Friday, November 13, 2015

The North by North Westminster Diary: Cameron goes à la Modi

Friday 13th November
Another week, another visit from a controversial national leader. First it was the Chinese President Xi Jinping, then it was the Egyptian President Sisi, and now it is the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi.
Now, one thing unites all of these people. When it comes to human rights, they are notable – and by “notable”, I mean “not able”. Mr Modi, for instance, whipped up an anti-Islamist fervour whilst he was Chief Minister of Gujarat, which led to riots that caused the deaths of at least 1,000 people. When asked whether he had any regret, he said his feelings were akin to those of a passenger in a car that had just run over a puppy.
Another thing which unites all of those leaders’ countries is that we trade with them. A lot. Jobs and investment here depend on our relationships with those countries. It is somewhat tricky, but the sheer quantity of these visits is very unsettling.
At least Mr Modi is democratically elected, which makes it a little easier – largely on the grounds that he has a large chance of being booted out in the near-future.
In an attempt to distract from some recent bad election results, Mr Modi is holding a rally at Wembley Stadium – à la One Direction. The event will also be attended by that Harry-Styles-esque heartthrob, David Cameron.
It’s one thing to have a diplomatic relationship with this man. It’s one thing to trade with him. It is quite another to go along to one of the largest stadiums in the land and play the political equivalent of Guitar Hero with him. Still – at least he’ll look preposterous.


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