How The People
newspaper endangered `our boys in the desert' (and helped put all our lives at
In spring 2003, when Prime Minister Bliar was desperately determined
to become a war criminal, it was our responsibility as citizens to oppose the
illegal invasion of Iraq.
For reasons known only to its editors, The
People newspaper decided not only to support the war (as was its right) but
also to suppress all criticism of the impending military action.
move which was reminiscent of the worst and most oppressive actions of the
Soviet Government during the 1960s the paper's editors refused to publish
material questioning the validity, legality or morality of the war. This was
censorship. But it was censorship which, it is now clear, resulted in putting
British soldiers at risk and in endangering the lives of all British citizens.
The People newspaper claimed that it was supporting `our boys and
girls in the desert' (the patronising phrase is theirs not mine) but it is now
clear that by giving wholehearted, unquestioning support to a war mongering
Prime Minister the newspaper was betraying the very people it was claiming to
If The People had not supported Bliar so
enthusiastically, if they had questioned the validity of the war, then it is
likely that the British soldiers who have died in Iraq would still be alive and
that British citizens whose lives are now endangered by terrorists would be much
safer than they are.
It is too much to expect that the editors of The
People who made this expensive error be fired (their support for the war
will have been greeted with enthusiasm by the American shareholders of Trinity
Mirror and, of course, by the British Government) and too much to expect an
A little quiet shame and embarrassment would not be out of
Copyright Vernon Coleman 2004