I know that there might be charges of hypocrisy and that people are asking why we are choosing Libya and not Bahrain, why we are not addressing the situation in Yemen and why we are choosing to act in this specific situation, but we can only deal with the situation as it is presented to us.
All this shows is - of course - that politicians are devoid of principle: they can see which way the wind is blowing and adapt their rhetoric accordingly. What Uppal says (amongst the habitual reference to how heroic his family is and suspiciously apposite quotes) is utterly meaningless. The 'situation' in Bahrain is that 70% of the population is shut out from economic and civic society by a ruling class which looks only after itself. Now it's called in Paul's Saudi friends to crush the population. That does make Paul a hypocrite because he's in favour of liberation in Libya now that Gaddafi's no longer wanted, and simultaneously in favour of massive repression in Saudi Arabia and neighbouring countries because… well, as far as I can see, because he like rich, repressive regimes. The Saudis buy guns (to use on their neighbours' civilians) and sell oil. We don't want to disturb that little carousel.
Some poor sixth-formers had the misfortune to be accompanied by Uppal on a trip to Auschwitz. I wonder if he managed to refrain from plugging his self-interested views on taxation and from handing out Conservative propaganda. Uppal's feeling about the experience is heartfelt:
On reflection, there were many lessons to learn about that journey but one thing was more pertinent than anything else in my discussions with those sixth formers-they wondered how we had let that tyranny and oppression come to fruition
Yes, that's right. Tyranny and oppression are bad. Unless it's your Saudi paymasters and their friends. How have these things come about? Because unintelligent and selfish Conservative multimillionaires prefer to sell weapons to tyrants who'll do their realpolitik bidding.
Not his finest moment.