By Rohit Kachroo
The Scout Association, the Eurovision Song Contest and the English Premier League should be promoted in Libya to help fight terrorism, a UK government report leaked to ITV News concluded.
The study was commissioned by the Ministry of Defence in 2013 – before the rise of Isis – to try to find ways to confront instability in Libya.
Its findings were circulated around Whitehall. It concluded that the country’s proximity to Europe and porous borders might present a risk to Britain’s national security.
Although researchers found that “the UK is liked by young Libyans”, it warned that British officials should tread carefully when writing new policy due to local suspicions about western interventions in the country.
It said that Britain “cannot be seen to lead a programme”, but should use “soft power” by promoting well-respected British organisations.
“The Scout Movement… is a well-established organisation in Libya” the report’s authors said. “It benefited from the fact that it was apolitical throughout the rein of Gaddafi – but joined the front line during the revolution…”
“If the UK actively supported the Libyan Scouting Movement, and worked to model the National Service programme on the same lines, it would achieve disproportionate benefit to the UK for relatively little investment.”
The report called the English Premier League “a significant soft power asset” and suggested that its security expertise could be used to help promote stability.
The report’s authors said that Libya could promote stability by applying to enter the Eurovision Song Contest.
“Like many nations on Europe’s periphery, Libya is eligible to enter… A campaign to support a Libyan entry which drew on Libyan culture could help unite the nation in a less gender-segregated field than football, and in a field which particularly appeals to youth”
Rohit Kachroo is the Security Editor for ITV News, concentrating on counter-terrorism and national security, both in the UK and abroad. He has previously been UK Editor and Africa Correspondent. In 2011 Rohit won Young Journalist of the Year at the Royal Television Society Awards for Journalism.