Having just watched this weeks edition of Question Time....and managed, barely, to NOT shout at the tv (it was a close thing a few times)...I'm going to vent for a bit.
Rant Mode Activated.
I am very very tired of the childish arguments being used concerning Libya. I really feel that its a classic example of Britain's ability to have the right debate at the totally wrong time. We whine about our government having sold weapons to Gaddafi, as if thats a reason to not get involved. We whine about how Libya has oil and it looks hypocritical, as if thats a reason to not get involved. We whine about "Why aren't we also going into [insert name of country here] as if thats a reason to not get involved. These may all be good points, but this is not the time to be bringing them up, and to use them as some sort of smug, armchair quarterback argument for not getting involved in Libya is just pathetic, in my mind.
The weapons thing...It does not matter right now if Gaddafi got weapons from our Government. The issue right now is that he has weapons, not where he got them. We can worry about that part later, right now the fact is that he has them and he is using them against his own people, civilians as well as rebels. I'm sure the rebels don't care too much about where he got them right now. If a man is pointing a gun at you, are you going to be worrying about who he bought it from, or whether or not he's going to fire it? If we really want to make an issue about not getting involved because we sold arms to Gaddafi, look at it like this...hes using weapons WE sold him to kill his own people. We are ALREADY involved. The question is what we're going to do about it.
The oil thing...Indeed, the fact that Libya lots of oil is probably a factor. It was certainly a factor when Blair and Brown were snuggling up to Mad Dog Gaddafi in recent years. My question is...so what? Should we instead be standing back and waggling our fingers and saying "Sorry Libyan's, we can't get involved and stop Gaddafi from killing his own people, because it might look like we're just in it for the oil. you'll just have to die, our image is more important?" ...Of course not. In this case, we CAN get involved, the Arab League is behind it, the positioning allows it...so sod how it looks...people are dying and this time we can do something about it.
Which leads onto The Why aren't We Also In X thing...this is the one that realy sticks in my craw. Ive watched four editions of Question Time, in a row, where this has been brought up, and each time the person has sat back looking all smug, as if they've made a stunning argument. Its just...pathetic. Childish. Are these people seriously suggesting that because we haven't also intervened in a whole bunch of other conflicts, then we shouldn't do so in this one? If we followed that reasoning we wouldn't get involved in any at all, even when we should. The fact is we're a small nation and we can't be everywhere at once. Sometimes the political situations are vastly differant too, one of the reasons that makes this one viable is the local Governments, the Arab League, support it. In others, they don't, so intervention would be harder without that support. Its too simplistic to compare all these differant countries and situations on a like-for-like basis. We can't use a failure to act in some cases as a reason NOT to act in this case. On a basic level, you have to start somewhere. On a more complex level, you have to pick your battles. One panelist on Question Time (think it was 2 weeks ago) made it very clear, repeatedly, that in this instance not only is it RIGHT that we get involved, but that almost all the components are in place that allow us to. In that case, not to act would be far far worse. A situation were we SHOULD act, and CAN....and then to NOT? That would practicaly be a crime against humanity. It would certainly be loathsome and selfish.
And while I'm in rant mode...can people please stop bumping their gums about the Megrahi release, at least until they've thought about it for five seconds? First of all, I beleive that the Scottish Justice Minister made his decision in good faith on the basis of the information he had at the time. That Megrahi hasn't died yet isn't Kenny Macaskill's fault, yet all and sundry are lining up to vilify him and say how wrong they thought it all was. I'm impressed with Alex Salmond's performance tonight, actually...where he made clear the hypocrisy of the Labour government, who wanted Megrahi released under the prisoner release component of The Deal In The Desert, for reasons of money, and oil, and politics...but those same Labour politicians are now saying that the ??????Scottish Government was wrong in its decision to release him on compassionate grounds, by reason of Scottish Law uninfluenced by the British Government. The two-facedness of that is staggering, and Alex Salmond was right to drag it out and show it for what it is.
Let me continue to be blunt. I've seen what cancer does to someone. Its vile. Its...evil. Its cruel. Im glad that the Scottish Government wants to temper justice with mercy, not vengeance. Before anyone jumps up and down and screams about how Megrahi is getting what he deserves....I suggest you shut your hole and go see what cancer does to someone. Really go look. Then come back and tell me you could wish that on anyone, even someone believed to be a terrorist.
A lot of people have been vehement about how Megrahi should die in jail, because of what hes convicted of having done. However...The ?Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) has stated that it has found no less that SIX points of concern regarding that conviction, and that they believe it to be unsafe. So I will say this. It is absolutely incumbent on us as a society, to ensure that if we are to demand that ANY person die in jail, that weare as sure as we can possibly be that they are actually guilty. Six points of concern says to me that we really don't know if Megrahi is guilty or not. So can we all stop demanding he rot from the inside out, as if thats some kind of perverse justice...and determine if he actually IS responsible in some way for Lockerbie? Because if hes not...then who is? Six points of concern...six...that cannot be allowed to stand. That has to be investigated. Because it creates the very real possibility that the real perpetrator is still at large. The families of the Lockerbie victims deserve to know the truth, once and for all. Megrahi's conviction is so shaky that it indermines the credibility of what those families have been told. In the end, they still dont have the answers they need.
In any case, the idea that he could have done it alone, in a vacuum, without the orders of his Government (that would be Gaddafi, btw...) is ludicrous. He would have to have been issued orders. So locking him up, but not going after the men who gave the orders, is hardly justice.
Rant Move De-Activated.