A subject that is back in the news, if only because Combover Crybaby Donald Trump claims to favour its reintroduction, is that of what are euphemistically called “Enhanced interrogation techniques”, or as most other people call them, torture. The form of torture that the new incumbent of the White House particularly favours is waterboarding. And so his admirers in the UK would like to see it reintroduced, too.
Ullo Don, gorra new waterboard?
Prominent among those admirers is UKIP’s leader, comedy politician Pauil Nuttall, who has taken time off from gracing the portals of the Athenaeum Club in London’s fashionable Pall Mall to pretend he is a man of the people in order to try and con his way to victory in the Stoke on Trent Central by-election. The “Bad Bootle Meff” wants to follow the example of his predecessor Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, and suck up to The Donald.
So when he was quizzed about waterboarding while pretending to be on the campaign trail yesterday, he decided that torture was fine. As Politics Home has told, “Mr Nuttall, who is standing as his party’s candidate in the Stoke Central by-election, told Sky News that he would ‘probably be OK’ with using the method in a bid to foil terror plots in Britain … He said: ‘I think sometimes you have to fight fire with fire, and I think these people are incarcerated because they are bad people … And they want to do us harm’”.
Nuttall went on “If someone admits that a terrorist attack is going to happen and saves the lives of innocent individuals then I think maybe it's a price worth paying … if a British government was elected and said it was required to ensure it saved innocent people's lives then sometimes you have to go that extra mile”.
There is only one problem with this approach - it has been banned in the UK, our armed forces and intelligence agencies are prohibited from indulging in the practice, and accepting intelligence that has been gained that way is illegal. Theresa May, Boris Johnson and David Davis have all been quizzed on the subject this week, and all have passed severely adverse comment on the idea that it might be revived.
But Nuttall is happy with the use of waterboarding, and equally happy to have others subjected to it. So I’m sure he’ll be happy to follow the example of the late Christopher Hitchens and experience the technique himself. After all, if he’s going to speak with any authority about how he’d be happy to inflict it on others, it’s the least he could do.
Back in 2008, Hitchens volunteered to be waterboarded. The title of his Vanity Fair article describing the experience tells you all you need to know about it: “Believe Me, It’s Torture”. Waterboarding is not merely a term for glib politicians to throw around like so much confetti: it is the simulation of drowning. To be subjected to such a technique could, and often does, prove fatal. It is utterly inhumane. It almost guarantees answers to questions: the only problem is that they are unlikely to be of any use.
But Paul Nuttall is OK with inflicting simulated drowning on others. So let’s see him follow in Christopher Hitchens’ footsteps. OK by you, Paul? No, thought not.