Searching through the House of Commons website this morning I was stunned to find that 69 members of Parliament (65 Labour, 2 Plaid Cymru, 1 LibDem and George Galloway) have put their names to a motion praising Fidel Castro.
The Early Day Motion, tabled by the habitually unpromoted, Castro-lover Colin Burgon (who, by the way, sits for a marginal seat) pays tribute to Castro's "achievements" in the field of healthcare and education - in the face, obviously, of the "the 44 year illegal US embargo of the Cuban economy" - and "the esteem in which Castro is held by the people and leaders of Africa, Asia and Latin America for leading the calls for emancipation of the world's poorest people from slavery, hunger and the denial of human rights".
I won't personally seek to offer any points of clarification on this issue but ask you instead to take a look at Danny Finkelstein's excellent article in the Times this morning for a full appraisal of the malevolence that has characterized the 49-year Castro regime:
"Let's eliminate from our inquiries the idea that Fidel was somehow better than the rest of them, better than Honecker and so forth. Those cigars, those battle fatigues, that beard. Kinda cool, no? No. Death sentences for those who want to flee, prison sentences for dissidents, gags for the press, jail for homosexuals, ruinous central planning for the economy, his support for a nuclear first strike against America, his opposition to any kind of reform, his four-hour long speeches, his personality cult. Fidel Castro was just like the rest of them"
I will never understand how any British Member of Parliament feels able to voice their support for such a cruel and undemocratic regime.
The full, grubby little list of signatories can be found below...
Labour: Diane Abbott, David Anderson, John Austin, John Battle, Anne Begg, Colin Burgon, Richard Caborn, Ronnie Campbell, Martin Caton, Colin Challen, Michael Clapham, Katy Clark, Harry Cohen, Frank Cook, Jeremy Corbyn, David Crausby, Ann Cryer, Ian Davidson, Dai Davies, Janet Dean, Jim Devine, Andrew Dismore, Jim Dobbin, David Drew, Clive Efford, Bill Etherington, Paul Flynn, Hywel Francis, Ian Gibson, John Grodan, David Hamilton, Fabian Hamilton, Dai Havard, David Heyes, Jimmy Hood, Kevin Hopkins, Lindsay Hoyle, Joan Humble, Brian Iddon, Lynne Jones, Peter Kilfoyle, David Lepper, Andrew Mackinlay, John McDonnell, Austin Mitchell, George Mudie, Eddie O'Hara, Albert Owen, Gordon Prentice, Ken Purchase, Linda Riordan, Virendra Sharma, Jim Sheridan, Alan Simpson, Marsha Singh, Dennis Skinner, Dari Taylor, David Taylor, John Trickett, Desmond Turner, Mike Wood.
Liberal Democrats: Paul Holmes.
Plaid Cymru: Elfyn Llwyd, Adam Price.
Respect: George Galloway.