Thursday, 21 April 2016

Right To Question His Judgement

Adam Barnett writes:

Speaking at PMQs today, in response to a question on ‘sharing platforms with extremists’ – a reference to Zac Goldsmith’s attacks on Sadiq Khan – David Cameron said the following: 

‘If we are going to condemn not just violent extremism but the extremism that seeks to justify violence in any way, it is very important that we do not back these people, and we do not share platforms with them. 

‘And I have to say, I am concerned with Labour’s candidate as Mayor of London, [i.e. Khan] who has appeared again and again and again – [stops amid shouts from Labour].

‘Anyone can make a mistake about who they appear on a platform with. We’re not always responsible for what our political opponents say.

‘But if you do it time after time after time, it is right to question your judgement.’

It was quite generous of the prime minister to allow this caveat about how anyone can make mistakes.

Could it have been more than generosity? How would the PM’s own record stand up under the same scrutiny? 

In April last year, just a week before the general election, Mr Cameron attended a conference of evangelical Christians in east London, hosted by Rev Enoch Adeboye. 

The Rev Adeboye is notorious for championing Nigeria’s drive to outlaw homosexuality, in particular the 2014 Same-sex Marriage Prohibition act, which carries a ten year jail sentence. 

He also promotes belief in witchcraft, which has led to people being murdered, including children in London. 

David Cameron not only shared a platform with the good Rev, but sat next to him through the conference, gave a speech to his audience, and bowed his head to join Adeboye in prayer.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, speaking to Left Foot Forward, called Mr Cameron’s embrace of Rev Adeboye ‘a slap in the face to the victims of homophobia and witchcraft-related child abuse in Nigeria’.

Could this have been one of those ‘mistakes’ Mr Cameron says anyone might make?

The PM declined to comment at the time. But as human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell also said:

‘It is hard to believe that David Cameron and his minders were not aware of Rev Adeboye’s extreme views.

‘They always research venues and individuals before agreeing to do events.’

Meanwhile, in his professional (i.e. non- electioneering) capacity, Mr Cameron has made a habit of meeting extremists and dictators, over the objections of Brits and ex-pats who didn’t think this was strictly necessary to maintain diplomatic and trade relations.

For example, Mr Cameron has met with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, an extremist by any common sense definition.

Modi is a Hindu nationalist who was banned for many years from entering Britain over his insouciance about a 2002 massacre of Muslims in Gujarat, where he was then governor.

Since Modi’s election in 2014, India has seen a period of lynchings, demagogy and censorship in one of the world’s largest pluralistic democracies. 

Yet Mr Cameron welcomed Modi to Britain as a guest of honour in November. 

The same month he met with General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who has reinstalled Egypt’s military dictatorship which prompted the Tahrir Square protests that removed Hosni Mubarak in 2011. 

A few weeks earlier, Mr Cameron rolled out the red carpet for Chinese president Xi Jinping, who presides over one of the most repressive and authoritarian dictatorships in the world. 

As for Islamic extremism, the prime minister has been a first class groveller to the regime in Saudi Arabia, holding a national day of mourning for the late Saudi King, dashing to Riyadh to salve the bruised ego of the Saudi royals, and providing an endless supply of British weapons to the country’s rulers. 

This for the regime which pumps Wahabi ideology across the globe and treats its population like serfs.

Needless to say, this record of providing military and diplomatic support to such people dwarfs anything Sadiq Khan has even been accused of. As the prime minister says, anyone can make a mistake,

‘But if you do it time after time after time, it is right to question your judgement.’

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