River Wissey Lovell Fuller

The Village Pump Soapbox

October 2002

Countryside Alliance, Soham and Iraq

At the time of writing this that is what the posters everywhere are telling us. Whose liberty? What liberty? Liberty to do what?

The Countryside Alliance is clearly well organised and not short of funds. They have also been very skilful by combining a mixture of minor grievances under a single ambiguous banner which will, no doubt, attract many well meaning followers, but would they be so keen to follow if they realised that they are marching to defend the right of wealthy landowners to continue doing just as they please with the countryside whilst being subsidised for doing it?

No doubt a strong motive behind the march is for the freedom to carry on their enjoyment of fox hunting. To most people hunting with dogs is seen as unnecessary cruelty and it saddens them to think that there are those in their midst who take pleasure in inflicting cruelty in this way. Society decided to remove the freedom to inflict cruelty by bear baiting, cock fighting and dog fighting. It will do the same for fox hunting.

The abduction and murder of those two young girls was a heinous crime that horrified us all. To have their child disappear, as their parents did, is, as has often been said, the worst possible nightmare, tragically their worst fears were realised. I am sure we were all pleased by the scale of the police effort to find them, but what of Milly's parents. Milly who vanished on her way home from school two or three months ago. Her parents are still in that nightmare, how they face each morning I do not know. Is the effort by the police to find her on the same scale?

With regard to those charged in connection with Jessica and Holly's murder, am I alone in thinking that it is all rather strange?

Apparently it is not known how they died and, since the funerals have taken place, I suppose we never will.

Ian Huntley was charged with the murder and, rather strangely, subsequently charged with 'conspiracy to pervert the course of justice'. Wouldn't most murderers attempt to misdirect police enquiries, but how many have been similarly charged?

How was it that a young man who was clear headed and articulate when interviewed on TV was deemed to be mentally ill to the point where he was too ill to appear in court just a few days later?

Why was it that when he did eventually appear in court after three weeks in a mental hospital he appeared, according to reports by those present, to be behaving as though he was drugged. So much so that he did not acknowledge his own family and he did not satisfy the most basic requirement of a defendant, that is to give his own name, age and address, which, unusually, were provided by his barrister.

His girl friend Maxine Carr has also been charged with 'conspiring to pervert the course of justice'. The fact that this is the only charge would suggest that she had nothing to do with the murders or the abductions and, presumably, had no knowledge of them or surely she would have been charged as an accessory?

We have had no information about the case against either of them, which is also very unusual, but they have been demonised by the press and the public. The baying crowds are a sad reflection on our society and on the principle of innocent until proven guilty. If he is guilty, no punishment can be too severe, but let us hear the evidence.

One could write a lot on this topic but all I will say is that it is of course essential that individual nations should conform with UN Resolutions and, if the UN is ever to have the necessary influence in the world, it should be able to enforce those resolutions if a nation refuses to conform. The USA are very keen to ensure that Iraq conforms with those UN Resolutions applying to it. One would have to say rightly so if it were not for the appalling hypocrisy of the USA. For years Israel has been in open defiance of UN Resolutions No's 242 and 338, which call upon Israel to remove its troops from the areas that it is occupying illegally and to cease building settlements in land which does not belong to them. Israel stands today as a symbol of brutal oppression, illegal occupation and a challenge to international law, but it is the USA that has blocked all attempts to censure Israel and enforce compliance with UN Resolutions.

Ron Watts

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