By JAMES HALL
POLITICIANS tell lies. They use them as a tool for retaining power just like they use force, and with much the same regard for morality. In a world full of brazenly lying politicians we should perhaps have got used to their shameless humbug but every so often one of them manages to excel himself, even by the dubious standards of international diplomacy. Rajiv Ghandi is such a politician.
He is the head of a country that boasts a population of 650 million people who speak a variety of languages, boast a variety of customs, believe a variety of religions and is made up of a variety of races.
It is his job to try and please all those people all the time - and of course it doesn't work. It never does. The country has more than a few race riots, (two thousand killed every time the government tries to decide which language should become the official one), caste riots, and food riots. He himself faces political trouble within his own party and his falling public popularity is beginning to show at the polls.
He's none too popular with the neighbours either - apart from trouble with the Moslem countries to the east and west, Bangladesh and Pakistan, he's got Afghanistan on his northern border, his troops clash with Chinese border militia and, as if that was not enough, the giant Russian bear lays a friendly paw on his shoulder every so often.
So if Rajiv tells lies now and then, or indulges in a few theatricals then who can blame him - after all he has to keep this cobbled up patchwork of nations together as a viable international political entity; as well as looking out for himself of course.
That's why at the last Commonwealth conference he made loud noises about our trade with South Africa, they were cheap shots and he could afford them. India doesn't have any trade with South Africa you see, consequently economic sanctions wouldn't have touched India in the slightest. In fact it might have opened a few doors for her own goods had his self-righteous moralising paid off.
What really sticks in the gullet though with the whole Commonwealth palava is that it is the white Commonwealth which pays for it all; Britain pays nearly a third of this jamboree's total annual costs, Australia and Canada another quarter each. India pays a total of one and a half per cent! The rest of the coconut colonies pay even less. Even so the party only carries on because the whites pay up promptly. At the moment there is still twenty per cent of the total contributions yet to come. Rajiv Ghandi doesn't even pay for his own soapbox!
One particular act of cheap popularity boosting however went so far over the top that even his most ardent admirers, looked sheepishly at the ground, shuffled around and coughed politely - the airdrop of relief supplies to the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Rajiv Ghandi - getting a hot welcome in Sri Lanka recently.
It was a gesture designed for domestic consumption only of course. Fifty million Tamils living in southern India have a lot of political clout. The news of their racial kith and kin taking a bit of a hiding in neighbouring Sri Lanka for resorting to terrorism in order to set up a separate homeland was not good news for Rajiv. A hundred million legs stamping up and down demanding that he do something meant that he had to do something - but quick. Hence the air drop.
For a politician that leads the Third World in constantly whining at Britain for its Imperial past and supposed neo-colonial attitudes of today, invading another country's airspace in order to feed its terrorists must rank pretty high on the list of transparent hypocrisies.
Of course he could always come clean and admit that he was only intervening in a legitimate sphere of influence, but to do that would be to admit that India was the prime colonial power of the region. It would also make his beloved Commonwealth look pretty damn silly since Sri Lanka is also a member, and the whole idea of it is that members are independent sovereign states all being nice and chummy to each other.
Let's suppose he was right though, just for the sake of argument, in dropping this "humanitarian aid" to his racial cousins, and that was all there was to it; a juggling act between various pressing, inviolable needs calling for a bit of bare faced cheek every so often just to stop everything falling down about our ears. Couldn't we forgive politicians like him?
Well we would if that was all there was to it. The only problem with this line of reasoning is that he should also feed the Afghan Muhjahdeen camping on his doorstep. They are in more of a state than the Tamils. Thousands of them have died, entire villages have been wiped out, and over four million are refugees. He won't of course because it's the Russians that invaded Afghanistan, and Mr Rajiv Ghandi buys most of his arms at knockdown prices from the Russians as well as having a friendship treaty with them.
Even more to the point, since it's a problem within his own borders, he should allow the Sikhs to set up their own nation of Kalistan.
The comparison between Tamil and Sikh is probably a bit too close for comfort for Ghandi. Their political aims are the same and so are their current methods. These Sikhs are the ones that shot his mum, turned their Golden temple at Amritsar into a fortress, shot up the local Hindus and then sniped away at the besieging Indian army.
So what then, can one ask, was he doing giving comfort and succour to those Tamils that were responsible for machine gunning to death 122 Sinhalese bus passengers in one go this April, killing a further 106 some days later? Well that's not the real question is it? We answered that one right at the beginning.
The fact is that in trying to keep a multiracial, multicultural country together as a whole when every natural, instinctive force is conspiring to push it apart, lies must be told, the media kept under strict control and of course force used when necessary.
If it also means embarking on foreign adventures, feeding other country's terrorists whilst shouting the odds about imperialism and suppressing one's own dissidents then so be it. If it means having to be selective about humanitarian aid for foreigners while at the same time ignoring food riots at home then that is what will be done.
The logic behind these situations is remorseless and it's no good anyone wringing their hands or bleating those same old "if onlys" we've all heard before. Finding it all a bit unpalatable means agreeing with the idea that the only constructive thing to do is to start dismantling those political/social structures which make political decisions like Ghandi's not merely unsavoury but actually necessary.
Which is precisely why, to be effective, anyone who agrees the need for a change needs first to understand the basic question: "What, in each particular case, is the cause and what the effect?"*
In India for instance, it is Ghandi and the rest of his rich cronies holding the country together. They do it because there is money to be made that way. It is they that make the system. In Britain the situation is actually the other way around. Whatever their party background or private views our politicians become impotent and blind when faced with the sight of a multicultural Britain that isn't working either. They do it because it gives them a quiet life where they can sit back and again make money. The system makes the politicians, if you like.
Our task as nationalists is to explain exactly that to people, it is to show them how and what changes could be made and not merely shout that it must. We must prove to people that we are more capable and are more honest and can see more clearly than the Ghandi's and hand-wringers of this world. That it is nationalism, that is the way forward. On the day we do that its tomorrow will belong to us.