It is disgraceful that the Labour government, with Conservative acquiescence, is parading the Saudi monarch around on a state visit. The Saudi regime is a corrupt, misogynistic, fanatical dictatorship. There is no freedom of thought or conscience or religion. It's monarch should have no place here. I applaud Vince cable's boycotting of the whole event.
To be a woman in Saudi Arabia is to live under the boot of one of the most oppressive systems on earth. Women are denied even their basic humanity. They have no rights. They cannot go out alone in public, they cannot drive, they cannot learn. They are caged like birds and savagely beaten if they object. Saudi Arabia's preachers encourage this, and it's state condones it- though they are not separate but are the same thing.
This is a state which has even raped and tortured British citizens. It has made no apology and no restitution, yet because they have oil we allow them to mock justice and cravenly play to their every whim, as in the BAE corruption enquiry. That is not an ally, it is an exploiter.
Saudi Arabia is a medeival state that tolerates only one culture, one ruler and one religion. It shares no value or goal with multi-cultural, pluralist Britain.
Finally, we need to realise that when you shake the hand of them all. By meeting like this with King Abdullah, Gordon Brown has lost any moral authority he has in dealings with Zimbabwe or Sudan.
This state visit makes fools of us all.