Let's brush this under the carpet . .
Google Theresa May and Saudi Arabia and nothing emerges in the top ten searches detailing May’s condemnation of the murder in Istanbul of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. A search on the No.10 website also reveals nothing – although there are several references to the Skripal case. May’s tight lips are also in evidence when it comes to the millions now facing famine in Yemen. So far, the government’s only response to the Khashoggi murder – which the Saudis have now confessed to – is our International Trade Secretary Liam Fox pulling out of the ‘Davos in the Desert’ trade event in Saudi Arabia on the 23rd of this month. It’s curious that it has been announced that he is ‘pulling out’ – the government’s line over a week ago was that his ‘diary hadn’t been finalised.’ In other words, they were hoping against hope that the UK would still attend, to glad hand our friends in the Saudi royal family and keep the flow of arms unimpeded. This ‘pulling out’ will come as a blow to Fox, as the vestiges of this government’s self-respect appear still to have the power to interrupt his free trade mission, although I suspect the interruption will be just that, and brief. But what of all the other countries we will want to do big trade deals with in the wonderful unfettered post-Brexit free trade utopia? Are we really going to let ethical issues get in the way? This will indeed be a test for the neo-con theory that market liberalism naturally begets liberal democracy. Every gun we sell is a blow against dictatorship isn’t it?
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