Most — almost all — of the media’s coverage of the ennoblement of Glenys Kinnock to permit her to become Europe Minister in the UK government has focused on the court politics. Glenys Kinnock was a Labour MEP and is the wife of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, himself a former European Commissioner. Thanks to longstanding general public skepticism about the European Union and the perception that many of its employees are ineffective and expensive, plus recent (and justified) outrage at UK politicians’ nepotism and use of expenses allowances, the story has been that Ms Kinnock has glided regally from one undemocratic seat on the gravy train to another. The Kinnocks’ collection of “six state pensions” has been a target of particular anger.
I have only contempt for the freshly exposed behaviour of a large minority of MPs (and for their subsequent excuse-making); the manipulation of candidate lists and the appointment of unelected insiders to Cabinet posts disgusts me. But, behind what appeared to be yet more establishment fixing, there was another story to tell: Kinnock’s maiden speech in the House of Lords addressed the Responsibility To Protect (“R2P”). She questioned the widely-held idea that R2P was solely about questions of military intervention in the affairs of sovereign states and emphasised that it should be about responsible international co-operation to protect threatened populations. I think there is truth in this, even if history suggests such a view is optimistic. Sadly (according to Google News at least), no one is interested in discussing global matters of life and death when there’s a bit of parochial political gossip to cover. Thanks to the shoddy parliament.uk Website — there’s a link to an “advanced search”, but it’s not clickable in Firefox — it’s difficult to find the speech, if it is even available to read. If I track it down, I will post it here.