British Conservative-Dubai dictatorship alliance

This video says about itself:

Human Rights Abuse in the United Arab Emirates on BBC World News

5 November 2012

Rori Donaghy discusses ongoing human rights abuse in the UAE on BBC World News.

By Solomon Hughes in Britain:

How a Tory ex-foreign minister is sheikhing it up with new despot pal

Friday 3rd July 2015

SOLOMON HUGHES casts a hawkish eye over Falcon and Associates, a lobby group for Dubai’s violent, repressive regime

FORMER Foreign Office minister Hugh Robertson resigned from that post in 2014 and promptly stepped into a new job doing PR for a repressive Middle Eastern government.

Robertson, who was responsible for the Middle East and counterterrorism in his ministerial post, also stood down as MP for Faversham at May’s general election.

He is now head of the London office and director of international relations for “Falcon and Associates.”

Falcon was established by the Emir of Dubai to run Dubai’s abortive bid for the 2020 Olympics — Robertson was also Olympics minister in 2010.

Falcon now acts as a general PR and business promotion officer for Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates. Falcon and Associates “works to positively influence the conversation about Dubai and the UAE as a place of opportunity for business, culture and lifestyle.”

This is how the conversation should really go: Dubai is an absolute monarchy with no democratic rights and a bad reputation for abusing foreign workers who build and service the city state. In May, just as Robertson’s appointment was announced, Amnesty International’s human rights expert tried to address a conference on mistreatment of workers in Dubai, but the sheikh’s police put him on a flight straight back out of the country, without explanation.

So just as a former British government minister is taking a job with the sheikhdom, a human rights advocate is being kicked out of the country.

The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba), which regulates the “revolving door” between government and business, approved Robertson’s new job. They noted “the UK government overtly supported Dubai’s bid for Expo 2020 — a bid that Falcon and Associates was at the core of,” but said that Robertson was not personally involved in that support, so this was no problem.

Falcon and Associates reflects the archaic politics of Dubai — even the title sounds like a cross between a management consultancy and an episode of Game of Thrones. Falcon is a family affair. The top directors include John Ferguson, who is also the Emir of Dubai’s “bloodstock adviser” — his expert on buying racehorses — and Ahmad Abdullah Al Sheikh, the “media escort of His Highness the Ruler of Dubai.”

Another top Falcon director, Giselle Pettyfer, was previously head of “comms” for the International Olympic Committee.

While Dubai gave up on a 2020 Olympic bid, the Sheikhdom’s Olympic ambitions might still be in play.

The letter from Acoba says Robertson’s new job “will involve heading the London office, with frequent travel to Dubai. You will have particular responsibility for international relations, with particular emphasis on potential investors; sports and major events strategy, including Expo 2020; and special projects as they arise.”

Robertson’s post-ministerial job shows one of the contradictions of Parliament: Robertson owes his job to democracy. He would not be getting money from the sheikhs without the experience and contacts he developed as a minister in a democratically elected government. But the first place he turned for cash when he left office is a repressive autocracy.

Turning to the sheikhs for cash shows how little this ex-minister feels for the democratic system behind his career.

18 thoughts on “British Conservative-Dubai dictatorship alliance

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