Friday, April 11, 2008

Al-Yamamah Deal: Gordon Brown Should Stand Firm

Military procurement expert Iain Dale has set up a false dichotomy in this extraordinarily naive post on BAe Systems and the Sauds.

Interestingly Malcolm Rifkind was on Channel 4 News last night and pretty much backed all the relevant decisions. It is hard to escape the following conclusions:

1. Tories in power would have done exactly the same as Blair did, and will do so if they ever get back into power;

2. The Public Interest rationale is NOT properly understood by the more up their own arse and political elements of the judiciary and actually allows governments to do things that are unlawful - makes them lawful I suppose - if there are good enough reasons;

3. We all know that Saudis have had commissions, kick backs, introduction fees, marketing payments, consultancy, bribes etc. From French, USA, Swiss, Brits, whoever wants to trade there. We don't need to spend millions to confirm that;

4. We all know that this is usual practice in various world markets for arms, for oil and even for sports centres (it's a long story that one);

5. Tories in government would have done the same. Their commentati should grow up. Particularly boy bloggers. Brown should say no. Cameron should back him up. Leave the Lib Dems voting against jobs and pragmatic if dirty realism;

It is not a case of knife Tory Blair OR lose the order as Mr Dale seems to suppose in a woefully false and naive dichotomy. It is an AND. Knife AND lose. So don't knife Tory Blair, don't lose order seems the correct response here.

I say this even as a long term supporter of CAAT who would clearly prefer there to be far less weapons in the world and far less arse kickinglicking with Sauds.

There are some good comments back at Iain's including one from Richard Dale who says this:

I know someone deeply involved in the investigation. Despite his being a lawyer I would trust his judgement (he is a very good and, unusually, a very honest lawyer) and more importantly it was in his interest for the case to continue, as he was being paid by the hour.

He says that the decision was entirely correct. While there was plenty of evidence of payments that went against British morals, none of them were actually illegal at the time they were made. Despite what a lot of lefties try (including or government) laws should not and generally are not made retrospective.


Anonymous said...

Interesting judgment ... did you notice that lawyers spell that word without a second 'e' ... I am proposing to read it more carefully over the weekend and blog about it on Monday.

At the outset, it seems to me that the problem for the Government goes back to the 'sofa' style and its refusal to adopt 'proper' systems of control ... you see this in the way it reacted to the legal decision about the detention in Belmarsh (when the rule of law was suspended for a time) as well as in the way in which this decision was taken.

Given that the Tories have a greater respect for the constitutional proprieties I suspect that they would have reached a similar conclusion and decision - indeed the report from 1992 is still not available for security reasons - but the quesiton I ask myself is, would they have acted so 'cackhandedly'? (is that a word?)

We need to divorce the decision under attack - the decision to stop the SFA investigation - and the contractual relationship and the allegations of corruption when considering the judgment itself.

In relation to the allegations of corruption, I am not certain that there will ever be enough evidence to justify a prosecution - particularly as the alleged victim is so reluctant to have the matter investigated that they have threatened (whether meaning it or not) to stop cooperating in other areas unless the investigation was stopped ... but that is a different point altogether.

Chris Paul said...

Judgment. Yep. her indoors mostly does that. On work matters.

Richard Dale's insider info that the moves were immoral but not illegal is important I feel.

Dragging out the personal financial runnings of anyone with no prospect of a conviction does appear to be punishment ahead of "exoneration".

Much as it would be fun we've not the money to do it particularly if all the various victims:

Saudi State (oevrpayers), British State (long suffereing subsidisers), BAe Systems (over spenders on "marketing")

Aren't actually interested in gaining retribution. Are there other victims? Yes, I suppose the British taxpayer in a way.

But aside from the self deluding and irreesponsible popinjays of the Libs and the far left who wants to spend more money to tell us what we know and add to the SFA strike out rate?