Simon Carr: Cameron the leader who's magnanimous in accepting a moral victory

Sketch: Miliband looked like an art student sitting through a double maths period

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The Independent Online

We're flying in £15bn worth of banknotes for them, they're getting a written constitution, their rubbish collection works and even the Labour leader can only call for "a broad-based process of inclusive reconciliation" over there in Libya.

No wonder David Cameron was so cheerful, his first war has ended jolly well – touch and go though it was more than once. The cynics have been defeated, crushed, routed utterly. And yet even they – we – were magnanimously treated by the Prime Minister. No inclusive truth and reconciliation for us; he's very good at winning.

In a strangely lifeless Parliament, Cameron told us why we'd gone to the trouble and expense of helping Libya overthrow a murdering, torturing enemy of Britain. We couldn't risk a "failed state on our borders", he said. We "didn't want an Iraq but we didn't want a Bosnia either". We had "a moral obligation" and we had the resources as well, so "when 'ought' and 'can' come together there's a good case for action".

Not that he was propounding a new doctrine, he cautioned us. He didn't like doctrines as he was "a practical, liberal Conservative" and his only doctrine was to do practical, liberal-conservative things. That may include flogging looters as time goes on.

The Labour leader looked like an art student sitting through a double maths period. He was SOOO BORED. From time to time he cradled his forehead in his hand and ran his fingers through his – possibly gelled – hair. He may have had some perfectly sensible things to say but when he spoke his front bench went off into a collective dream world. As indeed did everyone else.

Cameron declined to make a party issue out of our previous regime's toe-sucking familiarity with Libya's previous regime. Ed Miliband chuckled at this. Of course he did, one of the principal villains in those particular villainies was Ed's mortal enemy: his brother David, who was the Foreign Secretary at the time.





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