The Curmudgeon


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Crowd Control

Sir John Stanley, who was Minister for Our Boys at about the time we were helping to arm Saddam Hussein, has rebuked the Government for allowing weapons exports to the wrong sort of Arab. The Minister for Lord Ashcroft and sometime Foreign Secretary, Willem den Haag, has taken advantage of the turmoil caused by the Government's other major sponsor, and has allowed a report to slip out concerning the review of Britain's exports to governments which handle popular demonstrations in ways of which the Metropolitan Firearms and Headbangers' Club can still only dream. The review was undertaken at the behest of the Commons committees on arms exports, which registered annoyance at the fact that official guidelines were being circumvented in the name of profit and to the detriment of others. The committees were also unhappy with the Government's failure to demonstrate much interest in whether individual arms exports are linked to bribery and corruption; presumably the events of the last couple of weeks have provided some helpful hints on that one.

The committees further demanded that the Government give some indication of "how it intends to reconcile the potential conflict of interest between increased emphasis on promoting arms exports with the staunch upholding of human rights", a question which den Haag has answered in perfect New Labour fashion by waiting a couple of months and then shrugging the matter off: "Consultations with our overseas posts revealed no evidence that any of the offensive naval, air or land-based military platforms used by governments in north Africa or the Middle East against their own populations during the Arab spring, were supplied from the United Kingdom". Sir John Stanley has pointed out that, to paraphrase one of Tony's chums, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence; especially in the absence of official observers and "the fact that the UK government-approved arms exports including machine guns, sniper rifles, combat shotguns and ammunition were not emblazoned with Union Jacks". It is as yet unclear whether Stanley's attack is a show of principle or simply a case of trouble-making by one of those in the Not Particularly Bright Party who would like to see Daveybloke's Cuddlies replaced with something more overtly rabid; but Willem den Haag's inability to convince his own back-benchers, and on an issue as close to the Tory heart as killing wogs for profit, certainly indicates that his competence since the Libya fiasco has taken leaps and bounds towards more or less where it was before.


  • At 7:47 pm , Anonymous Madame X said...

    Alas, military shipments to repressive regimes do allow said regimes to free up other resources to use against their own populations. But if inventory control is the concern here, I'm sure it's all on the up and up.


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