Johnson’s gulf visit: by their friends shall ye know them

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16 March 2022

Just what is Johnson really up to in the Gulf states, hob-nobbing with Saudi’s homicidal Crown Prince?  Seeking “independence” he says, from reliance on Russian oil?  But only 8% of Britain’s oil and 3% of Britain's gas supply originate in Russia.  In fact half comes from the North Sea and a third from Norway, with a small amount of gas from Qatar...

    So if the aim was to prevent sky-rocketing prices from going even higher due to the war in Ukraine, shouldn’t the owners of North Sea oil and gas be tackled - or better still, expropriated, first?

    Obviously, governments can cap energy and fuel prices, as has happened in France, for instance. Instead, what we see here is government policy - the raising of the gas suppliers’ cap by £2,000, last year - unchanged!  So households’ baseline increase remains at 54%, even before any increase due to the war kicks in...

    Of course, Sunak could reinstate the old cap, as well as subsidise households fully for any cost increase. But so far there’s just his £350 one-off loan, and only for the very poorest...

    And now we see the revolting spectacle of Johnson cosying up to the Saudi dictatorship. Never mind that it still presides over the bombing to smithereens of a whole “sovereign” country called Yemen, where almost 400,000 people, many of them women and children, have been killed and countless more have left to starve.

    And by the way, there’s no question of Yemeni (or Afghan) refugees being offered a room in a British home, nor even the waiving of the rule that they can’t work while waiting for asylum, if indeed they are in line for getting it in the first place!

    Of course it’s possible that Johnson’s ill-judged Gulf crusade is because he still imagines he could be crowned “king of world”, or at least “King of Europe”, despite Brexit.  This would no doubt be bestowed upon him in gratitude for securing alternative gas and oil supplies for the EU...  And that would be thanks to his “special relationship” with the psychopathic oligarchic killers - Putin’s mirror image - in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates!

    After all, pragmatic choices have to be made in this capitalist world - which has literally exchanged blood for oil in the past, and which today is capitalising from huge new arms transactions, thanks to this new war...  What do 81 executions - beheadings by sword - the murder of Kashoggi, or a devastated Yemen matter, between “friends”?