Friday, August 18, 2006

Saudi fighter deal: embarassed silences on the left

New Labour backed Bush’s invasion of Iraq because of its principled concern to bring about democracy in the Middle East. At least that’s what we are told by the pro-war left and the Euston Manifesto crowd.

So surely they must be feeling that little bit puzzled as to why the Ministry of Defence has given permission for the sale of 72 Eurofighter fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, easily one of the most odious tyrannies on earth?

British company BAE will assemble the planes and pocket most of £10bn proceeds.

This would be the ideal opportunity for Respect to rush in and condemn the deal. But given that their only MP admits that past campaigning activities have been funded by the House of Saud, I guess that development is rather unlikely, too.

Finally, the Tories would do well to keep their traps shut on this one. Cameron has accepted a six-figure donation from the wife of a Saudi arms dealer. And suggestions that Mark Thatcher took kickbacks from an early BAE deal with the Saudis have never been refuted.

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