Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Most but by no means all the people who are engaged, enraged or passionate about politics and perhaps journalism (at least at the editorial level), can be said are defined or shaped by the past, whether trying to right wrongs or injustices (perceived or real) or shaped by past events. This may well never have been so true than at the moment, as the east is no longer red, at least not since 1989 -1991, despite the old fashioned newspaper and media headlines. 

The east was never that Red
Russia, is an autocratic authoritarian state with nominally and questionably privatised state industries, it is no longer communist or even vaguely left wing (not that Soviet style communism was ever that left wing or particularly that communist especially during its most murderous tyrannical phase). Not that you would be able to tell this from the headlines in the tabloids and broadsheets - who are happily talking up a verbal spat between the UK and Russia and painting the east as red.

There are two issues here; the attempted murders in Salisbury and (a possible) murder in London (as yet by persons unknown or at least as yet unidentifiable) which are currently being investigated by the police and other agencies. That investigation should not be hindered by hysterical headlines and ramped up political point scoring rhetoric from Westminster. Leave the police to get on with the investigation, to develop and follow their leads to their conclusions unhindered by a Westminster lead media hysteria. 

The verbal spat with Russia, is something that suits politicians in both the UK and Russia. The motivation for attempted murders in Salisbury and the murder in London remain as yet unproven, although it is probably more than possible that elements of the Russian security service are involved but not necessarily a certainty at present. This public spat with Russia has looked for and has been talked up by the Conservative Westminster government for some months. 

While the latest incidents in Salisbury and London are well beyond the pale, this quarrel suits the current government, particularly as it will not move beyond a largely verbal spat, diplomatic expulsions and some boycotts. It has successfully and understandably dominated the headlines and helps to distract from more shambolic Brexit related domestic issues. 

The sudden discovery that Russia has an authoritarian government, is a little late - the annexation of Georgian territory, an organised land grab in the Crimea and eastern Ukraine have all taken place in recent years with barely an organised coherent response from the West.  What little response there has been has been modified by the deployment of significant soft power by Russia, particularly in France and a Germany but also quite possibly here in these islands. 

Whats is also being overlooked during the current media storm is that successive recent UK Westminster governments (New Labour, Con-Dem and Conservative (weak and wobbly) have all consistently failed to develop the UK’s energy independence. There is no strategy to  ensure that there is a long term energy strategy that develops the technologies necessary to curb the dependence on imported energy supplies from unstable or potentially hostile regions of the globe. 

They have also failed to deal with the consequences short and long term of questionable money laundering activities of the city of London and the impact of ‘Russian’ capital on the political system. Questions have been periodically asked over the years about the relationship between significant donors and the Labour and Conservative parties and about any political impact of any donations on policy and policy positions. 

Money laundering does not bring much by way of political or financial capital to the UK's financial system, once laundered the money moves on.  Many oligarchs live outside of the UK and pay pretty minimal taxation within the UK and they remain commercially and culturally tied to Russia.  Regardless as to how the spat with Russia plays out, one thing is pretty certain, Westminster will not do is investigate just exactly where the money comes from.  

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