The vicious war criminal King of Bahrain will be among the guests at the royal wedding. There is a much honoured precedent for how we should deal with him.
After the European pro-democracy revolutions of 1848 were bloodily put down, one of the most vicious aristocratic oppressors, the Austro-Hungarian General Haynau, was visiting London. As he had used the military against unarmed protestors, including women, ordinary London people made plain he was not welcome. He was dragged from his carriage and beaten up in Park St, Southwark.
There is a monument to it. I was taught it at school as something to be proud of, as showing the British people’s disdain of foreign tyrants. But then I didn’t go to the same kind of school as David Cameron and Nick Clegg.
So I intend to form the Haynau contingent, a group of people dedicated to landing one squarely on the nose of the fat absolute monarch when he arrives in the UK for the wedding. I am looking for volunteers to join me. I am going to write to Scotland Yard, the Foreign Office and to the Embassy of Bahrain declaring this intention.
When the Emperor of Austria-Hungary launched a diplomatic protest at the treatment of General Haynau, Palmerston told him where to shove it. From Palmerston to William Hague – was there ever a starker illustration of the decline of a nation?