Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

At last: a hint of that ethical foreign policy we've all been waiting for

After decades under Thatcher, Major, Blair and Brown where an "ethical foreign policy" meant not being caught aiding CIA torturers, happily assisting the USA in toppling democratic governments it disliked, and doggedly defending human rights only in countries we wished to invade for economic reasons, it comes as rather a shock to catch a whiff of a principle wafting about the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Chris Bryant, Foreign Office minister, is encouraging our diplomats abroad to support gay rights. And he hasn't been sacked yet. How moral standards have slipped since God's regent on Earth ceased to be Prime Minister and retired to spend more time with his money.

My favourite bit of the article was where the British ambassador in Poland was criticised by the Polish government for exceeding his authority, first of all by flying a rainbow flag next to the Union flag (because we don't get to say what we fly on our own sodding flagpoles in bastion-of-freedom Poland), and secondly for (get this) having a guide to LGBT rights translated into Polish. And for the heinous crime of making a leaflet on civil rights available to the Poles, he is criticised by Poland's "civil rights ombudsman". Gosh, it's as though General Jaruzelski had never left. If "solidarity" is to be reclaimed from being just the name of a dodgy political party (two actually: Lech Walesa's and Tommmy Sheridan's) and is to have real menaing, surely its meaning must be is fellowship with, and support for, oppressed minorities, which in Poland and elsewhere includes gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transexuals.

Chris Bryant: we salute you. Allowing your principles to affect your work may be career suicide, but you'll be remembered.

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