Thursday 21 April 2022

What if they cease to be useful?


During his visit to Ukraine to meet with President Zelensky last week, Johnson was fulsome in his expression of support for the right of Ukraine to choose to exist as a free and sovereign nation, and pledged to do everything he could to ensure that happens. Some people might remember him saying something very similar to Nicola Sturgeon the last time he visited Scotland. Oh, wait…

It isn’t the only discordancy in his treatment of the two different situations; in a whole range of ways, on the substantive issue of Ukraine’s right to existence, his views, and the views of his party, are much closer to those of Putin than Zelensky:

·        Putin believes that the loss of the Russian Empire, or even its revised post WW2 incarnation, was a historic geo-political mistake; Johnson has expressed similar views about the British Empire.

·        Putin seeks to recreate the old Russian Empire – Johnson and his Brexiteers wanted to build Empire 2.0.

·        Putin deeply regrets that Ukraine was allowed to vote for independence in 1992; Johnson deeply regrets that Wales and Scotland were allowed to vote for devolution in 1999.

·        Putin believes that he has the unilateral right to claw back that level of independence; Johnson believes that he has the right to claw back any and all devolved powers.

·        Putin believes that Ukrainians aren’t really a nation at all, just a different type of Russian with an odd accent and a local patois which should be eliminated; Johnson’s views about Wales and Scotland are not exactly dissimilar – they’re really just the same as the English. (When he's not publishing articles calling them 'verminous', that is.)

·        Putin believes that Ukraine has fallen under the sway of evil nationalists who have created the entirely false idea that Ukraine is a separate and distinct nation; Johnson feels much the same about Scotland and Wales (and probably Ireland as well).

·        Putin believes that he is defending Russia by using military force to ensure that Ukraine can never become host to unfriendly forces; some Tories made it clear that England would feel obliged to bomb Scotland in similar circumstances.

·        Putin believed that Russian ‘liberators’ would be welcomed with open arms and banners when they returned Ukrainian territory to the Russian fold; Johnson similarly seems to believe that Scots welcome his determination to not allow them any choice over their future.

·        Putin believes that Ukraine should know its place and do whatever its larger neighbour tells it; Johnson thinks that the same applies to Ireland as well as Scotland and Wales, and some Tories even suggested starving Ireland in order to make them comply with the UK's wishes over Brexit.

·        Both Putin and Johnson and their parties are kept afloat by a huge influx of cash from Russian oligarch cronies, without which they would be struggling.

It’s enough to make me wonder whether he just forgot to write the other article before deciding which side to support. More likely, he just came to the same conclusion as he did over Brexit, which was nothing to do with advantages and disadvantages for the UK, or even with what was right or moral, but with which did the most to promote his own personal interests. There is no moral judgement involved in deciding which side to support, and his history shows that, over time, he betrays or lets down everyone in pursuit of his own self-interest. At the moment, Zelensky and Ukraine are useful as an utterly absurd excuse for not replacing a chancer with a serious and dependable person (always assuming that such a person could still be found in the Johnson-led Tories) at a time of crisis. If he is not removed from office, what happens when their usefulness wanes? Or if he just gets bored?

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