Jeremy Corbyn.

How nice of Jeremy Corbyn’s critics to admit he was right to demand evidence-based decision-making, before doing exactly as he suggested in Parliament with regard to the nerve agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, in Salisbury. Oh, wait…

They didn’t, did they?

Still, they carried out his wishes, and that’s a useful step, if the UK is to regain any credibility after the ham-fisted way the Tories have handled this international incident.

Remember when Mr Corbyn spoke in Parliament on Wednesday, in response to Theresa May’s rather hysterical speech attacking Russia? He said:

When it comes to the use of chemical weapons on British soil, it is essential that the Government work with the United Nations to strengthen its chemical weapons monitoring system and involve the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.​

We should urge our international allies to join us in calling on Russia to reveal without delay full details of its chemical weapons programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Our response must be decisive, proportionate and based on clear evidence.

Considering the frankly unreasonable attitude of Mrs May and her government in this matter, it seems likely that the representatives of France, Germany and the United States were responsible for the wording of the joint statement that was published shortly after. It echoed Mr Corbyn’s sentiments rather than those of Mrs May:

The United Kingdom briefed thoroughly its allies that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the attack.

We call on Russia to address all questions related to the attack in Salisbury. Russia should in particular provide full and complete disclosure of the Novichok programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

We call on Russia to live up to its responsibilities as a member of the UN Security Council to uphold international peace and security.

One part of the statement that was of great interest to… some of us… was the line that the nerve agent used in the attack was “of a type developed by Russia”.

Craig Murray makes a fascinating revelation here:

I have now received confirmation from a well placed FCO source that Porton Down scientists are not able to identify the nerve gas as being of Russian manufacture, and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so. Porton Down would only sign up to the formulation “of a type developed by Russia” after a rather difficult meeting where this was agreed as a compromise formulation. The Russians were allegedly researching, in the “Novichok” programme a generation of nerve agents which could be produced from commercially available precursors such as insecticides and fertilisers. This substance is a “novichok” in that sense. It is of that type. Just as I am typing on a laptop of a type developed by the United States, though this one was made in China.

To anybody with a Whitehall background this has been obvious for several days. The government has never said the nerve agent was made in Russia, or that it can only be made in Russia. The exact formulation “of a type developed by Russia” was used by Theresa May in parliament, used by the UK at the UN Security Council, used by Boris Johnson on the BBC yesterday and, most tellingly of all, “of a type developed by Russia” is the precise phrase used in the joint communique issued by the UK, USA, France and Germany yesterday:

This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War.

When the same extremely careful phrasing is never deviated from, you know it is the result of a very delicate Whitehall compromise.

Porton Down is still not certain it is the Russians who have apparently synthesised a “Novichok”. Hence “Of a type developed by Russia”. Note developed, not made, produced or manufactured.

So Mr Corbyn was right to say what he did, and it had the right effect.

Result: Vilification – most notably from the usual suspects on the Labour benches: Stephen Kinnock, Chris Leslie and the others. Curiously enough, they all signed an Early Day Motion to say they unequivocally accepted Theresa May’s hysterical demand that the Russian government must be guilty.

Apart from two Liberal Democrats, they were the only ones who signed it:

So much for Mr Corbyn’s detractors in the Labour Party. They sought to isolate him, but ended up isolated themselves.

Still, they – and the Tories with whom they sided – have friends in the media. Look at the backdrop to the discussion on Mr Corbyn’s behaviour on the BBC’s Newsnight:

The BBC’s less-than-balanced coverage was a mockery – and we all knew:

More support for the anti-Corbyn brigade came from the right-wing press (of course). So much for journalistic impartiality…

And did they persuade anybody who wasn’t desperate to believe Mr Corbyn was a double-agent for the Russians in the first place?

Not a bit of it!

Here’s Owen Jones, laying out some of the facts about Mr Corbyn’s attitude to the Russian government:

Those words are borne out by the words of Mr Corbyn and the actions of the Labour Party:

There is a logical progression to this, of course. With so many people trying so hard to make Mr Corbyn look like a villain, it wasn’t long before some of us started questioning whether they were trying to distract us from the decisions of certain other people:

Yes indeed.

There is only one conclusion to be reached:


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