BAe Corruption and Governance in Britain (Updated) 6

Thanks to Chuck intervening with the BBC more succesfully than me, the link below now works! The BAe discussion is at the end of the final segment.

Many thanks to Clive and the server team for getting us up and running again after a persistent attack, probably not politically motivated, that had us off for some thirty six hours until yesterday afternoon.

On Saturday morning I had a sharp exchange of views on the Radio 4 Today programme with Sir Andrew Green, former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, over the BAe corruption scandal. John Humphrys was moderating.

I thought it brought out the arguments very well, and also for me illustrated precisely the ways that my thinking diverges from standard FCO thinking, thus explaining much of what occurred to me in Uzbekistan.

Sadly I haven’t been able to post a link or transcribe the interview because this segment of the programme is missing from the BBC web record of the Today programme. Here is the link to that: our interview was 8.55am. (I presume that link will only work this week).

I have phoned the Today programme, and filled in the BBC website online forms to report a fault. Neither elicited a reply. If anyone else has time to try to nudge the BBC on this one, it might do some good.

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6 thoughts on “BAe Corruption and Governance in Britain (Updated)

  • Chuck Unsworth

    Not being paranoid (I think!) but the link for the section 0830 to 0900 is broken. I've complained to the BBC by telephone this morning.

    All the other links for Saturday's programme seem to work…

    Given that this is a permanent problem – the programme remains accessible for seven days only – maybe we could summarise the 'debate' in some way?

  • Chuck Unsworth

    Link's up and running now.

    Andrew Green's position is interesting.

    At first he seems to indicate that Blair has said that it is not in the country's 'interests' to pursue the matter. That is not how the decision was presented. It was originally said to be a matter of national security. Subsequently he slightly backtracks on that stance.

    He also seems to feel that the ethical approach should vary according to whichever country we are dealing with, citing the example (briefly mentioned) of Africa vs Saudi Arabia. That's quite remarkable. So, it's not about our values, it's about theirs.

    This all goes to highlight the old argument about what precisely is the 'nation's interest'. And that relates to one's perspective – short or long term. Given that these 'Ministers' come and go on an almost mothly basis, there's absolutely no chance for the long term view to prevail.

  • felix

    but,Chuck, the long term view does prevail, and it is not one which comes from the electorate or government. If we had had a Green administration in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, the result would have been the same…

    Blair's main take on the Saudi bung on a recent interview was that jobs were the main thing; in which case, British business ought to be getting out there in Africa, Asia etc. with big bags of lolly,thus generating even more jobs, and a slightly lower trade imbalance than currently.

    It is like squeezing a long baloon: another good excuse, especially one covered by security and secrecy ,will pop up as soon as a previous one is squashed.

  • Chuck Unsworth


    Don't get me wrong. By instinct I'm a Chauvinist. But what we should have clarity about is what the National Interest – long term, that is – actually may be. What I can't abide is all the persiflage emanating from these lunatic politicians.

    For example, if we're in the business of invading Iraq because we want to secure our oil supplies then why not acknowledge that and have done with it. If, on the other hand, we think that the democratic way of life is something which should be embraced by all mankind then there are other (altogether more effective) ways of instilling it than armed conflict.

    Personally I think that willing adoption of democracy by others will lead ultimately to a more stable world and, dare I say it, real economic benefit to the UK. That's the long term view, of course.

  • felix

    Chuck, fair point about the national interest. It seems to me that when this item pops up in Parliament, there is just a handful of people who seem to make the going. Sir Nicholas Soames seems to be one,along with the cabinet whovever is in it, of course. And in the press there are writers like Simon Heffer who, incidentally, did not come through the public school system. And if you don't concur with the received national interest,you are out. Where this "national interest" comes from, I have no idea. A debate is superfluous.

    The state of democracy in Indonesia and the number dead bodies in East Timor over the years was of little account to any British Government.Ditto Latin America in the "special period"

    Any UK Government will have to deal with the "special relationship" with the US on day 1,ahead of any other business.

    And I have no idea why the UK government can't come out and say we needed the Iraqi oil, just like we need it from Saudi, Iran and Libya(hence the recent thaw in relations with the last named)

  • socrates

    BAE is at the heart of what is accurately termed, the new British East India Company, but in a modern form.

    i.e. the private international arms and mercenary business.

    It is not a "national security interest" any more than it is a "national" company. It serves the interests of the elite, and their Imperial designs for world government.

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