Question: What do you call a three times democratically elected leader of a country in which over twenty political parties operated and which had a vibrant, free press?
The answer- A dictator- that is of course if you are a fanatical Blairite New Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington. Enclosed below is an extract from Sion Simon's letter to the Guardian last week. No one would dispute the use of the epithet 'dictator' to describe Saddam Hussein. But Milosevic- a man who lost power in an election he didn't even need to call? Yet 'dictator' is the word neo-cons and Blair luvvies routinely use to describe him. One is reminded here of Chomsky's observations about the word 'democracy'.
There are the great man said- two definitions of the word- the dictionary one- which refers to a system where citizens have ways to participate in decisions about public affairs-and the ideological one -in which a society is held to be 'democratic' only if its business is run in such a way that is subordinate to US business.
It seems it's exactly the same with the word 'dictator'.
'The prime minister's record in tackling dictators such as Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic is perhaps not best questioned by those whose own record of leadership is so authoritatively criticised.
Siôn Simon MPLab, Birmingham Erdington