They’re not being asked by the Conservative Government, of course – that would be too much to ask. They want to rattle the sabre at Russia in the hope that it will make them more popular with the public, while not actually getting us all squashed like bugs if that superpower chooses to retaliate hard.
Some of the rest of us would like to know whether the proper investigation procedures have been followed in Salisbury. Here’s Abnormal Abner:
Is Salisbury the only place in the UK without CCTV.. ?
Why was a Russian embassy official denied access to Skripal’s daughter, her being a Russian citizen?
Why, given the alleged toxicity of the claimed agent, is no one other than the three affected?
— Abnormal Abner (@AbnormalAbner) March 17, 2018
And here’s Mel Melvin:
No pictures of the poisoned pair. Unlike with Litvinenko.
No testimony from medics.
No police taking to us.
No CCTV footage.#Russiagate
— Mel Melvin #PCPEU #NHSLove 🙏 (@melaniekmelvin) March 16, 2018
Theresa May was also heckled by a disability campaigner and regular voice on Twitter, Jessica McCarnun:
Salisbury resident Jessica McCarnun explained that she felt angry that Theresa May had not provided more clarity as to what makes the UK Government so certain it knows who was behind the plot.
On Thursday during the Prime Minister’s visit to the area around The Mill pub Ms McCarnun shouted: “How can you accuse Russia when you have no clear evidence?”
The anti-poverty campaigner told Sky News: “It isn’t good enough – it’s not how we conduct matters in our own courts where you present evidence to the people.”
“We need to know why she is so sure she hasn’t jumped the gun.”
She – and the others – make good points. The Government appears to have decided simply that the Russian government must be responsible for the poisonings and isn’t even bothering to ask the police for a rudimentary criminal investigation.
If a man was poisoned by a foreign power, somebody must have administered it. Who?
Find that person and we will have all the proof we need, one way or the other.
Is that why the Tories aren’t bothering?
Instead, we were treated to the spectacle of Boris Johnson stuttering his way through a highly uncomfortable interview with Andrew Marr.
Unable to provide any proof to support his latest bizarre claim that it is overwhelmingly likely that Vladimir Putin ordered the poisoning of Mr Skripal and his daughter, Mr Johnson instead claimed that the Tories had evidence to show Russia had been creating and stockpiling Novichok nerve agents for the past 10 years.
It’s easy to say a thing when you don’t have to provide that proof, though, isn’t it?
BREAK – UK has evidence gathered within past 10 years that Russia has been gathering & stockpiling the deadly nerve agent #novichok, @BorisJohnson says. This suggests a desire for using chemical weapons in military forces, not just as a tool of assassination. Clear CWC violation
— Deborah Haynes (@haynesdeborah) March 18, 2018
She later clarified: “Creating, not gathering.”
Innocent till PROVEN guilty. Now May wants Putin to prove he is innocent. Anti democratic. Comparing with blood baths from austerity and wars UK involvement, Putin is a saint..
— MJ Furst #FBPE #NHSlove (@furstc2) March 18, 2018
It's also in complete contrast to what the OPCW have independently verified. You know, the OPCW – the independent organisation who will be carrying out the testing of the Salisbury nerve agent sample, whom Boris Johnson just said were extremely "reliable"https://t.co/BmWJHNvBME https://t.co/t9HlR7B3qW
— Evolve Politics (@evolvepolitics) March 18, 2018
in other words May has not got a clue what the toxins are, where they came from, who smuggled them, let alone who authorised their use, whilst we have an internation situation going on… total utter madness, Corbyn was correct. https://t.co/an86PsGAr6
— Isobel #PCPEU (@Isobel_waby) March 17, 2018
Mr Johnson went on to say the OPCW was “reliable”.
It says one thing; he says another – and it is “reliable”. Contradictory, much?
Moving on, Mr Johnson said he had no quarrel with the people of Russia…
This is a government with no scruples or conscience. Dirty money is dirty money and those who handle it are culpable. #Marr
— Nick (@Mylegalforum) March 18, 2018
£160,000 paid by a Russian oligarch for his wife to play a game of tennis with Boris Johnson.
Now more money paid to have dinner with Gavin Williamson.
What a delightful govt we have.
Good on #marr to question this.
— Dr Lauren Gavaghan *Standing for BMA Council* (@DancingTheMind) March 18, 2018
Yes indeed. Owen Jones had already raised the issue of dirty Tory money, earlier in the Marr show:
— benfolley (@benfolley) March 18, 2018
But here’s a good point:
NOTE to #marr
Are you going to ask why the PM defied convention & did not include HM Leader of the Opposition or his Chief of Staff in high level security briefing,#Salisbury
The Times carried the story.
— Clare Hepworth OBE (@Hepworthclare) March 18, 2018
No he did not!
Meanwhile, in the Tory corner, it seemed MPs had been told to go out and insult Jeremy Corbyn in whatever hysterical ways they could – leading to this idiocy from Nick Boles…
I don't understand why people on the left are suddenly angry about suggestions that @jeremycorbyn has long-standing sympathies for Russia and the Soviet Union. He's not exactly made a secret of it all these years.
— Nick Boles MP (@NickBoles) March 17, 2018
Btw this is absolutely brain dead by @NickBoles. @jeremycorbyn comes from a socialist tradition (that of John Saville, E.P Thompson etc) which was founded on criticism of & distancing from the Soviet Union. Pretty basic stuff. @WinColl, is it too late for Nick get his money back? https://t.co/HarL8Ba5AL
— Ben Sellers (@MrBenSellers) March 17, 2018
This is simply, factually incorrect. It’s the sort of thing that a Tory MP might assume must be true because, well, it must be, but Corbyn was formed by the New Left critique of Stalinism. https://t.co/6VZGgMYTqi
— Richard Seymour (@leninology) March 17, 2018
…and this from Nadine Dorries:
Corbyn’s pedestal begins topple Expect theoutrage to get worse People were prepared to give benefit of the doubt to his murderous IRA Venezuela Nicaragua Cuba Marxism loving rhetoric but Russia, Putin, that’s tipped the scales that have fallen from peoples eyes https://t.co/MYqBSZKF9n
— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) March 17, 2018
I know it's Saturday night but put the cork back in Nadine. You're going to have a bad head in the morning. https://t.co/WyKgjIgutl
— Susan (@marthasydenham) March 18, 2018
Maybe it’s time for a recap of why, on the Russian question, people trust Labour more than the Conservatives. Here’s Tom London:
Party leader who has the strongest links with Putin’s nasty regime is May
May’s party has accepted £millions from Putin associates in donations
Corbyn’s party has accepted nothing from Putin associates in donations
May tried to block Litvinenko enquiry – Labour opposed her
— Tom London (@TomLondon6) March 18, 2018
Of course, on the social media, the Tories are taking their usual drubbing. The following are just a handful of the infographics doing the rounds:
says it all !!! pic.twitter.com/3EnysrUang
— ron (@foxglove53) March 18, 2018
— Gracie Stable-Genius #PCPEU (@GracieSamuels) March 18, 2018
— UnityNewsUK (@UnityNewsUK) March 18, 2018
— Gary Barker 🇮🇪 🇪🇺 🇬🇧 (@Barkercartoons) March 18, 2018
How could all this be summed up for the best? Like this, perhaps:
— The Agitator (@UKDemockery) March 18, 2018
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