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Thursday, June 26, 2008 

Infantile gesture politics.

I have been meaning to write a post on Zimbabwe, but with one thing and another and then the conviction of our new friend Martyn Gilleard I haven't quite managed it.

Very little however sums up our complete impotence and increasing reliance on gesture politics than the decision to strip Mugabe of his knighthood. Part of the growing myth surrounding Mugabe, putting him alongside other demonised autocrats and dictators once feted or at least supported in the West has been of our own creation, especially over the initial reaction to the seizing of the white farms. Although short-sighted and subsequently the root of the downfall of the economy as they were distributed not to those who had the skills to develop them but to the Zanu-PF hierarchy, few pointed out that far from the majority of the white farmers growing food crops, most had grown tobacco, not often chosen as a source of nourishment. Zimbabwe may once have been the bread basket of southern Africa, but tobacco was the major crop.

Removing his knighthood in fact almost resembles a counter-intutive move. Here's a man continuing to fight under the pretence that the opposition intends to hand over the country to Britain, making much of his own struggle and that of his party to overcome colonial rule, yet all along he had been recognised by the British as worthy of such a high accolade! This was something to use against the demagogue, to stress his links to the country he professes to hate, and instead we're doing him the favour of snatching it from him. While Morgan Tsvangiari is again forced to seek refuge in the Dutch embassy, desperately attempting to not just save his country but potentially his own life, we're further snatching the carpet from under him, or working on other such pointless initatives as extending the sanctions which up until now have no effect whatsoever. There is no simple solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe, but the current approach has not just failed, it's been another foreign policy debacle to rival so many others of recent years.

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Yeah, it's staggering that anybody might think this would have any effect on Zimbabwe at all. But I guess that's not the point - the gesture is for domestic UK consumption, the diplomatic equivalent of a 'not in my name' banner.

I think it is a bit rich coming from a twice failed to get selected as a Tory MP, to claim that Nelson Mandela is a failed leader!

Total Bollocks more like!

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