Our dear Saudi friends

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We are sending our Governor-General to Saudi Arabia to attend a ceremony of condolences for the late King Abdullah.

This is a nation where women have few rights, and where anyone who criticises the regime or religious authorities can expect to be tortured or killed.

Saudi Arabia beheaded almost two people a week in 2014, for offences that included such disgusting things as sorcery, witchcraft and tweeting about Islam.  Any woman who gets behind the wheel of a car in this conservative kingdom can expect to be jailed, or worse. And any man foolish enough to offer even moderate criticism of the regime or its religious authorities (I say man, because no woman would even dare to open her mouth in that country) is likely to find himself being flogged. Blogger Raif Badawi was recently sentenced to a thousand lashes and ten years imprisonment after he criticized clerics on his site.

Saudi Arabia is a valuable ally in the war against the Islamic religious extremists who have for so long been both inspired and funded by Saudi Arabia. We need Saudi help in this fight, because without Saudi Arabia there would have been no fight in the first place.

Our Saudi allies can also be a shining example to others in the region. Look at what they have achieved and how much they have built, out of almost nothing. Let us hope that our enemies in ISIS take a good hard look at how Saudi Arabia has managed to prosper, despite the nastiness and brutality of its rulers. There is plenty of room in the Middle East for another savagely repressive regime fuelled by religious intolerance and an utter contempt for basic human rights.

You can murder, butcher and torture all you like in the Middle East so long as you don’t kill Westerners. The Saudis learned this long ago. Let us hope that ISIS heeds this message and concentrates its efforts on killing only Muslims, so that we can be friends with them and buy their oil.