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8 June 2007

From dodgy deals to logo woes

Blogosphere reaction to the BAE corruption scandal, David Cameron's grammar schools row and the new

By Owen Walker

After an exclusive in the Guardian followed up by some BBC exposure, the BAE corruption scandal is back in the spotlight.

The payments given to a Saudi prince, which were in the full knowledge of the Ministry of Defence, contravened anti-corruption legislation brought in by the current administration. The flouting of such laws angered many in the blogosphere.

Tim Worstall said: “It’s said that the definition of a diplomat is someone sent abroad to lie for his country. We do not accept said diplomat lying to us here. As with this story: I care not that foreigners have grubbed for bribes, I care not that we have offered them to foreigners. I care a very great deal that having changed the law, those in power continued to do so.”

Meanwhile, Craig Murray, the former Ambassador to Uzbekistan who hit the headlines when he denounced the Uzbek’s poor record on human rights, was equally dismayed.

He said: “Bin Laden and most of the 9/11 team came from Saudi Arabia. In response we keep invading other countries by mistake.

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“The so-called Attorney-General ordered the Serious Fraud Office to stop the investigation into BAE’s massive bribery payments to Saudi Arabia because of ‘national security’. By this, he meant that the Saudis might stop giving us ‘intelligence’ from their torture chambers if we persisted.”

While Tom Griffin reflects on the parallels with Thatcher’s Government who relied on defence exports to such an extent Britain was forced to support some particularly shadey regimes.

He said: “The fallout from this expansion, in the shape of the Arms-to-Iraq affair, helped to bring down the last Conservative government, so you might have expected a Labour government to try and wean Britain from this dependency.

“Instead, it has blocked the SFO’s [Serious Fraud Office] investigation into the Al-Yamamah deal. In the wake of the latest reports, there will be renewed calls for that investigation to be re-opened.”

It was not plain sailing for David Cameron this week after the fallout from another grammar school row. Nick Robinson announced the end of the Tory leader’s honeymoon period.

While Conservative Party Reptile said: “I think it would have been better if David Willetts had kept his grammar school ideas firmly under wraps. This could yet prove to be one of the biggest mistakes in DC’s leadership.”

Over in West Lancashire, occasional-New Statesman blogger David Sudworth said: “The Conservatives have to be careful or this will turn into another Europe, an issue which made sure they came completely unelectable from 1992 onwards.

“David Cameron must regain a tight grip of his party because if there’s one thing voters hate, it’s the political chattering classes indulging in protracted bouts of navel-gazing and infighting, something the national Tories have mastered down to a fine art in recent years.”

The new Olympic logo has been giving the blogging community a bit of light relief this week. It has been described as “pink day-glo pig’s abortion”, “the logo for the Annual Rabbit Shagging Championships” and the Fun House logo.

There have also been comparisons made to Lisa Simpson performing an illicit act. For anyone who lacks the imagination to envisage what this may look like, Theo Spark has made a couple of helpful gif files.

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