain the same. This is a war which has been dragging on for years, has killed many thousands of innocent people, and which has no clear strategy. We are still there not because of any coherent aim, but because it would embarass the Government to leave - and to admit that the near decade of slaughter in that country has been for nothing.
As this excellent article by Johann Hari in the Independent points out, the three establishment parties are in lock step on this issue. Far from promising 'change', the Lib Dems and the Tories have nothing to say about this war. They are happy to propose cuts to public services - but apparently the £4 billion per year price tag on our venture in Aghanistan is sacrosanct.
One of the many lobbying emails I have received in the last few weeks has been a list of questions from the Stop The War Coalition - and I thought, for the avoidance of doubt, that I might end this post by making my responses public. If elected, I will campaign vigorously for immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan. It's the only policy that makes any sense.
1. Do you support the immediate withdrawal of British and NATO troops from Afghanistan?
2. Did you support the war in Iraq?
No - in fact, I took direct action against it, breaking into RAF Fairford and preventing B52 bombers from taking off.
3. Will you oppose any military attack on Iran by the United States or Israel?
4. Do you support the immediate closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison?
5. Are you opposed to the renewal of Trident nuclear weapons?
6. Do you oppose the attacks on Muslims and the growing Islamophobia in British society?
7. Do you agree that the use of anti-terrorist laws to restrict the right of protest is an attack on civil liberties?
Yes - particularly as someone who has been targetted in the past by blanket anti-terrorism laws, including during the DSEI Arms Fair in London.