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    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...l-8941152.html

    How extraordinary. David Cameron is so blinded by partisan hatred that he can't see that

    (1) Ed Miliband wasn't in charge of British foreign policy at the time this meeting was set up

    (2) The question is not "Did the Labour Party do it too?" but "Is it the right thing to do?"

    That Cameron thinks this is a reasonable or normal response to the call for a boycott (a boycott which the Canadians and Indians have seen fit to carry out, I might add) shows that he is completely losing touch and mistaking politics for real life.
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    Have to wonder what a boycott would achieve, is it not better to attempt to influence the situation rather than removing yourself from it?
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    To be fair to Cameron, it was a difficult choice. He has highlighted the problem by going.
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    (Original post by Aj12)
    Have to wonder what a boycott would achieve, is it not better to attempt to influence the situation rather than removing yourself from it?
    Boycotts worked quite well with South Africa.

    The point is that by going, you're conferring legitimacy on a government that at this very moment has a brutal military occupation in northern Sri Lanka, that is grabbing land as war booty (much of which is being awarded to the Defence Minister and the minister's family and Rajapaksa's cronies in the army) and leaving hundreds of thousands of Tamils homeless, is seeing the use of rape by soldiers of civilians as a form of mass collective punishment, and continues to see disappearances (or rather, an execution by the government... you just never see the body because they probably throw it in a barrel of acid) to this day.

    Clearly "attempting to influence the situation" isn't actually doing anything, at some point you have to say, "I'm not going to shake that murderer's hand"
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    There is a whiff of hypocrisy to Milliband's position - after all, he was a senior minister in the Brown government that agreed to the meeting and Sri Lanka's role in it.

    The Tamils fought an extraordinarily vicious war in Sri Lanka (with Indian support) against a brutal, oppressive government. Both sides committed atrocities but the sheer scale of the SL government's final onslaught on Tamil civilians makes the rest rather pale into insignificance.

    Probably Sri Lanka should be expelled from the Commonwealth, rather than hosting it. I suppose the only good thing from Cameron's visit is that the UK media are there in force to report it. However, I do wonder if, given what we already know about the current government's priorities, Cameron's team aren't just there to sell weapons systems. It will be interesting to see if we get arms deals with Sri Lanka in the near future.
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    (Original post by MostUncivilised)
    Boycotts worked quite well with South Africa.

    The point is that by going, you're conferring legitimacy on a government that at this very moment has a brutal military occupation in northern Sri Lanka, that is grabbing land as war booty (much of which is being awarded to the Defence Minister and the minister's family and Rajapaksa's cronies in the army) and leaving hundreds of thousands of Tamils homeless, is seeing the use of rape by soldiers of civilians as a form of mass collective punishment, and continues to see disappearances (or rather, an execution by the government... you just never see the body because they probably throw it in a barrel of acid) to this day.

    Clearly "attempting to influence the situation" isn't actually doing anything, at some point you have to say, "I'm not going to shake that murderer's hand"
    Boycotts didn't work that well with South Africa. It just depressed the economy. It is a lever that can be used, but better to bring people along rather than force them into situations. You just need to look at the huge advancement that china is making in reform.
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    (Original post by MostUncivilised)
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...l-8941152.html

    How extraordinary. David Cameron is so blinded by partisan hatred that he can't see that

    (1) Ed Miliband wasn't in charge of British foreign policy at the time this meeting was set up

    (2) The question is not "Did the Labour Party do it too?" but "Is it the right thing to do?"

    That Cameron thinks this is a reasonable or normal response to the call for a boycott (a boycott which the Canadians and Indians have seen fit to carry out, I might add) shows that he is completely losing touch and mistaking politics for real life.

    1) Ed Miliband was one of Gordon Brown's most senior confidants, and wrote their 2010 election manifesto. He would have at the very least been aware of the sensitivities and been in a position to raise any concerns at the time (not to say he didn't in private).

    2) It is a legitimate question when the opposition are trying to play politics with the issue, making a fairly last-minute call to boycott the event that would've made the PM look weak for not taking the lead in any boycott and simply following the Canadians and Indians. You can't stand for something, then turn around and suddenly criticise the government for doing exactly the same thing. It's opposition for opposition's sake.

    And on your later point about conferring legitimacy on the government of Sri Lanka: like it or not, they are the government in charge, and if you want to improve the lives of innocent people who are suffering, sometimes you have to deal with the "bad guys" rather than sit on a moral high-horse safely at home in Whitehall and get nothing done. Cameron can hardly be accused of being soft on the Sri Lankan government at any rate.
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    (Original post by MostUncivilised)
    Boycotts worked quite well with South Africa.
    No it didn't. Open dialogue and diplomacy and deserves the credit there.
 
 
 
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