There often seems to be a rather disturbing broken link between what many would like the world to be and what is actually the case. Here is a good example: Gaddafi tried to escape from Sirte, but the convoy in which he was travelling was shot up by Nato planes. He hid in a drainage pipe where he was discovered by Libyan rebels (although now they are no longer rebels). He was hauled out, roundly abused, then at some point shot at point blank range. There are now calls for an inquiry into what happened, accusation that the Libyans engaged in an 'extrajudicial exection' and generally those who like to think they are the conscience of the world are thoroughly outraged and even considering an official complaint God.
Now let me take you back several months to the beginning of May. A gang of U.S. marines (who we, in deference, are obliged to call 'Seals') flew in by helicopter to a villa in Pakistan which they invaded and went from room to room searching for a chap called Osama Bin Laden. Once they had found a him, they shot him dead. At first there were claims of a 'gunfight' but that was bollocks, then there were claims that he used his wife as a human shield, but that was later admitted also to be bollocks. Oh, and the whole raid, including the killing, was watched live by Barack Obama and his staff sitting comfortably in the White House, courtesy of a camera fixed to the helmet of one of the marines. There was general admiration by the world of how smoothly the marines carried out the raid and murder, there were no calls into an inquiry into what might also have been regarded as an 'extrajudicial execution', and, crucially, there were no calls to consider an official complaint to God.
How, I ask myself, except in detail, do these two killings - call them murder for all I care - differ? Well, I don't believe they do. Both Bin Laden and Gaddafi were thorough wrong 'uns and not the sort you would have in for a glass or two of sherry after Sunday service (and, yes, I know both were muslim, but you will have gathered I have merely chosen to make a point) and their deaths have been welcomed by many who suffered because of them. One relevant detail, of course, is that although the gang of Libyans who captured Gaddafi were split over whether to keep him alive or kill him, his death seems to have been the result of anger and passion. Bin Laden's death, on the other hand, came after years of intelligence work and weeks of meticulous planning, and was done in cold blood. Oh, and it was done by our allies and highly trained soldiers who were to a man honourable types and undoubtedly brush their teeth every night. Those who saw off Gaddafi, on the other hand, were a bunch of unshaven Libyan louts who make an awful racket firing their guns into the air at random whenever they are pleased and Lord knows what they get up to on a Saturday night. As for 'brushing their teeth' . . . well, I'll let you decide.
So there we have it: the murder of Bin Laden did us all a favour, the guys who did it were marvellous chaps and let's hear no more of any nonsense about whether or not it was legal. The murder of Gaddafi, on the other hand, was done by a bunch of uncontrolled hooligans and it is high time we put a stop to this kind of behaviour: holding a full-blown inquiry into exactly what went on. So the next time your young son or daughter asks you: 'Mummy/Daddy, what do they mean by "double standards"', here is a rather good example to help you set your offspring safely off on the road to a life of moral probity.
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Here in Britain we are having a lot of fun - oh yes - following an appeal brought by a Russian woman the authorities would like to see the back of and are trying to deport. The story is spiced up by the involvement of an old codger called Mike Hancock, who is not just a Lib Dem MP who sits on an important defence committee, but who also has a great deal of trouble keepin his dick in his trousers. From whichever angle you view this one, it is rather odd, so I trust my account won't be too confusing.
The woman is a twentysomething blonde called Ekaterina Zatuliveter who is not adverse to jumping into bed with whichever chap takes her fancy. Nothing wrong with that, you'll say, except that our stalwarts at MI5 aren't too sure she doesn't do so more at the behest of the Russian secret service rather than because she simply likes a decent amount of sex. Katia, as everyone likes to call her, studied languages at St Petersburg university and worked as a chaperone of Europeans visiting conferences in the city. She screwed quite a few of them, including a chap from Nato. Somehow she ended up in Britain and somehow she found herself a position working as an intern for Hancock, who issued her with a pass to come and go from the House of Commons without being bothered by coppers on duty and that kind of thing.
As far as the ladies are concerned, Hancock has form. Most recently he was accused of 'sexual harrassment' by a constituent who came to him to discuss a problem she had with noisy neighbours, but no charges were brought. Katia is halfway pretty so it is no suprise that she caught Mike's eye, and they went on to have a four-year affair. At one point they even lived together.
The problem MI5 had was that Hancock is an MP for Portsmouth which has quite a few sensitive defence establishments, is an outspoken pro-Russian and, crucially, until recently sat on the Commons defence committee and would have had access to quite a few secrets. And he was shacked up with a Russian they believed might well be in the pay of the Russian secret service. What will have spooked them was the case of Anna Chapman, who really was a spy, and who used her charms to wheedle quite a few secrets out of guys smitten with her. MI5 didn't want anothe such case on its hands and so decided to deport young Katia.
Hancock insists that Katia never had access to sensitive documents. Well, up to a point, Lord Copper: if she did and if she is a spy, she wasn't exactly going to tell him, was she?
What puzzles me is that all this is coming out at an appeal against deportation at which a certain ZZ (MI5 officers don't have real names in court) insists Katia was employed by the Russian secret services. But if that was the case, why didn't they arrest her on spying charges and put her on trial? That they haven't would indicate that they haven't got any evidence to do so. On the other hand, just because they haven't got any evidence doesn't necessarily mean she is telling the truth when she claims she and Hancock were in love and that she is not a spy.
Another, rather bizarre aspect is that she is 26 and quite pretty, but he is 65 and looks like an outtake from Planet Of The Apes. What's the phrase? Oh yes: he ain't no bloody picture book. So would it be too cynical of me to suggest that we should take with a large pinch of salt her claim that theirs was a love affair?