Sunday, March 20, 2011

Nick Clegg's e-mail on Libya - and why I tentatively support the international action

This e-mail from Nick Clegg was sent to Party members before the air strikes on Libya began last night but I thought I'd post it anyway.

I am worried about the action and I just hope that it will save and protect lives in Libya. When a leader tells his own people that he's coming to get them and they won't be shown mercy, I do feel that it would be wrong to stand by and just let him commit genocide. It calls for urgent action and the international community has already been dithering for long enough. That's not to say that what we're doing isn't fraught with risk and danger. There could be some very unpleasant consequences if we're not careful. Let's just hope the loss of life is minimal and that Libya, in common with other countries in that region, eventually has a genuine, participative democracy. It's happened across Eastern Europe, something that I as a child thought would be impossible.

To those who say "why Libya and not Bahrain?" I do get what you're saying and I baulked a bit at David Cameron's comments the other day about the King there being willing to consider reforms. He's allowed the Saudis to come in and brutalise his own people and there's no excuse for that and the proposed reforms aren't even baby steps. However, I do accept that he is in a different league from Gaddaffi and there is the possibility of more progress by peaceful means in Bahrain. The Colonel, on the other hand, is now very clearly outside the international tent again and is in a position to embark on all sorts of nastiness beyond his own borders, as he did before. Tony Blair's rapprochement with this character has to be filed away in the already huge file "What were Labour thinking?" 

Anyway, here is Nick's e-mail.

Dear Caron,

As you will have seen in the news our coalition government has successfully led efforts in the UN Security Council to agree a ‘no-fly zone’ across Libya.

Colonel Gaddafi’s treatment of his own people has been brutal, savage and wholly unacceptable. We have worked with Libya’s regional neighbours, especially the Arab League, and countries across the globe, to secure a resolution in UN Security Council. This resolution will allow us to act lawfully  in deploying our forces to up-hold a ‘no-fly zone’ in Libya.

The Prime Minister gave a statement yesterday, which you can read here. And on Monday we will have a full debate in the House of Commons, followed by a vote. In addition we will be publishing a summary of the legal advice of the Attorney-General. 

That is the right approach. This is a coalition government that will act decisively to protect innocent lives and uphold universal human rights. But one which will do so working with, not against, international law and the international community. 

Best wishes,   

Nick Clegg MP
Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats

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