That Azerbaijan and its thoroughly nasty President, Ilham Aliyev, might epitomise the petro-economy is perhaps understandable. After all, the hydrocarbon-rich state is awash with cash, and the regime is keen to use it to further its own ends.
Hence the vociferous wooing of international business and the employment of western PR agencies to buff up an image tarnished by repression and human rights abuses. What is neither understandable nor forgivable, however, is Prince Andrew's apparent desire to help. First it was the multiple visits to the country, as Britain's trade envoy, and the "close friendship" with Aliyev. Now it appears that the fourth in line to the throne has conferred with Britain's ambassador to Azerbaijan at Buckingham Palace. Such favouritism would be unacceptable in any circumstances. When the cause is Azerbaijan, it is shameful as well.