The US steamed the nearest US cruise ship into Tripoli harbour and picked up their US citizens and their entire embassy staff. With a weekâs warning of the volatility in their least favourite madmanâs benighted country, they had made sure they had such a vessel close at hand.
The Chinese sent in one of their national airlines to collect Chinese workers from halfway round the world..
The Turks managed to stop arguing long enough to organise a flight to collect their workers.
Lufthansa kept up their commercial schedule and took out all the citizens that could make it to Tripoli airport â although sadly they still have many workers in the far flung oilfields that they havenât been able to reach.
Britain â I would say âdear old Britainâ but the situation is too serious for that sarcasm, has managed to negotiate with Stavros at Easyjet or Ryanair or someone for a charter flight that is still sitting on the tarmac owing to âtechnical problemsâ – British Airways having ceased scheduled flights.
We couldnât even manage to get a coach to Portugal to collect stranded Britons, now we have oil field workers e-mailing the Foreign Office for help â and the foreign office doesnât even answer their e-mails.
Where are the Hercules? Why havenât we commandeered one of British Airways planes? Come to that, where is the SAS â 170 men out in the desert, and we know where they are â being terrorised with AK47s in the hands of God knows who â and all we can do is apologise for the âtechnical problemsâ that have delayed our charter flight!
Why is it that we have a compassionate world wide reputation for feeding and housing every waif and stray in the world, and yet we canât look after our own citizens?
Cameron is strutting on the world stage, helping to whip up enthusiasm for more arms sales to more unstable countries, meanwhile, back at the ranch, Hague is telling us that he hopes to get this ageing bi-plane off the ground soon. Catherine Ashton is muttering about sanctions – if the UN agree. Some time next month, maybe next year.
The BBC coverage has been abysmal â an interview with a patently terrified oil worker explaining that they only had food for one day was greeted with the lame response âOh Dearâ!
âOh Dearâ – that just about sums up the Britain of today.
I try to flash my British passport with pride, but it just gets harder and harder.
Perhaps if the SAS do go in, they will have the sense to bring al-Megrahi back with them â a small trophy to restore British pride.