Libya and a stain on Britain’s conscience



23:54 GMT, 13 December 2012

Britain has long been shamed by the grubby relationship between the Blair government and the murderous Colonel Gaddafi regime.

The terrorist – who funded IRA attacks in Britain, and feted the Lockerbie bomber – was indulged, fawned over and brought in from the cold by our ex-Prime Minister, who was desperate to get his hands on lucrative Libyan oil contracts.

Yet the squalid antics of the Blair administration have not only left a stain on this nation’s conscience.

Indulged: Britain has long been shamed by the grubby relationship between the Blair government and the murderous Colonel Gaddafi regime

Indulged: Britain has long been shamed by the grubby relationship between the Blair government and the murderous Colonel Gaddafi regime

Yesterday, the country was counting the financial cost, too, as ministers agreed to pay 2.2million in compensation to a Libyan dissident who claims he was abducted with the help of MI6, and secretly flown to Tripoli where he was tortured for years by Gaddafi’s henchmen.

It is a matter of deep regret that Labour ministers – who claimed to abhor torture – should stand accused of cooperating, along with the American CIA, in such a chilling operation.

But the most disturbing question of all is posed by the timing of the ‘rendition’ – which was completed three days after Blair and Gaddafi struck the notorious 2004 ‘deal in the desert’ which paved the way for lucrative oil deals involving BP.

Were Sami al Saadi and his young family effectively handed to Gaddafi as a gift, to oil the diplomatic wheels

Was his fellow Libyan dissident Abdel Hakim Belhadj – who alleges he was also rendered to Gaddafi, with the help of MI6 – part of the same disgusting arrangement

The payment of 2.2million of hush money to al Saadi guarantees his allegations will never be heard in open court.

What is certain, however, is that Mr Blair’s degrading relationship with Gaddafi has cost this country’s moral standing dear.

Passing the test

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Yesterday Michael Gove delivered the welcome news that, in a single year, the number of primary schools failing to hit government targets for English and maths had fallen from 1,310 to 521.

Mr Gove would be first to admit that he is a long way from repairing all of the terrible damage inflicted upon the nation’s schools by a Labour government more interested in social engineering than instilling academic excellence.

But the progress made so far is testament to his courageous efforts to restore rigour and discipline to the classroom and free as many schools as possible from the dead hand of State control.

Now Mr Gove must go further by breaking the stranglehold of the militant, Left-wing teaching unions, delivering on his bold plan for performance-related pay and – dare we say it – dropping Tory opposition to new grammar schools.

The stakes could not be higher.

More EU delusion

Predictably, the Brussels elite yesterday declared that – by establishing the European Central Bank as a single supervisor for the eurozone’s 200 largest financial institutions – they had brought ‘stability’ to the continent.

The Mail fears that, once again, they are guilty of a grand delusion.

For, while the deal will make it easier for debt-ridden banks to access bailout money, it also represents yet another step towards a full-blown economic union in which the eurocrats – not democratically-elected governments – fix national spending plans and even retirement ages.

The imposition of swingeing austerity on Italy, Greece and Spain by unelected EU officials has already led to riots on the streets.

The greater this democratic deficit grows, the more unstable Europe will become – with potentially terrifying consequences for us all.