Vince boycotts Saudi honour

by Stephen Tall on October 29, 2007

Acting Lib Dem leader Vince Cable has – shock, horror – decided to put principle ahead of protocol by turning down the chance to hob-nob with Saudi King Abdullah at a state banquet tonight.

You can hear Vince give his reasons – citing Saudi Arabia’s “appalling” human rights record – on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme here. And the Lib Dems’ Corruption is a Crime website has more here.

Proof that Vince was doing the right thing arrived with the typically pompous condemnation of the Tories’ ultra-right-wing defence spokesman Liam Fox (he sneered that the Lib Dems were insulting one of Britain’s main allies in the Gulf).

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8 comments

Even though I disagree with Vince on many things – for example I think his condemnations of personal debt are too puritanical – is it just me or is he a top bloke and isn’t a shame that he is too old to put his name in the hat for leader? I went leafletting with him at the cheadle by-election and he was very pleasant and approachable as well as being obviously very clever. Nice to have a politician with a moral compass too!

by Neil Bradbury on October 29, 2007 at 6:18 pm. Reply #

He is a top bloke indeed. He’s also very much a human being in my view, which is never a bad thing.

Could this be a good pitch for foreign affairs. That is where I would like to see him I think.

by Dominic Hannigan on October 29, 2007 at 7:36 pm. Reply #

I am proud to have smashed in my headlights taking a Twickenham voter to the polls at 9.50pm in 1997!

by tim leunig on October 29, 2007 at 8:30 pm. Reply #

Congratulations to Dr John Vincent Cable!

Liberal Democrats oppose human rights violations in whatever circumstances they occur.

Tories and Blairites, by contrast, are against them only where the perpetrators obstruct US foreign policy or the interests of big business (the two generally coincide). While (Dis)Respect and the left in general only oppose them where the perpetrators are American puppets.

Thus the Tories defended General Pinochet and the apartheid regime in South Africa, while many in the Labour Party praised the Soviet Union and Maoist China.

Vince has done immeasurably better than the former SDP MP, the late Dr Jesse Dickson Mabon.

Recall the early 1980s and a TV film, “Death of a Princess”, which was deeply critical of the Saudi theocratic oligarchy.

The Saudis cried foul and recalled their ambassador. UK politicians from Lord Carrington downwards queued up to perform anilingus on the Saudi princes, and the unlamented Dr Mabon, on “Question Time”, called “Death of a Princess” a “heinous film” and said that it is not for us morally inferior Westerners to criticise the customs of this deeply religious and worthy country.

Certainly, it ill behoves Dr Liam Fox, a practicing Roman Catholic alleged to have a “gay past”, to jump to the Saudis’ defence. Sodomy is a capital offence in Saudi Arabia, and Christians get 1,000 strokes of the cat.

Saudi Arabia is a product of the post- World War 1 carve-up of the Middle East between the British, the Americans and the French (the latter got the bits the others didn’t want). In fact, it was created as a joint venture between the Al-Sauds and the Rockefeller family.

Saudi Arabia has done more than any other nation to promote Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism. It is at least partly responsible for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Let us all cry out: well done Vince!

by Angus Huck on October 30, 2007 at 11:45 am. Reply #

Good on Vince Cable for that.

I’m not sure that anyone would do the same in power, though – a very difficult balance to strike when a truly nasty regime owns a resource we cannot do without (at least without years of preparation).

What would the plan be if they turned the oil off?

by Matt W on October 30, 2007 at 3:43 pm. Reply #

Matt W asks: “What would the plan be if they turned the oil off?”

Answer: nuclear power.

by Angus Huck on October 30, 2007 at 3:49 pm. Reply #

>Answer: nuclear power.

by Matt W on October 31, 2007 at 12:47 am. Reply #

Good on Vince and the party. The Saudi state visit is appalling. Brown, Cameron, Fox, Miliband Kim Howell and anyone else supporting it should be ashamed.

by mindstar on October 31, 2007 at 3:36 am. Reply #

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