This story in today’s Sunday Independent caught my eye:
David Cameron accepted an all-expenses paid trip to apartheid South Africa while Nelson Mandela was still in prison, an updated biography of the Tory leader reveals today.
The trip by Mr Cameron in 1989, when he was a rising star of the Conservative Research Department, was a chance for him to “see for himself” and was funded by a firm that lobbied against the imposition of sanctions on the apartheid regime.
With the recent local media stories about countless politicians and journalists visiting apartheid Israel, how long before public figures have to apologise for taking free trips to the “Jewish” state? When will the general public expect such people to have spoken out strongly against brutal human rights abuses in Palestine?
The article continues:
Peter Hain, the former Cabinet minister and prominent anti-apartheid campaigner, said last night: “David Cameron asks us to judge a leader’s character – well, Gordon Brown at this time was active in the anti-apartheid movement, while Cameron was enjoying a sanctions-busting jolly. That is a measure of character.
“This just exposes his hypocrisy because he has tried to present himself as a progressive Conservative, but just on the eve of the apartheid downfall, and Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, when negotiations were taking place about a transfer of power, here he was being wined and dined on a sanctions-busting visit.
“This is the real Conservative Party, shown by the fact that his colleagues who used to wear ‘Hang Nelson Mandela’ badges at university are now sitting on the benches around him. Their leader at the time Margaret Thatcher described Mandela as a terrorist.”
Which side of history are people on today? Times can change terribly quickly.