Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Difficult Decisions

Members of both parties in the coalition claim to the point of tedium that they are being forced to take difficult decisions with respect to the economy. In fact, there are hardly any difficult economic decisions to be made. The governments of two thirds of the world would love to have the luxury of the wealth that is Britain's in order to solve their very real economic problems. Our economic decisions are only difficult because we, the comfortably off, (and not just the bankers,) are too mean to share a little bit more of our wealth so as to to cushion effectively those who are hardest hit by what is, on the over-all scheme of things, a minor economic setback. Or maybe it is that our politicians are too cowardly to ask us.

What to do about the alleged Lockerbie bomber was a genuinely difficult decision. There were hints that he may have been wrongly convicted and that had his case gone to appeal he may have been found not guilty after all, there were obvious implications regarding our relationships with both Libya and the US, and our humane and legal responsibilities to a man who was and is thought to be terminally ill.

Sir Gus O'Donnell's report shows that the UK government brought no pressure on the Scottish Executive in the making of their decision, and it has already been established that in deciding the case the Scots scrupulously followed the requirements of their law. It is therefore shaming to hear Cameron toadying to the Americans by accusing the Labour government of wrong-doing. Cameron, so anxious for us to be proud of being British, should demonstrate that virtue of loyalty to colleagues (ie fellow British politicians) when they get things right.

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