Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Deepcuts into democratic values

Sickened by the news that there will still be no public inquiry into Deepcut Army Barracks in the UK, where there have been four deaths among recruits and 100 allegations of racism, serious physical abuse, rape and beatings. One of the recruits died of 2 (two) gunshot wounds to the head, and the official report refused to rule out suicide.

It could not be clearer that the situation needs to be fully investigated, but government clings to secrecy as tightly as some old style Soviet regime. What goes on in the minds of the officials who command the ministers to follow these obscurantist policies? Command is not too strong a word, for if the same ministers were in opposition they would be howling for an inquiry, but now they are in government, they are accomplices to the deception. Do they not realise that the truth will out in the end? Perhaps they look to Guantanamo, to Votergate, to the many other dirty secrets that government can get away with, and believe that truth can be defeated. We are looking at a collective failure of our political systems, abetted by the supine posture of journalism as a profession; they have lost their cutting edge, their investigative tendencies. The "best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity."

In the past I have recklessly tweaked the tail of the tiger of nuclear power in the comany of a few dedicated greens, and marched with thousands to protest at the threat of a nuclear holocaust; but I was less deeply nervous then than I am now, in the face of events like Votergate, Guantanamo Bay and now Deepcut, where power seems immune from any real form of criticism.

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