Tuesday, 22 February 2011

William Hague was wrong to speculate

With the fast moving nature of events in Libya, knowing what is happening on the ground is very difficult to verify. Yesterday afternoon was no different wth the media reporting that Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi had fled to exile in Venezuela.

William Hague fueled the rumours about Gaddafi when he said, "About whether Col. Gaddafi, is in Venezuela, I have no information that says he is although I have seen some information that suggests he is on his way there."

This was then backed up by his officials who stressed that Hague was referring “not to media reports but information from other channels” he shouldn't have been speculating like this even if his sources were strong. This clip and these words were sufficient to push the story on for the 24 hour news channels and flashed around the world in an instant.

Hague was wrong to say this as it was speculation during a crisis situation. Getting caught out like this can severely weaken your position and your reputation. What he should have done is reiterate the UK's position on the terrible violence that has been used against opponents of Gaddafi's regime. The clip would have been used because anything is better than what Baroness Ashton has to say for herself.     

Late last night new video emerged of Gaddafi bizarrely sat in the back of a car holding an umbrella and claiming he was still in Tripoli. There appears no way of verifying if he is still in the Libyan capital. At the same time there is no way of saying he isn't. In a fast moving situation like this it is best not to speculate.

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