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Is enough being done to help stranded Britons in Libya?

10:56 UK time, Thursday, 24 February 2011

Prime Minister David Cameron has apologised for the government's handling of the evacuation of British nationals from Libya. Should more be done to solve the crisis?

A plane chartered by oil companies for employees, with 78 passengers, has arrived at Gatwick and a government-chartered flight has also left Libya. A meeting of Cobra, the government's emergency planning committee, is being chaired by the Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Several other countries, including France, Russia and the Netherlands have already evacuated some of their citizens. However some stranded Britons have accused the government of doing nothing to help them.

Has the government's response been adequate so far? Is enough being done to help Britons stranded in Libya? Are you or members of your family based in the region?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.


Page 1 of 11

  • Comment number 1.

    No, we are one of the last of the main developed countrys to react with any competance.

    Once again, Brits come last

  • Comment number 2.

    I would imagine most UK citizens are in Libya for work, and most of that will be in the oil industry. And the oil industry is hardly short of money, is it ? So why should the tax-payer cover the cost and organisation ? It should be down to the oil companies to pay and organise any evacuation of it's staff.

  • Comment number 3.

    The unrest in the Middle East is not the creation of the UK government. I am not sure why some Brits now seem to think that the UK Government is there to extradite them from a problem in a foreign country they presumably chose to visit in the first place.

    People really do need to take responsibility for themselves not seek to blame other people all the time. As for the Labour party trying to use this as an excuse to stir up trouble for Cameron – it’s pathetic.

  • Comment number 4.

    As I have said in many previous comments on various subjects, it is basically unhealthy and risky to rely so much upon the UK state for anything.

    Whether abroad, or to meet day to day life supporting needs. If ever something serious was to happen, like maybe a banking collapse, total, then we'd instantly turn into a moneyless poverty stricken nation.
    Thing is, so many people live their lives alongside our economic system of "just in time", hoping that shops will endefinately re-supply with weekly food supplys.

    Why would you even want to go to Libya, either you are making money from the existance of this attrocious monsterous regime & working for BP or other similar company making profit from attrocity despotic government, or you are on holiday. Either one is just as bad.

    If you walk into a fire, expect to get burnt, then DONT whine and moan at your OWN decision to walk into it!!!!

  • Comment number 5.

    I was dismayed to read some of the comments within the Daily Mails comments forum on this subject.

    Some people stating that those Britons stranded in Libya are there of their own freewill and/or are expats living the tax free life and thus are responsible for finding and indeed funding their own way out of Libya during this crisis.

    I find people who hold such opinions to be beyond contempt. We are talking about our fellow country who are potentially in danger and whether they have paid taxes or not or are enjoying a better quality of "expat" lifestyle than the rest of us, they are our fellow country men and we have a duty to assist where we can to ensure their safety.

    The attitude highlights perfectly the selfish attitude that seems to pervade in this country and is a massive contributing factor into why this country and at almost every level of society there is division, greed, malice and failure.

    Our response as a nation is as has been for many major disasters where we Brits have been in the firing line, luke-warm to basically lazy compared to other nations where no expense or effort is spared.

    Anyone looking for a reason why Britain is now such a lousy country needs look no further for a contributing cause. Shame on this government for such a poor response.

  • Comment number 6.

    I'd like to know total numbers of Brits in Libya, on holiday and on employed basis.

    Its good to know how many will sell out morals, for fun or money, which is the true reality of most Brits in Libya.

  • Comment number 7.

    I just wonder what Cameron and his team were doing directly to help while out on their middle east tour?

    Was the PM's plane and team members made available?

    From returning UK nationals reports I get the feeling the Foreign Office in part at least is not fit for purpose, having abandoned stranded Britons.

    The UK was historically famous for it's "Dunkirk Spirit", it seems government at least in part has lost this, so much for the "Big Society".

  • Comment number 8.

    If we actually had any planes left in service to the RAF we could have sent some of them in....

    Yes, I know we have planes and there are acouple now in Malta, on readiness, but they should have been in there more than 24 hours ago and this government's dithering smacks of the previous government's prevarication and procrastination. It's not brain surgery to understand when you need to repatriate your people in a hurry.

  • Comment number 9.

    Yes of course but why is it totally the government's fault? If we have to blame, blame the civil servants who run the ministries inefficiently whatever government is in power and seem unchanged after 13 years of Labour rule. In this case the Foreign office. Blame the oil companies too who are not looking after their employees. Even blame some of the stranded people many of whom earn a nice wage and avoid UK tax working in a country run by a known nutcase. And have put themselves in this position but expect the UK taxpayer to bale them out. But don't just blame a goverment who have been in power for less than 6 months and are grappling with a whole host of problems left behind by Labour. Even blame the BBC who as with a number of recent stories eg the womens 'lost' pension story last week, or the council 'cuts', who seem to want us all to heap blame on the coalition and not on the Labour goverment who created these issues and who sit sniping from the sidelines.

  • Comment number 10.

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

  • Comment number 11.

    People with anti-government sentiments will slag the government off for the response. People who support the coalition will mitigate the areas where it has failed.

    I think they've probably responded as best they can (after all, it's in no govenments interest to leave its own citizens stranded). Having said that, I really don't have all the material facts from the situation.

    Good luck to all our people trying to get home. Lets hope the bloodshed ends soon.

  • Comment number 12.

    Why should the tax payer pay for that?
    There has been a lot of warning. Why did they not leave weeks ago? Were they waiting for the government to pay?

  • Comment number 13.

    Should the Governemnt have done more short answer is yeas.

    The situation in Libya is quite different to that, that existed in Tunisia nd Egypt.

    The Governemnt should have had Cobra meetings as soon as the trouble started in Libya they would have known that there were British Nationals there that may/would have needed help.

    Other Governemnts acted quicker and got their people out. But this government kept waiting and waiting, possibly hoping that the situation would get better instead of acting straight away.

    Cameron should have abandoned his trip as soon as he heard but know he carried on with it, helping to sell arms to countries that do not like criticism from but inside or outside the country.

    He happened hoped that by being the first foreign politician from outside to visit Egypt simce Mabarak was forced that it would give some kudos with the rest of the world. All his visit has done is to show that he does not have the grasp of foreign politics that is required.

    The government instead of getting planes in to Libya straight away was to busy being polite askung for permission. Did the other countries ask permission probably not all they were concerned about was getting their people out.

    There is talk of sending in the SAS to get people in the desert out, that could easily put their lives at a greater risk than ever.

    They should have told those people that contacted them for help to get to the airport have somebody there to meet them and get them on a plane out of there a lot earlier than today.

  • Comment number 14.

    This is just another example of our 'who can we blame society'. Brits living in Libya did so of their own volition. Why should they expect the tax paying public to sort out their mess? If you choose to live in an unstable country you should be ready to pull out if the need arises.
    I heard last evening that two British airlines failed to provide aircraft to help in their evacuation despite making a pledge to do so- what happened to the old saying 'Your country needs you'.

  • Comment number 15.

    Of course the British government was the slowest to respond.

    Do not forget the government has to consider whether or not the operation was "affordable" and "cost effective".

  • Comment number 16.

    "dave" hug a huggy dave,along with that most effcient of forgien secs.
    billy boy haigue,the batman and boy wonder, off on thier middle east jollies.bringing peace and harmony at every photo opotunity. forget to make the plans for evacuating the brits from libya until someone points out there is a problem.then the boy wonder arranges an air lift that runs into technical difficulties,but it is nothing to do with the forgien office??yeah right.the simple fact is,they are not up to the job!
    this is not a top notch matter what department you look at,they will continue to make blunders while ever they are in office. they do not take time to think things through.cammeron will be making a lot of apoligises over the coming year the way things are going,i hope no one looses their life in this debacle,if this happens haigue as to go.
    let us hope we get everbody out safely,then an independent inquirey to follow.they must learn that politics is a serious business not a photo shoot...

  • Comment number 17.

    There has always been a 'level of tension' between the West and Libya. People who have chosen to work there need to be aware that there could be a greater than normal level of risk and take resonsibilty themselves.

    So I don't see why the UK tax payer should rush to bail these people out.

  • Comment number 18.

    I think if you decide to go work in some Despot dictatorship country for your your pieces of silver you should expect to have to get out quickly when things turn sour, surely you know the risks and the pay reflects this.
    Should we rescue them, yes of course we should, but they should be charged the full cost of doing so, they were quick enough to take the wages...

  • Comment number 19.

    Yes we should have reacted a lot quicker, but what with? If it came to the point that these people needed protecting what do we use?

    All I will say is that this government and all previous governments who have cut our great armed forces back to the bone and beyond will live to regret it, unfortunately so will the rest of us.

  • Comment number 20.

    Good grief.

    This happens at every emergency but what do people expect? That the Government keeps a fleet of planes in the air 24/7 on the off-chance that there's going to be an uprising in a country somewhere or a natural disaster somewhere else? Perhaps every Brit abroad should be assigned their own personal helicopter, constantly hovering above them to pluck them to safety at a moment's notice?

    The people who have been brought back to the UK should evaluate their situation compared to someone who's just been killed in rioting and then decide whether they're really that badly off.

  • Comment number 21.

    I have to say, that people who can be bought with enough dosh, to work in countries where they know human rights and/or the rule of law are lacking (or even holiday there) have a bit of a nerve when they expect me, as a taxpayer to stump up when their gambles turn pricey.

    Perhaps there should be a surcharge on the earnings from, or price of holidays to, such places to cover such eventualities.

  • Comment number 22.

    I hear that many Brits who were stranded in Libya were rescued by Poland and are now safely in Warsaw. Not very good BA, BMI, RAF and Mr Cameron.

  • Comment number 23.

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

  • Comment number 24.

    Is enough being done to help stranded Britons in Libya?

    Yes, Libya is still country, the UK has to respect its sovereignty and not just rush in uninvited (which might be considered an invasion further escalating tensions).

    Personally, I think the Labour party has no better ideas and is using this to stir up trouble for Cameron.

  • Comment number 25.

    Firstly the vast majority are there working for oil companies! Question, just what sort of risk analysis did they do? and what contingencies did THEY have in place? Simply because this country had a track record. The same goes for those working for other companies and aid agencies! If UK Tax Pounds have been used to repatriate these citizens I would expect all of these companies / organisations to refund UK expenditure! I know that some or perhaps all have special conditions in respect to remuneration packages and a choice of which country to bank with. I'm guessing the bare minimum is divulged to keep some within UK tax laws.
    Now we have future potentially redundant forces of men & women risking their lives for others, not to mention the risk to UK defence equipment!

  • Comment number 26.

    The workers being castigated for working in Libya in the Oil & Gas industry are not alone. There are teachers, nurses and other businesses out there, some are even holidaymakers.

    Are these workers the same ones that if they did not take a job in the UK would be classed as scroungers and benefit cheats?

    Are these teachers and nurses not helping the people out there? Yes they get paid money for the jobs they do and if you work in Libya there is a tax deduction from salary. I know because I worked in the Middle East many times.

    I worked overseas and do now because there are no jobs in engineering for me and many like me. Most of us would like to work at home but the economics are simple, there is no work for us so we either become the benefit scroungers you all moan about or we do as Mr Tebbit says and get on our bikes.

    Which one do you want us to be?

    The money made there comes back to the UK and is spent in most cases so it helps the economy, most, like me paid a balance of tax on my income every year where there was a difference ie 10% overseas so I had to pay the difference in the UK. Thinks of barclays bank and corporation tax. I paid as do others.

    As a UK citizen I would hope that my Goverment would support me in a crisis, or is it dog eat dog, is this what you want?

    In my case, in Algeria, when we were being shot at in a camp the oil company got us out but now with a civil war it is to big a task for an oil company alone and remember there are teachers and nurses and holidaymakers out there.

    Blame the embassy staff, why, usually there is a team of about 20 and if you think 20 of you could deal with 5,000 plus at the door and expect to get them out in a couple of days you are not living in the real world.

    Monsterous regime or not workers are ensuring your gas is delivered and your petrol without these you would not be able to function. Some complain the UK is a monsterous regime selling arms to these people, well I think it is a bad deal too but the workers can either work on a resource to keep you warm at night or be a benefit scrounger.

    When you decide what side you sit on then pigeon hole me.

    The UK government is not the fastest but I called a friend this wek to see if he was still there, he was out on leave but on the camp there are over 500 other nationals and most are still there whilst the Brits are back in the UK or on their way home.

    The Brits are not the last to leave, this time.

  • Comment number 27.

    What did you expect from the Condems. They think the private sector can deal with everything better than all else. They were relying on commercial companies to get British people out. Guess what the private sector did what it always does looks after number one and to hell with everyone else.

    Our country has been shown up for its lack of forsight. What did this government expect when there is civil unrest, that those in Libya would all take a luxuary cruise out of the region. To watch Hague bumbling last night was laughable he dropped off big time and yes it was right for Labour to highlight this. What would the rabid press in this country be spouting now if it was a Labour Government who did not consider evacuating its citizens.

    There are comments above saying why should that taxpayer pick up the bill. Despicable, me me me I don't want to pay. There are some things we have to pay for like it or not and we have been evacuating our citizens from conflicts around the world for centuries, but now greed is part of the equation. Rightwingers always hate paying for anything if they have to. When Oil prices go through the roof in the next few weeks just remember it's the money men pushing up the prices not the fact Libya is not producing its 2%. Still never mind its Labours fault isn't it. Pathetic

  • Comment number 28.

    Having experienced the level of support given by the government at first hand ( not in Libya) I can confirm that the service is pathetic.
    Support is left to organisations such as Amnesty Internation and Fair Trials Abroad. I appreciate the Libya situation, i.e. requiring evacuation, is different from suffering injustice but I am not surprised that there is systemic failure by government departments in this case.

  • Comment number 29.

    5. At 11:20am on 24 Feb 2011, Sauron the Deciever wrote:

    I was dismayed to read some of the comments within the Daily Mails comments forum on this subject.

    I agree, what a bunch of selfish B******s.

  • Comment number 30.

    It makes you wonder what is the point of UK government emergency plans if such required humanitarian responses are so easily inept.

    The middle east is presently a powder keg just waiting to explode, the domino effect of current events couldnt be any more of a warning to implement and make ready and ensure standing by of policys/proceedure for humanitarian assistance or even insuring other vital UK national security necessitys, which includes continuation of supply of oil, which without, we wither and collapse as a nation.

    By my reasoning, now is NOT the time to break up & scrap vital UK military ability. To decomission the Ark Royal and her aircraft is of unfathomable negligence and incompetance which will leave the UK logistically extinct in our ability to protect vital national interests which this nation of ours relys upon for our continued maintenance.

    I can see a scenario of a UK national emergency resulting in such implementation of strategic necessity asking the question "well what have we got left that can do the job"?

    In a growing unstable world, ability to protect and insure necessary components of that which enables our nation to function and survive, are greatly and historically PROVEN more important than maintenance of other domestic expenditure budgets.

    Cuts to UK military and UK foreign office have not fully been implemented, such planning needs far far more thought of practicality and compatability with national security necessity than has been so far implemented.

    UK national security is being slashed as if it was Liverpool Metropolitan councils budget.

    Lest we forget.


    I'd hate for something more serious to happen, because we will just be in so much difficulty and endemically unprepared or able to respond.

  • Comment number 31.

    Mr Cameron seems too engrossed in touring this troubled region trying to flog arms to keep an eye on what his incompetent ministries are doing for Brits stranded in Libya.

  • Comment number 32.

    Looks like there's a fairly solid consensus here for once.

    However, I can't blame private companies such as BA for not wanting to put either their staff or assets in harm's way.

    That's what happens when you denationalise: the democratically elected Government loses control.

  • Comment number 33.

    Surely the responsibility for getting people home is with the employers, who employ people to work in these countries that can become unstable very quickly.

    I'm not pro govenrment at all but it seems people accept jobs in risky places and then blame the government when things go wrong and they can't get home immediately.

  • Comment number 34.

    Just a though what commercial airline did this government think would get out Britons in Libya. As they have to be cost effective at all times.

    I've got it RYANAIR as long as you have pre printed your boarding pass

  • Comment number 35.

    All the knowledgable people who claim that Libya is tax free and so the workers deserve nothing read the following.

    Salaries and Wages Tax
    Libyan Salaries and Wages tax applies to all salaries, wages, bonuses and benefits which arise from employment in Libya.Tax rates range from 8% to 15%.

    Foreign nationals employed and paid in Libya can remit 50% of the net salary in foreign currency to his or her home country.
    The percentage is increased to 75% in exceptional cases, for example in the case of desert-based employees.

    Foreign companies choosing to pay their foreign nationals overseas may do so but are required to account for these payments
    and to deduct the Libyan tax due and pay it to the Tax Department.

    Now shut up about tax free salaries and why the workers deserve no help!

  • Comment number 36.

    Back when we needed to repatriate British people stranded overseas because of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption (I cheated with the name and looked it up) the government launched Operation Cunningham.

    HMS Albon, HMS Ocean (amphibious) and HMS Ark Royal (aircraft carrier) were sent to help with the transportation effort.

    Isn't it a pity we don't have an aircraft carrier any more? Just sending two amphibious ships down to Libya might look like an invasion attempt to their paranoid leader, and without air support the ships would be at serious risk.

    Perhaps the government should reconsider the defence spending cuts given all the recent turmoil in the world.

  • Comment number 37.

    As usual, caught looking the other way, politely asking the airlines for assistance instead of ordering flights to go get our nationals. To little too late as always, and last in the queue to do anything. And what is a warship doing floating around the area?
    Now we see the value of our redundant aircraft carriers. We need these vital vessels in our armed forces, their Harriers and especially helicopters. Perhaps if we were to hold back giving India-a Nuclear state, with it`s own space programme and vast armed forces, the millions we give to that country in aid could be directed to our own nationals that would help also.

  • Comment number 38.

    I like the fact that he has the guts and the humilty to say sorry for government incompetence. Admitting you got it wrong is the first step in correcting the matter.
    Not like the last joke of a 'government' who got it wrong on a massive scale and left our children and grandchildren with huge problems and STILL will not admit to their incompetence.
    The ego of the delusional dogmatic left who still have their heads in the sand and up other places in their anatomy

  • Comment number 39.

    Where's the Ark Royal when we need it?

  • Comment number 40.

    What??? leave them there as they have been working for these oil companies which have been paying for dictators like this to exist! Funny how financing of dictators by western countries is ok, and now they want democracy its a kick in the teeth for the US and UK. I wonder how much arms has been sent to help the goverments in Libya??? jsut ask Haliburton or BAE Systems???

  • Comment number 41.

    @22. At 11:37am on 24 Feb 2011, Confuciousfred wrote:
    I hear that many Brits who were stranded in Libya were rescued by Poland and are now safely in Warsaw. Not very good BA, BMI, RAF and Mr Cameron.

    @23. At 11:41am on 24 Feb 2011, toycollector wrote:
    Is enough being done to help stranded Britons in Libya?
    If we can let anyone into this Country who can get hold of a British passport and give them benefits and free healthcare.
    We can look after our own who though they are not paying taxes now, they must have in the past.
    Sadly, we're a weird Country who prefer to look after everyone else in the World and not our own.
    Makes you proud to be Lithuanian,Romanian,Tunisian,Somalian, etc.etc.

    If comment 22 is right then it probably makes the Polish more proud to be Polish than Brits proud to be British.

    Yes, these people work/holiday in a not-so-nice country, but when the pace of change happens so quickly you CANNOT expect anyone to be ready for such a quick getaway. We are mostly all primed to work on the assumption that things change slowly, so a sudden revolution catches most people off-guard, even in somewhere like Libya. Once the commercial airlines stop working there is no way to get out short of help from your own mother country. I definitely fall on the side of digust at those who would leave these people to their fate - I was brought up to leave nobody behind. That two airlines reneged on their word to supply charter flights also saddens me. I want our country to be seen as one that helps out, and instead our Polish cousins have put us to shame. To the Poles I say (apologies, I only know Russian) "Spacebo Bolshoi".

  • Comment number 42.


  • Comment number 43.

    Can't help thinking that the government were sourcing for the lowest price. Cuts,you know.

  • Comment number 44.

    Stop the Blame Game and look at the positve side of things that r being done.

  • Comment number 45.

    I am appalled to read comments like 2 and 33,. Can we please forget about how and who should pay for evacuation???? These people's lives are at risk and yes the response had been pathetic. For the record, oil companies are chartering the flights......

    Absolute disgrace!!

  • Comment number 46.

    These people CHOSE to go to Libya to earn large salaries. They must have known about Gaddafi's appalling record and unstable mentality.

    Now the situation has blown up in their faces and they want the UK Government (using taxpayers' money) to rescue them but complain if they don't think the reaction is fast enough.

    Well, in my view you should be grateful that you're getting help at all. If you don't want to get caught up in trouble, don't go there in the first place!

  • Comment number 47.

    The British government seems to have lost interest in protecting the safety of British people.It was not faced with an impossible task in Libya;other countries have managed very well,even ones that you'd expect to have less capability than Britain

    To me,this is symptomatic of the decline in the quality of Britain's governance.When it comes to bread and circuses,money,our money,that is,is no object.When it comes to diplomatic grandstanding and feasting and toasting,money is no object and transport is always available.But when it comes to helping out British people in a hard place,money is short,transport isn't available,there are never sound plans in advance for emergencies and everything ends up as panic and muddling.

    We need to retrieve the situation by insisting that our government changes its priorities to put the people first,maintain Britain's infrastructure and ensure that the capabilities are always available for circumstances that occur time and time again that require action,not delay and soothing words and apologies.

    A glaring example of our government's lack of preparation was the kidnapping of sailors by Iranian Revolutionary Guards.There were no means available to prevent it although it was well predicted that there could be trouble,but there was even worse.The RN had to abandon its anti-smuggling patrols.because the Iranians had taken away the sailors' inflatable boat,AND THERE WAS NO REPLACEMENT.Not even a spare inflatable boat!The US military were amazed when they found out why they had to take over.

  • Comment number 48.

    wait one minute! they live in Libya and should have been intergrated and they should be flying libyan flags etc, jeez the EDL would be twistin in its filth at this!!!! They live and work in Libya and therefore contirbute to that country and not the UK! And these guys are financing a dictator! im glad for a free libya, lets hope that doesnt mean the US and UK will now go bomb them back to the stoneage for wanting their own democracy!

  • Comment number 49.

    "Sauron the Deciever"

    With your trail of thought, you must have been overjoyed when the tax payer bailed out the banks??

    ‘In it together’ and all that...

  • Comment number 50.

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

  • Comment number 51.

    Why are we bothering so much about these people (who chose to go to Libya) and so little about the earthquake in Christchurch which has claimed so many lives in a country which is part of our Commonwealth of Nations?

    What's being done to help our New Zealand friends?

  • Comment number 52.

    The apology goes a long way.

  • Comment number 53.

    We only provide planes for companies selling arms, WMD etc to go to Middle East with PM at the HM's is expenses. For others we have the big society. They will arrange these so wait for weeks/months.
    Welcome to New Britain.

  • Comment number 54.

    It's all very well for the Labour Party to complain about the Government's slow response to the Libyan crisis. However, what did they do when the Iranians seized a number of our military personnel and detained them on a trumped up charge. As I recall, they did nothing. Things are being done to get Britons out now and that is what counts. Mr Alexander and the rest of the Labour Party should stand behind the Government and support what is being done rather than whinge. They are in no position to complain.

  • Comment number 55.

    So let's see.......

    A lot of the British based in Libya have gone out with the oil companies to earn fat salaries without paying UK income tax. No doubt many have been laughing all the way to the bank for years.

    The minute their decision to work in a volatile and unstable Middle East country goes belly up, they want rescuing by the UK Government (funded by the UK taxpayer).

    I have no problem with them being rescued, but they MUST be billed for it when they are back in the UK. It should be covered by their employer's insurance perhaps.

    Apparently the USA nationals being ferried to Malta from Libya are being charged by the US. Only right in my view.

    Britain... the "soft touch" as usual.

  • Comment number 56.

    1. At 11:12am on 24 Feb 2011, MrWonderfulReality wrote:
    No, we are one of the last of the main developed countrys to react with any competance.

    Once again, Brits come last


    Well, it depends on whether your waiting around like every other 'BRIT' moaning and waiting for someone else to do something doesn't it!!
    Try getting off youre backside and doing something for yourself or are you one of those who pays their taxes for that sort of thing?

  • Comment number 57.

    #5 - Yes, we have a duty to rescue them (I quite agree!), and they then have a duty to pay for the cost of it on their return.

  • Comment number 58.

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

  • Comment number 59.

    Unfortunately this is merely a dry run for all future interactions between individual and state.
    In the good times the private sector will happily go about its business and cream off the profits.
    When something occurs which disturbs the normal routine the private sector will find that it actually is not responsible and will require 'the State' to sort things out for it!
    Step forward the taxpayer!

  • Comment number 60.

    43. At 12:06pm on 24 Feb 2011, M5J29 wrote:

    Can't help thinking that the government were sourcing for the lowest price. Cuts,you know.


    Needed to get it passed by the Office for Budget Responsibility.

  • Comment number 61.

    I'd imagine most of the Brits in Libya are on lucrative oil contracts and, thus, have been propping up Gadaffi's brutal regime there.

    Why should British taxpayers bail them out?

    Perhaps if they had decent moral and ethical standards then they would not be lured by blood money. They should fund their own way back to the UK.

  • Comment number 62.

    I suspect that the majority of Brits in Libya are there because of work commitments or holiday, in which case their employer or travel operator should be responsible for getting them home safely not the government!

  • Comment number 63.

    "There are going to be lessons to be learned from this and we will make absolutely sure that we learn them for the future but, right now, the priority has got to be getting those British nationals home," Mr Cameron said.

    Oh Come on Dave! What leasons need to be learned that should have been already. Be it natural disaster or politcal unrest that puts people in danger, look to get them out.

    When all this kicked off your folks should have been asking questions about british nationals if it were to spread to other countries (which it did, even a blind man could have seen that coming!)

    Yes, private companies and employers should be there too. Guess what, it looks like they beat you to it.

    Some one said "People really do need to take responsibility for themselves not seek to blame other people all the time."

    Yes, you're right they do. Employers and individuals need to weigh the risks but Mr C's appology shows they were caught with their pants down. They didn't even bother to spin it into "We're waiting to be asked" or "We're ready on standby if the situations worsens"

    Nope it was "Ooops We didn't..... again. Sorry, it was someone else's fault." as a charter plane already landed at 7:15.

  • Comment number 64.

    As an ex-serviceman I have worked in countries where such extractions have taken place and a great deal of blame can lie at the hands of the expat community in each of those countries. Many cannot be bothered to register their wherabouts with the Embassy, so the Embassy has great difficulty contacting them. The expats then have the timerity to whinge and moan when they need urgent help!!
    I note that there was a UK warship off the Libyan coast last night (at the time of all the adverse media reports) which wasn't given clearance to dock. I also note that several aircraft carried UK passengers out last night, whilst everyone in the media was moaning about a lack of UK support!
    Of the several thousand expats living in Libya, about 300 have still to leave (about 200 of them in the desert). Do the maths! I bet the Embassy staff will be the last to leave.
    Grow up. It is effectively a combat zone. Dissect the operations later, when everyone is safely at home.

  • Comment number 65.

    Well, whatever the various views on UK citizens' reasons for being in Libya, I was pleased to see that the UK Government have apparently sent a frigate to extract people, beacuse I didn't think we had one...

  • Comment number 66.

    The French and most other european country got their people out on air force planes very fast as normal the british goverments reaction was abysmal

  • Comment number 67.

    Whilst I feel for our fellow countryman in these troubled areas, as others have said, it is their decision to seek the higher, often tax free, financial rewards. Higher rewards = higher risk. The employers and employees are well aware of the risks, but I am afraid greed often overtakes common sense, reason and logical risk assessment.

    Most in Libya will be in the oil industry (perhaps one of the most profitable indutries in the world?). Surely it is either down to these multibillion turn-over companies to re-patriate their employees?

    I choose to pay a significant amount of tax, why should this be used to fly non-pax paying folks back to the UK? If they desire to be 'helped' by the UK Government, when taking these risks of working in troubled / risky areas, then pay the same taxes as the rest of us. Look on it as an 'insurance' policy - pay your tax and the UK government repatriate you in case of troubles - don't pay your tax and you're on your own!

  • Comment number 68.

    the british government is stuck between serving the middle east without being too aggressive or too politically under weight to do the right thing for british workers stranded in a foreign country.
    It's all down to democracy but,there is a but, what colour is the flag of
    democracy in a country saturated with british business' selling arms to an enraged population.

  • Comment number 69.

    I am writing this in a sandstorm from a location 1000km SE from Tripoli and ask all the people writing in to ask themselves this.....
    Have they ever been in a situation like this?
    If you have please feel free to comment, if you have not then maybe you should try it or be silent and hope everyone gets home and the bloodshed ends.
    Some guys down here ...Brits, Americans, Egyptians, Tunisians gave up their seats to Tripoli two days ago so the Libyans could go home to their families. What did you do two days ago for your fellow man?
    Before commenting think!

    Jalu , Libya

  • Comment number 70.

    55. At 12:16pm on 24 Feb 2011, Loftgroov wrote:

    So let's see.......

    Please read my posts 26 and 35.

    I worked in the Middle East, I have friends working there now. Do you know all the facts or are you making it up?

    Check out Tax in Libya for all persons.

    Of course we could all be benefits scroungers as an option.

  • Comment number 71.

    The reaction to the fact that the government has done anything shows the mentality in this country.

    When foreigners come to Britain we start "waving the flag" and show hostility saying this is our country.

    When it's time to band together or use taxpayers' money to help our fellow Brits people don't want to know.

    This tells me, that unlike Russia and France we are no longer a country but a collection of selfish and reactionary individuals living within some lines drawn on a map.

  • Comment number 72.

    As a human-being, I feel we should help where we can. However, we are now being urged in all aspects of our lives "to take more personal responsibility". If we buy into that, then we need a long hard think about what exactly it means. Having once been caught up in a military coup myself, I am less inclined now to put myself into potental danger zones, but if I had been living or working in Libya, I would have ensured I was insured to the hilt, been monitoring the situation in Egypt and Tunisia this past month, and have long ago worked out a contingency evacuation plan - that, to my mind, is taking personal responsibility, though of course, any help from my government would have been greatly appreciated.

  • Comment number 73.

    Is enough being done to help stranded Britons in Libya?

    No, It is all the Government's fault you know. Yawn!

  • Comment number 74.

    My last post was removed as it didn't fit the BBCs view of the World.
    Lets try again.
    Is enough being done to help stranded Britons in Libya?
    If people from abroad arrive here with a British passport we help them with free healthcare and accommodation.
    If people arrive here with no British passport fleeing persecution....As above.
    So i'm sure we can look after our OWN people when THEY are in trouble.
    Or do we only care about the rest of the Worlds population?

  • Comment number 75.

    It is right that the government is now making sure to evacuate all Brits who want to leave Libya. However I don't think it should be for free. All the people who are trying to leave the area were their for their own benefit and it is VERY WRONG to expect the taxpayer to pay for their flight to the UK.
    The government should enable them to leave but they should pay for the flight just as was done in Egypt.
    Also - the first pplane landed in the UK with just over 70 people on board, with another also not full scheduled to fly a few hours later. Shouldn't these flights be combined for most efficient use of resources and taxpayers money???

  • Comment number 76.

    67. At 12:28pm on 24 Feb 2011, March1970 wrote:

    Whilst I feel for our fellow countryman in these troubled areas, as others have said, it is their decision to seek the higher, often tax free, financial rewards. Higher rewards = higher risk. The employers and employees are well aware of the risks, but I am afraid


    You do not have clue!!!
    Please read my posts 26 and 35.

    I worked in the Middle East, I have friends working there now. Do you know all the facts or are you making it up?

    Check out Tax in Libya for all persons.

    Of course we could all be benefits scroungers as an option

  • Comment number 77.

    So it's being suggested that Cameron looked to the airlines for help and they told him to go do one! Much wider lessons to be learnt here about the private sector running public services, private companies care about nothing and nobody except £, much like the Conservatives.

    I don't want to live in a country that leaves it's people to die in hell holes. Anyone who thinks these people should be left there to rot needs to seriously examine their lives.

  • Comment number 78.

    What do you expect from the likes of Hague etc. A dismal failure throughout his political career.

  • Comment number 79.

    Jalu , Libya

    I'm assuming you chose to be ther ein the first place?

    Deal with it!

  • Comment number 80.

    Cameron is making this as painful for Brits in Lybia as possible - oil workers won't go back, a few months down the line the US will 'occupy' the region to bring peace.

    They have been jealous of our oil deals with Lybia for a long time. David Cameron is working for the USA, he certainly not working in our interests. (Does he even realise what he is doing?). The poor Lybians won't get their hands on the oil, when, not if the US goes in.

    For those slagging off people in the oil industry, do you know the risks these people take to put petrol in your car?

    Oh and asides I don't care what that former justice minister says about a former prisoner in Scotland, it's amazing what people will do for asylum. Notice how this came out of Sweden? The same country trying to jail Assange on behalf of the US govt??? But the US figures that people will be too dumb to notice...and they are probably right.

    This is the ex justice minister who has probably ordered executions in contravention of UN regulations, not the sort of guy I would trust. The US are in this up to their necks. They want a Lybian elite they can manipulate and trust.

    This is not to do with democracy or self determination, but oil. Its strange that Egypt has thrown off the US puppet Mubarak. I genuinely thought this was about the self determination of Arabs, but I'm wondering if the US is just changing elites to suit its own purposes.

    Again, probably too cynical. I did support Egypt, but Lybia is interesting considering that Gaddaffi has always promoted Arab and African self determination, makes me wonder if there are darker forces behind these events.

  • Comment number 81.

    However much they earn, for whatever reason they are there, they are British and we have a duty to help them get out of Libya.

  • Comment number 82.

    I am one of the increasing number wondering why the BBC are interviewing people either in Libya or just returned from there, and not asking them any questions about their tax status.

    Why should UK tax payers bail out tax-exile oil workers?

    Come on BBC. Get your finger out... good story here.

  • Comment number 83.

    Those that are condemning people for choosing to work abroad are very short sighted. People working for UK companies abroad generate a lot of income for the UK. They are also British citizens and as such deserve to be protected by whatever means necessary. Would you suggest a sinking ship should be abandoned because people chose to travel on it?

    As for the government's response an apology is fine but it's deeply embarrassing that it came to a situation where one was necessary.

  • Comment number 84.

    Come on. These are Tories! Their are special flights for arms dealer but none for ordinarly people.

    Profits always come before People!

    What do you expect?

  • Comment number 85.

    I have spent many years travelling in dangerous parts of the world and it never occurred to me that if things got dificult the British Government would come and get me.
    Ex pats leave the UK often pay less tax and do not always contribute to the day to day of UK society, yet when something goes wrong we spend millions to rescue them.
    Our response is just fine, we are bringing home our people and deserting the jobs we do in Libya because the country is in dificulty. These same individuals will expect to walk back into their jobs in Libya once the trouble is over. This is double stnadards, if you choose to live in a dangerous environment then dont complain if you find yourself in dificulty.

  • Comment number 86.

    The Governemnt have done little or nothing to respond quickly to the predicament British people in Libya have found themsleves. The signs were there for days that the unrest would become a very serious situation.

    However, Mr Cameron continued his tour of the Gulf States whilst Mr Hague appeared on television with his usual smirk on his face and the FCO seems to have been as much use as a chocolate teapot and we havn't heard anything from the Deputy Prime Minister. Other countries and indeed the oil companies themselves responded quickly whilst Btitain has been considering what to do in a situation where lives have been under direct threat.

    We don't have aircraft carriers which could have been depolyed and the Libyian situation has highlighted very clearly what fools the current Government are just to save a few quid.

    I just hope no British lives are lost because of the inept handling of the situation.

    I suppose the people who are complaining about British citizens needing to get out of Libya will just stand calmly by should they ever be unfortunate enough to find themselves in a similar situation.

    The ConDems have certainly got this wrong big time.

  • Comment number 87.

    The government's shambolic response would be excusable if the RAF didn't have a large fleet of transport aircraft on its strength.

    How the MOD could not muster a brace of VC10s, a TriStar, of even a C-17 to ship the stranded back from Tripoli is beyond my comprehension. If it turns out that using military aircraft is a no-no, then why not reregister a pool of RAF transport aircraft on the UK civilian register, and use them to cover such emergencies? With a transport fleet such as the RAF has, the FO shouldn't even have had to think about chartering from civilian operators!

    Countries that reacted better, actually have far smaller military capabilities than we do. How can that be?

  • Comment number 88.

    "3. At 11:17am on 24 Feb 2011, Paul J Weighell wrote:
    The unrest in the Middle East is not the creation of the UK government. I am not sure why some Brits now seem to think that the UK Government is there to extradite them from a problem in a foreign country they presumably chose to visit in the first place.

    People really do need to take responsibility for themselves not seek to blame other people all the time. As for the Labour party trying to use this as an excuse to stir up trouble for Cameron – it’s pathetic."

    Most pathetic comment ever!

    I'd like to see you on a rubber dingy trying to escape Libya?

    Blaming everything on the last Government is even more pathetic!!

    Tories are in Government, so they should Govern and stop making excuses!!

  • Comment number 89.

    25. At 11:45am on 24 Feb 2011, redrobb wrote:
    "Firstly the vast majority are there working for oil companies! Question, just what sort of risk analysis did they do? and what contingencies did THEY have in place? "

    Obviously they were better prepared than the goverment was. As the artical said a plane charted by oil companies landed at 7:15 this morning.

  • Comment number 90.

    "1. At 11:12am on 24 Feb 2011, MrWonderfulReality wrote:
    No, we are one of the last of the main developed countrys to react with any competance.

    Once again, Brits come last"


    Profits Come First!
    People come last!

    Donations go to the Tory Party!
    Cameron and Co are happy!

  • Comment number 91.

    Sorry but its the company responsibility for the employees and the travel operators. As for the Expats, still their own. Not the UK government.

    Many of these people dont pay UK taxes and thus shouldnt get help.

    I dont want my taxes wasted on these people. In the same way we should not have wasted money on people stuck on holiday with the volcanoe.

  • Comment number 92.

    78. At 12:36pm on 24 Feb 2011, sixpackerL wrote:

    What do you expect from the likes of Hague etc. A dismal failure throughout his political career.


    Another unbiased view on things I see. Change the record, you are wearing this one out.

  • Comment number 93.

    Why am I expected as a taxpayer to pick up the tab for groups of 'expats' who have decided to work in someone else's country? No doubt the tax free salaries that are part of the package were an incentive to go there in the first place?; why should I be obliged to take food out of my children's mouths and accept lower standards in the public sector just so an RAF Hercules can be at the beck and call of non-taxpayers?
    Membership of the UK population should be like a private club 'no payee, no helpee'!
    Could I suggest that the special forces that no doubt will be needed to rescue these individuals take a card swipe machine along so that the cost is borne by the beneficiaries!

  • Comment number 94.

    I need help from the HYS community. Please answer the following questions:
    1) Why are we continuing to be so polite to Gadaffi and his mafia cohorts, as the revolution is clearly going to end his dictatorship? Why can't we take "executive action" to end his ability to murder thousands more Libyans?
    2) Gadaffi is insane. He has been for years. Psychotic people can also behave rationally. Why are we afraid to state that as a nation?
    3) The son also appears to be a murderous psychotic, based on his TV appearance the other night, can we admit that so that we can address his "issues" in the near future. Do we all agree?
    4) Benito Mussolini and Nicolae Ceauşescu were dictators who met their end at the hands of partisans. Are we urging Libyans to swiftly capture Gadaffi and allow us to put him on trial at The Hague?
    5) Speaking of Hague, I know the current Foreign Secretary as he was my neighbour years ago. I am certain he is not a leader. I am also certain he is completely out of his depth. I have written extensively on HYS for years about his lack of ability and his two-faced stance on Europe where pretends to be Eurosceptic, but actually goes along with anything and everything emanating from Brussels. Can we all agree his statements and actions have clearly illustrated his failings and that he should be replaced immediately?
    6) Robert Mugabe is of the same ilk as Gadaffi. I have spent time with Mugabe. He is insane too. Can we stop pretending he's somehow "untouchable" and get him sorted out once-and-for-all?
    7) Can we agree that Africa and the Middle East need democracy? If we can't agree - can I propose myself as the Regional Dictator? I think I would do a much better job at a lower overall cost.
    8) Should leaders "who have been around for a long time" (20 years or more) be asked to retire? If so, is Britain now ready to be a Republic?
    I will genuinely appreciate any education HYS can provide...

  • Comment number 95.

    You only have to back to the French attitude to Somali pirates taking french citzens hostage they chased them into the desert rescued the hostage and killed the somalis. that is how you protect your own people not the pathetic actions of our goverments and this crisis is more shame on this countrys reaction to british people stranded abroad.

  • Comment number 96.

    Is enough being done to help stranded Britons in Libya?


  • Comment number 97.

    81. At 12:41pm on 24 Feb 2011, Claire Herbert wrote:
    However much they earn, for whatever reason they are there, they are British and we have a duty to help them get out of Libya.
    Of course we do, but shouldn't their employers, or in the case of holidaymakers, they pay?

    Might it not be better to impose a levy on such holidays, incomes etc. to pay for contingency facilities for just this sort of thing? It would create a few jobs and spread the costs too.

    It would also make holidays and work in countries with decent governments deservedly more competitive.

  • Comment number 98.

    So now we get to see what "hands-off" government really means. Dave, promoting weapons sales to today's friends, tomorrow's enemies while his sidekick is off on holiday. Were we all waiting for the Big Society air fleet to rescue the desperate ex-pats?

  • Comment number 99.

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

  • Comment number 100.

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


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