Less is more: Libya

Rory Stewart on the outcome in Libya has this to say as his conclusion of an article on Libya

Libya is still very fragile. If there is peace, it is not because of the new government, it is because the criminals and spoilers are staying at home. Policing is largely coming from ‘local committees’: groups of armed men from neighbourhoods, from very young to very old, some connected to mosques, many not. Committees may not disarm, there may be fights between tribes. Islamists may become more powerful. There will be incompetence and corruption and human rights abuses. And a powerful international lobby will urge the West to ‘solve these problems’: to send thousands of consultants under the slogans of ‘state-building’ and ‘capacity-building’, or even to send our troops for ‘stabilisation’. That we must resist. There is a real limit to how much the West knows about Libya, still less to how much we can do to fix fundamental structural problems if they emerge. Meanwhile, Libya is not a threat to its people or its neighbours. Too many Western ‘advisers’ risk making things worse: making the government appear like a foreign puppet; stirring Islamist resentment; raising expectations we cannot meet. We would soon be trapped by our guilt at lost lives, and deter Libyans from taking responsibility for their own future – to their detriment and ours. In Libya, as in much of the world, when it comes to foreign involvement: less is more.

Less is more: Libya.

Independent speaks it’s mind

Silvio Berlusconi has been overheard referring to the German leader, Angela Merkel, as an 'unfuckable lard-arse'
Silvio Berlusconi has been overheard referring to the German leader, Angela Merkel, as an 'unfuckable lard-arse'

That’s what the Independent said.  The caption was captured below.

Silvio Berlusconi has been overheard referring to the German leader, Angela Merkel, as an 'unfuckable lard-arse'

May not remain there for too long


Merkel undermined by outspoken MPs – Europe, World – The Independent.

The day I sat in Tony Blair’s chair and sacked Gordon Brown by Piers Morgan

Drinking Buddies or More?

Perhaps you are wondering why there is little attention to the story that Piers Morgan has lied about his involvement in Voicemail Hacking?

Perhaps you are wondering why you should be interested in the story.

Perhaps this article from 2008 will give an idea of the sort of influence that Mr Morgan once had on the UK Government. Here are a selection of some of the more cringing moments:

The article starts out with

Genius, tax thief, visionary, bottler… pundits describe Gordon Brown as any and all of these things. But Piers Morgan has dined, drunk, debated and gossiped with him for more than a decade … and in this article written for GQ he reveals what the Prime Minister is truly like.

On Gordon

I have spent more than a decade dining with Gordon Brown, arguing, joking, drinking and gossiping with him, and even discussing the finer points of microeconomics with him (very micro in my case).

So I would say I am in a better position than most to tell you what he is really like.

Some character trait facts first: he’s not a big drinker, has never taken drugs, doesn’t swear much but likes his footie.

He’s polite, even beguiling, to women, jokey with blokes, loyal to friends and family, and he can be surprisingly kind and sensitive.

He is much more charming off camera than on, and funnier too. I’ve not met many people who tell anecdotes like Gordon.

On the other hand, I’ve witnessed him be fiery, dogmatic, impatient, bored and ruthless to political enemies. Just ask the quivering carcasses of those who crossed him, such as Alan Milburn, Charles Clarke or David Blunkett.

On Blair

I remember sitting in Blair’s office after he came to power and him telling me: “Gordon’s incredibly important to this government. He has enormous political and intellectual depth. He really is one of the cleverest people in politics in a very long time.

On Gordon and Budgets

One of the trickier exercises for me as an editor was Budget day, mainly because I knew Gordon would call me after finishing his speech to ask what I thought of his announcements.

And that was, for an intellectual numbskull, a bit like Albert Einstein phoning to ask what I thought of his theory of relativity. “Piers, it’s Gordon, what did you think?” he would say.

“Well, Gordon,” I would stammer. “I thought your initiative on the escalator tax was most prudent.”

He’d grunt his appreciation and embark on an absurdly detailed analysis of his own budget and how it would directly help my readers.

By the end of our conversation, I’d say something pathetic like: “That all sounds brilliant, Gordon, congratulations”

And I would then limply return to my computer screen and prepare a front-page headline saying something deeply critical, such as: “BROWN’S A GENIUS!”

Fortunately, the Financial Times usually came to a similar conclusion. So did most of Gordon’s Cabinet colleagues, thus affording him more power than any Chancellor in recent times.

On Dinner Parties

I think I get invited along to his dinner parties as some sort of court jester, to wind up other guests and generally be as provocative as I can.

His Modesty

I suppose the point of this story, other than shamelessly boasting that I have the ability to affect the mood of one of the country’s most powerful men, is that Gordon is not a robot. He’s human.

On being at Ross Kemp’s 40th Birthday bash ( I wonder if his Ross’s wife was there?)

When I was sacked from the Daily Mirror, I never heard a word from him. When I bumped into him a few months later at the actor Ross Kemp’s 40th birthday party, he looked embarrassed.

“Ah, Piers, how are you? I tried calling you but you must have changed your number.”

I was in no hurry to dampen his awkwardness. “No, no, it’s the same one as always, Gordon. In fact, your wife got through on it OK.”

On the election that never was

Gordon made a brilliant start as Prime Minister but was severely knocked by the will-he-won’t-he Election farce. I urged him to go for it, but caution got the better of him. The debacle gave David Cameron a huge boost.

So here we have a man who was, allegedly, aware of all the hacking with a big influence on Gordon Brown. No surprise Gordon got us into such a woeful economic mess with friends and advisors like that.

The day I sat in Tony Blair’s chair and sacked Gordon Brown by Piers Morgan | Mail Online.

Two Royal Marines killed in Helmand


Always and Forever

Sadly it seems that Afghanistan has taken a further toll on our Forces. The MOD reports:

It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must announce that two Royal Marines from 42 Commando Royal Marines were killed in Afghanistan yesterday, Friday 27 May 2011.

The Marines were killed by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) while on a joint Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operation to clear parts of the Loy Mandeh area of the Nad-e Ali (North) District of Helmand Province.

Spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Major Rolf Kurth, said:

“It is my sad duty to inform you of the death of two Royal Marines from 42 Commando Royal Marines in the Loy Mandeh area of the Nad-e Ali District of Helmand Province.

“The two Royal Marines were on patrol, disrupting insurgent activity when they were killed by an explosion caused by an IED. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends in their time of grief.”

Next of kin have been informed and have asked for a period of grace before further details are released.

My thoughts are with their family and friends at this sad time.

I had hoped it would be a while before I had to blog about the deaths of our Armed Forces in Afghanistan but sadly it seems not. I can only hope it will be a while before I have to again.

Ministry of Defence | Defence News | Military Operations | Two Royal Marines killed in Helmand.

Mountains of Debt

This image should be displayed to all supporters of Labour to get just an idea of what you  have lumbered our country with after 13 years of profligacy.

The trouble with this picture is that

  • It underestimates our debt. It is nearer one trillion, that’s an extra ten percent or 17 times the cuts announced yesterday
  • It ignores the fact that the mountain will continue growing, like an active volcano, for at least the next 7-10 years as we try to get the budget deficit left by Labour under control. The mountain could be 50% larger in 5 years.
  • It ignores all Gordon’s creative accounting and “off-book” deals such as PFI. How much they add is anybody’s guess, mine is about 10-15% or 100-150 billion.
  • It ignores the rather large Public Pensions black hole.

So whilst you regard the image,   just remember that this is just the current peak of the Volcano. It will grow, and depending upon how things go it will either gradually wear away as we get the debt and deficit under control  or it will explode and we will really suffer for Labour and Brown’s 13 years of Profligacy.

Better a wee bit of Austerity now, than complete collapse.

Labour Debt Mountain

indie25may.png (PNG Image, 718×824 pixels).

Liam Fox: defence review is under way

The Defence Secretary said that as well as conducting the review, his priority was to ensure troops in Afghanistan were well equipped.

“We’re all concerned about the political excitement here but we have to remember that in Afghanistan our armed forces are involved in a very brutal and bloody war and we have to ensure that they have everything they need to do the job that we have asked them to do in our name,” he said. “So the number one priority has to be to look after our armed forces,” he said.

“There will be a number of challenges because the time I spent working as a doctor with the armed forces taught me that it’s not just about our frontline forces themselves, it’s also about the families. And we have to pay more attention to service families and their needs as we also have to do with service veterans. I think that in this country we need to treat our veterans in the way that the best of other countries treat their veterans.”

Fox also added that the coalition government arrangement with the Liberal Democrats would allow the Trident replacement programme go ahead.

“We’ve got a very clear agreement that we will continue with the nuclear deterrent. The Liberals have said that they would like to look at what other alternatives in terms of costs of the nuclear deterrent will be. I will certainly want to scrutinise the cost of the Trident replacement programme but the ultimate responsibility is to keep Britain safe and protect the generations of the future from whatever threats may emerge in a dangerous world.

“We cannot play fast and loose with the country’s security and we will not.”

Fox: defence review is under way – Defence Management.

Strike Two – ID Cards are goners

The Death of the Labour Stasi ID Cards

Identity cards

Both Parties that now form the new Government stated in their manifestos that they will cancel Identity Cards and the National Identity Register. We will announce in due course how this will be achieved. Applications can continue to be made for ID cards but we would advise anyone thinking of applying to wait for further announcements.

Until Parliament agrees otherwise, identity cards remain valid and as such can still be used as an identity document and for travel within Europe. We will update you with further information as soon as we have it.

IPS – Identity cards.

The Conservative Prime Minister – David Cameron

The Conservative Prime Minister – David Cameron

A great day for the UK, a great day For Conservatives and even a great day for Liberal Democrats.

Let us look forward to the next five years of proper Government.

Apparently a whine and a whinge was heard across Scotland when Kay Burley asked Alex Salmond about David Cameron as Prime Minister.  Apparently the Celtic Whinge was not greatly impressed that his whole 6 seats in Scotland didn’t allow him to become PM instead of David Cameron and steal a billion pounds from the rest of the Country.

David Cameron’s Speech

Her Majesty The Queen has asked me to form a new Government and I have accepted.

Before I talk about that new Government, let me say something about the one that has just passed.

Compared with a decade ago this country is more open at home, and more compassionate abroad and that is something we should all be grateful for and on behalf of the whole country I’d like to pay tribute to the outgoing Prime Minister for his long record of dedicated public service.

In terms of the future, our country has a hung Parliament where no party has an overall majority and we have some deep and pressing problems, a huge deficit, deep social problems and a political system in need of reform.  For those reasons, I aim to form a proper and full coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.  I believe that is the right way to provide this country with the strong, the stable, the good and decent Government that I think we need so badly.

Nick Clegg and I are both political leaders who want to put aside party differences and work hard for the common good and for the national interest.  I believe that is the best way to get the strong Government that we need, decisive Government that we need today.

I came in to politics because I love this country.  I think its best days still lie ahead and I believe deeply in public service.  And I think the service our country needs right now is to face up to our really big challenges to confront our problems, to take difficult decisions, to lead people through those difficult decisions so that together we can reach better times ahead.

One of the tasks that we clearly have is to rebuild trust in our political system.  Yes that’s about cleaning up expenses, yes that’s about reforming Parliament and yes it’s about making sure people are con, in control and that the politicians are always their servants and never their masters.

But I believe it’s also something else.  It’s about being honest about what Government can achieve.  Real change is not what Government can do on its own.  Real change is when everyone pulls together, comes together, works together when we all exercise our responsibilities to ourselves, to our families, to our communities and to others.  And I want to help try and build a more responsible society here in Britain, one where we don’t just ask what are my entitlements, but what are my responsibilities.  When we don’t ask where what am I just owed, but more what can I give.  And a guide for that society that those who can should and those who can’t we will always help.

I want to make sure that my Government always looks after the elderly, the frail, the poorest in our country.  We must take everyone through us on some of the difficult decisions that we have ahead.  Above all it will be a Government that is built on some clear values, values of freedom, values of fairness and values of responsibility.  I want us to build an economy that rewards work.  I want us to build a society with stronger families and stronger communities and I want a political system that people can trust and look up to once again.

This is going to be hard and difficult work.  A coalition will throw up all sorts of challenges, but I believe together we can provide that strong and stable Government that our country needs based on those values, rebuilding family, rebuilding community, above all rebuilding responsibility in our country.

Those are the things I care about; those are the things that this Government will now start work on doing.

Thank you very much.

The Conservative Party | News | Speeches | David Cameron: Statement in Downing Street.