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Can Brown go on not giving a view?

August 25th, 2009


SkyNews

Is this response going to suffice?

As anybody who has followed PB threads in recent days there are sharp divisions over the Scottish government’s decision to release to Lockerbie bomber.

One person who has yet to give a view is Gordon Brown and today at a press conference he continued with that line.

Clearly there are a whole lot of issues involved – relations with the US and the leadership in Libya to name just two – and as PM things are much more complex than, say, with David Cameron who is not encumbered with office.

The problem is that the position of not making a firm statement could become increasingly hard to sustain. No doubt Cameron will be on the attack again.

Just watching him condemn the welcome that Megrahi received on his home-coming seemed to magnify the absence of a firm view on the main issue from the PM.

I was very struck by these observations from Philip Stephen of the FT highlighted by AntiFrank on the previous thread:-

“No amount of protestations will counter the impression that this was essentially a political decision: that Britain judged it in the national interest, diplomatic and commercial, for Colonel Gaddafi to be indulged.

This is not to say that Mr Brown struck a specific bargain with the Libyan leader to trade Mr Megrahi for business contracts. Nor do I think Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, sought such a quid pro quo when he met Saif Gaddafi. But that, really, is beside the point.

The west – including, it should be said, the US – has decided Libya’s return to the international community is a significant strategic prize. It has surrendered its unconventional weapons and cut financial support for the myriad terrorist groups that could once rely on Tripoli’s largesse. Factor in oil and gas and Colonel Gaddafi becomes a tyrant to be indulged.

Mr Megrahi’s release is a reminder of the price of such realpolitik – albeit one amplified by the naivety of British politicians at the Libyan leader’s likely reaction to his return home.

Mike Smithson