Does our government’s respect for other countries’ choices stretch to allowing them to destroy the planet? Last week, this country hosted a meeting of Brics political parties. It was a reminder of the growing gulf between the values proclaimed by our democracy and those of the parties that govern our Brics allies. The group of leading developing economies has always included countries whose governing parties ban or harass opponents. But two democratic parties that attended the meeting and were in government when this country joined — Brazil’s Workers’ Party and India’s Congress Party — have been replaced by parties less committed to democracy, one of which, the Hindu Nationalist BJP, was also at the meeting. All the other Brics countries are now governed by parties whose values are not those of our constitution. Our government will reply that this is no good reason for changing its attitude to Brics; who Indians and Brazilians elect is their business — Brics’s value to this country ...

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