THE global response to the daily bombardment of Gaza has been utterly disgraceful. How global leaders can stand by and not only watch but justify war crimes being played out on our televisions for all to see is so far beyond me that it turns my stomach and breaks my heart.

There is no doubt in my mind that we are witnessing one of the greatest acts of barbarity in a generation and the fact that neither the Prime Minister nor the Leader of the Opposition can even bring themselves to call for a ceasefire is pathetic on so many levels.

Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer have essentially said that there is no limit to the amount of dead children they find acceptable for the Israeli army to kill. That may sound harsh but in response to questions specifically about that they both simply repeat the line that “Israel has the right to defend itself”.

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All countries have the right to defend themselves – but how is killing thousands of children an act of self-defence?

The very same men will stand solemnly and lay wreaths at cenotaphs next week, where they will decry the horrors of war and the millions of lives senselessly lost. They will no doubt talk up the importance of peace, while at the same time giving tacit approval to what many say is beginning to feel like ethnic cleansing.

Starmer purports to be a human rights lawyer, but is on camera saying that Israel has the right to withhold water and electricity from an entire population. That is collective punishment and that is a clear breach of the Geneva Conventions.

It is no wonder Labour councillors up and down the UK are resigning in disgust and some council groups even calling for his resignation.

This won’t be the last time Sir Keir ties himself up in knots as he shifts the Overton window to the right of Genghis Khan.

Disappointingly though, the rest of the Parliamentary Labour Party, with some very honourable (and, I can tell you, devastated, exceptions), have shown that they are as accepting of this destruction in the Middle East as they were of Tony Blair’s “manoeuvres”.

Even some Labour MPs and MSPs I have worked with and personally respected have dropped a mile in my estimation and have shown that there will be absolutely no discernible difference on the world stage should they gain power at the next election.

What has heartened me though has been the response of the general public. The number of emails I’ve had from constituents about this outstrips any other issue by a country mile. Thousands of ordinary people, most of whom have never written to me before, are telling me they simply cannot stand by whilst this happens.

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Our own government here in Scotland has been outstanding in my view, particularly the leadership of Humza Yousaf during what must be extremely difficult personal circumstances. He has been unequivocal in his condemnation of the Hamas terrorist attacks and stood and mourned with our Jewish community.

What he has also done, which sets him apart from other political leaders, is to also condemn the actions of the Israeli government, call for a ceasefire, and call for an end to the abhorrent loss of civilian life.

That is the simple difference that makes all the difference. Everybody condemns the atrocities meted out to those poor Israeli souls and they are right to do so, but very few governments are condemning atrocities against Palestinians.

At times of international crisis, people look to their elected leaders to represent their views and values on the world stage.

In this respect, Westminster is failing us badly. Many people’s first real political awakening was in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and the disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Millions of people took to the streets across the UK in protest and the message was clear: “Not in our name”.

In Scotland, when we say “not in our name”, we know we have a leader saying the same, and meaning it. We have politicians standing on the side of the oppressed, standing on the side of peace, not talking out of both sides of their mouth and trying to triangulate while people die in the bombed-out apartment blocks.

Some things really should be bigger than party politics and I would have been absolutely delighted to be able to write an article praising the leadership of all parties in the UK taking a stand against war. Had they done so, I absolutely would have done that.

Unfortunately, I see no prospect of that article ever being written.

The UK Government only ever stands where it is politically or financially expedient.

The idea of a position being taken by a British government on the basis of values or principles is a fantasy sold to the gullible or those who can’t bear to believe otherwise so that they can sleep righteously while the dirty work continues in the dark.