This is old and one of my private posts. But following up on the EDM I asked Lee Scott to sign which called on the Government “to base its foreign policy towards Saudi Arabia on democracy and human rights rather than on narrow economic interests” I only see 26 signatures, and his isn’t one of them.
So roll up the red carpet for Abdullah, Brown, Smith, or Miliband. Enough British government toadying. He may well be a loyal customer for our lethal products. And he may gift our oil money back to us again as Wahhabi mosques and other indoctrinating institutions.
He also allows detainees held for spurious reasons to be strung up, force-fed mind-altering drugs and beaten on their buttocks and the soles of their feet with axe handles. Sandy Mitchell said tonight that the screams of Bill Sampson would remain with him for the rest of his life. But British law lords have blocked them from taking things any further. And then there’s the Al Yamamah fraud inquiry which the government has decided to kick into the long grass, and moreover appears to be obstructing the inquiry the US is pursuing. And I don’t think anybody is pressing Saudi Arab to be transparent about the ideological and material support it gives for extremist separatist forms of Islam – a reasonable recommendation in the Policy Exchange’s recent report The Hijacking of British Islam. The reluctance of the British government to address these things is demoralising.
3,000 political dissidents are detained indefinitely without trial in Saudi prisons. Torture is widespread and 124 people have been executed this year many by public beheading. In Saudi you can get yourself beheaded for being gay and if you’re under 18 that might not make a difference. Women are de-facto prisoners who can expect to be interrogated for evidence of a male guardian’s permission if they set out to travel alone. Homosexuality is against the law, as is any sex outside hetrosexual marriage. Political parties and trade unions are illegal, there are of course no elections, and the Shari’ah legislative council leaders are selected by the monarchy. The legal system is capricious, without penal code or rules of precedence – you only find out how serious your crime was when the judge decides on the day. King Abdullah’s ideas about counter-terrorism are bound to be a total joke. It’s a world away from Britain and yet today some senior government figure is reported to have said that Britain has a lot in common with Saudi Arabia. Imagine saying that about Burma or Zimbabwe.
It’s no secret what this state visit is about – oil, fighter-planes and the war on terror. What Britain really needs to do is make like an Afghan farmer and diversify.