Friday, May 20, 2005

Charles Kennedy Replies

I at last received a reply to my enquiries with the Liberal Democrats over the peerage given to former MP Jenny Tonge. I believe that this was an absolutely disgraceful move given her comments that she might become a suicide bomber if she were a Palestinian.

Charles Kennedy- leader of the Liberal Democrats- had this to say:

Thank you for your recent email regarding your concerns about my nominating Jenny Tonge for a peerage in the Dissolution Honours List.

I have noted your comments, and I can assure you that this nomination certainly does not mean that the Liberal Democrats are supporters of terrorism nor that our policies have changed. This particular honours list is specifically designed to reward retiring MPs for their public service and, as a long serving Liberal Democrat MP, it is entirely fitting that Jenny should be put forward for such an honour.

In other words, regardless of Jenny Tonge's approval of terrorist activity, she served her time as an MP and now she is going to be rewarded. I'd just like to note here that Tonge's peerage- she's now a Baroness- has received no recognition in the British press whatsoever. In fact, I first heard of it via LGF and the Jerusalem Post. I have replied to Mr. Kennedy with the following message:

"Dear Mr. Kennedy,

First of all I would like to thank you for responding to my enquiry. I understand that the list is designed to reward MPs but the point I’d like to make is that I do not believe that Jenny Tonge should be rewarded. As you yourself said, "There can be no formal role for someone who has given voice to such a view." "The correct decision was quite simply if you are in an elected position of responsibility then even to convey the perception that somehow there is an ethical defence to be made of somebody who wants to be a suicide bomber is simply not acceptable."

As a Baroness in the House of Lords, won’t Jenny Tonge be in a position of responsibility? When our country is engaged in a war on terror (a war in which British troops and Britain as a whole faces grave risks from terrorist attack) is it right and just that a former MP be rewarded with a peerage when she is a supporter of terrorism? It is astonishing that at this critical time in our history that she could remain a part of our political process- with your backing. I have not heard Jenny Tonge apologise for her comments or to announce that she is opposed in any way whatsoever to Palestinian terrorist attacks. Given that the primary victims of Palestinian suicide bombers are civilians- men, women and children- I believe that there is no place for Tonge in any part of the British political process. Awarding her a peerage on the basis of past work regardless of her publicly expressed support of terrorism is simply not acceptable. Can you explain why this woman deserves to be rewarded? Don’t her views exclude her for the workings of our Parliamentary system? Surely your previous statement on the matter was correct but it cannot stand alongside her current position."

I for one am interested in what he has to say.

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