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Thursday, 3 March 2011

My dinner with David Cameron

I was at a dinner with the Prime Minister last night. Admittedly, the intimacy of the occasion was somewhat undermined by the presence at the dinner of more than a thousand other people, and I didn't actually meet Mr Cameron, but I was privileged to hear him deliver this very interesting speech. The dinner was organised by the Community Security Trust and the attendees included Parliamentarians from across the parties, including such Liberal Democrats as Chris Huhne, Andrew Stunell (particularly relevant as the Minister for Community Cohesion), Lord Dholakia and Lord Palmer. I strongly urge everyone to read David Cameron's speech from this event.

Were I to quibble with what the Prime Minister had to say, it would be to say that while I (literally) applauded him for saying that the UK had voted for a UN resolution about Israeli settlement building, I was struck by his matching that with a commitment to equally oppose the imprisonment of Gilad Shalit and the firing of rockets into Israel. But one problem with the UN has been that while it has (sometimes rightly) been ever-ready to condemn any abuse committed by Israel, it has tended to be silent on things like the bombardment of Israeli civilians by rocket fire - creating doubts as to the UN's willingness to seriously address all the issues, rather than just one-sidedly condemning Israel. So while the Prime Minister is right that it can be useful for the UK to vote for UN resolutions on Israeli settlements, it would be nice if the UK had, over the years, also had the opportunity to vote for UN resolutions condemning the constant firing of rockets at Israeli civilian targets. A further quibble would be to suggest that, in calling for more Palestinian economic development in the West Bank, and a greater flow of goods in and out of Gaza, the Prime Minister is doubtless aware that he is rightly calling for a strong continuation of things that are already very much happening.

But those really are just quibbles. Mr Cameron made a very good speech at what was a most enjoyable and successful event.

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