Jude Collins

Monday, 21 March 2011

I'll liberate you if it kills you...

It’s not always a good idea to listen to the radio when you’re eating your breakfast. I did it this morning and the spoonful of boiled egg, instead of going down my throat, stuck half-way. It was the ‘Today’ programme on BBC Radio 4, widely considered the flagship current affairs programme of the BBC. John Humphries was interviewing William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, about the combined French-British-US assault on Libya. “So we’re mounting an aerial bombing campaign on Libya for humanitarian reasons” Humphries said. There was no layer of irony in his voice – he said it as a statement of reasonable fact. Hague didn’t attempt to rebut the statement or tell Humphries he was being unpatriotic with his implicit criticism of what Britain was doing. No, no, no. He accepted Humphries’s statement as though it made perfect sense. We’re dropping bombs on Libya – bombs that make the Omagh bomb look like a Halloween firecracker – and we’re doing it because we care about the people below.

Fortunately, there are other media outlets in Britain with a slightly more thoughtful approach to events in the world. I don’t always agree with Jackie Ashley in The Guardian but her column this morning gets it right. “Who thinks democracy can be offloaded from a military plane on a country that has known little except dictatorship?” Indeed. And who thinks Britain-France-the US are doing their bombing and shelling because they’re concerned about the Libyan people? The Middle East, since any of us can remember, has been the pumping station for Western capitalism, and the slaughter or non-slaughter of human beings has been dependent on whether the oil has been kept flowing westward smoothly enough. Cameron sees this as his Falklands moment – distract the populace from the dire domestic situation with a stirring foreign adventure. Anyone who believes a word of his rhetoric about democracy is gullible beyond redemption.


  1. Only last month David Cameron was saying you can't drop democracy from 40,000 feet.It did not take him long to do yet another of his U-Turns.

  2. Muammar Gaddafi’s son has claimed Libya helped finance Nicolas Sarkozy’s successful election campaign in 2007, and wants the French president to give the money back.

    In an interview with the Euronews TV channel, Saif al-Islam said the Libyan regime had details of bank transfers and was ready to make them public in a move designed to punish Sarkozy for throwing his weight behind the opposition forces in Libya.

    Asked what he felt about Sarkozy’s unsuccessful efforts to muster international support for military intervention against the regime in Tripoli, Saif said: “Sarkozy must first give back the money he took from Libya to finance his electoral campaign.”

  3. Nice reference, Anon - many thanks.

  4. The red line in Libya today is defined by antiimperialism. Everybody must take sides because this attacks can define the future of the region, not only Libya. Here there is some clarifying information http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27596.htm

  5. The ComRes poll, for ITV News, found some 53 per cent of those consulted felt it would be unacceptable for British personnel to die fighting against the Gaddafi regime.
    More than one in three people, 35 per cent, agreed with the decision to take military action. But, according to the survey, 49 per cent of adults felt such intervention constituted an unnecessary risk for Britain.
    ComRes interviewed 2,028 people online over the weekend. The findings were weighted to be demographically representative.
    The survey shows that public support for intervention in Libya has strengthened since the enforcing of the no–fly zone.
    A survey by Opinium Research, published two weeks ago, found that 59 per cent of people opposed sending British troops to Libya and 27 per cent were in favour.

  6. But credit to Mark Durkan and Margaret Ritchie for voting against the War. I dunno where Big Al was but hes prolly agin it too.
    Highly principled Naomi Long of the highly principled Alliance Party wasnt there but Im sure she will eulogise and hand wring if a constiuent is killed out there.
    But 11 Labour MPs voted against.
    Which is a statistic the Campaign to Bring UK Politics here wont like...the chances are that a Labour MP from here (like er Saint Kate Hoey) would have gone along with it all.
    So the SDLP are actually more representative of Labour than Labour is.
    Fair play to them.