Thursday, February 21, 2008

Miliband Makes an Honourable Apology

Listening to David Miliband's apology over rendition flights, it struck me that this was the way it should always be done, and that many of his colleagues could learn a lot. It's never a pleasant experience to address the Commons and hold your hands up and say sorry. But Miliband did it well - and only six days after they were first told by the Americans that there had been an error in what they had originally tiold the FCO when Jack Straw was in charge. The Home Office could learn a lot from this. Statements and a apologies do not come naturally to Home Office ministers. They have to be dragged kicking and screaming to the Despatch Box.

The BBC Diplomatic Correspondent James Robins was adamant that this was a huge humiliation for Jack Straw, who was sat beside Miliband. I'm not so sure. He told the Commons the truth as he knew it to be. I'm not making excuses, but if your own officials tell you something and the Americans confirm it and you then go and tell the Commons, what's the alternative. In this sort of case the minister is caught between a rock and a hard place. Radio 5 didn't carry William Hague's response so I may be missing a party political point here (!) but in this case I have some sympathy for Miliband and Straw.

24 comments:

Charlie Root said...

did they ever admit to the Prestick stops?

I also find it ironic that these flights stopped in Diego Garcia (if people don't know much about that place I suggest a quick wiki. http://tinyurl.com/2fw39u)

AnyoneButBrown said...

I'm sorry I have no sympathy.
My issue is not rendition, it's truthfulness and integrity.
If you believe for one minute that the government were not aware of rendition and rendition flights entering UK (or Diego Garcia) you should see Dr. Crippen!
I listened and watched Jack Straw give the most evasive response to this question as foreign secretary under Blair. Every word was carefully chosen and placed, every word misleading. He clearly knew, the government knew. They are proven liars. Again.

G Eagle Esq said...

Sehr geEhrter Iain

Thank you for your generous-hearted observations

Yr obedt servant etc

G E

canvas said...

I hope David Miliband challenges Brown for the Labour leadership. It would be so much better to have David Miliband in charge as PM (as opposed to the ghastly Gordon Brown).

Can we start a campaign for a Labour leadership contest?

I guess if we can't have a general election then we might as well demand a change of leadership. What do we have to lose?

* We as in the general public - all political persuasions.

Anonymous said...

The problem is Britain's continuing association with the rogue states called the USA and Israel.

Why should we accept the USA's explanation? Rather we should be recalling our Ambassador and reviewing the Diego Garcia agreement.

What is scandalous is the government's sucking up to the Saudi Arabians over BAE; to Israel about not mentioning their WMDs; and to the USA about everything.

Has that bastard Blair collected his Congressional Medal yet?

We need a government with backbone. Who will provide it?

Gary elsby stoke-on-trent said...

It's interesting just how many times you get it wrong, Iain.

I counted approx six times that Gordon Brown,PRIME MINISTER....just in case you haven't noticed, apologised and said sorry for all things he inherited.

The Tories(Dave) were just too busy playing both Punch and Judy and scoring cheap shots.

As a die hard Labour suporter, I noticed that this was going on in Gordon Brown's new Labour Party and took no credit at all. The headlines were saying, 'bottler Brown'.

David Miliband is an honourable sort. He is following and probably leading the way with Gordon and that's the way we want it.

Alastair Darling gets absolutely no credit at all for his apologising speech, but again, top marks from me.

Gary

Anonymous said...

So a minister of the crown has apologised.

The fact remains that the UN Convention on Torture is part of UK criminal legislation.

... so who is going to the dock for assisting the transportation of detainees to a place where torture may be practiced

Anonymous said...

Rendition flights and Diego Garcia bring together two facets of utterly shameful, immoral behaviour by our Government. (See the treatment of the Chagos Islanders).

And as somebody has mentioned, what about the flights refuelling at Prestwick? One was seen with a sort of cage structure visible through the windows, not presumably deluxe seating for a US Gov't bigwig!

Theo said...

He is not apologising on my behalf. We do what it takes to win and there are no rules.

Chris A said...

Iain, pull the other one. Yet again it's a bury bad news day. What do YOU think will be all over page 1 (and see pp2-5, 7-9, 11-18 for full expurgated story) of tomorrow's tabloids. Miliband knew that the jury would probably return today.

Anonymous said...

You ignore the possibility that they might have lied to us about "rendition" all along.

Anonymous said...

what planet are you on mate? that compulsive liar bliar repeatedly denied any of this had happened after questioning from ming (who knew that flights had landed in scotland)


this has been going on for ages and millibellend is using the US fess bup to cover the govts tracks. why do people keep on giving this govt the benefit of the doubt?

they are lying scum one and all!

saying sorry is not always difficult. said...

Totally disagree Mrs Dale.

Apologising is the easiest thing in the world to do when the whole world knows you ain't got nothing to apologise for.

newc said...

They lie

They say sorry

So that's all right then!

I am sick to death of these people. When will it ever end????

Oscar Miller said...

Personally I think this whole rendition apology non story is a smoke screen to keep the media away from Northern Crock and the Lords. What's the best way to divert attention? Get Milipede to make an apology about the BBCs favourite anti American topic. And haven't people noticed - McBean loves to get his ministers to make apologies in the House. They're always at it. It's something to do with his upbringing (his dad kept making him 'confess' his sins - that's when he learnt to lie according to some). Northern Crock is the real story. What are they trying to cover up?

A taxpayer said...

People, look at a Globe and ask yourselves, where in God would a rendition flight need to be going to need to refuel in Diego Garcia? Pakistan to the Antarctic maybe?

The British People should be asking Hard Questions on this one rather than accepting this very suspicious apology.
Dick Marty said in his report that the US had a secret detention (read torture chamber) facility on Diego Garcia :

Claims of secret CIA jail for terror suspects on British island to be investigated

iCowboy said...

Of course it's a humiliation - but not just for Straw, but for the whole government.

Diego Garcia is British territory with serving British personnel on and around the US base. If Straw did not know what is going on under the noses of British troops on British territory, someone *SHOULD* have known what planes were landing in violation of the American lease.

A grown up government would act like a real landlord and tell the tenants that they were no longer welcome to abuse the facilities.

Anonymous said...

look up written lords questions on diego garcia/chagos islands to see lord ashcroft asked the direct question on this subject. what did he know???

Anonymous said...

I agree with many of the above comments Iain, if Straw didn't know the truth - he and / or his officials should've made it their business to properly investigate when the issue was first raised.

My feeling is that they knew all along or at very least turned a blind.

neil craig said...

I cannot understand your fascination for Miliband. The guy has cliches where he need brains.

He has now told the Serb rioters that "no cause can justify such displays of violence" which, having participated in the murder, genocide & ethnic cleansing of 350,000 of them goes somewhat beyond not having a sense of irony.

verity said...

Why is this jerk apologising for standing by an ally?

We should be absolutely open about rendition flights. If nothing else, it may serve to concentrate the minds of Britain's ever-roiling muslim population.

Paddy Briggs said...

Iain

Well said. Posts like this hugely (IMHO) add to the stature of your blog - I'll even forgive you the occasional intemperate, rabble rousing, selection committee pleasing, right-wing rants if you keep balanced posts like this coming!

Gus Abraham said...

Yes well done for telling us that you dont know whats going on in our country and for trying to let us believe that you didnt know for the years that you were denying it.

Are you naive or stupid Iain?

Anonymous said...

Paddy - you mean the sort of right wing rant just above your post?!