Iain Dale presents the evening show on LBC Radio and the For the Many podcast with Jacqui Smith.
I’m pleased to see the Government’s response to what’s going on in Hong Kong ramping up a tad. It needed to.
The Chinese government must be held to account for its actions, and to rip up an internationally binding treaty, as it is doing – well, it doesn’t get much more serious than that in the field of international diplomacy.
The ‘one country, two systems’ agreement has 27 years to run. For China arbitrarily to declare that it can do as it likes, and impose whatever law it likes, is not the act of a friendly country.
In the real world, there is little we can do to stop China in its tracks, but we can hold it to account for its actions in a number of ways.
We now start the process of re-evaluating our entire relationship with China. That doesn’t mean the breaking of all diplomatic and economic relations, but it does mean that we call an end to the mistaken ‘golden age’ relationship advocated by David Cameron and George Osborne.
Their almost craven attitude to the Chinese partly has got us into this situation. So keen were they to attract Chinese investment in our economy – and, outrageously, in our national infrastructure – that the Chinese had (and to an extent have) us over a barrel.
Boris Johnson’s instinct was not to go ahead with the Huawei deal, but in the end he felt that he had no choice. I hope and expect that decision to be reversed by the end of the year.
China is flexing its muscles in a number of areas, when, given what has happened on Coronavirus, you might have thought that it might have reined itself in a little.
Not a bit of it. It’s increased its bellicose language regarding Taiwan, and there are worrying signs that it is ramping up its conflict with India over the disputed Himalayan border.
Dominic Raab is absolutely right to say that democracies need to be united in standing up to Chinese aggression, whether with regard to Hong Kong or elsewhere.
He was also right to call out the EU on its insipid response to what’s going on in Hong Kong. It refused to join the UK, US, Canada and Australia in sending a joint communique. Yet another reason to be glad we’re out of the wretched organisation.
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The Foreign Secretary has also had a tricky this week following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Both he and the Prime Minister have rightly condemned what happened, but of course there have been calls on them to denounce Donald Trump for his response.
Instead of trying to bring the nation together, the President has added fuel to the flames. Instead of seeking to build national unity, he’s seemingly deliberately chosen to encourage division and hatred.
However, to expect the Prime Minister or Foreign Secretary to directly condemn him goes against all the natural rules of international diplomacy. America is our oldest ally, and will continue to be a key partner in the post Brexit world.
Our leaders can call for calm, but to call out Trump in an aggressive and condemnatory way is something that would make the heart feel good, but a long-term headache would ensue. In the real world of international diplomacy it is usually wise to let the head rule the heart.
As a columnist and diarist, I don’t have to do that, and have absolutely no hesitation in calling Donald Trump out for his racism, hatred, divisiveness, misogyny, incompetence, narcissism and general awfulness. I feel better for that.
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You can’t keep a good man down. How lovely it was to see the ‘People’s Gardiner’ back in the headlines this week.
Sacked by Keir Starmer from the Shadow Cabinet in April, ‘Whispering’ Barry Gardiner has been absent from our TV screens for far too long.
What a pity, though, that he broke his media duck by breaking all social distancing rules by ‘taking a knee’ at the crowded Black Lives Matter protest in Whitehall.
In the most #virtuesignallingtastic way possible, he thought he’d be seen as a hero by the massed protesters, but instead was forced into a humiliating apology the next day.
His Brent constituents have yet to deliver their verdict. Still, at least he didn’t attend the massive overnight street party that took place earlier this week in the constituency of his Brent neighbour, Dawn Butler. What is it that people don’t get about the continuing need for social distancing?