More Political Hypocrisy, More Political Idiocy & the Badass QueenTuesday, 27 January 2015
Some days you scan the morning news and the sheer hypocrisy and idiocy of our political leaders simply stuns you. My last posting was over the gall of political leaders turning up in France to march for free speech while, back home, they were busy torturing, jailing, flogging (a Saudi Arabian speciality) or even murdering people for speaking out.
Subsequently it’s been the utter cynicism of assorted leaders of the free world singing the praises of the recently deceased Saudi monarch King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. It’s a bad case of Sucking up to the Saudis according to Mark Beeson, Professor of International Politics at University of Western Australia writing in The Conversation. An article headed by the infamous photo of the late king and George W Bush about to have a smooch.
Meanwhile in Australia our hapless Prime Minister Tony Abbott – who is rapidly becoming notorious for his medal winning ability to open his mouth and insert his foot regularly and to great depths – decided to celebrate Australia Day by giving Prince Philip (aka the Duke of Hazard) an Australian knighthood. They were dumped decades ago, reinstated by the tin-eared Mr Abbott and now handed out to someone who is A. not Australian and B. a joke in his own country. Still it’s given countless columnists, editorial writers and cartoonists plenty of material to work with.
You are not supposed to repeat what the Queen says in private conversation. But the story she told me on that occasion was one that I was also to hear later from its subject – Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia – and it is too funny not to repeat. Five years earlier, in September 1998, Abdullah had been invited up to Balmoral, for lunch with the Queen. Following his brother King Fahd’s stroke in 1995, Abdullah was already the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia. After lunch, the Queen had asked her royal guest whether he would like a tour of the estate. Prompted by his Foreign Minister, the urbane Prince Saud, an initially hesitant Abdullah agreed. The royal Land Rovers were drawn up in front of the castle. As instructed, the Crown Prince climbed into the front seat of the front Land Rover, with his interpreter in the seat behind. To his surprise, the Queen climbed into the driving seat, turned the ignition and drove off. Women are not – yet – allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, and Abdullah was not used to being driven by a woman, let alone a queen. His nervousness only increased as the Queen, an Army driver in wartime, accelerated the Land Rover along the narrow Scottish estate roads, talking all the time. Through his interpreter, the Crown Prince implored the Queen to slow down and concentrate on the road ahead.
The paragraph has been repeated regularly in recent days including by Mother Jones with the headline: ‘Badass Feminist Queen Elizabeth II Gave Saudi Arabia’s King a Lesson in Power’