The duplicity of the Government in dealing with the fallout of the release of al-Megrahi continues to unravel. Its starting position was that it had nothing to do with al-Megrahi’s release which has now shifted to one where it didn’t want him to die in prison.
It would have been far better for the Government to have been honest and simply say that they returned a dying man to his home country in exchange of several lucrative business contracts which would benefit UK businesses – that is most likely the reality of this situation and presumably what everyone believes anyway and to try and suggest otherwise is to take the public for fools.
The death of Michael Jackson knocked the situation in Iran off the main slot in the news media. At the time, the police were restoring their control after the mass demonstrations and once control was regained, we started hearing noises from the Clergy and others that the demonstrations were treasonous plots to overthrow the Government and those involved should be tried for treason. It sounded very familiar and with the foreign media being monitored and restricted in their movements we expected a firm crackdown by pro government militia and the Police.
However it is being reported that that the Clerics in the city of Qom who are regarded as the most influential of all Clerics in Iran have declared President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election to be illegitimate and have condemned the crackdown against those protesting. This is highly significant and is akin to a direct challenge to the authority of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and will no doubt be a huge fillip to those who are claiming the election was rigged. Whether the Clerics in Qom are able to do anything more than make a statement is debatable. I doubt if their comments will lead to a recount of the votes or a new election but their statement is significant and may ensure that the expected crackdown against those demonstrating isn’t brutal and that any future elections will be fairer and more closely monitored. It’s a small step but nevertheless very significant.
The Telegraph is reporting that Alan Johnson has announced that holding an ID card for Britons will be voluntary. This is a major climb down and a victory for all those such as David Davis MP who felt this policy was an infringement of our liberties and campaigned hard against its introduction.
We were told that ID cards were necessary to:
(Home Office website)
Has the Government found another way of dealing with these concerns or is the real reason for
scrapping amending the scheme due to the state of the nations finances? Estimated costs of introducing ID cards were in the region of £5-15 billion – money that the Treasury simply hasn’t got.
There is condemnation in the media, press and public this morning of MP’s from all parties after heavily edited and ‘blacked out’ expenses were published. The redacted publication of expenses is according to our elected members an apparent step towards openness and transparency.
MP’s rightly feel embarrassed for outrageously abusing the expenses system but removing pages from their files of expenses prior to publication will only lead to more outrage and reduce their standing further. By taking this course of action, every MP has given the Telegraph several months more of expenses headlines as its reporters will now sift through every MP’s published expenses and compare this to what it holds on its database of expenses which it obtained and highlight what each MP has tried to hide.
Surely a better way forward would have been to publish every single detail, repay what was excessive and apologise for abusing the system. At least that would have given every MP the defence of saying that he had been open and honest with his expenses instead of the ongoing negative headlines and cries of dishonesty.
The number of people out of work increased by 232 000 in the three months to April 2009 with unemployment now at at 12 year high of 2.36 million.
At this rate of increase, Labour will leave office with more people out of work than when it came into power!
The announcement that the Iraq war inquiry will be held in private is regrettable to say the least. David Cameron has rightly described it as ‘an establishment stitch-up.’ Holding the inquiry in private will mean that its findings will be viewed with the same suspicion as the previous reports/inquiries into the Iraq War and doubts will remain as to whether access to all relevant documents is granted and adequately scrutinised. And to state from the outset that no blame will be apportioned is just ludicrous. How can a serious recommendation be made if a mistake isn’t acknowledged and identified?
This inquiry should be held in public or not at all as this Government’s record on transparency on this issue is non existent. It has previously defeated Conservative proposals to force a public inquiry and vetoed the publication of minutes of cabinet meetings discussing the legality of the war; and the Hutton and Butler inquiries raised more questions than answering them.
But the biggest cop out of all is that the inquiry will only report its finding after the next general election when many of the cabinet/elected members who should be held accountable have been re-elected or have retired or have lost their seats! By delaying the inquiry the Government has ensured that no one will be held responsible or accountable for the deceit in taking this country to war.