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Monday 20 April 2015

Don’t Menshn Algeria

The smears that some right-leaning pundits are prepared to dispense know no bounds, and nor does the creativity that underpins those smears, as (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch has confirmed from the comfort of her reassuringly exclusive address somewhere in Manhattan. Here, she has managed to take a roundabout route, but come to the conclusion that Labour’s Mark Hendrick is A Very Bad Person.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014

This may take anyone in the City of Preston by surprise, given Hendrick has served as the local MP for almost 15 years, and was popular enough to manage a majority of more than 7,500 last time round. But Ms Mensch has referred to him as “LABOUR’S TERROR TWEETER”. She explains to anyone not yet asleep that he “Tweeted real insanity after the Charlie Hebdo massacres” [note the mental health smear, as with Boris].

Hendrick’s heinous crime was to suggest that British and French colonialism may have been behind the origins of some terrorism. Given that it was the British and French that drew the lines on the map that carved up the Middle East after the Great War, bringing states like Iraq into being, and therefore throwing together a number of disparate groups seemingly at random, that view may not be totally invalid.
He also cited an article (it’s in the Independent, and you can read it HERE) tracing the Paris terror attacks to past events in Algeria. Ms Mensch does not dwell on these, and with good reason: the Kouachi brothers were, as the French authorities put it, “of Algerian origin”. Those “of Algerian origin” have been subjected to the most brutal of treatment, both in their home country, and, yes, on the streets of France.

Something else the Sun’s self-righteous Tory recruiting officer doesn’t tell her readers is that around a million and a half Arab and Muslim Algerians died in the bloody struggle for self-determination in the North African state. Ms Mensch pitches the date 1954, but that was only the start of the blood-letting, which went on for eight more grisly years. From such conflict is the stuff of simmering resentment made.

Hundreds of Algerians were murdered by French law enforcement authorities, in France, in the early 1960s. Yes, hundreds of them. Sun readers are not told this, either. All that they are allowed to know is that someone representing Labour has drawn attention to the grim past of bloody colonialism, and its inevitably messy aftermath. For this, Ms Mensch says “Views like that have no place in the House of Commons”.

I’ll tell you what has no place in the House of Commons, Louise: wilful and selective peddling of ignorance. What Mark Hendrick said is a perfectly valid argument, and stripping away all the underlying historical facts just to score a really cheap party political point is demeaning, dishonest, staggeringly hypocritical, and plain flat wrong. Fortunately, Ms Mensch is no longer part of the Commons equation.

The only worry is that she was allowed in there in the first place.

1 comment:

AndyC said...

I recall a documentary some years ago that suggested with good reason than as many as 200 Algerians were murdered by Paris police in one night of terror, some of the bodies being dumped in the Seine.