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Posts tagged ‘Tony Blair’

The Gutless Eunuch And The Lion King By Femi Fani-Kayode.

By Femi Fani-Kayode

On 26th September 2011 in an article titled, ”On Goodluck Jonathan, David and Goliath” I wrote the following-

”A few days ago President Jonathan proclaimed as follows- ‘I am not David, I am not a general, I am not a lion- I will defeat the Goliaths in our land’. These are deep and instructive words yet I do wonder whether Mr. President understands the spiritual and practical implications of what he is saying.

I say this because if he says that he is not a David how can he then possibly slay the Goliaths in the land? If he says that he is not a general how can he be an effective Commander-in-Chief who commands the respect and confidence of his army and his officers? If he says that he is not a lion how can he overwhelm the animals in our jungle that seek to destroy and ravage our land?

Every king worth his salt must have the spirit of the lion and the warrior in him to a certain extent. It is a fundamental pre-qualification for good quality and inspirational leadership and that is what distinguishes the pretender and the usurper from a real king. May the spirit and weakness of the biblical King Ahab not be our President’s portion even though his words seem to have ensnared him. History proves that weak kings and weak leaders always end up pulling down and destroying their own empires and kingdoms simply because they are incapable of providing strong and decisive leadership. Always remember, whether you are a king or a subject, that courage is the greatest of all the virtues. This is wisdom. Would someone please tell our President?”

With the shooting of opposition leaders like Senator Magnus Abe and the killing of some APC youths by policemen in Port Harcourt on January 12th 2014, the attempted murder of the father of Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso and the cold blooded slaughter of some people that were with him in Kano on January 7th 2014 by people that are suspected to be agents of the Federal Government, the killing of twenty four people in Borno state by Boko Haram insurgents on January 8th 2014, the  shooting and hacking to death of 30 villagers and the burning of 40 houses by fulani gunmen in Shonong village, Plateau state on January 6th 2014, the bombing of a High Court in Port Harcourt by unknown persons a few days ago, the killing of 91 children by Boko Haram in Damatru a few months ago, the slaughter of 200 Nigerian troops by Boko Haram in Borno state a few weeks back, the massacre of 41 school children in Borno state by Boko Haram four months ago, the burning to the ground of 53 churches in Borno state by Boko Haram in 2013, the mass murder of no less than 7000 thousand Nigerians by Boko Haram in the last 3 years, the burning to the ground of an army barracks with it’s attendant slaughter of the family members of army officers and military personnel in Bama in December 2013 and the raging war that is going on in the north-eastern part of our country between Boko Haram and our military today those words and that counsel that was offered two years ago seem even more relevant now than they were even then.

I believe that the carnage that we are witnessing in our country today has come as a direct result of the manifestation of weakness at the top. When a President tells the world that Boko Haram are his ”siblings” whom he ”cannot move against”, as he did earlier this year, he is asking for trouble. When a President keeps offering Boko Haram amnesty even when they kept rejecting it and whilst they were murdering his people, as he has been doing for the last three years, he is asking for trouble. When a President installs and supports a party National Chairman, by the name of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who describes Boko Haram as ”freedom fighters”, as he did earlier this year, he is asking for trouble.

When a President announces to the world that he is ”not a lion or a David”, as he did approximately two years ago, no-one should be surprised when his people are killed like flies before his very eyes. May God bring us a real leader that can save our nation and may He take away this one who feels no pain and has no empathy when Nigerian blood, nay even the blood of innocent children, is shed with impunity. Under the tenure of our ”lamb” President more innocent Nigerians have been slaughtered by terrorists than at any other time in the history of our country except during the civil war.

What a mess and what a record. I continue to ponder about one thing though- would the President have been so unperturbed and detached from the whole thing if the children that were killed in their school just a few weeks ago had been from his Niger Delta area. It appears to me that simply because those kids were northerners this President just ”doesn’t give a damn”. What a tragedy. Whether christian or muslim, northern or southern these are only children and they are NIGERIAN children each of whom is entitled to the full protection of the Nigerian state. I have said it before and I shall say it again, Nigeria has become an abattoir of human flesh and blood under the tenure of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and all those who support him should bury their heads in shame. The blood of all those innocent people is on his hands because he swore to an oath before God and the Nigerian people to protect them from such evil.

Permit me to make a painful observation here. I was thoroughly appalled about the fact that when our President was asked about the latest round of killings during his live ”Presidential Media Chat” programme a few months ago he not only told a lie to the world by claiming that only ”21 or 22 students were killed” at a time when the BBC and CNN had confirmed that at least 45 bodies had been found (almost 100 were to be discovered later) but he also failed to express his condolences to the families of those that had lost their loved ones. He made the same omission when he failed to commiserate with or express his condolences to the families of the 200 soldiers that were killed in Borno state a few weeks back whilst fighting Boko Haram simply because they ran out of bullets during the course of the battle.

By way of contrast not only was he quick to offer his condolences to the government and people of Kenya for the terrible carnage that was inflicted on them by Al Shabab just one day before when 68 people were killed at a Nairobi shopping mall but he was also quick to offer the Kenyan government military assistance.  I guess that to him Nigerian blood is not as expensive or as important as foreign blood.

If President Uhuru Kenyatta ever decides to accept his offer let us hope that our President will provide enough bullets and ammunition to the soldiers that he will send. Our boys are deeply courageous fighters and they certainly deserve that much. They also deserve to have a Commander in Chief that inspires them, that watches their back, that truly cares and that gives them the very best.

The question must be asked – does our President have any balls? And if he does just how big are they? Is he really a man? Does he have what it takes to fight a war against terror or is it that there is more to this than meets the eye? Is there a sinister plan to ensure that elections do not hold in some parts of the north-east in 2015 given the fact that those areas are very hostile to the suggestion that Jonathan should return to power that year? Is this whole thing planned and contrived or is it a case of chronic incompetence, ineptitude and weakness? Does Jonathan believe that it is in his interest for the north to burn and for northern blood to be spilt? Is the mindset of those that are pulling the strings of the view that since the problem has been (to use the President’s own words in his last media chat) ”localised” and ”contained in a certain area” the government can sit back and watch the locals slaughter themselves whilst they continue to drink champagne and kai-kai in the Villa? If that is the case has it not occurred to them that their fellow Nigerians live in those areas where the problem has supposedly been ”localised” and is the blood of those fellow Nigerians not red as well? Are they less Nigerian because of where they were born and who they are? Are the people that live in the villages and countryside not as important as those who live in the towns and cities?

Whatever is really going on God sees all and anything that is not of Him will surely fail. If it is nothing but weakness and incompetence that has resulted in this unprecedented carnage the President will answer before God for violating his solemn oath to protect the Nigerian people from enemies within and from enemies without. If it is a conspiracy to encourage and create turmoil and chaos in the north just to ensure that they are excluded from the vote in 2015, both Jonathan himself and Nigeria as a whole will reap the consequences. It is worth noting that that is precisely what happened in Mali in the elections that took place before the north was taken over by the islamists and it led to a full scale civil war.

Any attempt to exclude any part of this country from participating in the elections in 2015 under the guise of lack of security or Boko Haram will result in the same thing with catastrophic consequences for Nigeria. Yet as Napolean Bonaparte once said, ”we must never account to conspiracy what can easily be explained away by incompetence”. It is more likely than not that the situation that is unfolding in the north-east and the feeble fight that our government is putting up against Boko Haram over there is down to Jonathan’s weakness and nothing more. So when asked the question is our President capable of fighting the war against terror my answer would be that I am afraid that I doubt it very much. He just doesn’t have it in him. As the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair once said about John Major, his predecessor in office, he is just ”weak, weak, weak”.

I am a great believer in strong government and I am one of those that has always believed that President Olusegun Obasanjo was one of the most effective leaders that we have ever had in this country. Love him or hate him one thing is clear- not under Obasanjo’s watch would 7000 thousand innocent Nigerians be massacred at will in the space of just two years by a bunch of murderous and heartless terrorists. He would have known exactly what to do and how to do it to put a stop to such callous lawlessness and anarchy right from the start. Equally significant is the fact that such was his love for Nigeria that regardless of the region, ethnic group or religious faith that the victims came from, espoused or belonged to, his response to the terrorists would have been swift, decisive and utterly ruthless. He would have had Boko Haram in ”shock and awe” and the whole world would have marveled at it. This is because in Obasanjo we had a President who not only had balls but who also had the courage, heart and guts to match them.

The greatest error that we as a people ever made and the worst tragedy and misfortune that has ever befallen us as a nation is the fact that a lamb ended up taking a throne that was designed and prepared for a lion. The unfortunate consequences of that tragic error and misfortune are there for all to see. The shedding of the blood of even the youngest, the most innocent and the most vulnerable in our society by Boko Haram on a daily basis is an eloquent testimony to that unsavoury fact.

The fact of the matter is that Nigeria is in dire need of a real ”Asiwaju” to lead her. She needs a man with the spirit of the ”Jagaban”- a ”last man standing” who has an iron will and who knows no fear. She needs an ”Ebora” and a ”Balogun” all rolled into one who is ready to confront evil, defend our nation, protect our people and crush the enemy. Sadly we do not have that today. Instead what we have is what the Yoruba describe as an ”olori oko tio lepon”. Roughly translated that means ”a President without balls”. May the Lord take the leadership of this nation away from the gutless eunuch and give it to a lion king.


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Israel, World Dignitaries, Honor Sharon at State Funeral.

Image: Israel, World Dignitaries, Honor Sharon at State FuneralTony Blair eulogizes Ariel Sharon during a state memorial service at the Knesset in Jerusalem on Jan. 13.

JERUSALEM — Israel said its last farewell to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Monday with a state ceremony outside the parliament building before his flag-draped coffin was taken on a cross-country procession to its final resting place at his family farm in the country’s south.With a high-powered crowd of VIPs and international dignitaries on hand, Sharon was eulogized as a fearless warrior and bold leader who devoted his life to protecting Israel’s security. Vice President Joe Biden and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair headed the long list of visitors.

In a heartfelt address, Biden talked about a decades-long friendship with Sharon, saying the death felt “like a death in the family.”

ObamaCare: You Can Win With The Facts 
When the two discussed Israel’s security, Biden said understood how Sharon earned the nickname “The Bulldozer,” explaining how Sharon would pull out maps and repeatedly make the same points to drive them home.

“He was indomitable,” Biden said. “But like all historic leaders, all real leaders, he had a north star that guided him. A north star from which he never, in my observation, never deviated. His north star was the survival of the state of Israel and the Jewish people wherever they resided,” Biden said.

Sharon died on Saturday, eight years after a devastating stroke left him in a coma from which he never recovered. He was 85.

One of Israel’s greatest and most divisive figures, Sharon rose through the ranks of the military, moving into politics and overcoming scandal and controversy to become prime minister at the time of his stroke.

He spent most of his life battling Arab enemies and promoting Jewish settlement on war-won lands. But in a surprising about-face, he led a historic withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, uprooting all soldiers and settlers from the territory after a 38-year presence in a move he said was necessary to ensure Israel’s security.

His backers called him a war hero. His detractors, first and foremost the Palestinians, considered him a war criminal and held him responsible for years of bloodshed.

The speakers at Monday’s ceremony outside parliament largely glossed over the controversy, and instead focused on his leadership and personality.

“Arik was a man of the land,” President Shimon Peres, a longtime friend and sometimes rival, said in his eulogy. “He defended this land like a lion and he taught its children to swing a scythe. He was a military legend in his lifetime and then turned his gaze to the day Israel would dwell in safety, when our children would return to our borders and peace would grace the Promised Land.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who resigned from Sharon’s Cabinet to protest the Gaza withdrawal, said that he and Sharon didn’t always agree with each other. Nonetheless, he called Sharon “one of the big warriors” for the nation of Israel.

“Arik was a man of actions, pragmatic, and his pragmatism was rooted in deep emotion, deep emotion for the country and deep emotion for the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said.

Nearly 10 years on, the withdrawal from Gaza remains hotly debated in Israeli society. Supporters say Israel is better off not being bogged down in the crowded territory, which is now home to 1.7 million Palestinians.

Critics say the pullout has only brought more violence. Two years after the withdrawal, Hamas militants seized control of Gaza and stepped up rocket fire on Israel.

In a reminder of the precarious security situation, Palestinian militants on Monday fired two rockets from the Gaza Strip. Sharon’s ranch in southern Israel, where his body was being laid to rest, is within range of such projectiles, though but Monday’s missiles did not hit Israel. No injuries or damage were reported.

Biden praised Sharon’s determination in carrying out the Gaza pullout, which bitterly divided the nation.

“The political courage it took, whether you agreed with him or not, when he told 10,000 Israelis to leave their homes in Gaza, in order from his perspective to strengthen Israel … I can’t think of a more difficult and controversial decision he made. But he believed it and he did it. The security of his people was always Arik’s unwavering mission.”

Blair, who is now an international envoy to the Middle East, said Sharon’s “strategic objective” never changed. “The same iron determination he took to the field of war he took to the chamber of diplomacy. Bold. Unorthodox. Unyielding,” he said.

Sharon’s coffin lay in state at the Knesset’s outdoor plaza where Israelis from all walks of life paid respects throughout Sunday.

In addition to Biden and Blair, the prime minister of the Czech Republic, and foreign ministers of Australia and Germany were among those in attendance at Monday’s ceremony.

Even Egypt, the first Arab country to make peace with Israel, sent a low-level diplomat, its embassy said.

After the ceremony ended, the closed coffin, draped in a blue and white Israeli flag, was placed in a military vehicle and driven in a police-escorted convoy toward Sharon’s ranch in southern Israel.

Crowds stood along the roadside and on bridges, snapping pictures and getting a final glimpse of the coffin as the procession of vehicles left Jerusalem and snaked down the highway outside the city’s picturesque hills.

The convoy made a brief stop at Latrun, the site of a bloody battle where Sharon was wounded during Israel’s war of independence in 1948, for a brief military ceremony before continuing south. His coffin was lowered into the ground in a military funeral at the family farm in southern Israel.

At Sharon’s graveside, his son Gilad remembered his father for overcoming the odds, whether it was battling a Palestinian uprising after becoming prime minister in 2001 or clinging to life in his final days even after his kidneys had stopped functioning.

“Again and again you turned the impossible to reality. That’s how legends are made. That’s how an ethos of a nation is created,” he said.

Sharon’s life will be remembered for its three distinct stages: First, was his eventful and contentious time in uniform, including leading a deadly raid in the West Bank that killed 69 Arabs, as well as his heroics in the 1973 Mideast war.

Then came his years as a vociferous political operator who helped create Israel’s settlement movement and masterminded the divisive Lebanon invasion in 1982. He was branded as indirectly responsible for the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps outside Beirut when his troops allowed allied Lebanese militias into the camps. An uproar over the massacre cost him his job.

Yet ultimately he transformed himself into a prime minister and statesman, capped by the dramatic Gaza withdrawal. Sharon appeared to be cruising toward re-election when he suffered the second, devastating stroke in January 2006.

ObamaCare: You Can Win With The Facts 
© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Dead.

JERUSALEM — Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the trailblazing warrior-statesman who transformed the region and was reviled by Arab foes, died on Saturday at the age of 85 and after eight years in a coma caused by a stroke.

The Sheba Medical Center that has been treating Sharon said last week that his health has been declining. Sharon had been suffered from failure vital organs including his kidneys shortly before his death.

The Associated Press reported that his son, Gilad Sharon, said: “He has gone. He went when he decided to go.”

Sharon’s nurse, Marina Lifschitz, said he had not suffered while lying comatose, though he had at times given basic responses to stimuli. She recalled at one point holding up a picture of his late wife, Lily, for him to view.”And suddenly I saw a tear simply rolling out of his eye. That is very difficult to forget,” Lifschitz told reporters.

A maverick in war and politics, Sharon reshaped the Middle East in a career marked by adventurism and disgrace, dramatic reversals and stunning rebounds.

“Arik was a valorous soldier and a bold statesman who contributed much to the security and building up of the State of Israel,” said President Shimon Peres, a former political ally of Sharon and, with the ex-premier’s death, the last of the Jewish state’s founders still in public life.

“Arik loved his people, and his people loved him,” Peres said, using the nickname of Sharon, a famously burly and blunt figure with a prizefighter’s rolling gait.
“He knew no fear and never feared pursuing a vision.”
Officials said Sharon, who took power in 2001 soon after the start of a second Palestinian uprising that raged until 2005, would be given a state funeral.

One official said Sharon’s remains would lie in state in parliament in Jerusalem on Sunday. A memorial service will be held there on Monday morning, followed by an afternoon funeral near Sycamore Farm, Sharon’s residence in southern Israel.Among foreign dignitaries expected to attend are U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and former British prime minister Tony Blair, the official said.

Loathed by many Arabs and a divisive figure within Israel, Sharon left his mark on the region as perhaps no other through military invasion, Jewish settlement building on captured land and a shock decision to pull out of Gaza.
“The nation of Israel has today lost a dear man, a great leader and a bold warrior,” Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said in a statement.
There was no immediate comment on the death from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, with whom Sharon’s Likud party successor, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been holding U.S.-sponsored peace talks.
But in Gaza, the Hamas Islamists whose political fortunes rose with the Israeli withdrawal savored Sharon’s demise.
“We have become more confident in victory with the departure of this tyrant,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zurhi, whose movement preaches the destruction of the Jewish state.
“Our people today feel extreme happiness at the death and departure of this criminal whose hands were smeared with the blood of our people and the blood of our leaders here and in exile.”
A commander in the army from the birth of Israel in 1948, he went on to hold many of the top offices of state, surviving fierce debate over his role in refugee camp massacres in the 1982 Lebanon war to be elected prime minister in 2001.
Famously overweight, he suffered a stroke that put him into a coma in 2006, when he was at the height of his power, and died on Saturday without ever apparently regaining consciousness.
Some diplomats believed that had he remained in good health, he would have secured peace with the Palestinians after overcoming domestic critics to force through the withdrawal of troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005.
“As one who fought in all of Israel’s wars, and learned from personal experience that without proper force, we do not have a chance of surviving in this region . . . I have also learned from experience that the sword alone cannot decide this bitter dispute in this land,” Sharon said in 2004, explaining his move.
But critics said the unilateralism he favored helped discredit diplomacy and embolden ideological hardliners.
As prime minister, Sharon presided over some of the most turbulent times in Israeli-Palestinian history, a Palestinian uprising that erupted in 2000 and an Israeli military crackdown after peace talks collapsed. As Israel’s leader, he besieged his arch-nemesis Yasser Arafat with tanks after suicide bombers flooded Israel from the occupied West Bank.
Long a champion of Jewish settlement on land Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East war, Sharon, serving in 1998 as foreign minister, urged settlers in the West Bank to “run and grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge settlements, because everything we take now will stay ours.”
He said the contested decision to quit the Gaza Strip, which pulled apart his Likud party and persuaded him to form a new political force, would enable Israel to strengthen its hold over “territory which is essential to our existence.”
It was a reference to the West Bank, where his government began the construction of a massive barrier during the Palestinian uprising. Israel called it a security measure – Palestinians condemned the project as a land grab.
Sharon dominated Israel to a degree not seen since the era of its founding prime minister, David Ben-Gurion.
Like many native Israeli leaders, Sharon, born in British-mandated Palestine, grew up in a farming community. He later lived in a sprawling ranch in southern Israel, and was often photographed lumbering through its fields.
Sharon joined the pre-state Haganah Jewish underground at the age of 14.
Wounded as a young officer in the 1948 war of Israel’s founding, he went on to lead key commando units and crafted a policy of reprisals – even at the cost of innocent lives – for cross-border Palestinian guerrilla raids.
Along with a reputation in the military for recklessness and disobeying orders, Sharon was hailed for daring operations that brought victories on the battlefield. He retired a major-general.
“It was he who set out the principle that no one who attacked our troops or civilians would be immune, no matter where they were,” said ex-Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai.
Passed over for chief-of-staff, Sharon left the military in the summer of 1973. Three months after he quit, he was back as a reservist-general, commanding troops that launched a counter-offensive that helped rout Egyptian forces in the Yom Kippur 1973 Middle East war.
A photo of Sharon in the desert, in battle fatigues and with his head bandaged, became an iconic image of the conflict.
He helped form the Likud party, which courted Israel’s underclass of Jews of Middle Eastern descent and rose to power in the 1977 election, ending the dominance of the “European” Labor Party.
Appointed agriculture minister, Sharon used that post and his chairmanship of a ministerial settlements committee to break ground on new settlements – helping to earn him the nickname “Bulldozer.”
As defense minister under Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Sharon masterminded the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, one of Israel’s most divisive campaigns.
What started as a stab against Palestinian guerrillas on the border evolved into a murky and costly bid to install a government more friendly to Israel in Beirut.
Arab hatred of Sharon crested with the massacre of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in the Lebanese refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila by Israeli-allied Christian militiamen.

Sharon denied wrongdoing but was eventually forced to resign as defense chief in 1983 after an Israeli probe said he bore “personal responsibility” for not preventing the bloodshed.

Sharon described those findings as a “mark of Cain”, and many thought that his political career was finished. But after holding a series of cabinet posts, he was elected as the head of the Likud in 1999 and prime minister in 2001, serving until his stroke five years later.
As a cabinet minister, he visited Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound in 2000, the third holiest place in Islam, which is also revered by Jews as the site of the Biblical Jewish Temples.
The visit, in a part of Jerusalem that Israel captured in the 1967 war and annexed in a move that has never won international recognition, was widely seen as a spark for the second Palestinian uprising.
During the subsequent tsunami of violence, the respected Palestinian-American academic Edward Said called Sharon a “homicidal prime minister” who deployed “systematic barbarity” against the Palestinians throughout his career.
“Isn’t it clear that Sharon is bent not only on breaking the Palestinians but on trying to eliminate them as a people with national institutions?” Said wrote in The Nation newspaper in 2002, a year before his death.
Known in Israel by his popular nickname “Arik”, Sharon could charm with a grandfatherly glint in his eye and a jocular laugh. He could also flash disapproval with a cold, steely stare. He had a penchant for Broadway musicals and copious amounts of food.
Sharon was married twice. His first wife, Margalit, died in a car accident in 1962. They had one son, who was killed in 1967 when a friend accidentally shot him while playing with a rifle. In 1963, Sharon married Margalit’s sister, Lily, who died of cancer in 2000. They had two sons.
“Sharon was a mass of contradictions – a peerless cynic and a proven patriot, a man who built up the Likud and then walked out on it, who mixed up Jews and Palestinians in the West Bank while pulling out of Gaza,” said Uzi Benziman, author of “Sharon: An Israeli Caesar.”
He noted the varying theories about what motivated the Gaza withdrawal, including that it aimed to distract from corruption allegations at the time that dogged Sharon and his sons.
“Whatever the truth, it cannot be denied that Sharon’s legacy was to convey to Israelis that holding on to all of the (Palestinian) territories would not last,” Benziman said. “He was the last of the real leaders.”

© 2014 NewsmaxWorld. All rights reserved.

By Newsmax Wires

Stop the Crocodile Tears on Mandela By Qansy Salako.

By Qansy Salakop

And so Madiba Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela eventually became a spirit ancestor of the Xhosas. He has transformed from being the  reality of our time to becoming the legend of future Africans. People like him are created, not born. He was the best leader Africa ever had and will probably remain so for another millennium before another remarkable African comes along. Every bit of his 95 years on earth – failings and successes – is an instruction to all African leaders on how not to lead their people. It is a manual on how to free up the African continent from shackles of poverty, disease, ignorance and tyranny of leadership.
Of all the eulogies pouring out by the minute on Madiba from world leaders so far, I like the one credited to Tony Blair (former Prime Minister of Britain) the most. He was quoted as saying:
“Through his [Mandela] dignity, grace and the quality of his forgiveness, he made racism everywhere not just immoral but stupid; something not only to be disagreed with, but to be despised. In its place he put the inalienable right of all humankind to be free and to be equal.”

Indeed, I have never read, heard or seen an African personify human dignity, grace and heroism on behalf of Africa more than Pa Nelson did. Madiba was the best mirror Africa has yet reflected to an earthful of races in its modern history.

If the meaning of Blair’s eulogy sounds figurative, its literal translation will be that Mandela’s passing through Africa at all makes bad governance, corruption and interminable tenure in leadership positions anywhere in Africa, idiotic.

Knowing us in Nigeria, our leaderships are most likely going to miss the most instructional lessons from Madiba’s life altogether. The crude Nigerian political class is already in a frivolous frenzy, looking for the cure of guinea worm instead of attending to the condition of leprosy that this somber time betrays. Already, Nigeria has declared a 3-day national mourning for the great African. That will be fine. It is quite in line with our proprietorial claim of helping South Africans against Apartheid, which sometimes sounds more like we actually got rid of Apartheid for South Africans. Forgetting that the whole struggle against Apartheid was so overwhelming for Africa at one point that Obasanjo, a general in our military, proclaimed sometime in the 1970s out of frustration that only ‘epe’ (curse) could rescue Africans from the Afrikaners.  Go figure.

Mandela’s state funeral will naturally attract thousands of government representatives from across the globe. It wouldn’t therefore require much imagination to expect that the Nigerian leaderships will use the occasion to plunder and launder our national resources. I could see thousands of Nigerian government mourners attending the funeral in Jo’burg. I would be surprised if every unviable state in Nigeria was not represented by all of the memberships of each state assembly and each governor’s cabinet, plus of course our president himself with some 250-member contingent. After all, Mandela is dear to Nigeria, the giant of Africa! Without Nigeria, Mandela would probably still be in prison. Such jazz.

Each official Nigerian mourner would probably stay in the most expensive hotel suit in town or collectively, they might even book out whole floors of major hotels across South Africa as they did in Beijing. Each mourner would need to stay in his/her befitting profligate accommodation for a few weeks. No, not for the estacodes (traveling allowance per night payable in US dollars), but for the need to commiserate with Mandela’s family and village according to some newly made-up African culture.

But Madiba lived for a cause. He went to jail for a third of his life. He emancipated his people to the first of many milestones in human development. He did his bit and ultimately left the world much better than he met it. If anyone cares to ask for my opinion, I would say that one major lesson our kleptomaniac leaderships in Nigeria ought to extract from Madiba’s life is to find a larger cause they can live for, as opposed to singular ambition of acquiring unscrupulous wealth on the fat of the Nigerian polity.

Leadership positions – president, governor, even LG chairman – have now become critically dangerous in Nigeria. But not in the sense of a do-or-die first to get to the mango tree race that they are looking at it. Not that. It is in the sense that people vying for our leadership office should be ready to die in office defending our dignity and aspirations against all varieties of so-called evil cabals. Not the nonsense we continue to see with our leadership class licking the leprous fingers that put them in office; opening the barn of corruption for unpatriotic cronies, lackeys and acolytes; pardoning and defending unconscionable crooks; dipping their hands in state coffers to pay off godfathers and dashing anyone they want because they can; flying themselves, immediate and extended families including concubines to foreign hospitals to cater for as little as dysentery; etc.

Mandela didn’t live for that kind of impoverishing leadership nonsense and it has got to stop. He certainly didn’t live for modern slavery of Africans by Africans. Moving forward, whoever wants to become our president, governor, LG chairman has got to be ready to die for us. Otherwise, stay home and let those who are prepared to do the job as needed come out to do the job. In the words of the Guinean president, Alpha Conde, over the ongoing human degradation in the Central African Republic, “We’re appreciative of France, but we know that 50 years after our independences, France is again required to come in as a fireman to save us — it’s not right. It’s a humiliation for Africa that 50 years afterward, we are not at all able to manage our problems ourselves.”

The claim that Nigeria is only going through growing pains as a new nation and that it would stabilize over time, is hogwash. It is a putative logic that simply rationalizes continuing group stupidity. Besides, gargantuan incompetence and willful cannibalization of national resources ought not to count as teething problems. It is about time Africa started taking personal responsibility for its inability to get off the floor. Africa’s past history of fatal weakness is exactly why Africans should not spend as much as it took other civilizations to get out of its own darkness. The combo of transatlantic slave trade and colonization should have evoked the most determination and creativity out of African nations to run (not crawl), the moment they got out of captivity from their colonizers. This dishonorable reality should have been deployed in a common strategy to devitalize our inherent obstacles, particularly ethnicity and religion, to progress.

In its 53 years of existence, Nigeria has cut its teeth in practically all scenarios that could challenge a new nation. It has already gone through cycles of senseless military coups and tyrannical leaderships, fought a brutal civil war in which millions were killed and it has always enjoyed a good endowment of material and human capitals. It is indeed already a big humiliation for Africa that a lucky country like Nigeria has not got it right 53 years after flag independence, 43 years after the civil war and over $500 billion in oil revenue.

No, Madiba didn’t live and die for bumbling leaderships anywhere in Africa. Nigerian leaderships should do Mandela proud and rededicate themselves during the 3 days of mourning to begin doing the right things. Cage corruption so public money can be freed up for true development, enforce our laws, banish impunity of any form of irresponsible leaderships, implement sensible policies and uplift Nigerians from the bondage of poverty, misery and deplorable living conditions.

Cut the crap, dam the crocodile tears.


Churchill Almost Banned From Britain’s Currency.

Image: Churchill Almost Banned From Britain's Currency

By Jim Meyers

Bank of England officials reportedly came close to banning Sir Winston Churchill from the face of a new 5-pound note they plan to issue in 2016 because they didn’t want to upset the Germans.

Previously classified documents obtained by Britain’s Daily Mail include a memo dated April 11, 2012, from officials to Mervyn King, then governor of the Bank. They warn that the “recentness of World War II is a living memory for many here and on the Continent,” and note that Churchill’s wartime record could make him a highly controversial choice for the bill.

Other comments relating to Britain’s relationship with its former enemies have been redacted from the files.

A source at the Bank told the Mail: “Public bodies are obliged to redact any material which might impact on Britain’s international relations with another country, and this is what has happened here.”

Declassified: ‘Financial War’ Could Wipe Out 50% of Your Wealth

Churchill’s biographer Andrew Roberts said the redacted comments “would have been about irritating the Germans,” but “I don’t think a German or Japanese tourist would be in the slightest bit put off by the fact there is Churchill on a 5-pound note.”

Officials also warned Mervyn King of Churchill’s “disastrous” decision as Chancellor of the Exchequer to return Britain to the gold standard in the 1920s. Churchill’s critics claimed the move produced mass unemployment, deflation, and industrial strife in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

The globally revered Churchill has never been a favorite of Britain’s elites. Churchill was tossed from 10 Downing Street after being defeated in parliamentary elections at the end of World War II.

In the 1990s, the Labor government under Tony Blair moved to remove almost any mention of Churchill from school curriculums.

The newly disclosed Bank documents also show that bank staff conducted a background check on “Pride and Prejudice” novelist Jane Austen, who will appear on a new 10-pound note, to assure that there were “no issues in her private life.”

Declassified: ‘Financial War’ Could Wipe Out 50% of Your Wealth

Austen’s 10-pound note will debut in 2017.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Thatcher Admirers Plan Memorial Library.

Image: Thatcher Admirers Plan Memorial Library

By John Gizzi

Six months after Margaret Thatcher’s death, admirers of the United Kingdom’s only female prime minister are planning a memorial unlike any ever given a British politician: a memorial library similar to those in the United States that honor American presidents.

Thatcher, who would have turned 88 on Sunday, remains a highly controversial figure in and outside her country. Mourned by millions throughout the world for her unyielding conservatism while prime minister from 1979 to 1990, Lady Thatcher was also both respected and reviled for her embrace of free-market economics and her hardline stand against Communism during the Cold War.

“Our vision of a library is not about proselytizing Lady Thatcher or about conservatism,” Conor Burns, Conservative member of the British parliament and the prime mover behind the Thatcher Library, told Newsmax. “This will be about the experiences that framed her philosophy and, as Lady Thatcher said, ‘politics at its purest is philosophy in action.'”

The concept of a “Margaret Thatcher Library” is unique among the British. Although the papers and correspondence of prime ministers are eventually made available to the public, no prime minister — not Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan, or Tony Blair — has had a library akin to that of U.S. presidents.

Burns, a proud “Thatcher Baby” in the modern Conservative Party, was in the United States to generate interest and raise money for the proposed library. Among the groups he has addressed about the project are the Young Americans for Freedom and the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Much like the Ronald Reagan Library in Southern California, Burns said, “the Thatcher library will have two elements: a visitor center, which highlights her life, and an education center. Much like President Reagan‘s center, this will highlight the era in which Lady Thatcher led Britain and was a major figure on the international stage and it will show just what she did.”

But, he emphasized, “We are more interested in the future, not the past. Lady Thatcher used to say, “It’s not important what you have done but what you’re going to do next.”

Her leadership on the economic front, in the Cold War, and her later skepticism of the European Community “will inspire future generations in the issues the young men and women of tomorrow must deal with.”

Like many Thatcherites, Burns made no secret of his dismay that no high-level official of the Obama administration represented the president at the Thatcher funeral in April.

“Margaret Thatcher was America’s staunch foreign ally in peacetime,” Burns told Newsmax. “President Obama diminished his character and insulted the American people by making sure they, through his office, were not represented at her funeral.”

Because of Lady Thatcher’s love of the House of Commons where she served from 1959 until 1992, Burns and other supporters would like to have the proposed library built in SW1, the same London district where Parliament is located.

To no one’s surprise, he added, “this will be funded entirely by private donations.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.


New Book: Margaret Thatcher Worried About US Under Obama

Reagan’s Childhood Home to Become Parking Lot for Obama’s Library
© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Clintons Urge Ukraine to Spurn Russian Pressure, Sign Deal with European Union.

YALTA, Ukraine – Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged the Ukraine to resist increasing Russian pressure to back out of signing a cooperation agreement with the European Union that would move this former Soviet republic closer to the west.

At a political star-studded conference here in the historic Livadia Palace, where Franklin D. Roosevelt , Joseph Stalin, and Winston Churchill met in 1945 to divide up post-war Europe, the Clintons, in separate speeches, portrayed the impending decision by the Ukraine and the 28-member European Union to sign the agreement as what Mrs. Clinton called a “crossroads moment” for this nation of 46 million people, which Russia has long considered not only its bread basket, but an integral part of its former empire.

But the Clintons, directly and indirectly urged Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to disregard Russian pressure and do whatever was in his country’s best political and economic interests.

Speaking on Friday afternoon, Bill Clinton said that the Ukraine “shouldn’t have to choose” between Russia and the European Union. He said: “If it was me, I would want Ukraine to be a bridge to the 21st century both ways.”

But referring to Russian intimidation aimed at dissuading Ukraine from signing the agreement, Clinton, without specifically naming Russia, signaled his disapproval of Russian tactics.

“I’d resent it if someone tried to force me to do something that wasn’t good for my people,” the former president said.

Since this past summer, Russian President Vladimir Putin has stepped up economic pressure on Ukraine – blocking Ukrainian imports of everything from the most popular brand of chocolate to steel, pipes, and some agricultural products – to persuade Yanukovych to halt Ukraine’s westward course. Similar Russian pressure has succeeded elsewhere.

Last week, Armenia announced that it would not sign a similar association agreement with the European Union after Russia stepped up arms shipments to Armenia’s foe, Azerbaijan. Armenia announced that it would join instead Russia’s custom’s union, which includes only Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.

Hillary Clinton was even more emphatic that the United States frowned on such strong-arm tactics by Russia’s Putin.

“We have no vote in the European Union,” Mrs. Clinton told a dinner of some 200 participants and guests at the annual gathering. But she said speaking for herself and for the Obama administration in which she served as Secretary of State, Americans were “hoping and cheering for Ukraine’s integration into the European Union.”

She also praised the country’s expertise and products, specifically singling out Ukraine’s “excellent chocolate,” a reference to Russia’s first impromptu import ban in July, a remark that prompted hoots of approval and enthusiastic applause from the largely pro-European Union audience.

Britain’s former Prime Minister Tony Blair went further, calling upon President Yanukovych not just to sign an association agreement with the European Union – which has been described as a North American free trade agreement for Europe – but to become a full member of the union like Lithuania, a former Soviet republic which also gained independence as Ukraine did after the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991.

“We need to stick with you,” Blair declared.

His message was aimed as much at his fellow Europeans as the Ukrainians and Russians.

Though the conference was being held only 43 days before Ukraine is scheduled to sign the association agreement in November at an European Union summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, European leaders have insisted that Yulia Tymoshenko, a former prime minister who was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to seven years in jail two years ago, must be released as part of a series of reforms.

Some Ukrainian opposition leaders and western officials hope that President Yanukovych will release his arch rival and bitter political foe to enable her to seek medical treatment outside of this country. She is said to suffer from a painful back ailment.

But the Ukrainian president, who confronted his critics at the conference, did not tip his hand. The president comes from the eastern part of Ukraine, where support for a close relationship with Russia is strongest. Tymoshenko was convicted of abusing her office by singing a costly gas deal with Putin’s for signing a costly gas deal with Russia in 2009.

Yanukovych said only that it wouldn’t be “easy” to work out a “legal framework” that would allow him to free her. Similarly, he did not openly commit to signing the 1,000 page association agreement, which would commit the Ukraine to continue pursuing economic, judicial and political reform.

The conference this weekend, the 10th annual meeting known as “Yes,” the Yalta European Strategy , this virtual Davos East tries prompting spirited debate about the future of the Ukraine, Russia, the European Union, as well as the latest scientific, social, and political trends.

Sponsored by one of Ukraine’s wealthiest businessmen and philanthropists, Victor Pinchuk, the gathering is non-partisan. The Clintons and Tony Blair have attended for several years, since Pinchuk’s foundation has worked closely with their counterparts on combatting AIDS and other projects.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Judith Miller

Ex-UK PM Tony Blair’s Daughter Held at Gunpoint in London.

The daughter of former British prime minister Tony Blair was held up at gunpoint in an attempted armed robbery in London but a spokesman for the family said Thursday she escaped unhurt.

Kathryn Blair, 25, a lawyer, was threatened by two men as she walked down a street in the upscale central London district of Marylebone with her boyfriend and a group of friends on Monday night.

“Kathryn was with a group of friends. No one was hurt and nothing was stolen,” a spokesman for the Blair family said.

The Daily Telegraph reported that Kathryn Blair lives in a townhouse in the area and was walking her dog at the time.

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London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed that an incident had taken place in the area at 8:30 pm on Monday night but said that no arrests had been made yet.

“The victims were a man and a woman; the suspects were two males,” a spokesman for the force said.

Police believe the incident was linked to another attempted robbery nearby 30 minutes earlier, and said Kathryn Blair did not appear to have been targeted because of who she was.

“On both occasions a firearm was seen but not used — no shots were fired,” the police spokesman added.

“None of the victims were injured and nothing was stolen during the incidents.”

Blair was prime minister from 1997 to 2007, winning three straight elections for the center-left Labour party.

He faced huge opposition over his decision to involve Britain in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

He is now an international Middle East peace envoy and highly-paid public speaker.

© AFP 2013

A Point of View: Why it can be good to give in to your enemies.

Left: Protesters against coalition government cuts. Right: A protester's hand against a poster reading "Blair must go!"

In a democracy, leaders and the opposition must accept each other’s legitimacy, says Roger Scruton.

Last week I examined some of the institutions that form part of democracy as we in the West understand it. But I have yet to consider the fundamental point, which is that in a democracy we consent to be governed by people we dislike.

In Egypt today many people refuse to accept the result of the recent elections. The army has stepped in, ostensibly to maintain order, but in fact to impose the kind of disorder with which armies are equipped to deal – the disorder of the battlefield. Just why this has happened is a topic to which I will return next week. But we should not assume that the Egyptian people are any different from the rest of us when it comes to the hard discipline of being governed by people you dislike.

I know from my own experience just how hard this discipline can be. My father was a staunch Labour supporter. He believed that Tory politicians were all corrupt representatives of an oppressive ruling class, and that the entire English establishment – the Church of England, the House of Lords, the Monarchy, the “squire-archy”, the old universities, the industrialists and financiers, you name it – was a system of exploitation, erected to benefit the few at the expense of the many.

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Roger Scruton
  • Roger Scruton is a writer and philosopher
  • A Point of View is usually broadcast on Fridays on Radio 4 at 20:50 BST and repeated Sundays, 08:50 BST

I think that was a common view among Labour supporters in those days, and the Labour Party itself did not take a great deal of trouble to refute it.

As a result my father actually hated the Tory Party and all those who sat in Parliament as members of it. We could do nothing to pacify his rage when the Tory party made the mistake of winning an election, or when a Tory government passed some law that seemed to him to damage the interests of the trade unions or the working class. For several days in the wake of such events he would be unapproachable. But he accepted the result, accepted its legitimacy, accepted that he had no recourse other than to campaign for the repeal of the laws that offended him.

I experienced a version of my father’s habitual rage when the government of Tony Blair decided, in the face of massive opposition from ordinary people living in the countryside, to ban our traditional forms of hunting.

This seemed to me to be a new kind of legislation, aimed at a minority and fired by sentiments that ought to have no place in parliament. It affected me since hunting is part of my life, and the life of my rural neighbours. But I had to swallow my disappointment, and to acknowledge that the law is legitimate. I can campaign for a repeal, but I am duty bound as a citizen to obey it. Accepting it is one part of the burden that I and other Tories have suffered under 13 years of Labour government – the burden of being ruled by people we disagree with, some of whom we actively dislike.

Protesters from the Countryside Alliance holding banners

I think people are not as aware as they should be of how contrary to human nature it is, to accept orders from those with whom you do not agree. Many have seen the events of the Arab Spring as involving a popular movement for democracy against autocratic government, and to some extent this is true. But one thing that has been very noticeable, especially in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, has been the emergence of democratically elected governments that have no time for opinions other than their own.

Continue reading the main story

Egypt: Key facts

Protester holding Egypt flag
  • Population: 83.9 million (UN, 2012)
  • Capital: Cairo
  • Area: 1 million sq km (386,874 sq miles)
  • Major language: Arabic
  • Major religions: Islam, Christianity

In Western democracies our governments are aware that many people, perhaps even a majority, did not vote for them, and that they must therefore make themselves acceptable to their opponents.

Look at the pronouncements of the recently elected and recently deposed President Morsi of Egypt, however, and you will find little or nothing to suggest that he is aware that there are Egyptians who disagree with him and whose consent must be constantly solicited. It is impossible to discern from his speeches that there is a substantial minority of Egyptian citizens who are Christians, others who are atheists, others who, while following the Muslim way of life, would rather it did not make a show of itself as the state religion.

His view of elections is that they grant an absolute right to impose the ruling party’s agenda, and that opponents have lost all right to an agenda of their own. And the response of the army is to say, not so – the only ones with a right to impose their agenda are we, who represent the interests of all Egyptians and not just those of the Muslim Brotherhood. The fact that we have to kill quite a few Egyptians to prove that we represent them is just one of those things.

Protesters in gather in support of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morshi

In our own system the opposition is a legitimate part of the legislative process. Laws are seldom steam-rollered through Parliament without regard for disagreement, and the general assumption is that the final result will be a compromise, an attempt to reconcile the many conflicting interests. This idea of legislation as a compromise is an unusual one. The natural order is that described in the Old Testament, in which kings rule by decree, taking advice perhaps, but not allowing a voice to interests other than their own.

There are aspects of human life in which compromise is either suspect or forbidden. In battle you don’t compromise with the enemy. In religion you don’t compromise with the devil. And it is when religion intrudes into politics that the political process is most at risk. This is the reason why, in the history of modern Egypt, successive Presidents have tried to keep the Muslim Brotherhood out of power. The Brotherhood believes that law and politics are not about compromise but about obedience to the will of God.

Continue reading the main story

Glorious Revolution?

Battle of Boyne
  • Term refers to the overthrow of King James II of England by parliamentarians and William of Orange
  • King James had grown increasingly unpopular because of his close ties to France and Roman Catholic faith
  • Opponents were worried that the throne would pass to a Roman Catholic heir
  • William of Orange, who was married to King James II’s Protestant daughter Mary, ascended throne of England in 1689
  • James II made another unsuccessful attempt to regain the throne at the Battle of Boyne in 1690. He was defeated and fled

In the 17th Century our country was torn apart by civil war, and at the heart of that civil war was religion – the Puritan desire to impose godly rule on the people of Great Britain regardless of whether they wanted it, and the leaning of the Stuart Kings towards a Roman Catholic faith that had become deeply antipathetic to the majority and a vehicle for unwanted foreign interference. In a civil war both sides behave badly, precisely because the spirit of compromise has fled from the scene. The solution is not to impose a new set of decrees from on high, but to make room for opposition, and the politics of compromise. This was recognised at the Glorious Revolution of 1688, when Parliament was re-established as the supreme legislative institution, and the rights of the people against the sovereign power were reaffirmed the following year in a Bill of Rights.

This raises what for me is the most important question concerning the Middle East today, which is that of reconciling religious obedience and the secular rule of law. That question was debated by the early Church, and indeed raised by Jesus himself, in the parable of the tribute money. In that parable Jesus invites us to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. In other words, to obey Caesar when dealing with the ordinary affairs of government, while remaining obedient in our personal life to the commands of religion. His assumption was that we could reconcile the one obedience with the other, since the commandments of religion are simple and obvious. Indeed, there are only two of them, namely to love God entirely and your neighbour as yourself. Jesus rightly assumed that those two commandments would never jeopardise the legitimate demands of government, and this assumption was built into its pronouncements by the early church.

Of course, there is a long history of conflict in Europe between Pope and Emperor, and between religious enthusiasm and the secular law. But it is fair to say that by the end of the 17th Century, as the Enlightenment spread its influence far and wide across our civilisation, it was beginning to be accepted that we manage our affairs in this world by passing our own laws, that these laws are man-made, secular, and if possible neutral when it comes to the various religions that compete within the state. In any apparent clash between secular law and religious obedience, it has become accepted in our society that secular law must prevail. The hope has been that the two spheres of duty, the sacred and the secular, are sufficiently separate, so that there would in any case be little or no overlap between them. To put it bluntly, religion, in our society, has become a private affair, which makes no demands of the public as a whole.

The privatisation of religion has not occurred everywhere in the modern world, and certainly not in the Muslim world. Today we see a Turkey led to the brink of civil unrest by an Islamic Prime Minister in rebellion against the secular state. We see an Egypt in which the army has stepped in to depose a President who wishes to govern Egypt by Islamic law. We see a region-wide conflict between the Sunni and Shi’ah versions of the faith, which is now tearing Syria apart. And all across the Middle East, freedom of speech, association and religion are under attack. Why is this, and what should we do about it? I shall address those questions next week.

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European Court Nixes Mandatory Life Sentences for Murder.

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in favor of three convicted British murderers who claimed that their mandatory life sentences amount to inhuman and degrading treatment, providing new legal grounds for some of the country’s most notorious killers to seek sentence reductions.
The ruling by the court based in Strasbourg, France, means the British government will have to amend the law to ensure that it complies with European human-rights standards or prepare for more legal challenges from murderers seeking release from prison.
The judges said in their ruling that mandatory life sentences violated Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rightsthe Guardian reported.
However, the judges said their decision did not give three men — who include Jeremy Bamber, 51, convicted of murdering five members of his family in 1985 — any change of imminent release because the court had not heard evidence on whether they present a danger to public safety.
Bamber has protested his innocence and claimed his schizophrenic sister shot her family before turning the gun on herself. He brought the appeal with Peter Moore, who killed four gay men in North Wales in 1995, and Douglas Vinter of Middlesbrough, who admitted killing his wife in 2008.
Currently 49 murderers are serving life sentences in Great Britain, the London Telegraph reported. These include serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, the “Yorkshire Ripper,” convicted of murdering 13 women and attempting to murder seven others.
Under current law, they will almost certainly never be released from prison because their crimes are deemed to be so serious. They can only be freed if they are terminally ill or seriously incapacitated.
Vinter’s attorney Simon Chreighton said the ruling was not a “get of jail free” excuse for prisoners serving life sentences. According to Chreighton, it merely ensured that prisoners had “some right” to have their sentences reviewed in the future.
But former Home Secretary David Blunkett, who introduced the current life sentencing system a decade ago, emphasized that the British Parliament has the right to determine criminal sentences. Blunkett, a former Labor Party MP who served as home secretary under Prime Minister Tony Blair, said Parliament adopted life sentences as an alternative to capital punishment.
“I pushed this through Parliament in response to the overwhelming demand of the British people for clear, transparent sentencing and for certainty that what starts out as a clear and unambiguous punishment will be carried out,” he said in reaction to the ruling.
The failure to do this “can only lead to disillusionment, mistrust of and a dangerous alienation from our democracy itself,” Blunkett added.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Joel Himelfarb

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