Wednesday, 2 February 2022

Putin's not-so-secret weapons

The initial reaction of many to the announcement yesterday that the UK Government is giving Ukraine £88 million to, amongst other things, deal with corruption would surely have been laughter. But actually, it makes a lot of sense – the current UK government has, after all, become a world leader in the field of corruption. I can entirely understand how mere amateurs like those running Ukraine would be keen to benefit from the UK experience of being corrupt and getting away with it. Although the lessons might look on the expensive side, once they learn how to set up the right processes to funnel the training contracts to friends and donors at inflated prices, they will soon discover that the sum being given is nowhere near enough. As to how the UK will find this money – well, there are surely enough Russian billionaires in London willing to pay for a seat in the Lords.

That brings us to the first of Putin’s secret weapons when it comes to dealing with the UK’s threats. Those demanding sanctions against those Russian oligarchs who are bankrolling Putin are missing the point: the Tories have already been going after those same oligarchs for decades, usually in pursuit of political donations. What Putin knows is that any sanctions against the crooked oligarchs who maintain him in power will hurt the UK’s financial markets (and probably the Conservative Party’s coffers) more than they will hurt him. What the rest of the world refers to as laundering of dirty Russian money is actually, to the UK government, taking advantage of the Brexit bonus of not following the same rules as the rest of the world.

And his second secret weapon is that, apparently unbeknownst to Johnson and his cabal, there are people in Moscow whose English is good enough to read and understand the UK’s media output. And they therefore know that not only is Johnson a lame duck but also that nothing he says can be taken seriously, since it is almost certainly untrue. This one is more than a little dangerous, however, for the rest of Europe. Even if Johnson, in his delusional belief that he is leading for the whole of Europe on the issue, manages to hold a conversation with Putin without insulting him (there’s a first time for everything, but it seems unlikely), when he says that an invasion will be a complete disaster for Russia, does he really mean that it will be a huge success? (And can our friends have some of the reconstruction contracts after the event?)

Those arguing that we should forget all about the rule-breaking at Downing Street so that the PM can concentrate on the supposed threat from Russia are completely missing the point. There are few, if any, situations that the PM cannot make worse with effortless ease. Distracting him from foreign policy is exactly what the rest of the world needs the UK to do if it wants to maintain the peace in Europe. It’s our duty.


Anonymous said...

And just who would you prefer to replace the current incumbent? And what would you expect to see change?


John Dixon said...

As regular readers will be well aware, my preference for what happens next is for Wales to opt out of an increasingly dysfunctional Westminster system, the dysfunctionality of which is further emphasised with every day that passes. I have no preference for any Tory to take over from the current incumbent, and see no reason to believe that anyone associated with the current government will be any better. It is possible that, deep within the hidden recesses of the Tory party, there is someone with a degree of honesty and integrity, but I have no hard evidence to back that up.

James said...

Consider running for office yourself. You seem intelligent and honest. Start the Truth Party of Cymru/Wales and offer up the same Party name to someone to found a Truth Party of the Wild East (it's quite near Westminster). A non-aggression pact should be the first order of business between the like-named Parties.