George n’ Boris have been fannying around China, and of course, the newest answer to the energy crisis in the UK is to get all these rich Chinese to build a nuclear power station. Makes sense up to a point, but it would be better had we done it ourselves, years ago.
For that we can probably blame Tony Blair, at which I am an expert. Previous governments are culpable too.
However, this whole “isn’t China great?” thing is now being criticised by a few commentators, for example, the estimable Iain Martin:
Osborne seems to have been completely carried away in the excitement and forgotten that China is not a free society. In awestruck tones he said that China has a can-do culture. Yes, I suppose it does. The Chinese government certainly has a can-do culture. The government can do what it likes.
Am I alone in being deeply uneasy about some of what was announced last week? Should the British government really be gleefully selling off the UK – its infrastructure, land, houses and so on – to China? Is this wise? Now the Chinese will even be allowed to own stakes in nuclear power installations in Britain. This is a country that spies on the UK, a lot.
Well, yes, agreed. Matthew Norman too:
The nominal purpose of this trip, planned long ago by Boris and far more recently by George, was to prostrate themselves before the new Chinese Empire, and snaffle some dosh (in the form of loaded Chinese students given visas to spend their renminbi here, and energy firms capable of doing what this country cannot by building nuclear power plants). This they both did splendidly. We may not have seen such elegant sycophancy to a repressive regime by a Western democracy since Donald Rumsfeld went to Baghdad, long after the gassing of the Kurds, to tell Saddam he was a force for modernity and a dear, dear friend – though Mr Tony Blair’s bear-hugging of Colonel Gaddafi will have its fans as well.
It is also pointed out that China is a terrible sort-of communist dictatorship, that does things like forced abortion, currency manipulation, bullying its neighbours and exploiting its working class. In fact the latter is the key to its economic success, such as it is. Who would have thought a communist state could behave like this? In fact Dave himself is currently infra dig, because he dared to meet the twinkly eyed old hippy that is the Dalai Lama. Good for you Dave.
Which brings us to where this appalling grovelling by the Brits really began, an event that seems to have been a little forgotten by all concerned.
In October 2008, so five years ago, Britain took the official view, for the first time, that China rightly owned Tibet, a historically independent nation, much of which has been wrecked by the Chinese invasion, particularly Lhasa and its historic buildings, now more than 90% destroyed.
Who took this decision, for ignoble financial ends? Who else, but the second worst Prime Minister ever, and his close colleague, possibly the worst Foreign Secretary ever. That was the day that we gave up the moral high ground when dealing with the world’s biggest tyrant state. George n’Boris are a mere detail.
Anyone who has read Heinrich Harrer’s fantastic Seven Years in Tibet will realise just how grim things are for the Tibetans, under Chinese rule. Remarkably, the Dalai Lama who fled the country in 1950, having befriended Harrer, is still the Dalai Lama, now condemned to endlessly touring the world as an exile.
The utterly pathetic Alex Salmond also caved in to Chinese pressure, being desperate for some infertile pandas. Brown, Milband (D), Salmond, Osborne….the usual suspects. There is one mystery, though, pointedly phrased by Matthew Norman:
Now that China has purchased Africa, the relevance of begging-bowl-carriers from a broke little island with no mineral resources must be minimal.
True. Perhaps they want to buy Buckingham Palace.