Can we wash our hands of the mess we leave?
That David Cameron is a right tease: let him off on his travels and he says all kinds of things. I don’t know, he needs a public relations minder with him. (What do you mean, public relations used to be his job? You’re having me on!) Today’s Guardian, under the punning headline I’ve stolen for my title (sadly not used online), reports:
Cameron later sparked controversy about Britain’s imperial past by claiming it was responsible for many of the world’s problems. He made his remark as a semi-jocular aside at the end of a question and answer session at a university in Islamabad.
Asked what Britain might be able to do settle the war in Kashmir, he replied: “I don’t want to try to insert Britain in some leading role where, as with so many of the world’s problems, we are responsible for the issue in the first place.”
Semi-jocular? You need to watch that sense of humour Dave. I mean, just imagine if folk get hold of the idea that people responsible for the issue aren’t the ones to clear it up:
Ah yes, Miss, I know the classroom’s a bit of a mess. but we can’t clear it up because we’re the ones what done it, see, and we only do untidy. I mean really, have you ever seen us leave a foreign country tidy? Look at that Kashmir, Miss – such a mess they still haven’t sorted it out 60 years later!
As for what the Daily Mail and the hang ’em and flog ’em brigade might make of the idea that criminals can’t possibly be expected to make restitution – well… Already Peter Oborne in the Daily Telegraph has told us bluntly:
Sorry, but it’s not right to apologise: The Prime Minister’s mea culpa over the conflict in Kashmir is neither welcome nor wise… He could have pointed out that we gave Pakistan (and indeed the rest of the world) many splendid bequests: parliamentary democracy, superb irrigation systems, excellent roads, the rule of law, the English language and, last but not least, the game of cricket.
This article is rather bizarrely accompanied by a series of images, including ‘David Cameron, a life in pictures’ and ‘Top Right-wingers: 25-1’. Are those the odds on a coup, or the way the paper counts down to the very top, rightmost right one? Ah no, it’s the cricket score: right wingers put in to bat, 25 quangos for one wicket – that careless David Laws out for a duck. Well, it’s better than being out for a duck house, innit?