Of course I have no better idea than anyone else, apart of course from the perpetrators, of who it was that planted the Novichok on the Skripals in Salisbury. It could still be the Russians. But the director of Porton Down – our main chemical weapons facility – says on Sky News today that he can’t verify this from the scientific evidence, which we were assured by the Government he would be able to; and which puts egg on the faces of ministers like Boris Johnson, who have been hurling insults at Putin on the assumption that he must have done it, with serious implications for our foreign policy and even, at a stretch, for world peace. It also redounds to the enormous credit of Jeremy Corbyn, who refused to knuckle under the savage onslaught of all those purple-faced Tories in the House of Commons (and some on his own side), who called him a traitor for not accepting Theresa May’s word on this. (See https://bernardjporter.com/2018/03/14/salisbury-and-russophobia/.) Lastly it shows that, at last, Britain’s secret services will no longer be cowed into conforming to ministerial bullying, as they were over Saddam’s ‘WMDs’ and the notorious ‘dodgy dossier’; and as the redoubtable Craig Murray has learned from his old FCO contacts the government tried to do in this instance too. (See https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/03/of-a-type-developed-by-liars/.)
Another thing the Porton Down man mentioned in passing was that Israel was likely to have stocks of these awful weapons as well. Could the Israelis have been implicated? (I hear whispers of ‘conspiracy theorist’ coming at me from all sides.) Which also makes a bit more sense of the great but deeply flawed ‘anti-semitic’ whirlpool they’re stirring up just now; probably discomfited by Corbyn’s stand on present-day Israeli policies. Corbyn has rejected the new ‘conspiracy theory’ that this is all an anti-Corbyn plot; but there can be no doubt that it’s useful to the pro-Israel lobby. Which must explain the ludicrous lengths to which its smears are taken: claiming, for example, that he is anti-semitic because he has met with the wrong sortsof Jews (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/apr/03/jeremy-corbyn-called-irresponsible-after-attending-radical-jewish-event#img-1).
I’m just now suffering – grievously – from what in these parts is called ‘viral vomiting’. Most unpleasant. I’m meant to be flying to Belfast tomorrow (a conference, at which Kajsa is giving a paper on ‘The Construction of the Male Intellectual’); then back to Sweden at the end of the week, to surrender my British passport for a couple of weeks in order to get a Swedish one, and to be regaled, or advised, by the British ambassador, together with a number of other Brits, on the implications of Brexit for us in Sweden. So I’ll miss the local elections. Which of course won’t stop me from commenting.