Appealing to the people


This has been the tale of two balconies.

The first was in Algiers yesterday when David Cameron saw the balcony from which President de Gaulle famously appealed to the masses in a 1958 tour aimed at fighting off bloody demands for Algerian independence.

Today in Tripoli, the prime minister passed the balcony in what was Green Square and is now Martyrs' Square, where Colonel Gaddafi equally famously addressed a million Libyans who were chanting his name.

This morning a new crowd gathered there as word travelled that a visitor had arrived unannounced.

"Welcome, Cameron. Welcome," they said.

These days complete secrecy and heavy security - armoured cars and police helicopters - are needed to minimise the risk to a prime minister visiting Tripoli: even one regarded as a liberator.

Last week the Foreign Office ordered British citizens to leave Libya's second city, Benghazi, after warnings of an imminent threat to Westerners.

Britain's answer is to help train police here as David Cameron told recruits at Tripoli's police training college that their job now was even more important than overthrowing Gaddafi.

The UN envoy to Libya has warned that the conflict in Mali risks spilling over here as guns and heavily armed rebels cross borders from one conflict zone to another.

I put it to the prime minister that this would convince some that outside intervention always makes things worse. He insists that this is wrong.

David Cameron wants people to remember what things were like before Gaddafi was overthrown.

He has secured a promise that police investigating the Lockerbie bombing could visit here to pursue their enquiries. The promise came from a man who was protesting against Gaddafi outside the Libyan embassy in London on the day PC Yvonne Fletcher was shot. Today that man - Ali Zidan - is Prime Minister of Libya.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • Comment number 144.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    His promise to fund the armed forces properly has fallen apart already (see front page of the Telegraph) he cannot be believed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    139 Strictly

    "Do you have a possible scenario for how WW2 in Europe may have turned out if the US had not joined or assisted the allies ?"

    The Russians would have won the war and become the masters of Europe. But their regime would have collapsed ultimately just as it did in reality, defeated by the people themselves.

    And we wouldn't have America marauding around the planet.

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    Yes. The US would have faced a formidable foe in the form of the new world superpower.
    As it happens they were attacked and then joined the war.

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    He recently appealed from the balcony of his armchair,(he`s 3 inches high) to the British people and told them Public debt was falling.

    He`s just been reprimanded by Dilnot of the ONS for confusing the public who all know by now that debt is rising.

    They`re still saying debt was too high before the slump.For the truth see Chote,Emerson Tetlowm`UK Public finances Ready for Recession,IFS 2008

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    136 margaret howard

    Do you have a possible scenario for how WW2 in Europe may have turned out if the US had not joined or assisted the allies ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    Cameron may be seen as "fake prophet" in International take care

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    Comment number 137.

    I don't like Cameron. I agree that more should be have been considered in the endgame in Libya, though Gaddafi actions made intervention inevitable. BUT! Seared into the minds of major Western leaders of this generation, left, centre and right, is that the west let Afghanistan rot after the USSR left. The Taliban took power, Bin Laden set up shop there, then...
    Even Hollande. It haunts them.

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    Comment number 136.

    120 dw1

    ". but where would we be now without the US foreign intervention in the 1940's"

    Well, we certainly wouldn't have had an even more evil regime take over even more of Europe and suppress and kill millions more people until the collapse of the Soviet empire.

    Unfortunately, we only ever hear details of the evil committed by Hitler and silence about the horrors of Stalin's crimes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    it's all I need to know.
    In some areas,such as fashion and product designm, the Less is More philosophy is apt; however, for the purposes of debate this is not usually the case - sophophobia can be conquered but will require perseverance on your part - see my #134.

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    Your posts are a classic example of what I mean. You support Labour and justify your criticism of Cameron by saying they are all the same.
    Oh dear, more ill judged assumptions - you keep doing that, again and again. Learning can be such a challenge for some....anyway keep trying, you might get it right eventually and how satisfying would that be, eh?

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    131. family guy

    Bravo Prime Minister
    Just hilarious.. well done!

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    128.cping500 "discussion on the deployment of the EU 1200 strong force"

    which of the forces describer below are you referring to:?

    No matter how much overseas travel DC does he will NEVER appease his own right wing! They are truly monstrous and they have the bit between their teeth - he has 9 to 12 months max!

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    Bravo Prime Minister

    It's comforting that in these difficult times, with so many burdens and cares, that you have found the time to remember those lands, which perhaps, do not possess some of the good fortune of those of us in this fair country. Such leadership and courage are a beacon of hope for world unity and cultural appreciation and I know I speak for us all when I simply say: thankyou.

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    Ah yes and today he is the chairman at a conference on child poverty and hunger, his speech should go something like, and now and I absolutely mean this I and my coalition partners are doing our utmost to make children in the UK along with their parents(some of whom are already having to decide between food heating or rent) exactly the same as the rest of the world's poor UK food banks thriving

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    Cameron did well to go to Algeria - nasty labour politicians had 13 years to go there - rather, they had 64 years to go there & failed - but they managed to get to Libya - didn't they just

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    For John of Hendon.... somewhere he will find there has been a discussion on the deployment of the EU 1200 strong force... I can't recall the name... but it is on hold.

    Of course the Cameroon would not be in the vanguard.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    I lived in West Africa for over ten years. If Cameron/Blair/Brown,et al ever want to know about Africa, consult people who actually know the countries intimately. You learn NOTHING being chaperoned between 5 star hotels,and safari trips.

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    @124 "Lucid"


  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    Camerons African Tour? Is he still in London then?


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