LETTER:Saudi tie

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IAN JACK'S notebook on the deportation of the Saudi opposition leader Mohammed al- Masari was uncharacteristically simplistic ("Who'd tell a Vickers worker he was losing his job over Mr al-Masari?", 7 January). It is true that al-Masari is an Islamist; a claim also made by the medieval autocracy that is the House of Saud. But there are differences between them.

Mr al-Masari stands for an accountable government elected by universal franchise, an end to corruption, the removal of foreign forces from the country, free trade unions, free speech, a free press, freedom of assembly and an independent judiciary.

The Saudi royal dictatorship does not.

Ian Jack underestimates the British working class if he thinks they cannot see that, like Vicker's dependency upon the late Shah of Persia, our economy's dependency on arms in general and the almost bankrupt, highly unstable Saudi regime in particular is pregnant with disaster.

George Galloway MP

London SW1