• Jon Matthews

The Nerve!

I'm not going to pretend I know a huge amount about Russian politics. I have read that the Kremlin is a bit like the Mafia in the way it operates and that lots of Russian politicians have shady links to corporations, cartels and dodgy characters – which doesn't exactly differentiate them from a lot of British politicians.

Some corners of the media have condemned Jeremy Corbyn's refusal to unquestioningly support action against Russia in response to the attack, using a nerve agent, on a Russian ex-spy and his daughter in Salisbury. Theresa May, on the other hand, is keen to wage a war of words with the Kremlin, despite there being many unanswered questions.

Corbyn has repeatedly been on the right side of history when it has come to foreign affairs, whereas Theresa May is widely known to be a supporter of corrupt, human rights abusing regimes around the world (as well as the leader of one). Corbyn is preaching a diplomatic, patient approach and is keen to wait for solid evidence before condemning Russia, a key economic ally.

'The evidence is there,' you may cry. 'The government have told us the nerve agent is probably from Russia.' You may call me a cynic, but just because a government says something doesn't make it so. Do you remember Tony Blair's insistence that Iraq had WMD? It's also highly likely that MI6 or some corner of the British military has some Russian nerve agent locked away in a laboratory somewhere, for research purposes. Investigating scientists have even admitted that it would theoretically be possible to synthesise a chemical and make it appear to have originated elsewhere. I'm not saying that the British military performed the operation, I am reasonably confident they did not. However, it is entirely possible that another nation, organisation or individual has orchestrated this attack. False flag operations are nothing new and were a commonly used tactic during the Cold War. Further investigation must be thoroughly carried out before Britain backs itself into a corner.

These investigations are not just limited to the source of the nerve agent. Investigations are required into the influence of wealthy Russians (and other nationals) on British politics. The Conservative Party receives a lot of investments* from Russian oligarchs, for example. The, potentially illegal, role Cambridge Analytica played in the Brexit referendum also needs examining, as do the financial links key politicians have with private companies who are being sold public assets. This is a very tangled web and the government, for some reason, seems reluctant to start unpicking it.

Theresa May's weak position will not be reinforced by hard action on Russia. It is Corbyn's patience and moderation that is required and, as leader of the opposition, it is his primary duty to hold the government to scrutiny – which is exactly what he is doing. There are many unanswered questions and expelling diplomats and threatening to tear up trade agreements is tantamount to executing the accused before they've stood trial – a habit May has perhaps picked up from her Saudi friends.

*I refuse to use the term donations – businesspeople do not donate, they invest.

Some very interesting thoughts are found here.

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