Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 24 March 2011

I support the limited action we are taking in Libya to ensure that Colonel Gaddafi could not suppress the uprising against his rule by slaughter his own people.
When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 it led to many advantages for the world. The cold war was at an end and many former Soviet countries tasted freedom and democracy for the first time. Many of these countries (like Poland) are now in the European Union and improving the lives of their people and playing a positive part on the world stage. Others (like the Ukraine) are still on the journey towards that great prize: the precious but fragile thing called democracy, but there is every chance they will make it one day. People living in those countries are beginning to enjoy the kinds of delights of independence and prosperity. But they are not the only ones to gain. We all benefit by the stability and peace that this great change has wrought in an historically turbulent region.
It is possible that the same thing could happen now in an equally querulous region: North Africa and the Middle East. If the people of these countries can shift their nations towards freedom and democracy over the next few years the benefits to them and us will be as equally clear and obvious. I am going shortly to Tunisia and Egypt as chairman of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, at their invitation, to see what we can do to help underpin their attempts to embrace a better way of living.
It was crucial then that dictators like Gaddafi, who has been in power for over 40 years, could not get away with responding to this desperate plea for liberty by crushing his rebels with planes and tanks. It took us too long to come to a decision, but did so in the nick of time before the insurgency was snuffed out. Now it will be for the Libyan insurgents to summon up their courage once again to overthrow this brutal dictator. Imagine if we had not intervened and he had been able to slaughter his own people, what signal that would have sent to other despots in this region?
Questions remain about the scope of the mission and our exit strategy, but we were right to do what we have done. The Libyan people now have a chance to find the freedom and self-determination that we all take for granted.

posted by Gary @ 09:03