That curious sound you’ve been hearing recently is the sound of human rights groups and western governments throwing their teddies out of their prams at the news that Saudi Arabia has been elected chair of the UN Human Rights Commission. Whizz. Thump. There goes another one. Mumble, oppression of women, mumble public decapitation, mumble absolute monarchy. All the stuff we used to do, in fact, at a time when Britain was widely regarded as a beacon of liberty in a dark world.
The trouble with free elections, as Molotov, the Soviet Foreign Minister, once observed, is you can never tell who’s going to win. And they won, which tells you something about the rest of the world’s opinion of our human rights discourse. And we don’t like it. Whizz. Thump. There goes another one.