Stop the War, Issue 1442
"BRITISH people not letting a Syrian say something about Syria in a protest about Syria. It's mad." Thus Hassan Akkad, a refugee from Damascus who was shouted down at a Stop the War Coalition (StWC) demonstration two weeks ago when he dared criticise President Assad. Defending the orchestrated drowning-out of Akkad, a spokeswoman for the StWC told the BBC: "It would be strange if Stop the War gave a platform to people who supported bombing."
Shome mishtake, shurely? Regular StWC speaker George Galloway supports bombing, so long as it's done by Presidents Putin and Assad. "Russia's achieved more in days in Syria than the US coalition in a year," he tweeted jubilantly in October 2015, soon after the first Russian bombardment of towns in north-west Syria. "Which vindicates my 'controversial' claim that the US wasn't trying."
Galloway says he longs to see every last member of groups such as Isis and al-Qaeda lying dead on the ground. "If that makes me a fanatic for the War on Terror, so be it, so be it," he said last August. "We should support the government of Syria that's fighting them."
Shifting over Sands
Stop the War has also given a platform to John McDonnell MP, who paid this tribute to the Provisional IRA in 2003: "It's about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle. It was the bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table." (He finally apologised for it in 2015.)
Yvonne Ridley was another of Stop the War's star speakers for some years, even while writing articles in defence of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, after he bombed hotels in Jordan, and composing a eulogy for Shamil Basayev, who was behind the Beslan school massacre in Russia and claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in Grozny in December 2002.
Stop the War's long-time chair, Andrew Murray, has even more recherche tastes: he supports the North Korean regime, which greatly enjoys making bombs - and on occasion using them, as when Kim Jong-il fired dozens of artillery shells at the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong in 2010, killing two soldiers and two civilians. Murray has declared his "basic position of solidarity with Peoples [sic] Korea".
If the coalition means what it now says about not giving "a platform to people who supported bombing", it may have some empty-looking podiums in future.
More top stories in the latest issue:
HEDGE YOUR BEDS
A proposal for the NHS to raise money from hedge funds would join many dunderheaded financial decisions afflicting the health service.
"You are the company you keep," says law firm Mishcon de Reya. High-profile Gina Miller may well wonder at the company Mishcon has been keeping...
December's flooding in Islington looks set to cost Thames Water's new owners considerably more than the company's £20.3m in March over sewage leaks.
SCHOOLS BREAK UP
Schools across Scotland are crumbling, following corner-cutting and a lack of proper inspections in the PFI construction industry in the early 2000s.
ARE WE THERE YET?
When will Sir Richard Branson realise his dream of letting the super-rich experience space at $250,000 a time? Don't hold your breath.
Although private health company Circle Holdings plc continues to lose money, its takeover provided an immediate payday for the private equity investors.