Sunday, 13 December 2015
Ian Bell 1956 - 2015
This post will mean nothing to those of you outwith the central belt, the Borders and a bit of the northern part of Scotland but I thought that the passing of the finest comment journalist Scotland has ever produced needed to acknowledged on this blog.
I was deeply shocked and immensely saddened when I heard about Ian Bell's death yesterday, I'm not sure how I missed it on Friday probably because I was focused on getting my performance review completed, a task I think that would have been all too easy for the columnist who appears to have never been late for a deadline, ever.
I have avidly read Ian Bell's articles and comment since he joined the then Glasgow Herald and to be honest with you was one of the main reasons I have stuck with the paper for so long. I have not always agreed with his point of view but it always made me think my position on things and there was the knowledge that Bell believed wholeheartedly in what he had written. There was an integrity and honesty about his writing which came from a down to earth, one of us perspective. I think that Scottish journalism and society has been greatly diminished by this man's passing. We need people like him so not all the press ends up as Billy Bragg sings below.
Just last week he wrote a brilliant "dismantling of Hilary Benn's empty war rhetoric" which should have been circulated the width and breadth of the UK and beyond.
Benn was applauded after saying not a word-not one-about what should be done if IS does not succumb even after every diplomatic domino falls as the coalition desires. For how long should the bombing continue? Benn didn't say. Will doing our bit in the name of solidarity and national security lead him to support the use of UK ground troops if there is an atrocity at home?
The great, acclaimed speech managed to say very little. Like all the bombers, it's author avoided the connection between war and domestic security. He did not explain why, having been wrong about three previous interventions, he had a remote chance of being right on this occasion. He did not spare much of his compassion on the risk to civilian casualties, despite all we know of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
In which circumstances would Hilary Benn say "Enough" and call for the UK to stand, as he would have it, aside? If the answer is he would never utter the word, the shadow minister had a duty to tell us what he has in mind, home and abroad, to answer for such a failure. After all, his flimsy, culpable rhetoric will have helped to make it happen.
You will be sorely missed.
Billy Bragg - It Says Here