George Galloway's Fidel Castro Handbook crashes onto my desk - for a small book it's physically very weighty, likely to cause much damage or injury if dropped from a high spot.
It's cleverly and beautifully packaged as a bonsai gift book by MQ Publications, too heavy (literally) as a stocking filler or a loo read, and just too pretty as a socialist billet doux to the Cuban leader: homo-erotic doesn't begin to describe George's love for Fidel and his revolution. But its mirror-effect front cover typography would make it an attractive, free-standing light reflector, casting pretty word patterns upon a cocktail cabinet if positioned beneath a recessed spotlight, or whatever.
Its 400-odd pages (fabulously illustrated by the way) yield no space for coverage of Cuba's less than exemplary human rights record, a fact that implicity causes Mr Galloway no unease whatever. Human Rights Watch reports:
"The Cuban government systematically denies its citizens basic rights to free expression, association, assembly, movement, and a fair trial. It restricts nearly all avenues of political dissent, and uses police warnings, surveillance, short term-detentions, house arrests, travel restrictions, criminal prosecutions, and politically-motivated dismissals from employment as methods of enforcing political conformity."