A Further Afterthought
In 1954 Nikita Khruschev the Soviet President, himself half-Ukrainian, decided that the
should be part of Ukraine
and not, as it had been since Tsarist times, part of Russia. The transfer made very little difference at
the time. Both Russia and
the Ukraine were simply
provinces within the Soviet Union. It is
probable that it didn’t even occur to Mr Khruschev that the residents of Crimea – or anyone else – should be consulted about the
transfer. In 2014 Russia
annexed (or recovered) its lost province. This was achieved without, I believe,
a single casualty and to the general satisfaction of the residents of Crimea.
There was outrage in ‘the west’, within the EU and within NATO. Economic sanctions have been imposed on Russia (a response to these has contributed to the ruin of British dairy farming); highly provocative military manoeuvres have been held by NATO in Poland, and our much depleted army has managed to send a few troops to strengthen the resolve of the Baltic States to resist a ‘Russian invasion’.
China invaded and
annexed Tibet. There was no justification whatsoever for
this. It has been reported that 10,000
died in battle as the Chinese took over. There has been a resistance that
continues to this day. Thousands of Tibetans, including many Buddhist monks and
nuns have been killed or imprisoned. The
Dalai Lama, as representative of that resistance, lives in exile and has been
welcomed in many western countries.
Has ‘the west’ applied similar crippling economic sanctions on
carried out similar military manoeuvres in the Pacific area? Not a bit of it – and our government has led
the general kow-tow to the Chinese government.
The President of the one-party government of China
has been given an official welcome by our Queen on his State Visit to the UK. He travelled with the Queen in the State
Coach to where he and his
wife were to be honoured guests at a royal banquet. During that same day hundreds of British
steel workers learned they were losing their jobs, at least partly because of
the dumping of Chinese steel at prices lower than the cost of production! I was pleased to note that the Prince of
Wales (for whose sometimes controversial views I have a great deal of respect)
managed to absent himself from this official bean-feast. Buckingham
The government’s attitude to
Arabia is, if possible, even more
contemptible. The biggest danger facing
both ‘the west’ and Russia
today is IS (self-styled Islamic State)
Have our rulers really not noticed that Saudi Arabia provides the
inspiration and the model that IS would like to see world wide? The Saudis practise, within their own
borders, the beheadings, amputations and public floggings that IS (and other
similar organisations in Africa and elsewhere)
are trying to spread world-wide.
Oil-rich Saudi Arabians have financed IS activities in the past and
possibly still do so today.
It is bad enough when they exact their extreme interpretation of Sharia law on their own people but surely when a British citizen becomes a victim it’s time for the government to take action. Seventy-four year old Karl Andree, a retired oil executive who has lived and worked in
for many years was, and is, just such a victim.
The Saudi religious police ( Saudi Arabia’s equivalent of the
Gestapo and KGB) discovered two bottles of home-made wine in the boot of his
car. For this ‘offence’ he was arrested,
tried in a Saudi court and sentenced to a year’s imprisonment plus, on his
release from prison, a public flogging of 360 lashes delivered in monthly
This might have become a shining example of how the British Government looks after the interests of its citizens even when they are abroad. Surely one might have expected swingeing economic sanctions (with all NATO and EU countries invited to take part) and armed battle ships of the Royal Navy ordered to patrol the Red Sea and the
But – we buy oil from
and they buy weaponry from us. Moreover
as a result of the Government’s doctrinaire privatisation of our public
services I have little doubt that in at least one of those British public
services one or more wealthy Saudi Arabians are substantial shareholders. Our
government couldn’t possibly risk all that for the sake of one British citizen
who should have known better anyway.
It is possible that Cameron and Co did make a discreet protest ‘behind the scenes’. We’ll probably never know, but if there ever was such a protest it was quite ineffectual. Karl Andree has served the twelve months in a Saudi prison and now faces the likelihood of regular public humiliation and pain as the 360 lashes are imposed. He is in poor health and is unlikely to survive this barbarous punishment for something that in almost every other country in world wouldn’t have been considered to be a crime at all!
Those 360 lashes, administered in public have stirred our Government into action. No there won’t be any sanctions against
Saudi Arabia, nor British warships in the Red Sea. But
David Cameron, our Prime Minister has written a letter to the King of Saudi
Arabia pleading for clemency! According
to the Daily Mail our Foreign
Minister is quite convinced that Mr Andree will be spared the public flogging –
well, we’ll wait and see. I hope he
won’t be expected to write a letter of thanks to the King of Saudi Arabia –
or to Mr Cameron! Oh – a final
touch: Saudi Arabia now has a
representative on the United Nations Committee for Human Rights!
China is being added to the list of
‘untouchables’ - we mustn’t upset the Chinese because they’ll control all our
nuclear energy! Goodness knows what other shares in Britain’s vital services are held
by the Chinese or other foreigners. The self-satisfied. mendacious, self-seeking
hypocrites that we (not me personally!) have elected to rule us, have sold off
independence piece by piece. And they have the impudence and effrontery to
denigrate Jeremy Corbyn as ‘anti-British’!
One of the few compensations for being very, very old, is that I won’t for long have to live in the uncaring, cruel, selfish and greedy world into which David Cameron and George Osborne are leading us.