In 2004, Dave Roberts, a little-known British communist running for the equally obscure Socialist Labour Party, stood as a candidate in the Leicester South by-election. He won 263 votes — just 38 more than the Monster Raving Loony Party’s candidate RU Seerious.
On March 9 this year, Roberts took on a new mission as leader of British Civilians for Peace in Libya.
The Guardian reports:
In other circumstances they could have been a group of British package tourists, clad in identical T-shirts, clambering on and off buses with cameras hanging around their necks.
But Libya has no tourists now, let alone of the package variety. And the 13 Britons who toured the west of the country over eight days, had a self-declared mission: to “find facts” about the situation in Gaddafi-controlled Libya to counter what they described as the manipulation and distortion of the western media.
The group, calling itself British Civilians for Peace in Libya, had found each other through word-of-mouth and the internet. They were, they said, academics, lawyers, a doctor, humanitarian campaigners and “independent journalists”, collectively outraged about the attacks on Libyan government forces by “the biggest military force in the world” – Nato.
Roberts fell in love with Gaddafi’s Libya back in 1999 when he was sent their by his SLP boss, Arthur Scargill, to attend an international youth conference in Tripoli.
The Weekly Worker reported:
After visiting the National Soap Factory, Libya’s largest, comrade Roberts was apparently so inspired by what he had seen that he delivered the following speech on behalf of the SLP’s NEC, “which was received by rapturous applause”.
He said: “Brothers and sisters, it is a great privilege to be here with you today on the occasion of your celebration of the great Al Fatah revolution. Here in the Great Socialist Jamahiriya, a free land amongst a free people, I bring you socialist and internationalist greetings from the Socialist Labour Party in Britain.
“Many young people who have been involved in the international camps during the last eight years have seen at first hand and marvelled at the great social and economic, political developments you have achieved throughout your 30 years of revolutionary struggle …
“Those of us fighting for the liberation of our countries from imperialism, and our people from capitalism, pay tribute to the generosity of the Libyan people for the solidarity they have shown to anti-imperialist and progressive movements throughout the world. We hope one day to be able to return to a future celebration of the Al Fatah revolution, and announce that we too have defeated capitalism in our countries and are joining with you in the building of a socialist world. In the meantime we say: Long live the Great Socialist Libyan Peoples Jamahiriya. Long live Muammer Al Gadaffy. Al Fatah forever!”
Meanwhile, here are some passionate performances from Muammar’s local supporters — no translation required: