David Abbott’s thoughtful letter (December 8, “Democracy in question”) categorized Hilary Benn’s parliamentary speech correctly, as a euphoric ode to Conservatism and a successful call for his own future de-selection from the Labour Party’s swelling ranks.
Shockingly Benn invoked the International Brigades in support of the Tories illogical bombing campaign. That is, he justifed a storm of bombs by drawing upon the solidarity shown by the British working-class who, in their thousands, opposed fascism and capitalism by joining a mass popular resistance in the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War.
In that period the British state refused to come to the aid of the Spanish Republic in its unsuccessful struggle against fascists. In actual fact, the British state chose to stand in the way of the brave British people who were willing to give their lives in the fight against fascism.
Does Benn really believe that the dropping of more bombs on civilian populations will lead to the growth of socialism in Syria? Of course not.
Benn would do well to remember that the International Brigades fought against the forces that invented the systemised bombing of civilians: remember Guernica Mr Benn?
Members of the International Brigades were true internationalists who were determined fighters for socialism.
Benn, on the other hand, has ditched his father’s vision of a democratic socialist world, and has evidently embraced the Tories logic of capitalism and war.
This letter was emailed to the Leicester Mercury on December 9. Published in Mercury on December 16.