hp sauce

Bahrain echo chamber
House of Lords, Issue 1494

WELL READ: Lord Hussain, who like other peers seems to have learnt by heart the contents of a briefing from the Bahraini embassy
“I HAVE never visited Bahrain,” Lib Dem peer Baron Hussain said in a Lords debate last month on human rights in the Gulf kingdom, “but I believe it is a modern, moderate Arab country.” Why does he believe that? Because, it turns out, the Bahraini government told him so.

“Bahrain is a modern, moderate Arab country,” says a private briefing paper, obtained by the Eye, which was prepared by the Bahraini embassy in London and given to some peers before the debate.

Hussain has other beliefs. “I believe,” he said, “that Bahrain was ranked in tier 1 by the US State Department in 2018 for its efforts to counter human trafficking.” This too was suggested by the embassy: “Ranked in Tier 1 by the US State Department (2018) for its efforts to counter human trafficking.” Nowhere did Hussain mention the Bahraini guidance, although much of his speech followed it almost word-for-word.

Copy-and-paste job
Many speakers condemned the regime’s human rights abuses and the jailing of its critics, but Hussain wasn’t its only defender: hence a growing sense of déjà entendu as the speeches continued. Lord Astor of Hever: “The capital, Manama, is a religiously diverse city, housing Sunni, Shia, Christian, Jewish and Hindu places of worship.” Lord Hussain: “The capital, Manama, is one of the most religiously diverse cities in the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council], with places of worship of Sunni, Shia, Christian, Jewish, Sikh and Hindu faith.” Or, as the embassy PR had advised them to say: “Capital, Manama, is the most religiously diverse city in the GCC, housing Sunni, Shia, Christian, Jewish, and Hindu places of worship.” You get the picture…

The Bahraini embassy’s Twitter account posted a few video snippets the day after the debate, billing them as the “highlights”. They included Baroness Morris of Bolton praising the kingdom’s so-called National Institution for Human Rights as “an independent body with a wide-ranging mandate to protect human rights” – another copy-and-paste job from the embassy’s own advice to speakers.

The video-clips did include one acknowledgement that Bahrain isn’t perfect. “Of course there is always more that can be done,” Lord Astor of Hever had told the House, “and I think that the Bahraini government recognise this.” Or, as the embassy’s notes for speakers had suggested: “While recognising that there is always more that can be done…” Astor’s addition of “I think” is a brilliant touch, given that he was reciting words given to him by the Bahraini government.

To read all these stories in full, please buy issue 1494 of Private Eye - you can subscribe here and have the magazine delivered to your home every fortnight.

Next issue on sale: 28th May 2019

More top stories in the latest issue:

Tory plans to abolish no-fault evictions of private renters are a welcome change of heart – but one would-be Tory leader seems keener to help the landlords.

Wannabe PM Jeremy Hunt courts the right-wing media with some laughably selective grandstanding on world press freedom.

Despite France’s official hardline on Brexit, there was much chumminess on show at a recent anglo-French talking shop paid for by banks and energy firms.

Brexit delays and uncertainty may be giving Britain a nervous breakdown, but they’re an increasingly good earner for management consultants.

Brexiteers will scoff, but Claire Bassett, late of the Electoral Commission, will now have a key role protecting British business from unfair trade post-Brexit.

One of the government’s arms-licensing staff gives an unfortunate nod to Nazi Germany when asked how the UK can license arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Private Eye Issue 1494
In This Issue
Shock as Tory Minister Announces He Has No Leadership Plan… Cross-Party Brexit Talks Latest From Tuscany, Cornwall & the South of France… Israel Declares Moon a Terrorist Organisation After Rocket Crashes on Lunar Surface…Debenhams Vulture Furious Other Vultures Got There First… Sighting of Genuine Black Hole Spells Disaster for Other Brexit Metaphors… Mark Francois’ Diary, as told to Craig Brown

Nuclear disaster
The MoD’s sub-optimal clean-up

Food for thought
Gove’s policies don’t add up

Beardie derailed
So. Farewell then Richard Branson…

Read these stories and much more - only in the magazine. Subscribe here to get delivery direct to your home and never miss an issue!
ONLY £2.00
28th May 2019
Private Eye Issue 1493