In the light of news from Libya that British intelligence officers were apparently complicit in the illegal seizure, rendition and torture of foreign nationals at the behest of their US allies, David Cameron has taken a sober, sensible approach. The allegations are “significant”, he says. So serious are they that he will ensure that they are considered carefully, and there will be no “rush to judgement”.
What a thoughtful man he is, bravely resisting knee-jerk reactions to the revelation of potentially horrendous crimes.
If only he applied such careful calmness all the time. It’s barely three weeks since he was advocating a stampede to judgement in the aftermath of the English riots. Courts should dish out “exemplary” sentences, he said. Rioters should go to jail, he proclaimed, thereby preempting every court in the land from doing the independent job it is supposed to do: consider its judgement carefully. He praised sentences which threw the sentencing rule book out of the window, including one ridiculous case of four years for two men who failed to incite a riot on facebook.
What has prompted such a terpsichorean change of direction?
Well, Cameron has nothing in common with the mass of underprivileged people in this country, whether they rioted or not. They are, in the words of that other paragon of restraint in word and deed Kenneth Clarke, the “feral underclass” which must be corralled, contained, taught a tough lesson. There’s nothing wrong with “rushing to judgement” of them now, is there? Who ever complains about a hoodie being locked up?
Now the intelligence service, that’s another thing, isn’t it? Just the name – “Intelligence”. We’re taking about intelligent people here, aren’t we? My goodness, many of them come from the same public schools and universities as Mr Cameron and his chums in both the Labour and Conservative parties. They’re pillars of the establishment. All round good eggs.
If kidnapping a man, flying him half way round the world, handing him over to Libyan thugs and psychopaths, standing outside the door while he is tortured to screaming point and then rubbing your hands with glee at the “information” he has offered just to please make it stop isn’t a “feral” act of abject inhumanity and barbarity, I don’t know what is.
“Rush to judgement”? The gears of any inquiry will grind ever so slowly, and at the end of it, as in the de Menezes and Baha Mousa cases, no-one will be held to account, no-one will lose their jobs, no-one will spend time in jail – and the establishment will shrug its shoulders and carry on its hypocritical way.
No judgement. No justice. That’s the Cameron way.