The Deal in the Desert…

New Labour have done it again. Following on from Dan Cole’s great articles slamming New Labour and its catalogue of failings I wish to raise another key and topical failing of the New Labour regime: that of basic principle. In simple terms it is my belief that New Labour are completely and utterly devoid of principle. Now that may seem a sensationalist claim to make and indeed I do not doubt that those at the grassroots of the Labour movement have principles and convictions. After all they are the ones who work hard for the Labour party and its traditional values, they are the ones who take the flack from the people on the doorstep and desperately try to patch up the hull as the ship sinks due to the reckless course navagated by its captain. But the fact remains that their work and their principles are not reflected in those whom they elected to lead them.

The release of convicted murderer and Lockerbie terrorist Abdelbaset Al Megrahi is testament to how low this government will go for the sake of their own political future and commercial interest. Just last week Peter Mandleson, that thing your mother warned you about, slammed suggestions that the government had in any way acted in the release of Megrahi for commercial reasons and to give his denials the air of plausibility he even acted offended and outraged by the insinuation.”How very dare you!” indeed. Of course new documents have been leaked in recent days which clearly show that the government was involved in the release of Megrahi and commercial concerns were never off the negotiating table. In fact according to Saif Gaddafi, the Libyan dictator’s son, it was a trade agreement with Libya and BP worth an estimated £15bn which was the key  factor in the deal done to secure Megrahis release.

Even if you ignore Gadaffi’s testimony and the swathes of evidence to support it, one very telling point about all of this is the fact that whilst the government might slam suggestions they were involved and whilst they might ‘deplore’ the scenes which greeted the murderer home, they have yet to comment as to whether they believe he should have been released in the first place. Of course their excuse is that they didn’t want to be seen to be influencing the decision of a devolved administration. But the truth is that Labour ministers in London argue with Edinburgh on an almost daily basis, over matters as mundane as the council tax and who’s to pay for a new Forth Road Bridge so why not on such an important issue as the release of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing and the murder of over 200 people? The fact remains that the grand architecht of this deal was not Brown, nor dare I say it was it Mandleson, it was one Tony Blair. He was the one who struck the ‘deal in the desert’ in 2007 with Libyan dictator Gadaffi as part of the ‘thawing of relations’ and left it as part of his inheritance package, along with a crippled economy, to Brown and his bunch before swanning off in to the sunset and it is upon his shoulder responsibility for this outrage lays.

Stuart Hall once said that New Labour is a hybrid regime composed of two strands; the social democratic and the neo-liberal with the neo-liberal acting as the dominant. In other words economic concerns will always come before anything else for New Labour. Detractors on the left would claims that this is the result of the Thatcher revolution and that New Labour is merely the heir to Thatcher and Thatcherism’s legacy of profit before people and money before morals. In actual fact Thatcherism was more principled than that and Thatcher herself derided Libya as a ‘menace’ and consented to its bombing by Reagan in the late 1980’s. This New Labour regime is a warped variant of Thatcherism completely unprincipled in nature with its only motivation to make as much money as possible and hold on to power by what ever means at whatever cost.

In truth what rankles me most about this situation is the irony of it. Its not neccessarily the governments double handedness, trickery or duplicity, after 10 years were used to all that. Its the irony of the fact that when men and women of the British armed forces fight and die daily in foreign fields all in the name of fighting terror, when the government asks the British people to agree to restrictions on our liberties and invasions of our privacy, when it urges us to understand the bitter toll of young lives lost fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan as a ‘neccessary evil for a greater good’, we are somehow meant to accept that one of the worst terrorists in history should go home after serving a mere eight years, simply because he is unwell?

Madness? …. Welcome to the logic of Labour.

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