Sunday, December 04, 2011

Willie Rennie, Salmond and cute and cuddly?

My mind boggled when I first read what Willie Rennie had said. I know that a very few Liberal Democrats in the blogosphere have said that he's being too hard on the SNP, but when I saw the words Alex Salmond and cute and cuddly within the same few lines, I got a bit worried he was going too far in the other direction.

Actually, closer inspection revealed that it wasn't our First Minister he was talking about but the lovely pandas arriving in Edinburgh today from China. While getting a bit caught up in the excitement surrounding them, he sees their arrival as an opportunity to initiate discussions on human rights with the Chinese Government.

I was delighted to see him say these things. I wrote earlier in the year that there was something about "panda-ing to a cruel and brutal regime" I will go and see Tian Tian and Yang Guang - Anna would simply not have it any other and we do support the important conservation work that Edinburgh Zoo does but I'm not blind to the wider issues surrounding them, and nor will she be.

As the pandas fly westwards, Alex Salmond heads out to China for a week long visit to boost Scotland abroad.  Willie Rennie has asked him to raise the issue of human rights with the Chinese Government.

He said:

“There is understandable excitement about the pandas arriving from China this weekend.
 “But we must be careful to treat this as an opportunity to engage with Chinese authorities over human rights. “The pandas have caught the public’s imagination. Now is the time to put human rights front and centre of the political debate while people are listening.
 “Alex Salmond has been curiously silent over human rights issue. He must tell us what discussions he has had about human rights during his trip. “We must make this about more than the cuddly and cute.”

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

One day Willie demands Salmond focusses on the powers he does have, the next he demands Salmond sorts out human rights in a foreign land.

It's beginning to look like the LibDem twist to Labour's opposr for opposition's sake.

Your man needs to get a grip.

cynicalHighlander said...

Will Willie never learn that his job is here in Scotland defending our democracy against the oppressors.

Why is this happening in denying Scots the ability to question the propaganda spouted incessantly by our media?

BBC Scotland blogs

Iceland has the right idea so Willie chase up your party leader in kicking out the Icelandic banker who is being protected in the city of Westminster. While your telling Nick that get him moving on the 'Recall motion' which your party proclaimed prior to 2010 election.

Why Iceland Should Be in the News, But Is Not

Hope from below: composing the commons in Iceland

Keep up the good work Willie!

Anonymous said...

I find Rennie at FMQs to be almost child like.

He comes across as a big bairn and contradicts himself within the samed sentence.

I take it he had a word with his leader Clegg when he was abroad greeting various despots?

tris said...

Every politician says that he or she will raise human rights with the Chinese as they go cap in hand for business (or for money). All parties do it so this little piece is nothing to do with party politics.

Cameron mentioned HR and was rebuffed by the Chinese premier; more or less told to mind his own business.

We have a choice. We can either engage with regimes like China (and there are many) or we can put sanctions on them, refuse to buy their goods or do any kind of business with them.

Or we can close our eyes to the fact that they treat people between badly and appallingly, and we can enjoy their cheap goods and the fact that they will buy expertise from us and invest some of their reserves in the UK?Scotland.

The British government wants people whose hair is falling out and have had every last bit of strength drained from them, to turn up to be interviewed by an 18 year old clerk at the job centre, because, despite doctors telling them they couldn't possible work, the government thinks that they are in fact shirking lazy b*****ds sucking at the teet of the state.

I hope that Salmond tells the Chinese that we disapprove of their record but that we have much to do in that filed ourselves.

Frankly, we can't afford to upset China. If all the west did so in harmony I suspect that it might have an effect.

The First Minister of Scotland telling them ain't gonna make an iota of difference. Mr Hu is unlikely to give Mr Salmond any different answer than he gave Mr Cameron.

Anonymous said...

What if we threatened to incarcerate the pandas and make them exist on a bamboo only diet?

Caron said...

Tris, it's important to make the point, though - the Chinese need to hear it from everybody.

I am hoping that this appalling notion that people on chemo lose their automatic exemption from hassle re work asssessments will shortly be kicked into the long grass. You may be aware that I and a fellow Lib Dem blogger have started a petition on it, but I hope we are pushing at a fairly open door. The idea has already been suspended and is out for further consultation. What I'd like to happen is for them to simply announce its withdrawal as soon as possible. It angers me that this sort of thing could ever be put into practice.

I am aware of the issues regarding human rights and China - I'm just not sure that Salmond and MacAskill particularly are interested in human rights anywhere. They seem to think that the Cadder judgement, for example, is an insult to them rather than seeing it as an indictment. I frankly feel mortified by at the thought that our legal system doesn't comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. Salmond just sees it as another attempt to pick a fight with Westminster.

Anonymous 2, they like bamboo and they seem quite happy. There would be none of these creatures left without conservation efforts and their presence here will hopefully support the conservation work of the RZSS.

tris said...

I think they are interested in human rights. Much more so that the English/UK government.

The Cadder case throws up some difficulties. Indeed, long term issues from the past, which I have to say the Labour and Liberal governments of the past did nothing about.

My personal opinion is that should only lecture other countries if you have something up your sleeve when they tell you to mind your own business, viz.

Mr Salmond: Your human right issues cause the Scottish people considerable disquiet Mr Minister.

Chinese Minister: If you have a problem with the way we do business, you don't have to be here to get contracts.

Salmond: Well, if you cannot promise us some improvement, we will look elsewhere for finance and trade.... Good day to you Mr Minister.

But we all know that Scotland just like the rest of the West, can't do without their kind of money.

The days of the UK or Scotland throwing its superior weight around are over. Indeed the days of the West doing it, with China at least, are over.

They pay; they call the tune.

Human rights are surely something the London government needs to look at carefully. They may not take dissenters out and shoot them in the back of the head, but I can imagine a chemo patient wishing that they would, rather than drag them off to an intrusive and pointless interview at the job centre. That is just inflicting pain for the fun of it.

And that's not the only human rights issue. Why is the London government telling the English that they cannot protest in areas of London? Why do the have a ban on protesting outside parliament? We don't. Why will they be banned from protesting at the Olympic Games?

Just like the Chinese. I expect they will be lifting the tramps that sleep in doorways and beg for money, during the period of the games.

I very much hope that your petition will be successful. I have commented on Mr Potter's blog, and I have signed. I will advertise it on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Sense of humour bypass?

Anon2

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