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We need agitation against war both inside and outside Parliament

THERE is a storm of contrived outrage at the arrest of the British ambassador to Iran who was detained after attending a Tehran protest against the regime’s culpability in the shooting down of Ukraine’s civilian airliner.

What on Earth was he doing there?

When Iranians protest against the actions of their government, that is their affair and not business of our government.

Iranian security forces have reportedly opened fire on demonstrators. Even so, the sharp social antagonisms currently challenging the Iranian regime are the business of the Iranian people, best served without the entanglement of diplomats representing an imperial state like Britain with a long history of interference in Iran’s affairs.

With a real danger of war following Donald Trump’s state-sponsored assassination of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard supremo our diplomatic representative would be better employed conveying the sense that neither the British people nor their government stand with Trump and that we have a collective interest in avoiding war.

Trump wants Nato to have a larger collective role in the Middle East and be rebranded, as the man-child president gleefully suggests, as NATOme.

This is barely the limit of Trump’s strategic ambitions. He also wants Nato states to fork out much more on “defence” and join in the US strategy – pioneered by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton – to contain China.

US strategy, even if disputed within the US military, foreign policy and intelligence establishment, is increasingly unilateral in character.

Aside from the Qasem Soleimani assassination – carried out without consultation with his Nato “allies” – Trump dumped the Iran nuclear deal, opened the door to a Turkish incursion into Syrian territory and seems intent on a programme of disruption aimed at destabilising the region.

Some of these pressures arise from a sense that, with vast fracking reserves, the US is energy self-sufficient and that oil and gas-producing states are commercial rivals. But all these impulses represent a war danger.

For Britain, Nato membership – combined with the deep integration of British capital with US capital – carries with it a constant danger of entanglement in conflicts which serve no material interest of the British people.

Some of these contradictions are reflected within our ruling class and the Tory government and account for the tortured inarticulacy of Dominic Raab.

With a Labour government the best way to signal that Britain is intent on developing an independent foreign policy would have been for our country to disengage from Nato, which is increasingly beset by irreconcilable contradictions.

As this is unlikely with a Tory government, it is the responsibility of Labour in Parliament to challenge Britain’s subservience to the US and – outside of Parliament – for the anti-war movement to step up its campaigning.

Police collusion?

IN OTHER news, a squad of police arrived to evict striking medical school workers. The union’s lawyer was arrested and the workers forcefully driven from the site.

This incident happened where security staff were demanding to be directly employed rather than through an agency at inferior pay and conditions.

The workers, who receive only the statutory minimum in sick pay, annual leave, maternity pay, paternity pay and pensions, say they are overworked and discriminated against.

There appears to be a high level of co-ordination between the employers and the police. Just as threatening letters from the employer were handed out, the police pitched in.

Oddly enough, this arbitrary action by the organs of public security seems to have excited little publicity in the media.

Perhaps this is because the picket line was at St George’s Hospital Medical School in London and the Metropolitan Police was the state agency acting at the employer’s behest.

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