This is the first time we have had a Prime Minister younger than me, and it may be that I am being overly critical, but Mr Cameron, in what can only be seen as a case of extreme naivety, seems to have made a complete pig’s ear of this Libyan business.
I do not myself think that it is the job of the RAF to bail out people who have freely made the decision to work for a lunatic in return for extremely high wages, but whatever Cameron and the quaintly Arabist Foreign and Commonwealth Office thinks, he could have at least enunciated his policy.
He dithered for days and now seems to have gone over the top the other way, suggesting that we arm the protesters (an act of complete folly) and operate a ‘no-fly’ zone. An American official explained this morning that this would involve attacking Libya to wipe out its air defences (an act of war), and that we would need more aeroplanes to operate it than could be contained on one airbase.
Tony Blair made the mistake of underfunding the military and then going to war. Cameron, who is making essential but stringent cuts to a military budget which had gone mad, should not then make bellicose remarks like an armchair warrior in 1914.
A clear case of where shutting up and quietly doing the essentials would be the best policy.