Today, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited Cobargo, a town in the south-east of the state of New South Wales, where a father and son died on Monday trying to protect their property when it was hit by the massive fires which have stricken the country for several months. Morrison was jeered at by local people, called an idiot, a moron and told to p*ss off, before turning his back on them, returning to his vehicle and being driven away from the town.
Morrison infamously went on holiday to Hawaii while Australia burned, and people won’t forget that. Will Morrison still be PM in June and attend the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which will be held in Rwanda? If he is there, he will be able to get sympathy from Howard Quayle, who similarly turned his back on me last spring when I was urging him to ask the UK to stop pilots from the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) from using Ronaldsway Airport for training. Howard Quayle replied to my question by using the old chestnut of the UK being responsible for our defence, something that has been refuted by no less a person than the Queen of England as regards the UK military use of facilities in the Isle of Man. One can be sure that if the Queen meant that the UK military should ask the Isle of Man’s permission to use facilities here, that advice also covers the UK’s military allies, such as Saudi Arabia.
All right-minded people are concerned about the RSAF using facilities in the Isle of Man for training, because they use the skills so gained to bomb civilians in Yemen, killing many children and others, as well as targeting hospitals. How insensitive can Howard be that he doesn’t want to save the lives of those children and other civilians in the country?
It is not as if that is a unique blemish on the reputation of Saudi Arabia, as recent events have shown. Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident who worked as a journalist on The Washington Post, was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Turkey in October 2018. The trial of those accused of his murder was held in secret and the verdict was announced last month, three days before Christmas Day. Was this timing to avoid too much scrutiny globally? Earlier in December, a Second Lieutenant in the RSAF shot three people dead at the Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida, USA, where he was undergoing training. President Trump acted quickly to stop Saudi pilots from training in the USA. Many of the 9-11 hijackers were Saudis (the majority), and some of those trained in Florida.
Howard Quayle, why don’t you act? You can’t be afraid to speak to officials in the UK, as you are always off there to talk to them about Brexit, as Mark Kermode reminded us today at the Illiam Dhone Commemoration at Hango Hill. Mr Quayle, please remember the suffering and dying children of the Yemen and speak to your contacts in the UK about them, too.
(Image: Allen Moore – Mannin Branch Secretary)
Mannin Branch Secretary,
Celtic League (2 January 2020)