GORDON Brown may have received a lukewarm reception from the trade union fraternity at Brighton yesterday but it is certain that many citizens of Zimbabwe will have silently applauded when the news got around that Britain is threatening to boycott the proposed summit meeting of African and European leaders in December if President Mugabe is invited. The summit is being organised by the Portuguese government which holds the presidency of the European Union until the end of the year. A similar meeting was planned in 2003 but did not take place because of problems over Mr Mugabe's attendance and since then his leadership of his benighted nation has only got worse. The Portuguese are said to be trying to find a formula for saving the summit but no compromise should be acceptable, even if the cost is to abandon the meeting. Mr Mugabe's fellow African leaders appear to find his presence at their own meetings quite acceptable despite the reign of terror he has installed in his country and the economic collapse he has presided over. Even if there were anything in Mugabe's argument (and, regrettably, South Africa's President Mbeki's also) that Britain is to blame for Zimbabwe's economic problems, it would not justify the repression and violence he has used to silence his critics. Robert Mugabe is a despot of the worst order and should be persona non grata at any meeting of nations committed to democracy, the rule of law and individual freedom.