There has been much discussion of the latest verbal intervention in the Gaza crisis by Lib Dem MP David Ward, who Tweeted on Tuesday evening that “The big question is – if I lived in Gaza would I fire a rocket? – probably yes”. This generated well over 8,000 Retweets and a significant amount of highly adverse reaction, much of which alleged that Ward was inciting violence against Israel.
Remember who The Great Guido supports
Now, Ward has form for taking the side of the Palestinians, and this causes two thoughts to enter: one, that he knew that his remark would be leapt upon, and two, that there were plenty out there waiting to duly leap upon it. And it has to be said that, although he is clearly trying to get across the desperate plight Gazans find themselves in, he could, and should, have worded it differently.
This has echoes of Cherie Blair getting it in the neck for saying of those Palestinians living in the West Bank that “As long as young people feel they have got no hope but to blow themselves up you are never going to make progress”. She said that shortly after 19 Israelis had died in the suicide bombing of a bus in Jerusalem. The difference then was that, in 2002, we did not have today’s blogosphere.
Which brings us once more to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who have had a field day raking over Ward’s comments. “Lib Dem MP Backs Hamas Terror Attacks” was followed in short order by “Cross Party Condemnation For David Ward”. A letter from Danny Finkelstein to Nick Clegg suggesting Ward was guilty of anti-Semitism was reproduced in full.
Ward was further condemned for going on Radio Leeds and not apologising to the satisfaction of The Great Guido. The Lib Dem statement, when it came, was greeted with mock horror as not being sufficient. But, at the same time, the thought enters that Staines and his pals are sounding off from a very draughty glasshouse: take the idea of hate speech and intolerance, for starters.
While David Ward’s CV can point to his work against racism, and building links with diverse communities in Bradford, Paul Staines has links to the Apartheid regime in South Africa and that most regrettable episode when, as chair of the Federation of Conservative Students branch at his college in Hull, he tried to form a pact with the BNP. And then there is the clear anti-Semitism on the Fawkes blog.
The “sketch” of the last PMQs before the Summer recess asserted that Ed Miliband “dances at the despatch box like a spastic marionette”, following that with talking of his “convulsive string master taking another swig of the meths”. So The Great Guido is associating Jews with marionettes and puppet masters on the one hand, while laying into David Ward for anti-Semitism on the other.
But at least Staines is consistent in his hypocrisy. Another fine mess, once again.