Thursday, February 24, 2011

Qadhafi and the Third Way

So, I've been keeping track in my mind of the connections between Qadhafi and the Third Way, since it turned out that Blair and Mandelson were tight with the dictator's son. This morning, I found out that Qadhafi's international lobbying operation, involved Richard Perle, Francis Fukuyama, Bernard Lewis, Dick Cheney and ... Anthony Giddens. Which would explain this:

As one-party states go, Libya is not especially repressive. Gadafy seems genuinely popular. Our discussion of human rights centred mostly upon freedom of the press. Would he allow greater diversity of expression in the country? There isn't any such thing at the moment. Well, he appeared to confirm that he would. Almost every house in Libya already seems to have a satellite dish. And the internet is poised to sweep the country. Gadafy spoke of supporting a scheme that will make computers with internet access, priced at $100 each, available to all, starting with schoolchildren.

Will real progress be possible only when Gadafy leaves the scene? I tend to think the opposite. If he is sincere in wanting change, as I think he is, he could play a role in muting conflict that might otherwise arise as modernisation takes hold. My ideal future for Libya in two or three decades' time would be a Norway of North Africa: prosperous, egalitarian and forward-looking. Not easy to achieve, but not impossible.

I would like to think that Giddens would be embarrassed by this sort of thing, but this is the man who wrote The Third Way. He clearly lacks the capacity for embarrassment.