If Corbyn can't be had for being a Czech spy, then surely the Russian route could be more fertile.
Once more politics is entering another silly season with all the furore surrounding the Salisbury nerve agent and its wider implications – how it will all impact on our own security, on the spread of nerve warfare, on the starting of a new Cold War and how that might play out, on our relationship with Europe (impacting on Brexit no doubt) and, without fail, every nuance of Jeremy Corbyn’s words from the opposition benches and whether or not he’s a traitor to our country by not unequivocally condemning the attack as a certainly Russian. It’s a welcome distraction from the Brexit circus, though arguably not the ‘smokescreen’ that one Question Time viewer suggested.
As ever, there could be a variety of reasons and motivates for this attack and the effects of its timing, immediately pre-Russian election and while the country prepares for the World Cup. With May seemingly keen to rush into another Cold War, the cautionary approach of Jeremy Corbyn would seem to be more balanced and less knee-jerk. Reading his Guardian article yesterday at least restored a sense of rationality whilst all around his circle seems to flounder. This man has been proved right by history before.
The rhetoric says it all. Compare and contrast Corbyn's with what Tory Defence could muster:
"Britain needs to uphold its laws and its values without reservation. And those should be allied to a foreign policy that uses every opportunity to reduce tensions and conflict wherever possible."
"Russia should go away & shut up".
The latter remark - by a UK Defence Secretary non-entity who no one had heard of until a few weeks ago but is now being tipped as a future Tory leader, was described by a friend of mine on a blue social network as “Possibly the funniest "threat" of the day... It's as if Dick Emery has been exhumed and given a job in defence.”
It does feel as if clowntime is just warming up, getting into its stride. Listening to Andrew Neil (This Week, BBC 1) treading a thin line between supposedly humourous parody and political comment was embarrassing and excruciating last night, with multiple attempts to discredit Corbyn again by tying in his history of failing to distance himself from Russia, with Michael Portillo also reinforcing the “enemy of the west” narrative applied to the Labour leader. Similarly Evan Davis on Newsnight earlier in the week. If he can't be had for being a Czech spy, then surely the Russian route could be more fertile, hence the insidious and cynical attempt to Russianise Mr Corbyn in the Newsnight studio backdrop and the denied photoshopping of a two year old photo.
@Ralph Pettingill talks on Campfire this week about the importance of perspective. Without doubt, this political crisis is a classic example of perspective being needed, sage wisdom being required. But then we are reminded who is leading the western world and somehow that reality check immediately becomes surreal, the perspective bent out of shape. Whatever set of circumstances conspired to give us our current political scenario, it’s certainly a gripping, if unnerving roller-coaster ride to watch. We used to watch politics from afar, but now, with the immediacy of social media (and a President who seems hellbent on randomly announcing policy via his twilight Tweets) the ramifications are all too close for comfort.
Which is why wisdom and perspective can't be valued enough.