Cameron takes risks to be on the right side of history

Written by Total Politics has a free weekly Friday email bulletin. Follow this link to register. on 28 February 2011 in Diary
The prime minister's statement on Libya did not hold back. The sentiments spoke of change across the whole Middle East

The prime minister's statement to the House of Commons on Libya included the following:

"Freedom of expression, a free press, freedom of assembly, the right to demonstrate peacefully: these are basic rights. And they are as much the rights of people in Tahrir Square as Trafalgar Square. They are not British or western values – but the values of human beings everywhere...

"What is happening in the wider Middle East is one of those once in a generation opportunities, a moment when history turns a page. That next page is not yet written. It falls to all of us to seize this chance to fashion a better future for this region, to build a better relationship between our peoples, to make a new start."

The principles of promoting democracy were clear, and David Cameron looked statesman-like. You could call it inspiring that a British leader is so clear on promoting democracy in the region  ̶  although Cameron wasn't above party political points either, calling the previous Labour government's "appalling dodgy dealing" with Libya.

Back to the sentiment of the PM's statement. No10 and the Foreign Office must understand exactly what he was saying. But this obviously begs the next part. Will the government go on to say "make a new start" to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman?

This statement doesn't appear to allow Cameron to back out of doing this. The Foreign Office has been criticised for its slow response to developments in Libya. David Cameron has acted quickly to use the messy downfall of Gaddafi to lay out a new vision for the Middle East. But the consequences of what he says could be huge.

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