Thursday, 23 April 2015

My Guardian letter on our moral duty to assist migrants in theMediterranean

Online at the Guardian.
 The deaths of so many migrants in the Mediterranean shows the moral vacuity of EU governments’ belief that we can inoculate ourselves from our moral and legal duty to those in need. Since 2011, our government sought to convince the British people that it can fulfil its responsibilities to Syrian civilians merely by generous aid to refugee camps. Recent events show how shortsighted this has been for regional stability, and how tragic for the civilians involved. Similarly, the EU has cut its capabilities for maritime rescue just as the need increases, leaving the Italians virtually alone to deal with a collective responsibility.
EU governments, especially maritime nations such as ours, should offer all possible assistance to our Italian friends. If the EU is to mean anything in this dangerous world, it must show itself capable of much more than standing by as thousands drown at its maritime border. Our enemies must conclude that not only are we unwilling to fight for our beliefs and to uphold human rights, we are also willing to let innocents drown for their belief that we are compassionate, moral nations. 

John Slinger
Rugby, Warwickshire


My other writing on foreign policy can be found here.


Monday, 20 April 2015

Mediterranean migrant deaths are stain on Europe's conscience

The deaths of so many migrants in the Mediterranean is a scar on the conscience of Europe showing the moral vacuity of EU governments' belief that we can inoculate ourselves from our moral and legal duty to those in need. Since 2011, our government sought to convince the British people that it can fulfil its responsibilities to Syrian civilians merely by generous aid to refugee camps. Recent events show how short-sighted this has been for regional stability and how tragic for the civilians involved. Similarly, the EU has seen fit to cut its capabilities for maritime rescue just as the need increases, leaving the Italians virtually alone to deal with a collective responsibility. 

All EU governments, especially maritime nations such as ours, should offer all possible assistance to our Italian friends. If the EU is to mean anything in this dangerous world, it must show itself capable of much more than standing by as thousands of innocents drown at its maritime border. Our enemies are watching and drawing their own conclusions. They must conclude that not only are we unwilling to fight for our beliefs and to uphold human rights, but we are also willing to let innocents drown for their belief that we are compassionate nations.

Friday, 17 April 2015

My local letter urging people to register to vote before deadline

Sir,

It is vitally important that readers who care about the future or Rugby and the future of our country are registered to vote. The best way to do so is via the Government's website https://www.gov.uk/register-to-voteThe deadline is 20 April.

I urge the Rugby Observer to publish this letter to ensure that as many readers as possible are able to participate in the General Election and Rugby Borough Council election on 7 May.

Yours faithfully,

John Slinger
Labour's candidate for Rokeby & Overslade


Friday, 20 March 2015

Response to Bardo terrorist massacre must be focus on human rights

We read that terrorists have referred to the those innocent civilians massacred at Tunisia's Bardo museum as "infidels". One horrifying aspect of extremism, be it religious or secular, is that a group’s adherents believe that their particular belief system imbues them with superiority over others, leading them often to regard non-adherents as either a means to an end, or worse, as sub-human enemies worthy of  eradication. 

Throughout human history people professing all faiths and none have behaved in similarly appalling ways using various justifications. People of nominal Christian faith perpetrated genocide against Muslims in former Yugoslavia; tribal differences were used to fuel genocide in Rwanda; Nazis in Germany used ideological and racial justifications for the holocaust (perpetrated by alleged Christians against Jews and others) and wars of aggression; and communist political ideology was used by people to justify atrocities in Cambodia and by the Soviets.

The best way to defeat terrorism at home or abroad and to confront dictators is to focus relentlessly on human rights, because we each enjoy these by virtue solely of our humanity not as gifts of state or God. Human rights are no panacea, they must be defended, sometimes requiring action and sacrifice by those in safety on behalf of victims. 

However, they offer hope not just because they confer the right to speak freely, practice religion, be an atheist and elect governments, but because they remind us that irrespective of any religious, national, tribal, racial, political, ideological or ethnic identity, we are all united in being human and therefore owe one another respect and protection.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Times letter: government showed Putin & others our weakness in Syria

Sir, Instead of chest-thumping for Nato about how Russia is a clear danger to the Baltic states, Michael Fallon and the government ought to reflect on just why it is that President Putin appears impervious to the West and Nato’s opposition to his activities. Terrorist groups were not alone in watching gleefully as the West chose inaction (in Syria) or limited action (in Libya and Iraq) — despite the use of weapons of mass destruction against civilians, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and the occupation of large swathes of territory by extremists. 

John Slinger
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/letters/article4359508.ece



Friday, 13 February 2015

My Times letter on rape sentencing

Sir, You report that “Britain leads Europe on sending rapists to jail” (Feb 12), with 5,408 prisoners serving sentences for rape in England and Wales in 2013. What is truly startling is that this number, despite appearing large in comparison to our neighbours, is only a tiny fraction of the number of rapists in our midst. There were 24,043 rapes recorded by the police in the year to September 2014, and the Office for National Statistics estimated that 85,000 women were victims of rape or sexual assault by penetration in 2012. 

If all rapists were actually caught and convicted, our prison population would mushroom overnight.

John Slinger

Online at The Times here http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/letters/article4352599.ece


Sunday, 8 February 2015

The government has presided over our military & diplomatic decline

There can be no better or more tragic metaphor for Britain's decline as a global military and diplomatic power under this government than our minuscule contribution towards the anti-Isis coalition. The MPs on the defence select committee have done a great service by describing Britain's military intervention as a "strikingly modest" response to a grave threat. The Prime Minister must be held to the solemn, statesmanlike pledge he gave last year in Parliament when he argued that our intervention was designed to "see ISIL degraded and then destroyed as a serious terrorist force". 
Defence reviews, spin and blandishments cannot mask the reality that the government is following, rather than leading the public in this vital matter of international affairs.

View my writing on foreign policy here https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qgu1lzxj7J5Ukcxy66SDk8w11wjGkozyqImxyp4YU-o/mobilebasic