UK bolstering Brunei’s regressive regime
Sir, – Much has been made of Brunei’s new death penalty laws for gay sex and adultery and the subsequent call by celebrities such as George Clooney and Elton John to boycott nine luxury hotels owned by the sultan of Brunei.
Not much attention has been paid to the fact that one of the few reasons why Brunei exists as a nation in the first place and is able to enact such regressive laws is because the British army maintains a permanent garrison there.
This garrison, which consists of an infantry battalion of the Royal Gurkha Rifles along with a jungle warfare training school and a detachment of Army Air Corps helicopters, has existed since 1963 and has enabled the sultan of Brunei to survive crises involving both internal and external enemies in the form of the Brunei revolt and the Indonesian-Malaysian confrontation.
Of course, we all know that the real reason why troops have been based there so long is because of the sultanate’s enormous oil reserves. Instead of celebrities addressing their ire at hotels such as the Dorchester on Park Lane and others, perhaps Number 10 Downing Street and the British ministry of defence in Whitehall would be more appropriate venues for everyone’s outrage? – Yours, etc,