A few years ago, when the tyrant of Zimbabwe was moving from being wicked to being downright evil, I wrote that we should invade Harare, depose him, and supervise free elections. Invited to appear on a BBC programme to defend this stance, I was assailed by an “Africa expert” who told me that diplomatic pressure on Mugabe was bound to work, that the idea of sending the Parachute Regiment in to sort the monster out was offensively colonialist, and that I was wrong.
White liberals like him are as much to blame for the terror, starvation, brutality and genocide that now scar this once-rich and stable country. The supposedly civilised world has allowed Mugabe and his horrors to happen, mainly unchecked. Sanctions on his country merely starve those who disagree with him. Zimbabwe has all the natural, and had all the human, resources to be an example to the rest of Africa. It is now merely a symbol of what happens when a dictator takes charge, and those who might rein him in simply look away.
So it is infuriating to hear some Leftists and liberals saying, through the teeth of their post-imperial guilt, that perhaps an armed intervention is the only way to rid the world of this brute. Had this been done years ago, when they took the opposite view, how many lives might have been saved? How many productive people, black and white, would have felt able to stay in Zimbabwe, rather than flee with their talents abroad? Would it still be a country with a life expectancy in the low thirties, something not heard of in Europe since the early Middle Ages? How proud does the Left, with its stupidly romantic notions of the inviolate nature of “black freedom fighters”, feel about what it has so ably helped Mugabe achieve?
Yet the gutlessness of our Foreign Office continues. The disastrous Lord Malloch-Brown, who is to international diplomacy what a lamp post is to a dog, said this week that it would be wrong for “the mangy old British lion” to strip Mugabe of his honorary knighthood. Let us ignore for the moment the question of whether a Foreign Office minister should insult his country so, another sign that this oaf is unfit for office. Four days later the knighthood did indeed go, on a recommendation from David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, to the Queen. Mr Miliband had said just two weeks earlier that removing the knighthood was not a good idea. And the Tories are no better. This week they ordered the suspension of a prospective parliamentary candidate who made the blindingly obvious observation that the late Ian Smith was better than Mugabe. It is time these people grew up.