I’ve commented on BAE before when a contract was completed for providing an unnecessary costly defence system for Tanzania supported as I remember by New Labour under T. Blair. The persistent reports of BAE’s flirting with Saudi Arabia to secure contracts by bribery are also dismissed by the government. It appears that a number of MPs think corrupt practices are acceptable.
I went to a meeting in Birmingham this week that gave some detail of what went on when BAE paid a Saudi defence chief millions and provided lavish hospitality. It was likened to Lockheed paying the British Air Chief Marshall for buying its products and asking what the outcry would be in the UK. No it is a patriotic duty for BAE to act thus after all it involves British jobs. Actually other British jobs were lost when firms who did not offer bribes consequently lost contracts. BAE can do no wrong as far as New Labour is concerned. Once again it demonstrates how far from socialism New Labour has travelled and eagerly champions aggressive capitalism.
I wanted to know about individual MPs involvement. Some whose constituencies BAE exist passionately defend while others have grave reservations. Clare Short spoke out at the time, while Khalid Mahmood appeared on TV giving hearty support to Saudi Arabia. Do any MPs conduct business in the region, if so what is the natures of their operations? The speakers at the meeting had no idea.
Just what, one wonders, has been the role of the all-party Saudi Arabian Parliamentary Group and its members, with its secretary Khalid Mahmood?
Simon Hughes asks questions.
Birmingham based firm supplier of laminates to arms trade.