Saturday, 19 March 2011


So finally we are ready to go to war yet again.

And, before we even start, the Tory press are hailing David Cameron as the great leader, while apparently Obama vacillated and the French (whom I thought were taking a very gung ho stance) were, I am reliably informed, albeit by the Daily Telegraph, were only posturing. This, says Nile Gardiner, is David Cameron’s war. Erm, maybe a little premature there Nile old chap. At the time of writing it’s not actually started yet.

Of course the truth is rather different. Yes, Mr Obama has been quite quiet on the subject and it is, allegedly, 8 days since he spoke to the “junior partner”. However, quite appropriately Mr Cameron has been dealing with Secretary of State, Mrs Clinton, whilst all the negotiations have been progressing. That is, after all, the job of the de facto
foreign minister, and if we had one worth his pay, it would have been our foreign minister that would have been involved. But as the headlines this week have been saying that he couldn’t run a bath, it’s perhaps best for all that the prime minister has been doing his job for him.

The Telegraph reports that Mr Cameron was doing a diplomatic shuffle last week: The King of Saudi Arabia, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and the prime ministers of Qatar and Canada, then the King of Jordan, the president of South Africa, the German chancellor, Denmark's prime minister and the president of Nigeria.

So just like Blair, Cameron is doing the work. Still, I expect in fairness to the man, that charm is one of the things you learn at good English schools, so he’s probably better at it than the rest of them. Come to think of it, Blair went to a good Scottish school, and he was first rate at it.

So the resolution has been passed according to the Telegraph due to Cameron's “deft handing”.

Now all this is massively impressive, but there are a million questions left to be answered (and clearly not sufficient space here to ask them all).

But taking just a few lines from Cameron’s polished and impressive delivery to the House of Commons today, thus:

“We simply cannot stand back and let a dictator whose people have rejected him, kill his people indiscriminately. To do so would send a chilling signal to others striving for democracy across the region.”

I feel immediately compelled to ask about the 30 people who were killed by Yemen troops when they were protesting yesterday. What of them? Can we just stand by and watch this happen? What of the relatively few, I’ll grant, Bahrainis who have died, what about the possibility of trouble in Saudi Arabia itself? King Abdullah is hardly a democrat, and all demonstrations have been banned, but what if the young Saudis decide to ignore this, safe in the knowledge that a precedent has been set? What if they expect Mr Cameron to rise in the Commons and phone endless leaders around the world on THEIR behalves? And wider afield what about the Côte D’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, Tibet, Chechnya, Dagestan? What about their downtrodden people?

I’m sure that our
latest great war leader has answers to those and many other mysteries, like what is the end game here. Mrs Clinton has said (and of course she’s right) that Gaddafi will have to go. Who or what will replace him? And how can we afford this when we are cutting essential services? I’m sure all this and much more will become clear in the next few days.

In the meantime, I wish the guys leaving this morning from RAF Lossiemouth much luck and safety in their mission. It’s as well that this happened now and not in a few years when the base has been closed.

Come back safe.

Pics: (1) The hero of the hour, the consummate diplomat, at least according to the Telegraph. (2) Mr Fiasco. Everything he touches turns to dust, from planes that can’t take off to botched SAS jobs, from papers that are not ready for aid workers in Japan, to rescue planes that are costing more than people can afford and run empty! Some lad is the Vague one. (Must have been those 14 pints a day when ‘e were nubbut a lad.) (3) Libya bang in the middle of North Africa. (4) Clinton decided that he should go...she also thinks that Gaddafi should go.


  1. The countries of the Islamic world are run by tyrants of one kind or another. What kind shall replace Mo Gaddafi?

  2. McGonagall

    be a vacancy for Salmond to fill after being escorted out of holyrood by the Scottish people come next May.

  3. tris

    There Are More Questions Than Answers

    Cameron has to dip his hands in the blood of the armed forces after all he may not be in power overly long..........

    its not the compete experience of being a Prime Minster without a lot of military funerals.

    And when Cameron is a very! very! old Etonian he can say to his (wealthy) Grandchildren gathered all around him

    'Now when I had my war'


  4. The Tories are behind in the polls so a bit of posturing will do them good. They want a war that’s easy to win but all that guff about democracy is just hot air, as you say they are not at all worried about the people of Bahrain rising up against an autocrat. Not the best timing though the voters are a bit war weary after all and we still got bodies coming home from the last one and also we don’t have any planes left or pilots so no doubt we will be relying on all that French posturing to actually do the fighting. Mr Cameron can wave a Union Jack in the background and point at himself and grab headlines here and there but that will be it. Can’t see a warmongering stance helping their coalition partner though and they are the ones that really need propped up at the moment. All the Tories are gonna get is to hang on to a few more English local councils, the sort of people this war will impress in Scotland don’t have the DNA to be able to vote Tory!

    Doubtless there will be head scratching among the royal families of Saudi and Bahrain just now they thought they were going to get away with it and the international community would do nothing. And let’s face it they nearly didn’t a few more days and it would have been all over. What a shame this touching concern for human life in Libya by the international community couldn’t have come when so much more of it was present than there is now!

  5. Hello McGonagall,

    Yes, well some greater and some lesser in ways that perhaps we don't understand. Of course our own governments can be rather tyrannical at times, don't you think?

    But you make a good point. It is all very well stopping, or trying to stop, Mr Gaddafi killing his own people (while disregarding the, at last count, 45 people that the Yemen government killed yesterday)but what’s the game after we have done that? Do we leave and assume that Mr Gaddafi will have learned his lesson. Don't mess with Mr Cameron; Blair may have kissed you, but Eton boys only kiss other Eton boys ...or at a push Westminster School boys.

    Nope, Mrs Clinton has already said that he has to go, and so has Mr Cameron (the two will be connected as night follows day). So regime change it is then. But there’s not any structure for government in Libya. The rebels have run Benghazi so far, but have they the knowledge and experience to run a whole oil rich country; would they be just as bad? There will have to be nation building; so who will build? Us? We can’t even build our own, as the riots on the streets over the next year will doubtless show. It may be that we will require foreign intervention. That would be funny. The Brits go off and show the Libyans how to run a country and the Danes can come and show us.

  6. Hmmmm... Very funny Niko. Why don't you apply for the job?

  7. Good tune there Niko.

    Every prime minister has to ahve a war. And it won't do Cameron any harm together with Wullie's nuptuals, in a year where I predict blood on the streets of his capital.

  8. Oh, that's as long as he wins and he can claim no casualties.... and no protracted stay.

  9. I suppose we must give credit where its due and Cameron and Sarkozy did press for the no fly zone early on while the USA vacillated. And while it is not a consistent policy for support of democracy against tyrants it’s at least better than nothing. So well done Mr Cameron and Mr Sarkozy!

  10. Munguin:

    Certainly all their majesties in the Middle East must be worried in case the might of the British Army descend upon them too. After all, you can't object to one country murdering its citizens unless you object to others doing it... and what with the Chinese at it and the Russians, I suspect we'd better cancel the forces' cuts.

  11. Yes Munguin...but has it been thought out?

    As I said above, what happens elsewhere?

  12. Sir Malcolm Rifkind is positively beaming and slavering on Pravda24 News. Excited that Gaddafi is to be 'taught a lesson'.
    I think Malcolm should volunteer to be strapped into the back of a Tornado on the first bombing run over Tripoli. See if he is still keen on the war.
    He seems oblivious to the fact that the troops who will die are the one's threatened with death if they refused to carry out Gaddafi's orders.
    Oh and of course thousands of children will die due to the inconvenient 'collateral damage'.
    With Afghanistan and Iraq being total failures why will anything be different with this quagmire ?

  13. Of course, Mr Janus, all you say is true, but it is also true to say that if someone doesn't help them, Gaddafi will kill anyone who had any part in the rebellion against him.

    It's six and two threes.

  14. tris..
    So why are we attacking Libya and not Bahrain, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Saudi, UAE, Oman, Zimbabwe, China, Russia, Yemen, Algeria, Jordan, Sri Lanka etc...
    All are equal or worse than Libya.

  15. That was my exact question in the post (although you have added some more countries, quite rightly, to my list. Ivory Coast is also a case in point.)

  16. Tris.

    I'm at odds over attacking Gaddafi.Yes we need to show him that he can't simply attack his people because most of them want him out but the question I have to ask is, What about Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen? All 3 Despots from these countries are also shooting their civilians and killing them.

    If we are going to remove one despot then we should remove them all.

    Cameron has lead the way on this and I do like the idea that France is taking the lead roll on the air strikes rather than the US and they are also punting their aircraft carrier closer to Libya. France was the only nation that recognised the rebels as the new government so they probably had to act to save them.

    The biggest problem here is not the removal of Gaddafi but what comes after it. He is unpopular but Libya is tribal and I can see us having to send in UN peacekeepers to keep the factions apart.

    In all, I believe Cameron took action because he felt it was right, unlike Blair who went after Iraq's oil on a lie.

  17. I'm a sixes and sevens over it too Allan. I realise that we can't intervene everywhere in the world where there is trouble. Indeed Britain is so broke that it's cutting help for desperately poor people of its own without being heavily engaged in the support of others.

    I just don't understand why we have to be in the forefront every time. We are not rich; our prime minister has less than a year's experience and has only been in parliament for 5 years or so. Our foreign secretary Wee Willie, couldn't run a bath and our defence secretary Bigot Fox is ...well, a bigot and a fool, not to mention a dodgy geezer when it comes to money.

    So...would it not be a better idea if a richer country with just as little experience did the work? We could take the part of a broke, but well meaning, little country by sending along the number of troops we could afford.

    However, if we are going to get involved big-time, then maybe the prime minister could be honest about why we are doing it. After all our old people are freezing in their homes so that this can be afforded, the least we could expect is a little bit of honesty. Heaven knows we didn't get it from the last lot, but I thought that toffs were taught to tell the truth...

  18. Tris.

    I think Cameron took the lead in getting nations together but on the military front it looks like France and the US are leading the way.

    I'm not convinced that we are doing this over oil because under Gaddafi we were getting oil from him without any hassle and we were doing billions of trade with him so it would had probably been better for us to have the despot stay.

    I hope they do target the little golf buggy he was sitting in with his umbrella, that appears to be his comfort zone lol.