Boris Johnson the Foreign Secretary gave a speech and said he was for freedom of press, freedom of suffragettes, all sorts of freedoms but no freedom of movement of people. He addressed the Ambassadors saying Britain imports everything, we are an importing nation, from Germany we import more BMW’s than any other country, on leather imports he joked that our Prime Minister even wears Lederhosen.
This FCO Reception is always one of the best with an eclectic atmosphere of discussions on current foreign affairs among the guests which include Ambassadors, Peers, Top Journalists, Faith Leaders and other key people.
On Brexit I spoke to Lord Lamont who had told me before the EU Referendum that he was a Brexiteer – when I was a Remainer – to now follow up whether he is for hard or soft Brexit. Well he was for hard Brexit but he was soft on education and science. Brexit work has to be initially worked upon by sectors as David Davis seems to be embarking upon. We agreed that the European Court of Justice over-ruling our parliament and British courts is clearly unacceptable.
Interestingly the Iraqi Ambassador, when I raised the question of security there, said to me whilst the media reports only on bombings the security situation there is far better now that ordinary people are beginning to enjoy a more secure future, under the freedoms that democracy has brought.
Among faith leaders whilst we all welcomed the definition on Anti-Semitism, the Integration report by Dame Casey some of the faith leaders thought brought nothing new, but let’s hope it will help Government Ministers understand integration more as a two way process. On values the British Hindu values go beyond tolerance to actually respecting others beliefs and none, so long as they do not harm us. We appreciate the spirituality in every religion and bow to the divinity in each soul – Namaste.
A Merry Christmas to all.
Anil Bhanot OBE
Director of Interfaith Relations
Hindu Council UK