Should Parliament be a no talk zone?

           I do not agree with all the long breaks we have from Parliament. The changes to the situation in LIbya and the new data about the Uk economy would be useful items to discuss, to ask the government for its latest thoughts.

           I do not agree, however, that Parliament needs to meet to have a new vote on the Libyan situation. The government presumably knows that it has to keep to the terms of the UN Resolution which in turn were the terms of the UK Parliamentary motion. They may wish to get rid of the dictator, but the UN has not charged them with that duty and they would not be entitled to endanger civilian lives to do so.

         If the leading western powers now wish to change their mission from protecting civilians to siding with the rebels and ousting the Head of state, they need first to return to the UN. If they wish to arm the rebels so they can fight more effectively, they will need UN permission to lift part of the arms ban on Libya. If they wish to make regime change the purpose, they need to amend the resolution.

           The reason many other NATO countries will not supply air to ground attack aircraft is they are worried about the legality and dangers of using such weapons.  Successful destruction of Libyan government tanks in open ground en route to shell civilians is within the spirit of the Resolution. Armed intervention against one side within urban areas where civilians may get killed does not appear to be within the terms of the Resolution.

            If France and the Uk want to make regime change rather than the defence of civlians from the more grotesque attacks the purpose, they do need UN sanction. Then the Uk Parliament should meet again to debate and vote on the change mission.

               I hear debate about the dangers of stalemate on the ground between government and rebel forces. That is a Libyan matter which is not covered by the UN. NATO governments have permission to run a No fly zone. They have established one, and have prevented the Libyan regime bombing its own civilians. All the time that remains the aim Parliament can be a no talk zone. Any mission creep requires UN and Parliamentary approval.

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

30 Comments

  1. Disorganised1
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Indeed, though once again we leapt onto the path created by the previous administration where the goverment took a totally short-sighted view of the situation.
    Much a Tony Blair leapt into Iraq, so David Cameron has leapt into Libya. The assumption that Gadaffi would be swept out in a popular uprising was naive to say the least, and showed no understanding of the way he has hung onto power for all these years.
    The UN should really decide on its policy on regime change, and our government should concentrate on its problems at home.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Prison is a waste of money says Ken Clarke. So serial rapists, serial murderers, serial burglars and muggers should all thus be in the community I assume. The inevitable resultant additional murders, rapes, muggings and burglaries and the cost of investigating these offences is, I assume, cheaper and better value to his way of thinking (not to mention the lack of any real deterrent).

    Ken like Polly Toynbee, Shirley Williams and Vince Cable will always be one of the worlds great BBC type “thinkers” but why is he in the Tory party?

    • Bazman
      Posted April 16, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      Ken Clarke is right. If every prisoner except the most dangerous and criminally insane was released crime would rise very little.
      40k + per year for each prisoner. Got to be a better and cheaper way. Many prisoners are illiterate drug addicts, so which hang em’ and flog em’ fantasy are you going to use to deal with them and reduce costs?

      • APL
        Posted April 17, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        Bazman: “Many prisoners are illiterate drug addicts, so which hang em’ and flog em’ fantasy are you going to use to deal with them and reduce costs?”

        This much I agree, then let’s abolish the ‘war on drugs’ and legalize drug use.

        The War On Drugs has been a Trojan horse used by the political class and their running dogs in ‘law enforcement’ to dismantle and trample civil liberties.

        Bazman: “Ken Clarke is right.”

        Unlikely!

        By some accounts 20% of the British prison population are foreigners. There have been accounts of some being expelled from the UK by one judge only to reappear back in the same court six months later before the same judge.

        So here’s what I suggest. Reestablish border controls then once a foreign national has served his or her sentence deport him or her and deny him or her re-entry to the UK.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 17, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

        Many burglars commit hundred of crimes a year and so do drug addicts to feed their addiction how can it not go up it these serial criminals are back on the streets – and that is without any deterrent effect of prison.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    All sounds sensible, probably too sensible, guarantee we get mission creep when others nations fail to help or support.

  4. APL
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    JR: “If France and the Uk want to make regime change rather than the defence of civlians from the more grotesque attacks the purpose, they do need UN sanction.”

    Let’s get one thing straight. It’s not the UK that wants to do anything in Lybia, it’s David Cameron!

    The man is a fool and has amply demonstrated the fact too. Parliament should be discussing his arraignment and removal.

  5. Stuart Fairney
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Why do you think the “popular uprising” has already bothered with the designation of the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya and the appointment of a Governor to the Central Bank of Libya?

    Does this suggest that significant external forces are at play here and this is clearly not what it is being represented as on TV?

    Isn’t this a cause for very serious concern?

  6. Electro-Kevin
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    None of us truly believed that this would end with a ‘no fly zone’.

    I expect that (words removed-ed) John Hurst is about to defeat the PM on the issue of prisoner voting rights. At the very least he’s got him in an awkward position. At least another war will get this humiliation off the headlines.

    When we have PMs who are unable to protect their own people from common criminals – nor ensure that our children cannot be run over and left for dead by (people) who should not even be in the country (because of laws which they refuse to repeal as they’d promised)

    It is reasuring to see that they can still occupy the world stage and commit armed forces (which we don’t have) with money (which we don’t have) to protecting people in a far off country of whom we know nothing of their beliefs, morals or intentions.

    Is that what happens to our PMs when they take office ? They realised that Britain is in such a knotted up mess that they prefer to deal with other people’s business and delegate this to generals instead ?

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted April 16, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

      I don’t understand why the words needed to be removed. John Hurst is a convicted lady killer and a criminal. That is simply a matter of reported fact.

      Reply: Because I did not have time to check them.

  7. Javelin
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Libya is the UNs responsibility now.

  8. oldtimer
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I agree entirely with your analysis. Cameron and Sarkozy are now on a hook and a UN resolution of their own making. The present outcome was predictable and predicted by several at the time. Their aim of regime change all depended on a swift collapse from within the Ghaddafi regime and that gamble has not paid off. The outlook in Libya is for an extended stalemate and civil war. The UK and France now face an open ended committment of resources and money to maintain the NFZ with little or no room for military or political manoeuvre beyond writing letters and arranging conferences. No wonder they are finding it difficult to recuit other countries to the cause. It looks like a no-win situation.

  9. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Isn’t the point that this has always been about regime change but yet again a British prime minister has taken a leading role in entering a military conflict under cover of a UN resolution which falls short of that but gives permission for a limited intervention? Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama have this week made clear, what many of us knew, that their real intention is regime change. The reason to recall Parliament would be to make it clear to Cameron that he has no authority from the UN or the UK Parliament to proceed militarily with this now stated aim – or are MPs now so ineffective that their views and those of their constituents are of no regard?

  10. forthurst
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Why should Parliament meet to discuss anything unless it is entirely trivial and without consequence? I’m still waiting for a debate about the 5% increase in the population from outside the EU orchestrated by the Labour Party; making speeches outside Parliament and before the May elections will not suffice, and nor will the pretence that the BBC adheres to its Charter, that allowing it to continue to collect money on pain of imprisonment whilst effusing non-stop Cultural Marxist subversion clearly demonstrates. Why not meet to debate the need to leave the EU, or, alternatively, to abolish Parliament on the grounds that it is a vestigial organ of EU Commission rule with no current function?

    Libya is a rerun of Iraq but with Moussa Koussa (does he have a codename yet? e.g StraightBat) providing the ‘intelligence’ so no need for a dodgy dossier, and the ‘rebels’ playing the role of the ‘Marsh Arabs’ who must be protected even if a million have to die to achieve it. Do we yet know where the US Military will be building their bases or haven’t the the oil pipelines been routed yet?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 16, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      I think that’s a bit unfair. I don’t think it was “entirely trivial and without consequence” when Parliament discussed whether Cameron should be pre-authorised to agree to the proposed amendment of Article 136 TFEU, so that from January 1st 2013 eurozone countries could be bailed out legally rather than illegally as at present. True, both Houses idiotically agreed to give him that prior authorisation, without any qualifications or conditions whatever, and they can hardly go back on that now so what is done is done, but I don’t think you should underestimate the potentially disastrous long term consequences of those decisions.

      🙂

      • forthurst
        Posted April 16, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

        You are absolutely right but I don’t: unfortunately, if they are confronted with an issue of grave concern to the British people and the future of this country, they either pretend it doesn’t exist or push through legislation highly detrimental to us with a cavalier unconcern which I believe gives me a licence to treat their deliberations or lack of them with a degree of levity.

  11. acorn
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Bit confused here JR, your last paragraph appears to negate the ones before it. ” … I hear debate about the dangers of stalemate on the ground between government and rebel forces. That is a Libyan matter … “. So how does that reduce the civilian body count which is supposedly the reason for resolution 1973?

    R1973 allows any action short of putting Squaddies on the ground. The No-Fly zone includes zapping any weapon system capable of ground to air attack. Bombing (Paveway2) a few T72 tanks, ( not exactly in the top ten for ground to air attack capabilities); is also allowed, under the protecting civilians clause.

    Apparently if the rebels fly helicopters a few meters above the ground, they are not violating the No-Fly zone! (Two got zapped in the Ajbabiya region.)

    So, no need to recall parliament, Dave has got it covered. R1973 is; err, adaptable.

  12. Neil Craig
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    “government presumably knows that it has to keep to the terms of the UN Resolution which in turn were the terms of the UK Parliamentary motion”

    I take it this is irony. The government have made it quite clear that their campaign goes far beyond protecting civilians to regime change and getting rid of /liquidating/resettling/cleansing Gaddafi, his family, relations, friends, pets etc. There are also “unknown” people supplying “unidentified” NATO weapons, reminiscent of the NATO weapons supplied to the KLA, in violation of a mandatory weapons embargo “enforced” by a NATO fleet which proved not only unable to catch as single gun runner but unable to identify the country (words left out) they were coming from. All of this is totally illegal, indeed criminal.

    Let us not pretend there are any significant number of MPs who have the most remote trace of respect for the rule of law, or our treaty promises, or judicial honesty (compare Megrahi & Mossa Koussa) or any sort of honesty or humanity whatsoever.

  13. Damien
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Resolution 1973 allows ‘actions to protect civilians from attack or threat of attack’.

    Colonel Gaddafi may be the Head of State but he is a ruthless military dictator directing his forces to murder innocent civilians and as such is a legitimate target within the terms of the resolution.

    Certainly the extended holidays for MP’s means that many are out of touch with developments and there is a strong argument for provisions to be made to correct this anomaly. It interesting that many MP’s complain about powers transferring to the EU yet they seem unable to hold their leaders to account when it is within their power.

    The public would have no issue with disposing of this dictator who killed may people in the UK through his actions but most would not agree to mission creep if that means arming rebels and putting our army on the ground.

  14. Duyfken
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Britain has done its fair share, and more, in addressing the UN Resolution. Now is the time just to withdraw from active participation – at the very least it will test the integrity of those who support from the sidelines yet do nothing.

    So Gaddafi remains in power. As Ed Balls might say: so what? Let Libya’s neighbours take the strain and do something. And let’s not get tied in with Sarkozy’s own electoral machinations.

    And what is happening still in Afghanistan? Our forces will return soon, we hope, and then we can reflect on the cost, human and otherwise, and on what little has been achieved for Britain (never mind the benefit to the world as a whole) from these foreign entanglements.

    Britain should look first to its domestic circumstances, especially so at this time after having been denuded financially by Brown & co. Cameron, for instance, should have his passport impounded, so that he is unable to sell us out with his vacuities to the world, and to expend our scarce funds on so-called “aid” to less than deserving mendicant nations.

    JR: you have deplored any suggestion of Tory voters switching allegiance to another Party (viz UKIP). The more I learn of the way the present government performs, in both foreign and domestic affairs, the more I am led to believe your advice is misplaced. Eventually, maybe soon, you will need to face the reality and make a big decision!

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted April 16, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      The EU is coming fast into the financial crisis which will bring down the Euro. After that, maybe, some primitive form of accounting system might be put in place and some form of semi democracy even be instituted.

    • norman
      Posted April 16, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      I’ll probably vote UKIP as FPTP and Scottish list MSP in this election, the first time I’ve not voted Conservative in my life. I really believe we are at a point now where it’s time to stand up to the EU and say that we want to remain a sovereign nation or capitulate. I know the Conservatives ‘have’ (have they really?) to defer to the Lib Dems on all policy matters but if they really were a Eurosceptic Party would they be selling us down the river as they have done this last year?

      The only decision I have yet to make is whether or not to vote Yes or No to AV. UKIP are urging a yes but I still have a, possibly forlorn, hope that the Conservative Party can one day stand up for us and if AV passes we’ll never know.

  15. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Allow me to announce: the days of Empires are over.
    (foreigner -ed) bashing is now forbidden even to be mentioned and I bet the very words are censored by the moderator – doesn’t it sound old fashioned even to say the words.
    That is why the African Dictators from Idi Amin to Bob Mugabe are left to get on with it and why nobody even notices when President Jacob (words left out) Zuma rubber stamps Ghadaffi and doesn’t even bother to visit the opposition.
    Our Welfare State takes up all our money and treasure now. And perhaps that is a good thing.
    Except that we have a constant barrage of blooded children and Kate Adie’s worried face every day on our TVs.

  16. Vanessa
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Is it impossible for your office staff to spell UK with two capital letters? It is not a word in its own right but stands for UNITED KINGDOM. You have spelt it Uk in some places and UK in others, is it so difficult to be consistent with the way they write such an important abbreviation of our country?

    Reply: I write this blog, not “my staff”. I am well aware of what UK stands for. Sometimes fast typing means lower case comes out for the second letter – I am sorry if it offends you.

  17. Bazman
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Why don’t we just withdraw and let them fight it out selling arms to both sides? Let the market decide. We can then get the oil at a cheap price from the victor. A blockade could be put around the country to stop refugees. Gaddafi could be assassinated to speed up the process. I don’t know why anyone has not thought of this plan before. Any other tricky international problems just e-mail me.

  18. English Pensioner
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    If our aim is to protect the citizens of a country from a leader which is killing the citizens, why only Libya?
    Why not Zimbabwe? Why not Syria? Why not Ivory Coast? Why not Yemen?
    Of all those, the only one where I consider that we have any moral responsibility is Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia as I prefer to call it; this at least is an ex-British Colony.

    Anyway, as far as I am concerned it is very rare for Parliament to discuss anything that the public really cares about and even then it discusses the issue along party political lines, not along the lines of “let’s talk about what might be done, let’s try to find an acceptable solution” which most of the public would prefer. If they won’t honestly debate the EU, what about a proper discussion of the NHS instead of a shouting match with each side accusing the other of wanting to destroy it, but with no-one ever offering any logical arguments for a course of action.

    As far as I am concerned, unless they have real debates, with the hope of finding agreed solutions to some of our problems, Parliament can go permanently on holiday; Belgium seems to mange OK without one, we could probably do the same.

  19. BobE
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    People its our oil under their sand. This is the issue. The rebels will be eaisier to deal with.

  20. BobE
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Afghanistan is about surrounding Iran with western troops. Once again this is Oil wars.

  21. BobE
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Will I ever escape moderation?

  22. BobE
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    If you look at Iran in google world you can see the advantage of putting troops uinto Afganistan. Iran effectivly surrounded by the Iraq and Afganistan troops. This is about oil and survival. Remember WW1 started because Germany tried to build a railway to Bagdad to ship oil back for its ships. We went in to stop them and WW1 ensued. Don’t belive the hype. The oil wars continue.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page