Why should Lord West of Spithead (photo above) be ashamed of himself? For many reasons, including his support for the British government's travel ban on Geert Wilders.
But there's something else.
Geert Wilders has made available at his website a transcript of an exchange that took place yesterday in the House of Lords with Lord West, who is Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the British Home Office (and no relation) as several other British lords asked this government minister why the UK was barring Wilders from entering the country. Or, as the transcript puts it:
Private Notice Question
Asked By Lord Taverne
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their justification for denying Mr Geert Wilders entry into the United Kingdom.
Lord West of Spithead (Im not kidding, although I'm guessing Brits pronounce it "spithidd") took several questions on the topic regarding the government's comittment to freedom of speech, inconsistency on applying the law, whether the government is appeasing violent jihadists in the UK (a point raised by Lord Pearson), and the like. Just the sort of give and take one would expect in such circumstances, only channeled into polite and parliamentary diction.
Then we get to this question, important but hardly incendiary:
Lord Ryder of Wensum: My Lords, I am sure that the Minister has looked at precedent. Will he please tell us the last time that a democratically elected politician from an EU country was denied access to Great Britain and the last time that a democratically elected politician was denied access to speak in this House?
I guess you could say something snapped.
Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, I am afraid that I do not know the answer to that. I shall have to come back to the noble Lord in writing, if I may. I do not like making excuses, but I was aware of this Question only about 23 minutes ago and there were two Questions in between. I feel rather like Eugene Esmonde, who, 67 years ago today, flew a few Swordfish at the “Gneisenau”, “Scharnhorst” and “Prinz Eugen”; he got a VC for doing it but, sadly, he was lost. I feel that I am similarly stepping into the breach; I do not know the answer and I will get back to the noble Lord in writing.
For taking a very few polite questions, Lord West of Spithead feels he is "similarly stepping into the breach" of one Eugene Esmonde. Now who was Eugene Esmonde and what "breach" did he step into? At Wikipedia I found the citation for Esmonde's postumous Victoria Cross. It says:
ADMIRALTY. Whitehall. 3rd March, 1942.
The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the grant of the VICTORIA CROSS, for valour and resolution in action against the Enemy, to:
The late Lieutenant-Commander (A) Eugene Esmonde, D.S.O., Royal Navy.
On the morning of Thursday, 12th February, 1942, Lieutenant-Commander Esmonde, in command of a Squadron of the Fleet Air Arm, was told that the German Battle-Cruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU and the Cruiser PRINZ EUGEN, strongly escorted by some thirty surface craft, were entering the Straits of Dover, and that his Squadron must attack before they reached the sand-banks North East of Calais.
Lieutenant-Commander Esmonde knew well that his enterprise was desperate. Soon after noon he and his squadron of six Swordfish set course for the Enemy, and after ten minutes flight were attacked by a strong force of Enemy fighters. Touch was lost with his fighter escort; and in the action which followed all his aircraft were damaged. He flew on, cool and resolute, serenely challenging hopeless odds, to encounter the deadly fire of the Battle-Cruisers and their Escort, which shattered the port wing of his aircraft. Undismayed, he led his Squadron on, straight through this inferno of fire, in steady flight towards their target. Almost at once he was shot down; but his Squadron went on to launch a gallant attack, in which at least one torpedo is believed to have struck the German Battle-Cruisers, and from which not one of the six aircraft returned.
His high courage and splendid resolution will live in the traditions of the Royal Navy, and remain for many generations a fine and stirring memory.
In Lord West's wholly delusional if not addled mind, answering a few questions in the House of Lords is like flying into a sudden-death air battle against German battleships. Is it any wonder the UK has all but disappeared?