Thursday, December 14, 2006

More Bad News to Bury in Blair's Shameful Day

So let's get this straight. On the day in which the British Prime Minister is interviewed by the Police, the government announces 2500 post office closures, the Stevens Inquiry reports, West Ham's new manager starts his first day at work.... and now the most shaming thing I think I have heard in years - the Attorney General announces the abandonment of the probe into BAe's fighter planes deal with Saudi Arabia.

Let me put this bluntly. The government has backed down in the face of Saudi threats - it has acceded to blackmail. It argues that the decision has been made "in the wider public interest" yet it has basically prostrated the British nation at the feet of Saudi bribery and corruption. Shameful. Truly shameful.

See how Blair, Goldsmith and Browne try to defend the indefensible HERE on the BBC News site. Today is the day the British people must now realise that this government isn't fit to govern us. They've brought shame on themselves, their government and their country.

58 comments:

Etzel Pangloss said...

They'll be using those planes in Iraq soon.

Anonymous said...

David Cameron come in, your country (thats England btw) needs you.

verity said...

It absolutely baffles me why the voters could not see this man for what he is. It was so obvious. He has evil written all over his face and eyes, and he did before he won his first term in office. There's an air of something unsettling about Tony Blair and there always was.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you on this Iain. You can have misguided policies, you can be economical with the truth, you can can even put your cronies in the House of Lords. All part of politics, it gets rough at times and when the elections come along, we have a chance to correct things.

But you cannot intervene in fraud enquiries. You cannot stop people looking for the truth. This takes British government to a new low and I can't think of a more shameful act. It is beyond the yah-boo of party politics, an utter disgrace. I'm sickened and very cynical about this.

You scratch mine, I'll scratch yours said...

Buried today was the result of the appeal against the shooting ( seven times in the head ) of the innocent Brazilian.

Guess that's a weight off another blair's shoulders..

Anonymous said...

Bribery for a deal brokered by a conservative gubmint?
*coughs" mark thatcher.
im glad the job has stayed in this country, for once this fucking shower put some pressure on civil servants for the right reasons.

verity said...

You scratch mine, I'll scratch yours ... You're sure he was innocent, are you? How did you come by this information?

bt said...

Yes, bribes are so unusual, so illegal, so unethical that until recently German companies out there were allowed to enter them in their accounts as a legitimate business expense. For one simple reason - no briefcase behind the door, no contract. In 10 years out there I never heard of any contract, big, small, private, government, that didn't have added inducements.

All that happens is that the estimated sweetner is factored into the tender price that the client agrees to. Since the Saudi Air Force has no shareholders and the purchase money doesn't come from general taxation, effectively they're being paid with their own money.

They do things differently out there - companies bribe government ministers. Whereas back here ... erm ... companies offer inducements to ministers - small ones - cowboy boots or city academies, cos the ministers are so cheap. So it's not the same thing at all, naturally.

Anonymous said...

well said iain. every time i worry you're a tory you suddenly say something that shows you still have principles. i see that blair was questioned some time ago but the govt just released that info today to cover up worse news.

Anonymous said...

Were you saying the same over "Daeth of a Princess"? You're old enough to remember that and I am sure you were leading the demands for Thatch's resignation over that one.

16words said...

The Saudis are a medieval rentier regime. Question: does it make sense to expect them to have the same values as us? Answer: Oh yes. It makes the same sense as expecting Iraq to metamorphose into a Jeffersonian democracy on the fall of Saddam.

Would David Cameron take a moral stand and blow off a 10 billon pound contract rather than give a bribe? Or would he take a leaf out of Thatcher's book and spread the joy?

The Saudi's are absolutely and irredeemably corrupt. Let's just hold our noses and take their money. And keep the competition out. And, I hope we don't hear Liam Fox join in the outrage. I have need to feel that there are adults in the leadership.

Anonymous said...

Iain

James Arbuthnott went on C4 News to DEFEND the government and give Conservative support for their action on this matter.

So the official Tory position is - Blair is RIGHT. You ought to watch what you say...

Anonymous said...

So we will continue to sell arms to Saudi even though king Abdullah has pledge to back the sunni's if the US pull out of Iraq.

Surley that would mean Saudi Arabia has pledged to be a state sponsoring terrorism/civil war.

I might be wrong, but haven't Bush and Blair been saying that they would not tolerate state sponsored terrorism?

So a logical extantion of that would mean that we are helping the Saudi's to help terrorists. That means we are sponsoring terrorism as well.

leon said...

"Today is the day the British people must now realise that this government isn't fit to govern us."

Er that day was over three years ago and in Iraq.

Man in a shed said...

The have no capacity for shame, especially Blair. If he did he would have resigned when it became clear there were no WMD in Iraq.

Lacking this moral compass he has an personality that is unfit to hold public office. The Labour party is unfit for office as it has not removed him despite these facts.

Anonymous said...

Ah, but verity, you have a secret weapon called 'feminine intuition' - not all of us do...I freely admit I was taken in and duped by him..

Won't get fooled again..

Anonymous said...

Remember kids, Sleaze and Telling Fibs is really wrong, unless it is in the

'Wider Public Interest'...

Remember, don't do as we do,
Just do as we say..

Your Uncle Tony

Anonymous said...

16 words / bt - a reasonable point, but why then be so two faced as to have a big, tough superhero flying down to crackdown on fraud, then pulling the plug when it gets tough?

Answer, because when 'we pols' do that it's just 'realpolitik', when businesses do that it's awfully unmentionably, dirty, dirty boys getting up to their eyes in mud.

Double standards and hypocrisy are worse in my book than incompetence.

Anonymous said...

Iain, You are right to raise the issue. And the Conservative Party's response? Like Kinnock in the Westland debate perhaps?!
If you feel so strongly, either time to hold your party to account or - well - pack up...

Anonymous said...

Shameful Iain your quite right! I'm sure that nice Mr Cameron will be calling for the contract to be cancelled, and will be telling the Saudis to go f**k 'emselves anyday now: no, honest he will!
Whoops see the pigs are out flying again.

Anonymous said...

Come on Iain, spare us the piety. If you think that our moral sensibilities are more important than keeping Britain's aerospace industry going in a new and dangerous century, you can't see the wood for the trees.

Defence procurement never has and never will be an entirely clean game. If we try and play with harder rules than anybdoy else, we shouldn't be surprised if our defence expertise drains away to the French or the Russians.

Do you really wantto leave Britain dependent on foreign weapons for its own defence?

Scott said...

I am a lawyer and agree with your sentiments. The reasons given here are shockingly unpersuasive (although one could praise the honesty of the Attorney general because it would have been easy to dress it up as a simply insufficient evidence case). However, when the Conservatives have in recent months being promoting themselves as a party backing the rule of law I found Liam Fox's comments astonishing. I would be interested to know what you think of Liam Fox's response.

bt said...

anonymous 9:23.

The Saudis don't give a stuff what the Brit government does to BAe. They'll get their planes from somebody, probably the French or maybe the Swedes or Yanks if not from us. And as a sovereign government, they're fireproof - there're no credible sanctions that UK politicians puffed up with sanctimonious rectitude can visit on them and they hold the whip hand, what with oil, contracts, money and with currently zero friends for the West in the ME.

But - The anti-fraud mob started bothering the Swiss banks to try and trace the money trail - the exact banks the Saudi royals stuff their personal and family deposits into. That changed the game from governmental to personal and they weren't going to stand for it.

When they play rough it really can get nasty. It wouldn't just have been the 50,000 jobs and umpteen billion of Yamamah, it could have been every Brit contract in Saudi, every Brit contract worker in Saudi (they've done it before to other countries and at 24 hours notice, too) and perhaps difficulties with future oil contracts (part of the Yamamah payment is in oil). Don't forget they've already embargoed countries that have annoyed them (?67, 73? Holland, it was). There is no government as we know it - just one family that controls everything and where all decisions are made by nods and winks among the senior members.

Dealing with countries like Saudi we're basically stuffed. They have all the levers, we have none.
And they know it. Political posturing for UK domestic consumption doesn't bother them - but tread on their toes.....

Francis Walsingham said...

I don't agree with this. The most important consideration is the long term national interest. It is not in our long term national interest for the Saudis to cancel billions of pounds of defence contracts that will maintain thousands of defence jobs in the UK that, given our decades of cutbacks on defence spending, are now an essential part of maintaining our domestic capacity to design and build weapon systems with which we can defend this country from attack.

The termination of the SFO enquiry is an indication of realism at the heart of government. It may pain me to say this as a Conservative, but it shows that at least some in Labour have grown up in office.

If this were a case of surrendering something of national importance in the face of foreign pressure it would be a different matter. But it is not. It's a case of discontinuing an investigation, which has been prosecuted under relatively new anti-bribery provisions, for over two years without success, in order to safeguard the wider national interest. The corruption was all overseas. A country built on sand, administered by a vast and preposterous "monarchy," whose primary export is oil and terrorism, is a 24/7 exemplary practitioner of corruption. That bribery may have been involved in defence deals with that country cannot have come as a surprise to anyone.

Anonymous said...

I think the Tories will be pleased this enquiy is over. THe deal was brokered by the Tories when in government and it wouldn't surprise me if the bribes were sanctioned at the time by the government. it could have proved very embarrasing.

Anonymous said...

and revealed just as David Cameron finished his interview on The World at One - (about 19 minutes in) here http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/networks/radio4/aod.shtml?radio4/wato_thu

David Lindsay said...

Oh, compared to what, Iain? Jonathan Aitken was actually made Minister of Defence Procurement by John Major on the orders of the Saudi Royal Family.

Anonymous said...

The Saudi business is a nothing story. It's only the British who seem to have thr "moral" high ground when it comes to doing arms deals. The French and Germans probably laugh at us.

The Princess Di story is also nothing. Leave the poor girl top rest in peace.

"Cash for questions" well who cares a stuff about the Great Narcissist Blair?

The ONLY story today, is how many hundreds of thousands of ordinary people will now presumably suffer because of the impending closure of rural Post Offices. This is a national scandal. (and of course the EU lurks in the background - as ever)

Anonymous said...

Iain, well done for speaking out.

I know I would be a fool to expect better from the Conservatives, but it still depresses me that Liam Fox's considered opinion mirrors that of NuLabour.

Lets be clear, both major political parties are openly espousing pure corruption. It is as simple as that.

wrinkled weasel said...

I agree that it is foetid water we are treading in.

Samuel Brittan wrote a considered article in the New Statesman about this in 2000

"The damage inflicted by official arms promotion goes well beyond the harmful potential of the arms themselves, bad though that is. Many other undesirable policies are rationalised in terms of the need to keep arms purchasers sweet. How else can one explain the extreme sensitivity in official quarters to any criticism of Saudi Arabia and the pressure once put on the BBC over The Death of a Princess? Why did a British Conservative government take the rare step of over-riding a minuted reservation of a permanent secretary in order to finance the Pergau Dam?"

Yes, shock the Conservatives were at it too, but Labour managed to ride on the back of standing commitments for years, claiming deals were done under the Tories.

They are now on their own and must square their "Ethical Foreign Policy" (You don't hear THAT anymore) in dealing with one of the most heinous human rights abusers Saudi Arabia.

Brittan goes on to debunk the argument that says jobs are at stake.

interested.. it's here
http://www.samuelbrittan.co.uk/text29_p.html

Vlad the Impala said...

I think it comes pretty close to political prostitution, and says more than anything else ever could about the state to which Blair has reduced this country. And the Tories haven't covered themselves in glory, either. What will be interesting is to see how the "national interest" compromise evolves as Russia moves into Saudi Arabia's position as a primary energy supplier. Ever wonder why the FSA is making it so very easy for Russian companies to list in london?

Ramon de Vargas said...

That whirl of colours and movement can mean only one thing. The Dale spinning top is in motion.

The Saudi deal was Tory, so you'd be best advised not to look into it too closely old boy. Coupled to which the 'evidence' in these cases is always pretty ropey, so to bang on for another 12-18 months investigating something which will never amount to anything, only in the meantime to lose the biggest sale of anything to anyone and result in the loss of thousands of Uk jobs would be rank stupidity. Ah, I mean would be a decision of Tory proportions, without whose decision making in the first place none of this Saudi nonsense would ever have happened.

Praguetory said...

On the day that Blair got arrested, the Saudi scandal was the story the Brits in the expat bars were talking about. I kid you not. As it happened on Labour's watch they carry the can. This is just the sort of thing I need to motivate Brits out here to get registered to vote.

Anonymous said...

The Saudis could get away with these threats because France, Sweden and the US would all have been willing to do deals with them instead. This would have placed them in direct violation of a whole range of international agreements and protocols they are supposedly signatories to, including WTO rules, EU anti-corruption rules, protocols on anti-corruption, etc. Yet apparently this threat was so major that the British govt had no choice but to climb down. One wonders really about the value of these international institutions when push comes to shove. The French in particular are continuing to actively flout every legal framework they sign up to if it means weapons sales. The British not far behind.

All of this to the country that it is not yet proven was uninvolved in 9/11. Many in the US believe that Saudi princes were behind the twin towers day bombing raids. For example, most of the attackers were Saudi; they had previously been military officers in Saudi; Saudi princes were involved in massive hedged gains in the market slump the following day - I could go on.

We need to be rid of these leeches and hyenas in Faisal's corrupt regime. I think we need a massive programme of investment in fuel alternatives for vehicles.

Voyager said...

yet it has basically prostrated the British nation at the feet of Saudi bribery and corruption.

Heartless Iain. Have you no thoughts for how poor Mark Thatcher must feel hounded everywhere he goes after working so damned hard to be mummy's boy and help Wafic Said build that business school in Oxford ?

I don't understand these ingrates - when Saudi Arabia tries to convince us we have something to export whithout which we would have no engineering sector.............had oil prices been high enough we could have unloaded TSR-2 and Concorde onto the House of Saud, but I bet Robin Wilson was nowhere near as commercially-minded as Sir Mark Thatcher Bt.

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree. Arms deals are accompanied by bribes everywhere in the non-developed world - and sometimes in the developed world too - see the Prince Bernhard scandal in Holland.

I'd take a read of Anthony Sampson's 'The Arms Bazaar' - it's a murky old world.

If we don't want to bung nasty foreigners we'd better get out of the arms business. Where everyone else is bribing an honest approach = no sales. Fair enough if you can explain it to the workers at Warton and other places.

The FSO were stupid to even dip their toes in these waters.

A far greater scandal is the shortage of decent kit which is killing our soldiers every day.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the very rare good, indeed excellent decisions of the government. It is high time the national interest was again put before the desire of scumbag lawyers to destroy the country in pursuit of making themselves rich. Let the lawyers commit suicide if they feel upset.

CityBlue said...

Reality Check - Saudi Arabia has 22% of the world's oil reserves and is the fount of Wahhaabist islamic extremism. The House of Saud may stink but the alternatives are much worse. On the subject of burying bad news, what really appalls me is that the Afghanistan Honours, including a posthumous VC and GC, were also announced. Cynical I may be but are they being used as a human shield for Blair's interview with Insp Yates?

newmania said...

Can`t go along with any of this psturing myself . If you are in the arms busines you a compromised from that point on nd you either live with that or get out .
I agree with BT on the actions of the SFO which like all commissariats like the publicity and was making trouble for its own vain glorious reasons .
Keep the jobs , keep the ally .

Anonymous said...

Utterly utterly shameful.
(With Apologies to Anonymous at Guido for his or her excellent post which I'm partially ripping off)

The news items released yesterday:
- The Prime Minister interrogated or questioned (depending on your perspective) by the Police in relation to a series of serious criminal offences in poltical party financing
- The Attorney General stopped an SFO investigation into corruption in an arms deal with Saudi Arabia in response to their (Saudi) threats
- Linsay Hoyle, a Labour MP jowls a-quivering refused to respond to the question “so the rule of law is secondary to jobs in your constituency” (PS I thought you were good Iain)
- A Labour MP basically admitted that peerages were given in return for donations but it was simply unlucky that Blair had been in the chair when the music stopped
- The Police were found to have infringed the human rights of anti-war protesters by preventing them exercising their democratic rights
- Homosexual parents to be granted the same rights as hetrosexual parents in a report released by the Government
- A National Audit Office report stated that £7Bn has been spent by the government on IT vendors and management consultants in the last three years
- The Government has effectively curbed their own Freedom of Information Act with additional charges to make FOI information requests uneconomic and restrictions on the complexity and number of questions that can be asked
- The Stevens Inquiry into the death of Diana reported, finding no evidence of any form of conspiricy into her death, and that the driver of the car was pissed and lost control at high speed. I.e She's Dead, geddover it. Mohammed Al-Fayed refused to accept the report levelling a series of accusations at the impartiality of the report
- The Government (Labour) reject a report commissioned by parliament calling for a cap on individual political donations at £50, 000 over controversy regarding union donations
- The closure of 2,500 rural post offices was announced (Telegraph)
- A 3rd runway for Heathrow and an additional runway at Stanstead were announced
- Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller the head of the Security Service M15 resigns
- The government announces that it is considering giving serving prisoners the right to vote
- The government announces that it is to end the Horserace Betting Levy Board and end the Government's financial involvement in horse racing
- The conservatives announce that Labour has failed to answer in excess of 1,000 parliamentary questions
I also note that Parliament goes into recess on Tuesday 19th December for Christmas. The next PMQs will be in January when the MSM will have forgotten all of this.

Have I missed anything?
The cynical level of news management compounded with the questioning of a serving prime minister in relation to serious criminal offences, compounded with the governments disregard of the rule of law and parliamentary scrutiny profoundly ashames and sickens me. How can anyone vote Labour ever again?

Voyager said...

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Anonymous said...

newmania, you arenow so desperate you are mixing in two days worth of news stories and claiming that everyone from the Met Police to the Palace via the NAO are involved in the conspiracy.

Of course governments seek to manage the news, so do companies, parties and celebrities. Put you should also try managing your paranoia

Chris P said...

This is a perverse post Mr Dale. "Saudi bribery and corruption"? They were *being* bribed weren't they? Using our tax dollars. I mean Euros. No pounds. That's it.

Under a system of blandishments and back handers that was well-established under the fecking Tories with some attempted control in 1992 under Labour.

Many years ago I attended a civil service interview nr Trafalgar Square. Having done brilliantly well in the entrance exams natch. But not so well on the Tube navigation being a horny handed provincial ... so I was late and nearly kicked off the thing before I'd started.

But anyway there was an exercise which involved just these kinds of issues. You need to buy some gunboats. Do you get them from the rump of UK Shipbuilding? From some chancers from USA/Panama/Japan? Write a briefing note for Ministers in MoD and DTI.

As for burying bad news ... you seem to have forgotten Monty Panesar's five-for in your list of things "buried" by our clever PM.

And the whole thing is knee deep in dishonour as you don't say what Lady Thatcher would have done about Saudi or Party Funding or Post Offices or West Ham ... and so it all amounts to "do as we say not as we do".

Same goes for the appearance on Newsnight. Hubris and petulance.

mark williams said...

Iain,

I think again you are missing the point. The deal was negotiated by the British government, and it was the British government who authorised the deal. If BAe were offering "incentives" to the Saudis, then the Saudis have every right to be indignant when an institution of the same British government (the SFO) starts poking its nose into the "arrangements", even if the people in charge of that government had changed.

The fact is that the Saudi royal family have always taken large commissions on large capital transactions, and if we get all sniffy about the Yamamah deal then we can hardly be surprised if they start putting their business elsewhere.

Bribery is a "bad" thing, because it encourages the "wrong" business decision and imposes costs on the purchaser, but when it comes to bribing the Saudi Royal family, it is hardly as though the Saudi economy is suffering, and the SRf can get the money from the country in other ways if they really wanted to.

I think Bernerd Jenkin (not that I am a fan) got it right when he said "The SFO should not be tempted to go on these fishing expeditions unless prosecutions are likely and these prosecutions are in the national interest".

If you want to criticise anybody have a go at:

1) The LibDems, who, having never been in power, find it easy to take a pop at the ministers who negotiated the Yamamah deals.

2) The government who espoused an oxymoronic "ethical foreign policy"

Anonymous said...

Iain, am I right in thinking that all this was brought about by Blair bringing in a law in one of his whiter than white, holier than thou moments?

Surely it is now a case of another bad law hitting the buffers because it wasn't well thought through in the first place?

Just about par for the course with this government - once again hung by their own petard.

lastliberal said...

Well, come on Iain, what do you think of Liam Fox's comments? And can we expect Dave to come out with some new ethical foreign policy stance? As usual, the Lib Dems are alone in expressing any moral outrage, and the new Tory party looks a lot like the Jonathan Aitken party of old.

Neil Craig said...

Everybody's relations with Saudi have been corrupt forever (while we have never been given the details of how Mark Thatcher became Britain's 350th richest person with no visible means of support he was providing "introductions" to Saudis & busines men). Saudi is awash with money & Britain wants some of it. I don't think the ordinary voter wants this fixed with consequent loss of jobs either.

This is not a party political matter. Nobody looks better because of this.

Except Osama bin Laden who clearly had a point.

Anonymous said...

Go on Iain. Keep a straight face while you say:

"I am sure that David Cameron would have acted differently on this matter."

Lord, Goldsmith looked SOOOO shifty as he made the announcement. He couldn't even say that it was in the nations's interest, just that it COULD be in the nation's interest.

Remind me what interest this country has in co-operating on intelligence matters with the country which has spawned islamist terrorists and tortured UK ex-pats on trumped up charges of trying to blow themselves up?

Chris P said...

Err, when I said "1992 under Labour" or whatever, I meant 2002. 1992 was before Labour started their Let Downs. Like letting down the tyres that were the cornerstones of the Tory pantechnicon. Inflation, unemployment, sleaze (hee hee), privatisation. The only problem for a Labour lefty like me is they only let them down a bit, making for a softer and slower ride to inequality and injustice than we would have had. As many learned contributors have pointed out this BAe thing is hardly party political. The cash-honours thing hardly is either. And West Ham and Monty Panesar (top batting now too) are certainly beyond the scope of party politics.

verity said...

I was feeling rather depressed about the death of Frank Johnson then read Anonymous 11:51 a.m.'s post and got an unexpected laugh.

"hung by their own petard"!

David Lindsay said...

Kirsty Walk on Newsnight practically had kittens over "the separation of powers". Had she heard that term on The West Wing, or Sex and the City, or Pimp My Ride, or something? When will she be demanding that all Ministers resign their seats in either House; that the Law Lords renounce either their peerages or their seats on the bench; and so forth. "The separation of powers"? I ask you! What next? "The separation of Church and State"?

Of course, constitutionla law types use this term. But they are engaging in a spot of wishful thinking, because they wish to see an American-style krytocracy in this country. (The wretched Human Rights Act is a big step in that direction.)

Mercifully, we still have instead the supreme legislative, executive and judical authority of the Crown (i.e., of the nation embodied, regardless of party or anything else), exercised by Ministers drawn from and accountable to Parliament, within which the House of Commons has come to be elected by universal adult suffrange and (since 1911) to be supreme.

The Crown is the ultimate contradiction of what even its advocates admit is the Franco-American, and in no sense indigenously British, theory of the separation of powers; and it is thus the ultimate guarantee that the United Kingdom (and each of the 15 countries with which we share the Crown) will remain a democracy, unlike either absolutist and coup-plagued France or krytocratic America, among many other places.

But then, waiting for Newsnight to come on in one of these non-Question Time seasons when everything interesting seems to happen, I caught the end of something called Coupling, the characters in which spoke with middle-class London accents even though the thing itself seemed to be set in New York, or at least in the city of Friends and Will & Grace. They even used American, rather than British, phraseology. Such, I suspect, is the world that the BBC newsroom inhabits, utterly unrecognisable to the rest of us. "Separation", indeed.

Liz said...

Yes it is distasteful but what would you have done if you were PM? Would you put the interests of our defence/aerospace industry at risk to resolve this affair from 20 years ago? Would you put thousands of skilled workers jobs at risk? We have been very poor at convicting fraudsters in this country and Lord Goldsmith did indicate that a successful prosecution was unlikely. Bribery is common in most countries, and whilst unethical it is largely ignored. Do we pursue the enquiry and turn over the billions of $ trade to the French? They are not so concerned about such issues.

Those who have complained will never be in a position to have to make such difficult decisions. The moral ground is not always the way forward when so much is at stake. shame though, I would have loved to rid Mark Thatcher of his millions!

Richard Dale said...

I believe that the law under which the contract was being investigated was not in effect when the contract was made. Since the law was (quite rightly) not retrostpective then the investigation was political rather than legally valid. While there might be a serious moral question, it seems it was not actionable in law, and to uphold the rule of law the investigation should not have been started in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Would this be the same day that they announced Heathrow and Stanstead airport expantions. just over a week after Green Gordon said he is putting up airport taxes to discourage us from flying.
Not long after we were told that there is to be a revue of the greenbelt.
Wake up England before it is all covered in concrete, block and tarmac for thoose that never intend to pass the cricket football or ruby test.
ie the Scots,yhe Welsh and the Irish.

Richard Dale said...

Just had confirmation from an acquaintance who is a lawyer involved with the case. Although it would have been lucrative for him for the investigation to continue he says it could not be justified. The law only changed in 2001, so to investigate the winning of the Al Yamamah contract under this law is more of persecution than prosecution!

Rachel said...

Oh, and the Head of M15 resigned as well.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps two key point’s overlooked in the reports thus far (from a BAE perspective) on this most peculiar (& regrettable) decision are these: -

1. A significant portion of BAE’s business now comes from the United States, with their own very strong FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practises Act, although clearly the US are in rather more need of a Domestic equivalent) legislation the last thing BAE would wish is an “enquiry” request from either the DOJ or SEC to follow up on the British enquiry.

2. On a more recent note is BAE’s investment in “Air Astana”, the pseudo national air carrier for Kazakhstan. Whilst the stimulus for this investment was clearly Kazakhstan’s much discussed new air defence system, BAE obviously felt that the “local content” of this new carrier would carry much “weight” when tenders were being evaluated. There has been much discussion within Kazakhstan on who exactly BAE’s partners are in Air Astana, clearly as a PLC BAE will have done their homework on this and will be able to state who their partner(s) are, just as they can no doubt explain how Air Astana commenced operations with Boeing aircraft rather than Airbus’s (at that stage they were still part of the Airbus consortium). Obviously the recent appointment of BAE’s previous manager to the board of Kazakhstan’s State holding Company represents their respect of BAE’s “business practises”.

A third element is that the details of the “background” to the Yamama “project” where the lead contractor was paid in oil in order for it to be taken “off-budget”, thus the revenue from oil sales went to separate accounts from those normally used by the Saudi Treasury, thus it is possibly too close to a PFI, in structure, for comfort for our Labour leadership.

It is undoubtedly this “off-budget” aspect that so concerned the Saudi ruling elite when the bank records were requested from the Swiss authorities.

The leads involved in the original Yamama negotiations sadly probably preclude (& explains the lack of) any realistic criticism from the Tory party.

From a market perspective, how competitive is a company who gain contracts through high commission payments? how tenable are the 4-50,000 jobs involved?, what are the long term prospects of such employees, not good I suspect.

Serving National Security…please don’t make me laugh too much there’s only so much I can take!!, our National Security has never been so ….words fail me.

Richard Yot said...

David Lindsay:

since you have a clear problem with the term "separation" - how about this one: Rule of Law.

Is that British enough for you?