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News, Opinions and Analysis from Spending Cuts Review

British Commercial Interests in Libya

British Commercial Interests in Libya

As we learn more about how Gaddafi operated in Libya such as the “warehouse of horror” and learn of the victims of his brutal regime including BBC journalists, we should use this moment in time to analyse British commercial interests in foreign countries, especially those that choose to torture and massacre innocent people. By choosing to do business with these countries, we are in effect supporting their brutal regimes in exchange for profits. It is completely unacceptable to disregard humanitarian concerns for these financial incentives.

The victims of Gaddafi’s regime were not in the forefront of business minds when the Libyan British Business Council was formed with 120 members including Barclays Capital, KPMG and GlaxoSmithKline. These companies are more focused on maximising profits in an additional country regardless of how they treat their own people. Up until February this year, British companies were attempting to secure their part of the estimated £1.5bn bilateral trade between Libya and the UK. These companies also had their eyes on the planned £102bn of infrastructure investment the Government of Libya had committed to spend over the next two years. Despite the financial gains in countries like Libya, we should not forget their victims and we should not allow these companies to do the same.

Living in this country it can be difficult to understand how hard life can be for people in these countries and stories like these can be very depressing but instead of choosing to ignore them and go on with everyday life, we should embrace the news and attempt to make a difference to their lives. Instead of allowing British companies to engage in ‘building business bridges‘ with these countries, we should as a developed country, apply pressure for regime change to protect their civilians.

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