Friday, 21 October 2011

No Time to Lose

Well, that didn't take very long. Merely hours after the world was digesting the news that Colonel Gaddafi had been killed, Philip Hammond, the new Defence Secretary, was telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he hopes to see representatives from the British defence industry hopping on the next plane to Tripoli.

Philip Hammond was more than happy to concur, when asked by John Humphrys, whether in helping to liberate Libya it was only right that the UK should now benefit financially.

Humphrys put it to him:

"Should we not have a  'special relationship' with the new government when it comes to oil deals...have we earned something [thanks to our support]?"

To which Hammond responded:

"Of course I would expect British companies to be, even today, British sales directors, practically packing their suitcases and looking to get out to Libya and take part in the reconstruction of that country as soon as they can."

"Libya is a relatively wealthy country with oil reserves, and I expect there will be opportunities for British and other companies to get involved in the reconstruction of Libya."

Which leaves a bit of a sour taste in the mouth if you ask me. And doesn't really do much to convince those sceptical of the motives behind the military campaign (such as myself), that it was done for the best of intentions.

Last month The Guardian reported that France and Britain were already in competition to secure the best oil contracts, with the former describing it as a "fair and logical" step.

Daniel Kawczynski, a Tory backbencher, has also been on the radio this morning pointing out that Libya should themselves contribute to the costs of the war and reimburse Britain to the tune of £300m.

His rationale? The anger of his constituents at seeing Britain fork out for another foreign adventure, whilst public services, such as library closures, are being cut at home.

The problem for Mr Kawczynski is that he voted for both.

A slightly edited version of this article was published by Liberal Conspiracy on Thursday 27 October 2011.

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