Saturday, January 24, 2015

When Vince Cable showed the right attitude to the Saudi regime

In the autumn of 2009, while Nick Clegg was taking paternity leave, there was a state visit to Britain by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

The acting Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable,* showed the right attitude to the Saudi regime. As BBC News reported it at the time:
Liberal Democrat acting leader Vince Cable is boycotting the state visit to Britain of Saudi King Abdullah. 
Mr Cable says he will not attend any of the planned ceremonial events - as would be normal for the leader of one of the main opposition parties. 
Mr Cable told the BBC's Today programme that by any assessment of Saudi Arabia, "the human rights record is appalling". 
He also cited the regime's arms deal with the British firm BAE and the row over alleged corruption surrounding it. 
Mr Cable added: "I think it's quite wrong that as a country we should give the leader of Saudi Arabia this honour."
If you read the post I wrote at the time, you will find that Vince's stance was criticised by both Tory (Liam Fox)** and Labour (Kin Howells).***

Today we have Union Jacks**** flying at half mast in memory of King Abdullah and a Lib Dem deputy prime minister who remains silent.

True, Nick Clegg condemned the flogging sentence passed on the blogger Raif Badawi, but only after he had claimed to know nothing about the case.

I wonder how his silence this week strikes people who voted for us in 2010 because they admired the Lib Dems' strong stance on human rights?


* Presumably it would be Danny Alexander today.

** As in "whatever happened to Liam Fox?"

*** As in "Makes Neil Kinnock sound like a Trappist monk."

**** It is perfectly in order to call it the Union Jack. The idea that should call it the "Union Flag" is QIesque sophistry.

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