Gaddafi’s speech: the highlights

The Libyan dictator’s speech yesterday was defiant, yet incoherent. Here are the key quotations.


In a characteristically bizarre appearance on Libyan state television yesterday, Colonel Gaddafi was like a caricature of a crazed dictator. His tone was defiant – yet the speech frequently verged on the comic. Were it not for the power he wields and the bloodshed he is not afraid to initiate, moments from this would have been laugh-out-loud funny.

Here are the key quotations from the rambling address.

Striking a defiant tone, Gaddafi signalled that he will refuse to flee Libya or to stand down, as the UN, his own diplomats and the Arab League have urged him to do:

I am a fighter, a revolutionary from tents . . . I will die as a martyr at the end.

Muammar Gaddafi is the leader of the revolution, I am not a president to step down . . . This is my country. Muammar is not a president to leave his post.

Despite this fighting stance, he offered a risible reason for not standing down:

I am not president so I cannot stand down.

Ominously, despite the signs of shocking violence coming out of Libya (link behind paywall), he claimed that we have seen nothing yet, and threatened his own people with civil war.

I have not yet ordered the use of force, not yet ordered one bullet to be fired . . . when I do, everything will burn.

Gaddafi also appeared to incite violence against protesters from his supporters:

You men and women who love Gaddafi . . . get out of your homes and fill the streets. Leave your homes and attack them in their lairs . . . Starting tomorrow [Wednesday] the cordons will be lifted, go out and fight them.

In one of the more laughable sections of the speech, he compared the demonstrators to drug-fuelled mice, suggesting that the uprising was incited by an unnamed group supplying them with drugs and money:

A small group of young people who have taken drugs have attacked police station like mice . . . They have taken advantage of this peace and stability . . . However it is not their fault, these young people; they tried to imitate what happened in Tunisia . . . However, there is a small group of sick people that has infiltrated in cities that are circulating drugs and money.

And it was not his only bizarre description of the protesters. He also called them:

This bunch of greasy rats and cats.

While he appeared rambling, incoherent and belligerent (Paul Waugh quipped on Twitter that he "put the rant in ty-rant"), this speech was a clear indication that Gaddafi does not plan to back down without a fight. His madness, though amusing from an detached perspective, makes it all the more worrying for those inside Libya, who face the all-too-serious enactment of this rage.

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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Why relations between Theresa May and Philip Hammond became tense so quickly

The political imperative of controlling immigration is clashing with the economic imperative of maintaining growth. 

There is no relationship in government more important than that between the prime minister and the chancellor. When Theresa May entered No.10, she chose Philip Hammond, a dependable technocrat and long-standing ally who she had known since Oxford University. 

But relations between the pair have proved far tenser than anticipated. On Wednesday, Hammond suggested that students could be excluded from the net migration target. "We are having conversations within government about the most appropriate way to record and address net migration," he told the Treasury select committee. The Chancellor, in common with many others, has long regarded the inclusion of students as an obstacle to growth. 

The following day Hammond was publicly rebuked by No.10. "Our position on who is included in the figures has not changed, and we are categorically not reviewing whether or not students are included," a spokesman said (as I reported in advance, May believes that the public would see this move as "a fix"). 

This is not the only clash in May's first 100 days. Hammond was aggrieved by the Prime Minister's criticisms of loose monetary policy (which forced No.10 to state that it "respects the independence of the Bank of England") and is resisting tougher controls on foreign takeovers. The Chancellor has also struck a more sceptical tone on the UK's economic prospects. "It is clear to me that the British people did not vote on June 23 to become poorer," he declared in his conference speech, a signal that national prosperity must come before control of immigration. 

May and Hammond's relationship was never going to match the remarkable bond between David Cameron and George Osborne. But should relations worsen it risks becoming closer to that beween Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. Like Hammond, Darling entered the Treasury as a calm technocrat and an ally of the PM. But the extraordinary circumstances of the financial crisis transformed him into a far more assertive figure.

In times of turmoil, there is an inevitable clash between political and economic priorities. As prime minister, Brown resisted talk of cuts for fear of the electoral consequences. But as chancellor, Darling was more concerned with the bottom line (backing a rise in VAT). By analogy, May is focused on the political imperative of controlling immigration, while Hammond is focused on the economic imperative of maintaining growth. If their relationship is to endure far tougher times they will soon need to find a middle way. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.