David Cameron Should Speak Frankly About Britain's Own Terrorists

Since David Cameron is setting a fashion for being blunt, let's join in. He got his tour this week to Turkey and India wrong. In advance, everyone was promised that British foreign policy would now be politically and financially realistic. It would eschew Blairite ambitions to put the world to rights. It would strengthen bilateral relations and boost trade. Diplomats would no longer be valued for their thoughtful telegrams about the situation in Ruritania, but by their ability to get out and sell British goods and services. We must cut our coat according to our cloth, was the message – and then flog the coat abroad.And so it was that a huge party of ministers and businessmen accompanied the Prime Minister to the sub-continent, talking about contracts, green initiatives and universities. But, by Wednesday, things were not going quite right. I was struck by a juxtaposition of stories in this newspaper. One carried the headline: "Gaza is like a prison camp, says PM." Next door, was a report in which Mr Cameron proclaimed that he was approaching India with "humility". Although the Gaza remarks were made in Turkey, not India, the stories did not sit happily together. Was Mr Cameron being blunt or humble? It's hard to be both at once. When he actually reached India, he did not lower the temperature. Speaking in Bangalore, he said that "we cannot tolerate the idea that this country [Pakistan] is allowed to look both ways and is able… to promote the export of terror". The new Foreign Secretary, William Hague, tactfully explained that the Prime Minister "wasn't accusing anyone of double-dealing". But anyone not trained as a politician or diplomat could see that he was. Faced with protests, Mr Cameron decided to defend himself. He was simply an honest man abroad, was the line. The British people, he said, did not expect him "to go around the world telling people what they wanted to hear".