A very stark judgement from the High Court yesterday, condemining the government’s decision to stop the investigation of bribery allegations in the BAE/Saudi arms deal of the 1980s. The judgement refers to a ‘specific threat’ made by ‘Saudi representatives’ to Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair’s right hand man. For anyone who has followed the story, and perhaps particularly coverage in The Guardian, in recent years, this is no great surprise.
What surprises me is that Tony Blair thought we would be fooled by his explanation for stopping the investigation. Somehow, we were expected to believe there was a threat to national security. There was a threat, but it was more in the nature of blackmail. How deluded was Tony Blair towards the end of his days? And how weak does one have to be to buckle under in such an obvious manner.
The High Court refers to the government’s bleak picture of the impotence of the law in the face of foreign pressure. Their judgement seeks to reassert the rule of law, though the action to follow is still to be decided. The government, meanwhile, is bent on enacting further legislation that will allow it to stop investigations ‘in the national interest’ – a law allowing the government to surrender to threats from a foreign government. Strange times.
To read the full judgement, go to: http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Guardian/documents/2008/04/10/judgment_corner_house_100408.pdf