meet the Green Party rep standing against Thornberry

  • Post last modified:June 9, 2024
  • Reading time:5 mins read

In the first of our video interview series #CanaryCandidates, we meet the Green Party’s Carne Ross – standing against Labour’s Emily Thornberry 

Carne Ross was once a British diplomat. After the invasion of Iraq, he gave “secret evidence to the Butler Inquiry” and resigned. He knew the government had lied, failed to pursue alternatives to military action, and broken UN resolutions. And this experience profoundly changed his political views.

Today, he’s standing against Labour Party “machine politician” Emily Thornberry in Islington South and Finsbury at the general election. And his big message for voters is that Britain’s political system is in desperate need of change. As he told the Canary:

… it’s obviously not working. People are fed up with it, that society is not fair, it is not inclusive, people are treated badly, we are destroying the planet. It’s a long list of failure, and we’ve got to consider radical ideas to improve matters.

Palestine: “the occupation has to end”

We asked Carne Ross, as the Green Party’s Global Solidarity spokesperson, about how to end the genocide in Gaza and bring peace to occupied Palestine. He insisted:

There is an occupation of one party by another, and until that ends there will not be peace. And that used to be a clear plank of British policy towards Israel/Palestine…

You won’t hear government ministers talk about it now. You won’t hear Labour politicians talk about it. But it is the fundamental requirement of peace. The occupation has to end.

Regarding the position of Keir Starmer’s Labour Party on Gaza, Ross stressed:

I think the Labour Party has been a disgrace on Gaza. It has abandoned fundamental rules of international law and the laws of war in particular. Keir Starmer and indeed Emily Thornberry have at moments approved of Israel’s action in cutting off food and medical supplies – food and fuel and water – to the Gaza Strip, which is condoning collective punishment, which is a war crime.

So how bad does it have to get? You condone a war crime? That’s what Labour has done.

The Green Party, on the other hand, believes:

… there is no military solution to this problem. There is only a political solution. And pursuing a military solution will just make things worse and will cost a lot of lives, and that’s precisely what we’ve seen.

Western double standards on Gaza are undermining international law

Speaking about the immense difference between the West’s approach to Ukraine and Gaza, Carne Ross said:

[Labour’s] David Lammy talks about a rules-based international order, just like the Tories by the way. [It’s] very difficult to distinguish between them. What they have done in Gaza is not supporting a rules-based international order. It is the opposite. It is undermining that rules-based order because it is exempting Israel from these rules.

The rules of war, international humanitarian law, Security Council resolutions. They’ve given Israel a free pass. And that is double standards. We… rightly condemn Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, and we demand that the world condemns Russia, as they should. But that call is undermined by the application of double standards in Gaza.

The world isn’t stupid. Other countries – I talked to them at the UN, to diplomats of other countries. They see this – you know, the way that Britain and the US have defended Israel at the UN Security Council, have voted to stop resolutions calling for a ceasefire. I mean, they are shocked and appalled. And if I was a British diplomat today, which I’m glad to say I’m not, I would be ashamed.

“Lack of accountability is a systematic failure of our political system”

The Canary also asked Carne Ross about the impact that his resignation over the invasion of Iraq had on his political views. He explained:

This was a democratic government that… launched a blatantly illegal and unnecessary war that cost 500,000 lives. And the people responsible have not been held accountable. That is pretty shocking, and it remains something I feel very, very strongly about and talk about when I can because that lack of accountability is a systematic failure of our political system.

It’s not just Iraq. It’s also Grenfell, it’s the Post Office scandal, the infected blood scandal. We see it over and over again. The institutions look down on everybody else. They’re not accountable. They’re not transparent. And that has changed my view of politics fundamentally.

That will always be the case as long as a few people have power over the many. And we need to invert that pyramid.

For more on Ross’s comments on the election and other issues, see the full interview on our YouTube channel:

Featured image via the Canary

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