This week the BBCinvited Nick Griffin of the British National Party on to its flagship debating show, Question Time where shared the platform with the Labour Party representative Jack Straw and others. Anti-racists , the Muslim community, those who oppose capital and corporal punishment and all progressive people are right to be angry that the overtly racist BNP was given public time and space to publicise themselves. But this does not mean hat we should forget or forgive the hideous record of the Labour Party in power and its representative in this debate – Jack Straw.
Straw has been a leading member of the Cabinet since Labour came to power in 1997. He was Home Secretary in 2000 at the time of the horrific death of 58 Chinese migrants in the back of a lorry desperately trying to seek work in Britain. He was Foreign Secretary in 2001 and 2003 when Britain invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, wars and occupations that continue to this day at the cost of hundreds of thousands of deaths and injuries. It was Straw who allowed the murderous Chilean dictator General Pinochet to escape extradition, vetoed the publication of documents that could have proved the illegality of the Iraq war, refused to call for the US torture camp in illegally occupied Guantanamo, Cuba, to be closed and covered up the British government’s collusion in torture. As Minister of Justice, he now presides over a prison system which has never been so full and an immigration service which boasts of deporting one person every eight minutes.
Griffin and Straw have both made headlines with their hostility to immigrants, Muslims and Travellers. The BNP programme demands the deportation of illegal immigrants, the deportation of anyone not British who commits a crime, financial incentives for immigrants to return to their countries of origin, an end to all new immigration except in exceptional circumstances and the rejection of the applications of all asylum seekers who have passed through safe countries to get to Britain. But all of these demands have already become law during the Labour administration in which Jack Straw has played a leading role.
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