BBC Question Time video: cross-party support for Blair’s Gaddafi “deal”

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    21st March 2011

    In recent years I have found both the “Questions” programmes over-supplied with hypocrites from the liberal left who delight in calling others hypocrites. And that’s just the audiences! But this clip from a recent edition is worth watching. Partly because the audience seems to be in agreement with the majority of the panel members on the topic of Blair’s deal in the desert with Gaddafi.

    “Does Britain now look a fool for having made friends with Colonel Gaddafi?”

    Asked this question by a member of the audience the usual antieverythingBlairdoes suspects had a good old moan. The two upstanding upholders of that low-down stance were a journalist from the disillusioned left and the parliamentary leader of the pacifist Plaid Cymru.  Neither of these would know a human right if it fell down dead in front of them.

    But three of the speakers on this recent BBC1 Question Time programme, four if you include the mealy mouthing of the journalist who framed his praise in criticism, spoke out in support of Tony Blair’s decision to bring Gaddafi in from the cold.

    In the House of Commons debate today over the ongoing Libya action, Ed Miliband said that he believed “Tony Blair did the right thing in trying to bring Gaddafi into the international community”. It reminded me that Blair has almost universal informed support for this.  I did actually have to tweet a few twits last night who somehow think Blair’s “canoodling in the desert” was wrong.  It was clearly right. There may still be some doubts as to whether Gaddafi has retained some mustard gas, but it is clear that Gaddafi did dismantle the huge amount of WMD he had with delivery systems at that time. If he had retained them and kept them updated, who knows the situation that the Libyan people would be in today.

    Well done, Mr Blair.

    As you may have noticed in my previous BBC-targeted rantings (some listed below) I seldom follow Question Time or its Radio 4 equivalent Any Questions.

    Excerpts of the panelists’ remarks –

    Liberal Democrat (former Labour) Baroness Shirley Williams: “I think it’s more than the immediate response … But there’s one fact that is difficult as politics often is and stands in the way and that is that Tony Blair somehow managed to get Gaddafi to give up development of nuclear weapons … be a bit careful about saying that Tony Blair should have had nothing to do with him because there is this other factor and it’s a very big one.

    Fraser Nelson, Editor, The Spectator: “I was actually with Tony Blair Gaddafi Tripoli … and I kind of felt for him because you could see he didn’t like having to do it … I think it was the right decision then but it turns out that Gaddafi was making a fool out of all of us really, there’s the  question of did he have many weapons to give up … (more on that later) … and he didn’t democratise at all … they had … taken us for fools.”

    Janet Street-Porter, journalist & broadcaster: “OK, I take Shirley’s point about nuclear weapons but then, has Blair said anythink anything now? He’s incredible by his silence. I find it completely offensive!”

    Not as offensive as I find your double standards on Mr Blair. You want him to keep out of politics, until you want him to SAY something. She also said –

    “We don’t seem to care less about what happened in Libya for the last few years.”

    In the same way as we didn’t seem to care less about what happened in Iraq FOR THIRTY YEARS?

    Stupid woman.

    As it happens Mr Blair DID ring Gaddafi twice the day following this Question Time episode. Presumably Ms Street-Porter thinks that was her doing!

    Supplementary audience question: “How do we know that Colonel Gaddafi has given up his nuclear weapons or chemical weapons and how do we know that he did want democracy?”

    Peter Hain, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales (former minister Labour):

    “The answer to that is that … Gaddafi was forced by the British government headed by Tony Blair first of all to acknowledge that he had a nuclear weapons programme which he’d never acknowledged before and that was because our secret service discovered it and we confronted him and we then forced him into a position where he had to comply with his international obligations for the first time … supervised by the International Atomic Energy Agency the fact that he was getting rid of that nuclear weapons programme. Now, this is a man – by the way cozying up is not the right term. Nobody was cozying up to him. This is a man who’d sent semtex and bombs to the IRA to bomb our cities … ordered the killing of WPC Fletcher…  what we managed to do … to Tony Blair’s great credit … far from being made a fool of I think Tony Blair deserves a lot of credit for going out and doing a hard negotiation that forced him to give up nuclear weapons.”

    And Plaid Cymru leader Elfyn Llwyd cited “hypocrisy over ‘oil and the arms trade’ for which he got a strong round of audience applause.  (The “Question” audiences are still not exactly politically literate, imho). Challenged by Dimbleby as to what he would have done, the Welsh Nationalist blustered and said he’d have gone for “an ethical foreign policy as Robin Cook” espoused.

    Cheryl Gillham, Secretary of State for Wales: “I think we’ve got to live in the world of real politics and it may come as a bit of a surprise to you to say that Tony Blair’s intentions in dealing with Gaddafi at the time to get them to give up nuclear weapons he was well-intentioned and really meant to do well.”


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    ‘For all that seems mutable about the young Gaddafi today [Saif], there is a permanent legacy of the deal he supported then, of significant immediacy today: The destruction of some 3,300 aerial bombs and a large percentage of the 23.5 metric tons of chemical blister agent they were designed to deliver.

    “We will fight to the last minute, until the last bullet,” he said last week, but it will not be to the last mustard shell, thankfully — Seif al Islam al-Gaddafi has assured the world of both.’

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    One Response to “BBC Question Time video: cross-party support for Blair’s Gaddafi “deal””

    1. AbeBird Says:

      Why not asking the opinion of Inayat Bunglawala? Sure he has something to say!

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