The David Cameron and the Prince Charles Show – all in 48hours
The show is over and I am not one for sour grapes, as I was not invited to the opening ceremony which was shocking as far as the number of empty seats were concerned, about 400, but it was a made for TV tamasha, that would have excited our local audience who now expect a spectacular show. Except for excerpts, Overseas TV would not have shown its entirety anywhere, defeating the purpose. However do remember it would be shown in its entirety at least once a month on local TV. Already it has been telecast three times, and CHOGM only ended yesterday.
In the end the overseas media only concentrated on the David and Mahinda show with a few tidbits of Charles and Camilla. In that sense both Cameron and Rajapakse allowed it to lose its significance to a degree, that Kamlesh Sharma the ineffective Secretary General, was despairing hoping to focus on the theme.
I believe Cameron outfoxed Rajapakse, whilst Manmohan Singh and Harper were irrelevant as they did not come, and therefore harmless. Cameron did more damage, willfully or vengefully I don’t know, by his presence and feisty Eton College demeanor all too familiar with Old Etonians. The Government of Sri Lanka was caught flat footed, by a Prime Minister of Britain eager to show that they do not like the attitude that SL puts out about its Colonial master.
We should have gauged this attitude before he arrived, especially having a UK hand, a UK passport holding High Commissioner in London. He must share some of the blame in NOT informing the SL Govt. that they were in for a shock. The game was beautifully played by the Queen not coming, and Charles being extremely polite and diplomatic as the titular head of the Commonwealth.
The duo played their part to perfection, and if I was MR I would be seething at this affront to my carefully choreographed stage play that was smashed out of the grounds. Charles and David arrived in separate RAF jets. One at 5pm from Kerala to his Westminster House birthday party, and on to President’s House for a Rajapakse family photo op with three sons for their albums!
The other at Midnight from Kolkata, after a Rs30 street food in India, who wished to go straight to bed in time to be ready for the opening session.
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/video/2013/nov/14/david-cameron-kolkata-commonwealth-summit-video He refused the welcome given to all, refused to sign the VIP book at the airport and got into one of the 4 black bullet proof Range Rovers, flown in earlier (not trusting the Benz 400 S class hybrid for fear of it being booby trapped) and sped off to his hotel. William Hague was already in town, as advanced guard to execute the strategy and test the waters. This wrong footed the External Affairs Ministry, as they were unable to plan for contingencies. The President should have been warned that there was something amiss. The other Range Rovers were for Charles, and William Hague and the spare.
Cameron sat through the opening ceremony just for the photo op, not wanting to disappoint his host, and as soon as it was over dashed off to Jaffna to meet with the locals, and we saw the footage of that. He was in a black rolled up shirt and sneakers, and seemed to enjoy the opportunity as the first foreign HOG to go up there, and to have the footage beamed to the English speaking world.
Again outfoxing the regime as it was one of the few refugee camps in the Peninsula and gave a misrepresentation as to size of this particular problem.
Having given audience to the small Diaspora Tamil separatist elements in London before departure, he followed up on his promise to see the situation on the ground. The weeping mothers with photos of the disappeared MUST have been an embarrassment to MR and music to the ears of the Diaspora, focusing on a problem that will not go away unless the Govt. provides a true answer.
Sadly the thousands of other disappeared in the JVP pogroms, have NO outside lobby, and are conveniently forgotten in the land that has the second highest no of disappeared in the world.
To add insult to injury, the resulting Press Conference was only for the UK journalists, who were there in numbers, after all they had the heir to the throne and the PM both in the same city at the same time, and probably chose to come to enjoy the sun from the English winter, with the next stop being Abu Dhabi.
Ironically the brothers Shaikh issue did not make it to the news, as intelligence had informed them that SL Govt was prepared on that one and not on the lack of progress on the LLRC recommendations.
Cameron flew out on Saturday morning to Abu Dhabi after another meeting with MR, and Charles late that day after a round of engagements in Kandy, Nuwera Eliya and visit to the Chris Nonis family tea estate in Labookele, which will help him sell more tea with a Royal visitor as a guest to the plantation! Camilla had a schedule of her own, as well as the Banquet at Lakeside hosted by Charles and Camilla on Friday night for the leaders and spouses.