I have nothing new or exciting to say about the situation in Ukraine. I am one of those who still think of it as as “The Ukraine” because that is how it was referred to in my youth – a bit like “The New Forest” – but I take it that since the country declared its independence it is not longer just an area of Russia (Russia’s breadbasket once), and before that, the USSR and that is what the quarrel is about.
The interesting thing to me about this war (for a war it is) is the way in which the conventional news channels have become less relevant despite their efforts to maintain correspondents on site. The news reporter now is the ordinary citizen with his or her mobile phone (and it is noticeable how many “hers” there are as the menfolk are busy doing other things). Also noticeable, and remarkable, and very clever, is the way in which President Zelensky talks directly to the world, but also various members of the Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine). They are better in many ways, as by following them on a social media channel such as “Telegram” you can get the news as it happens. There is much here that our own politicians, Government, Institutions, and local councils could learn if they had the will to do so.
The only other comments I would offer at this stage are, firstly, that Putin’s so called operation to free Ukraine from its “nationalistic oppressors” seems to have degenerated rapidly into a very bad tempered racist extermination programme. Ukrainians – all of them – are bad people precisely because they call themselves Ukrainians. I have read suggestions that Putin may be suffering from an illness or illnesses, but the viciousness and vindictiveness of his current actions are more like the behaviour of a mentally unhinged individual.
Secondly, the great efflux of now homeless refugees needs a strong international response. Other countries in Europe seem to be opening their doors, and individuals are coming forward offering accommodation. We, the UK, with our very own vicious politician, Mrs. Priti Patel, at the Home office, seem to be doing very little at all. Johnson, as usual, claims that no other country has ever responded like we have, which is true, but in the opposite sense to that which Johnson intends – and nothing which he says ought to be believed anyway. Patel, as Home Secretary, makes statements in the House of Commons which then seem to be contradicted or negated by pronouncements from the Home Office itself. So the refugee situation as far as the UK is concerned is a shambles and a shame making disgrace. There need to be special, rapidly instituted, emergency arrangements to get these refugees across Europe and into the UK as fast as possible. Temporary accommodation can be put up up quickly, and welfare arrangements made. This is where the old WVS, now the RVS, used to excel – but maybe they are a shadow of their former selves now and not able to do it. But I am sure that military personnel and civilian volunteers would come forward if only they were asked.
And, thirdly, we know that there is Russian money awash in parts of our society, and that many of our MPs have received money from these sources – sometimes considerable amounts of it. See especially below, Brandon Lewis, £62,500 !
To what extent are our MPs and thus national affairs controlled or dictated by Russian money and the Russian Government under Putin ? Carol Cadwalladr has done much to unravel this, but of course the main stream media avoid it like the plague. One wonders how much MI5 and MI6 know about what is going on, but once corruption seeps in it is hard to know who is not bona fide, and who is not ? My own feeling is that much of what we have seen over the last 6 years, in and from the Government as such, from individual MPs (always Conservative), and from groups such as the mysterious ERG, can all be explained by the thesis that Russian money is buying their services and dictating what they say and do. I hope I am eventually proved wrong, but I suspect that I will not live to see the denouement.