James McConalogue, Editor of the European Journal, criticises Gordon Brown for not being serious about boycotting the EU summit.
Gordon Brown’s most recent position toward the EU-Africa summit is yet
another example of how impossible it is for Britain to pursue its own
foreign policy through the channels of the European Union. Brown has
pretended to boycott the EU summit. However, the British Prime Minister
can simply not ignore the fact that the presence of Mugabe provides
conditions for an official boycott of the summit. He has told the
people of Britain that he could not possibly attend the summit – at
which Mugabe is expected to attend – but through the backdoor, out goes
his diplomatic lackey, Baroness Amos in his place. That is not a
boycott in any sense of the word.
If Brown had intended this to be an official boycott, then his
representative would not have been sent. As it turns out, Brown has
dispatched his loyal henchmen to attend on behalf of our nation. Why is
it, then, that Brown could not honour the boycott? After all, surely
Baroness Amos, from her experience of African affairs in the Foreign
Office, could have suitably advised Brown on the seriousness of doing
deals with dictatorial murderers on the African continent and on
Britain’s relationship with Zimbabwe under such conditions.
The difficulty, I believe, rests with our commitment to a European
policy (with which Brown refuses to break). The British Prime Minister
is so attached to a vision of Europe, he can no see no harm in
negotiating with the murderous villains on the world stage and sends a
representative to ensure Britain’s place at the table of the world’s
greatest fools. Of course, that starts with Europe, where the Prime
Minister’s and select officials of the 27 Member States are compelled
to attend. Baroness Amos should simply not be there on behalf of
Britain and the words that she speaks shall be spoken in her own name.
The modern situation of Britain’s Foreign Secretaries is, as Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee told David Miliband on the Reform Treaty, equivalent to “Peace for our Time” (noting Chamberlain’s pact with Hitler). The British people are being governed by a Parliament of squawking baboons – with a few exceptions – who will cunningly square up with brutal dictators around a European throne to assert the laws of a moral-less continental government. It is not about Britain wanting to reclaim the once-colonised powers – as Mugabe himself views it – but about addressing the facts on the situation of Zimbabwe. The diplomatic facts are well-publicised and they climax in the recognition that the calm and cool Robert Mugabe will attend the EU summit, giving him significant credibility in Zimbabwe ahead of the next election whilst possibly making the Brown-Amos pseudo-boycott solution look slightly ineffectual in Europe. This will not have been achieved through the appropriate and legitimate channels of British diplomacy, but through the short-termist objectives of Europe pursuing a rigid EU summit model, regardless of progress and regardless of the collapse of one African nation into barbarism.
Even the German Chancellor, Frau Merkel, snubbed Brown’s pseudo-boycott, saying “We respect the decision of the British prime minister but we, and here I speak for other EU member countries and for Germany in particular, have decided to attend simply because we think that this is such an important summit meeting that we should not let the presence of one country keep us from paying our respects to the rest of the continent.” Of course, Merkel’s vision of a German Europe – in which post-reunified Germany and its expanding EU are one and the same – dictates that the EU summit go on regardless and that its states, having warmed to the conditions of a German-European landscape, accept the naïve condition that external brutal regimes be offered fresh new European terms for diplomacy. Britain must not accept those terms.
The only terms upon which Brown (or Amos) should meet Mugabe must be to read him his rights – arrested foremost for the slaughter of tens of thousands of his people (technically, genocide) – and bring about an economic reconstruction programme along with other states through the AU for the people of Zimbabwe. Somehow, I don’t think Brown would commit himself to this, since democracy is small cheese to the Labour Government and will continue to be so long after the EU-Africa summit and well after the Lisbon Treaty is signed. It is important that the British people are made aware of these facts – Brown’s henchmen are attending and the man who our own diplomats have called a “wily bastard” (that’s Mugabe, not Brown) will enjoy a luxurious seat at the table of Europe’s most vacuous leaders. Europe has far too often, in its ignorance, warmed not only to its own aggressors but to the aggressors of brutal leaders who murder, starve and abuse their own citizens for political causes. Brown should have taken note of who was invited to the Party and turned down the invitation point blank. A pseudo-boycott is no consolation.