The first time I met Brian Haw, he told me to fuck off and let him sleep. I should have known not to come before noon. I hung around though, for when he did wake up and emerge from his cocoon. A man who’s done what he’s done is worth spending time with. I was not disappointed.
Haw’s home since 2001 has been the pavement of London’s parliament square, which if you’ve never been to has a wonderful view of Big Ben and the House of Commons that is rather spoilt but the constant rumble and fumes of passing traffic. His aim is to shame the government into changing British policy on Iraq.
“I want to go back to my own kids and look them in the face again knowing that I’ve done all I can to try and save the children of Iraq and other countries who are dying because of my government’s unjust, amoral, fear – and money – driven policies. These children and people of other countries are every bit as valuable and worthy of love as my precious wife and children.”
He’s no quitter and no trendy issue-chaser either, his protest began before 9/11 and before the spurious use of that attack to justify invading Iraq.
Haw’s website, from which the above quote is taken, tells you all you need to know about his campaign, and the government’s farcical efforts to get rid of him and anyone who cares to support or join him.
I suspect General Sir Richard Dannatt, head of the British army, would be a fan. He’s just put his job on the line by also rubbishing government policy on Iraq.
Tony Blair’s position becomes trickier by the day, his state of denial less tenable, something the Lancet’s latest Iraqi death estimates and the responses to them make starkly clear.
He’s going, the sooner the better. The questions we should address are what Britain could best do to try to make up for our crimes in Iraq and how we should re-jig our political system to prevent it falling into the hands of a future Blair. The coming Labour leadership battle and how much we can trust tree hugger Dave is not where we should fix our attention.
Give us Brian, give us Sir Dickie, though the latter would mean a military coup so maybe not.