Tuesday, June 12, 2007

One rule for them ...

Once again the Government that promised an 'ethical foreign policy' is in hot water, this time because of the Al Yamamah affair.

I was listening to a discussion about this on the Today programme on Saturday morning between a recent ex-diplomat and Craig Murray.

The recent ex-diplomat argued that the Government's aim should be to decide what is in the 'national interest' and act accordingly. He believed that the damage to our relations with Saudi Arabia, in particualr the possible loss of their cooperation in fighting terrorism, meant it was reasonable for the Government to cover up the bribery.

Craig Murray made a far more convincing case - that our long term interests can only be served by operating within the law - and that our failure to do so means a) giving ammunition to terrorists and b) means we have no leg to stand on when criticising anyone else.

The recent ex diplomat was left trying to argue, rather unconvincingly, that we should be against bribery and corruption in Africa but allow it to carry on in the Middle East.

It seems pretty obvious to me that we can never expect other countries to obey the rule of law if we aren't willing to oursleves.

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