Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cameron enjoyed "sanctions busting jolly" in Apartheid South Africa

The Independent on Sunday has the story:

David Cameron accepted an all-expenses paid trip to apartheid South Africa while Nelson Mandela was still in prison, an updated biography of the Tory leader reveals today.

The trip by Mr Cameron in 1989, when he was a rising star of the Conservative Research Department, was a chance for him to "see for himself" and was funded by a firm that lobbied against the imposition of sanctions on the apartheid regime.
Critics described it as a "sanctions-busting jolly" that raised questions about the character of the man...

The significant thing about this revelation is that when Cameron met Nelson Mandela in 2006 he said:

The mistakes my party made in the past with respect to relations with the African National Congress and sanctions on South Africa make it all the more important to listen now.
The fact that there is so much to celebrate in the new South Africa is not in spite of Mandela and the ANC; it is because of them – and we Conservatives should say so clearly today.

One might be forgiven for assuming, when one heard this originally, that David Cameron was an innocent in nappies when the Tory party was opposing sanctions and Young Tories were wearing "Hang Mandela" T shirts. However, it is now clear that David Cameron was an enthusiastic supporter of the anti-sanctions policy - bearing in mind he made his trip at a time when civil servants and officials were being advised not to undertake such journies.

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