Since the attack on the gas plant in Algeria and the taking of some British hostages, Downing Street seems to have gone into a state of panic.
We have had two meetings today of COBRA, the emergency committee, Cameron has postponed his speech on the EU and Hague is cutting his visit to Australia short and flying back.
All for what?
There is absolutely nothing they can do about the situation. If there was a hostage situation in this country involving foreign nationals, I'm sure that those charged with resolving the situation wouldn't be happy to receive continuous "advice" from foreign governments.
As it is, I'm inclined to believe that the Algerians know best how to deal with the matter; they probably have a far greater understanding of the thinking and likely actions of the terrorists than any "expert" in this country. Regrettably perhaps, they don't place such a high value on life as we do, but on the other hand neither do the terrorists who have no fear of being killed as their religion teaches them that they will go to paradise. It is unlikely that negotiations with them would even reach first base, let alone a satisfactory conclusion.
We don't know why the Algerians launched an all out attack, no doubt we will discover in due course, but with reports of explosions from the site, they could have been concerned that the whole plant would be destroyed along with the hostages. The Algerians were best placed to understand the minds of those involved and probably acted accordingly.
Meanwhile what should COBRA do? Well, a large percentage of our natural gas is imported from Algeria. This is the real crisis, this attack could lead to the loss of our supplies and make us even more heavily dependent on Russian gas. The real emergency is our gas supplies, in the absence of which, this country could grind to a halt in weeks if not days. They should get together all those involved in fracking and clear the way for a massive effort to start getting our own gas out of the ground in the shortest possible time. That is the real emergency, the possible loss of gas supplies, not the hostages about which, regrettably, we can do absolutely nothing.
Alastair Campbell New Hereditary Peer
9 minutes ago