DOMINIC Raab has finally made an attempt to beef up his initial muted response to the situation in Hong Kong and the laws China proposes to enact there, yet ducks a full-fronted UK response. He has now clarified the “offer of a path to citizenship in the UK for the 300,000 British National (Overseas) passport holders and their dependents”.

His caveat that there is a realistic limit to the numbers the UK could “credibly and responsibly absorb”, is also an admission of backtracking. It begs the question whether causing limited emigration from the former UK territory is going to solve the problem.

That is a cop-out, as it tacitly admits defeat at the outset for his other suggestion to propose an “international alliance of democracies” to support Hong Kong. This, coming from a government which tacitly cooperates with and deflects criticism against a “democratic” human-rights promoting Saudi Arabia, is rather hollow.

READ MORE: Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh: Here's why only certain lives matter to Donald Trump and Boris Johnson

He also tells untruths. “We have a proud tradition for standing up as a haven for those fleeing persecution”.

When the UK ruled Hong Kong it did so as an imperial power. It also “returned” those who fled from mainland China back to mainland China if they were apprehended. Hong Kong was never autonomous under the British!

While he also wants to continue to “cooperate with China” on issues such as trade and climate change, one must doubt the sternness of his megaphone squeak on the crisis. With Brexit on the horizon, it seems he cannot be very assertive in his words, as China is a major economic power.

It seems the Foreign Secretary is unwilling or not up to arranging to make direct unilateral contact with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing, which would at least reinforce the “joint” responsibility both countries have for Hong Kong’.

Finally, he also accused Beijing of “intimidating” in building a pro-China global alliance, yet that is what he himself proposes to do implying that China has no right to aim for a pro-China global alliance!

Strange mindset. All countries aim for alliances, how naughty of the Chinese to do that!

Dominic Raab gives the impression that he is still learning on the job. It seems the PM is silent publicly on this issue, and more intent on saving Dominic Cummings than engaging with the crisis.

It is noticeable that Raab did make an allusion to China “crossing the Rubicon”, a classical reference to Caesar’s step as he led his army to Rome. Did the PM make this his only contribution on the matter.

The sun has indeed set on the former Great Britain.

John Edgar