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The Bitch and the Emperor's New Clothes!

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Author: Michael Knell

Well Darlings,

In the age of the Emperor's new clothes the child has finally spoken up. From out of the thronging masses of people, all eager not to look stupid in front of their neighbours, the words we needed to hear have at last rung out: "But he has nothing on!"

It's time now that we all accepted the truth, the real truth and not that of some people with misplaced vocations who would have been better employed selling used cars or vacuum cleaners, and that truth is that we are doing no good in Iraq - we are only making matters worse. We should leave.

Like a breath of fresh air rushing into a stuffy room, General Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the British army, has called for our troops to be withdrawn from Iraq - and soon! As I write this I am hearing the expected response of "words taken out of context" from Tony Blair and the infamous "Downing Street spokesmen", but they count for little - the words that matter are abounding on the unofficial military internet forums. The forums have been inundated with praise for Sir Richard and his words from serving military personnel - with the words taken in any context you care to name - because they hold the truth, they tell the truth, and they pass the test. They have been widely welcomed by his troops, by opposition MPs, and (as to be expected) by anti-war groups. And I'm betting by the world at large, too!

One of the most senior officers in Iraq when we invaded in 2003 was Colonel Tim Collins. Speaking to the Today programme, he said that Sir Richard had given a "refreshing and very honest insight into what the Army generally feel. That is that the political shortcomings and the shortcomings in the planning for the occupation of Iraq have made the job of the Army very much more difficult. And there comes a time when the realisation on the ground is that the people of Iraq do resent foreign intervention and there comes a time when we have got to look forward to when we can hand it over to the Iraqis for them to sort out."

Colonel Tim Collins went on to say: "I think we have to salute the honesty of the Chief of General Staff and understand that he is reflecting the beliefs of the Army, the people on the ground. He is not a politician and he is not given to spin, so what you hear from him is absolutely ground truth."

Hear! Hear! The absolute ground truth at last, and from people who have nothing to gain - perhaps something to lose - but who better than any politician know the real truth - they have to live with it. It's time the nation now listened to the truth "as it is", rather than "the truth" as spun to us by some to gain political advantage.

The word is spreading fast: the Emperor has no clothes on; the garments supposedly hiding the truth from us don't really exist; the cover-up is over - Tony stands naked in front of us all, and the stories he has told of how much good we were doing occupying another's country are shown to be pure fabrication.

We need to remember that over 600,000 civilians have died violently in Iraq since the invasion in 2003 - figures released by a team of American and Iraqi public health researchers - and that the rate of violence, along with the deaths, continues to escalate. It is inhumane for us to stay there. Our very presence may be promoting the killings by the three main factions making up the country, but the horrifying truth is that 70% of all those civilian deaths to date can be traced to being directly attributable to the occupying troops.

It is time to realise that we are living through one of the most shameful times for our country in living history. From the very beginning, the time of the famous "sexed up dossier", along with the alleged suicide of David Kelly, and all the deceit of how we were allowed to believe our shores were actually being threatened, and through the "knowing" by Tony Blair above all others that Iraq definitely had "weapons of mass destruction", even after no proof was found, the whole saga stinks. It is a disgrace to this country. It's time to wash our hands of this war, to allow others to clear up our mess, and for this country to start demanding the truth from our government, and all our authorities.

Since Tony Blair came to power with his style of government it seems to have become fashionable for the truth to be hidden. The real story doesn't matter any more. It's what you can make from it that matters - what you can spin. It has become sort of acceptable, and now it happens everywhere: from government, through big business and the utilities, right down to our local authorities. When found out, faced with the exposure of knowingly deceiving us, no longer do people slink away and leave office ashamed - they merely smile sweetly, and carry on collecting their salaries.

The stupidity of this whole situation is that all along we sort of know we are being lied to, we sense it, yet we too smile sweetly and allow it to happen. What we need are a lot more people like General Sir Richard Dannatt. If ever a country needed a breath of fresh air, it is ours. There's another one too, a bigger country across a pond. That could do with more than a breeze.

Before I go I shall give you an instance of these fashionable hidden truths. By now we must all have heard of the chips that are being added to the wheelie bins provided for refuse by some councils. These electronic bin tags are about the size of a penny. They are normally placed under the lip of the bin, and can be scanned as the bin is tipped into the refuse collection vehicle. Electronic weighing equipment has been installed on some of these refuse carts which is able to collect, and link to the council, information on the amount (or perhaps more accurately: the weight) of rubbish collected from each owner.

Residents are not happy with this spying on them, and many have ignored the council's warnings that they could be charged with criminal damage should they remove the tags. Despite this, some have posted theirs back to the council offices.

We know all this as fact - but here's the crunch: the director of community and environmental services for one local authority claims the chips simply contain an identity number that identifies which wheelie bin belongs to which house.

Now you might at first find that statement somewhat reassuring. Perhaps by now you are even thinking the implants are solely for the purpose of stopping the bin being lost or stolen. How wrong you would be!

The smiling face that tells you it is only to identify who owns the bin, still smiling sweetly omits to tell you: so that they know who to charge and just how much when this policy is, as it will be, adopted.

Think about it! Were this not to be the case, then what is wrong with a simple house number being stencilled or branded on the bin? Why the expense of a microchip - one that has to be programmed with your details? Do we put microchips on our front doors so that people can find us? No, we don't. We use numbers or names - they are far more sensible and a damn site cheaper!

Deceiving the public, usually done - but not always - without actually having to tell a lie, has become an art. Beware the sweet and innocent-looking smile - it's likely to be coming at some considerable expense. To you!

See you next week . . .

"The Bitch!" 13/10/06.

About the author: Michael Knell
"The Bitch!", a weekly UK News Review column, is hosted by the author and columnist Michael Knell. These articles appear on the Blackpool Gay Directory website, but are not specifically gay in content. More information on the author: and on the directory:

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