THE following quote by Vladimir Lenin, no stranger to totalitarian dictatorship and human rights abuses himself, aptly sums up our UK Government’s attitude to the visit by Mohammed Bin Salman, acknowledged leader of Saudi Arabia: “There are no morals in politics ... a scoundrel may be of use because he is a scoundrel.”

Though Theresa May claims she will raise the issue of human rights with the Crown Prince, the reality is that she will only pay lip-service to this issue to placate opposition to the visit in her party as well as nationally and internationally (“Labour says May has blood on her hands over Yemen war”, The Herald, March 8).

The Crown Prince seeks increased international support for his internal domestic economic reforms and, though a scoundrel, we will oblige through increased economic ties and tacit approval of the many and varied human rights abuses his country is party to.

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It is depressing yet predictable that our Government should steadfastly roll out what the BBC describes as “the reddest of red carpets” for a ruler who continues to preside over an autocratic state that accords little or no dignity to human life domestically and beyond.

The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has been largely held responsible by Amnesty International and other human rights groups for a humanitarian catastrophe, with the use of cluster bombs on civilian populated areas and the targeting of schools and hospitals.

In addition, the naval blockade of Yemen has left 20 million people in urgent need of food, water and medical aid since the inception of “Operation Decisive Storm” in 2015. Despite this evidence of an alarming disregard for human life on an industrial scale, the UK Government will persist in placing economic motives above those of human dignity and basic rights.

Our arms exports to Saudi Arabia, in terms of weapons and expertise, by far outnumber such exports to any other country, perpetuating the conflict and human misery in Yemen and making us complicit in its human tragedy.

Germany has suspended arms sales to Saudi and its coalition partners, a principled if pragmatic stance determined, it would appear, on humanitarian grounds.

Yet we are eager to befriend this scoundrel and his country, a sign of our increasing desperation and apprehension regarding the effects of Brexit, perhaps, but nonetheless morally bankrupt.

The Crown Prince has been lauded by some political commentators who should know better as a reformer and an agent of change for good.

Yet human rights abuses have increased during his nine months as ruler.

No doubt our prime minister and her Government will follow the example of so many previous administrations in becoming somewhat ambivalent where human rights abuses are concerned if a large blank cheque is held over their eyes.

Owen Kelly,

8 Dunvegan Drive,