UK banks have a large amount of business with Gaddafi, and could freeze them progressively until he leaves Libya.
I have been reading interesting news reports about Muammar Qaddafi from 2009.
In the Indie, Ian Birrell describes corruption, stagnation, crumbling infrastructure (including oil installations) Unemployment, poverty, and power cuts.
At the same time,
Gaddafi is like a pools winner, who has spent, spent, spent a fortune – some say $250bn, others $1trillion – of oil money, much of it blown on vainglorious ventures. It is easy to dismiss him as a clown, with the batty badges, the crazy costumes, the female bodyguards. But he is a brilliant political operator, as one would expect of a man who seized power in his twenties and has clung on to it for four decades. He devised a bewildering form of government that claims to be a unique form of direct democracy but, in reality, places him at the heart of everything, supported by his security machine – the one part of state apparatus that works. The military has been purged, Islamic fundamentalists crushed, opponents executed and rivals played off against each other.
The Times reports in Feb 2009 that Gaddafi was planning a $12millon hand bonanza (?shouldn't that be bonus?) to the people. I don't know what became of it.
The Guardian reveals the close financial ties that Gaddafi has with Britain.
Asked about Libya's relations with Britain, Gaddafi said: "Very good. We have economic relations, investment relations, British companies, banks and, indeed, investments over there in England.
This means that our beloved Government hold the key to the fate of the Libyan people. All Mr Cameron has to do is to pick up the phone, and say,
"Now look here, Muammar, this has gone far enough. It has got to stop. You have got to get on the next plane to Venezuela. No, no listen. Listen. Will you stop screaming please. Well put someone else on. Will you please stop banging the telephone on the desk. Hello? Are you there? Is there anyone else on the line? [cue: 100 eavesdroppers freeze]
Hello? Is that the receptionist? Could you tell the Leader, when he is calmed down, that if he leaves Libya within 4 hours we will not touch the many personal and family accounts.
For every hour that passes after that, we will freeze a progressive percentage of his personal assets, and such assets of the Libyan nation as could be used for violent purposes. The rate is yet to be finalised, but he should consider 5% per hour as a starting point in his thinking.
Have you got that? You'd better read it back to me...Yes, well done. Good luck. Goodbye."
I'm serious about this. The UK has leverage on him. Real leverage.
We just have to make him understand that the longer he stays, the poorer he grows.
We can press the Government through our MPs and direct tweets to @WilliamJHague for him to put in motion, tomorrow, progressive freezing of Gaddafi's assets held in British financial institutions.
Let's do it.
[More: Much Libyan cash is in US banks]