On March 1st, a coalition of student societies brought together by the Stirling University SSY group protested against the visit of former New Labour spin doctor, Alastair Campbell.
Campbell was one amongst many responsible for Tony Blair’s illegal and reprehensible invasion of Iraq, which led to the loss of hundreds of thousands of civilian lives and was a massive contributing factor to the continued destabilisation of the Middle East.
He was accused of “sexing up” weapons dossiers to sway the opinion of the British public towards supporting the invasion, accusing Saddam Hussein (then the leader of Iraq) of being “willing to use chemical and biological weapons”, despite there being no evidence of this.
In 2017, speaking of his time working under New Labour, Campbell told The Guardian that compared to Downing Street everything else felt like “second best”.
The findings of the Chilcot Report in 2015 determined there were never any grounds to believe that Saddam Hussein possessed Weapons Of Mass Destruction (WMDs). SSY members have decried the invasion of Iraq as a crime against peace, calling for Campbell to be treated as any other war criminal would be — in an international court.
“Our commitment to a society built upon peace, justice and socialism will always remain unwaveringly at the forefront of our campaign. No matter where those like Campbell seek to wash their public image of the blood stained upon them, we will be there to challenge them.”Jamie Shaw, SSY organiser
Campbell’s visit to Stirling coincided with the 20 year anniversary of what has since been dubbed as the “largest protest event in human history”. In February 2003, millions of people protested for an end to the invasion and occupation of Iraq by Western powers. In Glasgow, over 50,000 people marched to the Scottish Exhibition Centre (SEC), causing then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to cancel his speech and flee.
This demonstration was also held in solidarity with the millions of people who have fallen victim to British imperialism not only in Iraq, but in Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt, Libya, India, Myanmar and beyond. Among the other groups participating in the protest were Student Action For Refugees Stirling and Global Justice Stirling, who have consistently challenged the British Government on its hostile policies towards refugees and asylum seekers fleeing conflict zones created by Western imperialists.
The SSY and fellow left wing groups will continue to call for democratic accountability for the policymakers and spin doctors who conspired in the invasion of Iraq which killed an estimated 461,000 people between 2003 and 2011.