Alex Massie

Of course it’s our fault...

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Oh please. Marty Peretz thinks Labour MPs should spend less time talking about Palestine and more time contemplating Zimbabwe:

The Brits bear responsibility.  Zimbabwe was once Rhodesia, a crown colony, and it still a member if the Commonwealth.  At the first elections after independence, London tilted towards Robert Mugabe against Bishop Muzorewa, tilted heavily.  And it is the British-backed winner who is the genocidalist.

The notion - implicit here - that Mugabe is some sort of British creation is not, as best I can recall, one supported by the events. Nor, frankly, can Downing Street fairly be helpd responsible for Zimbabwe's recent agony, given that until a decade ago the country was, if not flourishing, then far from the cruel basket case it has subsequently become. Honestly, you get the impression form this that Mr Mugabe and Mr Brown are bosom buddies or that the dictator regularly pops round to Buckingham Palace for afternoon tea.

Doubtless it would be better for all but the most interested ZANU-PF partisans if Mugabe were to leave the stage. But I can't quite see how, short of military intervention, Downing Street is supposed to achieve this. And, of course, there is a host of reasons why military intervention is not feasible. So what's the point of raising the matter, beyond some petty sense of wanting to pretend that criticism of Israel* is a nonsense because there are plenty of worse people out there?

*My view? Much of the Israel-bashing is absurd; the moral preening of pygmies. Some of it is very ugly. But that doesn't make it all illegitimate. Some of Israel's defenders demonstrate a shrillness that is equally tedious.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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