Friday, December 01, 2006


In artistic circles, and perhaps elsewhere, PFO is shorthand for a negative response to a job application. The "P" stands for "Please", and the "O" stands for "Off".

There's an argument for changing the "P" to stand for "Parliamentary":

[1.]Michael Gove: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the Government of Saudi Arabia on the financing of terrorist activity; and if he will make a statement. [103181]

Ed Balls: The Government maintain an intensive and on-going dialogue with its international partners, including Saudi Arabia, as part of global efforts to deter, detect and disrupt the financing of terrorism.

[2.]Michael Gove: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on the involvement of the charity Interpal in the financing of terrorism and related activities; and if he will make a statement. [103182]

Ed Balls: The Chancellor of the Exchequer and I regularly discuss terrorist finance issues with international partners and other relevant parties. However, we do not comment on any particular cases that may be raised in those discussions.

[3.]Michael Gove: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list meetings between (a) ministers and (b) officials in his Department and representatives of the Muslim Council of Britain since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [103184]

John Healey: Treasury ministers and officials meet a wide range of individuals and organisations in the public and private sectors to discuss a variety of issues as part of the process of policy analysis and development. As was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Government's normal practice to provide details of all such meetings.
Let's just get these questions in perspective.

1. Saudi Arabia is the font et origo of Islamic terrorism today. Remove Saudi money (though not necessarily derived directly from the government of that country) from the equation, and the extremist madrassas fall, the triumphalist mosques won't get built, and people will continue to live who would otherwise be blown to pieces - not in the Middle East or South Asia, but right here. The government has an absolute duty to address this issues and to inform us of their actions and policies.

2. Interpal has been connected with a British M.P. - again, this is a question of vital national interest and particularly of Parliamentary interest.

3. The Muslim Council of Britain is an organisation with secretive accounting practices but that receives public money. The Exchequer has a duty of disclosure.

Thank you, Michael Gove, for indefatigably raising these issues.

We need an accountable executive. We also need legal redress against the current shambles.

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