I am pleased that Simon Ostrovsky has been released. He is a decent journalist, who back on 30 October 2007 did a very good piece on Newsnight about the terrible child slavery compelled by the state in the cotton fields of Uzbekistan. They had done some secret filming in Uzbekistan, which took much courage.
There was however one strange thing about Ostrovsky’s film. I was called in to the Newsnight studio in the morning to do a pre-record piece on what I had witnessed of this terrible system of cruel forced labour. I also recounted how I had reported it to government while I was Ambassador there from 2002 to 2004, but the British government had refused to take any action, as had the EU.
But none of my interview was shown in the programme, nor was I mentioned. Instead a New Labour minister was interviewed and he was allowed to say, unchallenged, that the film was absolutely shocking and the British government had no prior idea this was happening; they would now look into it etc. Needless to say they still did nothing, nor has anything ever been done to have child slave cotton banned from the UK. Why do you think Primark is so cheap?
I do not know whether Ostrovsky had any editorial control over the decision to cut the interview which proved the New Labour minister was lying through his teeth.