Skripals – The Mystery Deepens 3063

The time that “Boshirov and Petrov” were allegedly in Salisbury carrying out the attack is all entirely within the period the Skripals were universally reported to have left their home with their mobile phones switched off.

A key hole in the British government’s account of the Salisbury poisonings has been plugged – the lack of any actual suspects. And it has been plugged in a way that appears broadly convincing – these two men do appear to have traveled to Salisbury at the right time to have been involved.

But what has not been established is the men’s identity and that they are agents of the Russian state, or just what they did in Salisbury. If they are Russian agents, they are remarkably amateur assassins. Meanwhile the new evidence throws the previously reported timelines into confusion – and demolishes the theories put out by “experts” as to why the Novichok dose was not fatal.

This BBC report gives a very useful timeline summary of events.

At 09.15 on Sunday 4 March the Skripals’ car was seen on CCTV driving through three different locations in Salisbury. Both Skripals had switched off their mobile phones and they remained off for over four hours, which has baffled geo-location.

There is no CCTV footage that indicates the Skripals returning to their home. It has therefore always been assumed that they last touched the door handle around 9am.

But the Metropolitan Police state that Boshirov and Petrov did not arrive in Salisbury until 11.48 on the day of the poisoning. That means that they could not have applied a nerve agent to the Skripals’ doorknob before noon at the earliest. But there has never been any indication that the Skripals returned to their home after noon on Sunday 4 March. If they did so, they and/or their car somehow avoided all CCTV cameras. Remember they were caught by three CCTV cameras on leaving, and Borishov and Petrov were caught frequently on CCTV on arriving.

The Skripals were next seen on CCTV at 13.30, driving down Devizes road. After that their movements were clearly witnessed or recorded until their admission to hospital.

So even if the Skripals made an “invisible” trip home before being seen on Devizes Road, that means the very latest they could have touched the doorknob is 13.15. The longest possible gap between the novichok being placed on the doorknob and the Skripals touching it would have been one hour and 15 minutes. Do you recall all those “experts” leaping in to tell us that the “ten times deadlier than VX” nerve agent was not fatal because it had degraded overnight on the doorknob? Well that cannot be true. The time between application and contact was between a minute and (at most) just over an hour on this new timeline.

In general it is worth observing that the Skripals, and poor Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, all managed to achieve almost complete CCTV invisibility in their widespread movements around Salisbury at the key times, while in contrast “Petrov and Boshirov” managed to be frequently caught in high quality all the time during their brief visit.

This is especially remarkable in the case of the Skripals’ location around noon on 4 March. The government can only maintain that they returned home at this time, as they insist they got the nerve agent from the doorknob. But why was their car so frequently caught on CCTV leaving, but not at all returning? It appears very much more probable that they came into contact with the nerve agent somewhere else, while they were out.

“Boshirov and Petrov” plainly are of interest in this case. But only Theresa May stated they were Russian agents: the police did not, and stated that they expected those were not their real identities. We do not know who Boshirov and Petrov were. It appears very likely their appearance was to do with the Skripals on that day. But they may have been meeting them, outside the home. The evidence points to that, rather than doorknobs. Such a meeting might explain why the Skripals had turned off their mobile phones to attempt to avoid surveillance.

It is also telling the police have pressed no charges against them in the case of Dawn Sturgess, which would be manslaughter at least if the government version is true.

If “Boshirov and Petrov” are secret agents, their incompetence is astounding. They used public transport rather than a vehicle and left the clearest possible CCTV footprint. They failed in their assassination attempt. They left traces of novichok everywhere and could well have poisoned themselves, and left the “murder weapon” lying around to be found. Their timings in Salisbury were extremely tight – and British Sunday rail service dependent.

There are other possibilities of who “Boshirov and Petrov” really are, of which Ukrainian is the obvious one. One thing I discovered when British Ambassador to Uzbekistan was that there had been a large Ukrainian ethnic group of scientists working at the Soviet chemical weapon testing facility there at Nukus. There are many other possibilities.

Yesterday’s revelations certainly add to the amount we know about the Skripal event. But they raise as many new questions as they give answers.

3,063 thoughts on “Skripals – The Mystery Deepens

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  • Hatuey

    Interesting that anon1 thinks our discussions would be more balanced if we admitted that Assad was more evil than the West. Note that, as in the mainstream western news, there’s no requirement to take into consideration Western evilness. Any mention of western atrocities and evilness results in bias, not balance.

    This sort of thing has cropped up before.

    When Goebbels heard of the mass executions and slaughter in Eastern Europe carried out by the German army, he was initially shocked by the depravity and scale of it. Rumour has it that he became quite ill and dependent on certain drugs as a consequence of hearing about this stuff.

    Goebbel’s response though was to upscale the propaganda, with greater emphasis put on the righteousness of Germany’s ambitions. It’s important to remember that the primary target of German propaganda in those dark days was the German people themselves — not Germany’s enemies or those at the sharp end of the atrocities who simply couldn’t be fooled.

    • James

      Of those at Nuremberg’s “high table”, the one I felt sympathy for was Reichmarschall Goering. His immense incompetence in 1940 was pivotal to Axis defeat, which should have been acknowledged. He just did not care about the war, he was too busy partying. He was also no Nazi, just a good time guy having a ball. He’d certainly be in my dream team for dinner party guests from history!

      • zoot

        he joined the party in 1923, headed the sa brownshirts and founded the gestapo. you’re setting a very high bar for being a nazi if you don’t consider goering to have been one!

        • Captain Scarlett

          He was a Nazi in the sense that he was NSDAP from the beginning, as you observe. But Goering was no nazi in the modern, pejorative sense. It is a bit like the Conservative/conservative distinction in reverse

          • Hatuey

            If there was any evidence that Goering objected to or opposed Nazi policies, towards the Jews or in say Eastern Europe, you’d possibly have the bare minimum required for a more sympathetic case. But there isn’t. Not only that, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest he supported and facilitated Nazi policies.

            You might not choose your enemies in this world, but you definitely choose your friends. If you and Goering have one thing in common, it’s that you both chose badly.

          • Captain Scarlett

            A slightly bizarre assertion by hatuey concerning my choice of friends; do I know you? I do hope you’re not referring to my ex-spouse?
            Thunderbirds are Go!

          • James

            Of course he didn’t object to oppose Nazi policies, he was the de facto Number 2 until Adolf’s final decree.
            My rusty knowledge of National Socialism generally, and Goering in particular, has been refreshed by 20 minutes reading the wiki entry about the Reichsmarschall. I never knew that as a child, he had feigned illness to avoid school, and successfully. I also noted with interest that his (wealthy) Jewish godfather was effectively his guardian.
            My flippant point about dinner guests from beyond the grave, although silly, was based on my belief that the prime mover in Goering’s life was a pursuit of the good life. Unlike say Goebbels or Bormann, who were true ideologues, Goering was merely a self-indulgent good time guy.
            That the Allies owed him one for his deplorably poor oversight of the Luftwaffe, although again a tongue-in-cheek assertion, is further evidence that Goering did not really care about the war, the Jews, Hitler. He just enjoyed getting wasted. He was the original junkie. I am sure after straightening himself out with a few grains of Bayer’s finest, he would be an excellent dinner party guest.

  • mike

    Indeed, George. I’m not sure Assad is brutal after all! I rather suspect he isn’t, though his father may well have been. If you cross certain red lines in Syria you are fucked, but of course most people don’t want to mount a meaningful challenge to their government. And they certainly don’t want to be bombed back to the Stone Age as happened in Iraq and Libya.

    All most people want most of the time is the stuff we USED to take for granted, like secure jobs and a decent home.

    • Hatuey

      Yes, you’re right. But it is obvious that certain elements in the West don’t want to see oil money being “wasted” on creating secure jobs, decent homes, and all the accoutrements of a civilised country. In their view, the oil wealth ought to be in western banks where they can enjoy it…

      The vision of a Middle East at peace with roads, electricity, hospitals, schools, and welfare systems, is a nightmarish vision from a certain western perspective. How do you sell guns and jets to countries that live peacefully amongst their neighbours?

    • remember kronstadt

      Yes, whose ‘brute of the day’ today? Mr Assad comes across as modest and sensible sort who has been drawn into a disaster not of his making or choosing. The well-being balance sheet on post Sadam’s Iraq isn’t glowing, Qaddafi was abused and welcomed in turns and house of saud gets a free pass. the first premise is – don’t believe anything they tell you.

  • BrianFujisan

    Re Syria

    It was a Top world torist destination, before Obomber, and Cameron sent in their terrorists from Libya in order to do to Syria what they did to Iraq and Libya.. Look at what they did there, completely Evil.

    it was Never a Civil war in Syria

    The Rusian MoD Has indeed said Filming for the new false flag Chemical attack has started, but it was ok for the U.S to carry out a White Phosphus attack in Syria yesterday. Eh.
    Travel Magazines used to have good things to say about Syria..As did Fashion Mags –

    ” Meanwhile before Obama’s push to topple Assad and take over Syria, the media wrote wonderful stories about President Assad and his wife Asmas. Vogue magazine issued a wonderful story calling Asmas the “Rose of The Desert”. After Obama’s regime targeted Syria, the media buried any good stories and began a cut throat propaganda campaign to match their new narrative of Assad as an evil dictator. (You know the drill). They have taken great lengths to rewrite wonderful stories where they once called Asmas Al Assad wonderful things and were amazed at the good will being done by Asmas to people of all faiths. Now they want you to believe that she was faking her lifetime of caring and sided with her so-called evil husband dictator.”

    • Dungroanin

      I knew a archeologist student who was regularly working there every year digging up ancient history. In the 00’s. Adding to Human knowledge methodically.

      This escapade has been as much a destruction of human civilisation as the burning of Alexandria. The thugs in our society responsible for the death and destruction need dragging out into the light and putting in stocks. Harsh of me I know.

      They would probably have us rounded up into stadiums and executed. Dumb fucks.

  • Hans-Joachim Hoelle

    The publication Fontanka ( reported details about the (alleged) Russian citizens with the alleged names Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov – allegedly the perpetrators in the Novichok-poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal (e.g.: ). Many western media have picked up and spread these allegations, which have been declared as fakes in a recent contribution of RT Deutsch (

    I have asked the Embaasy of the Russian Federation in London, if the passenger list of Aeroflot flight SU 2588 of March 2 (2018) from Moscow to London Gatwick contained the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, if these persons have presented passports of the Russian Federation at the check-in in Moscow and if these documents were authentic.

    I doubt that they will anser me. Does somebody know anything about that?

    • Borncynical

      SKRIPAL: Interesting to have your contributions to this site and, as a relative newcomer myself, I welcome you. If you can find the time and the inclination to go through many of the contributions to this forum you will see that there are many inconsistencies in the official information being drip-fed to us. A major one, as you have highlighted, is that we have been told by our Government that the two people identified on CCTV were most probably travelling under false names. But then publications like Fontanka and newspapers in the UK have gone to great lengths to come up with ‘evidence’ about these two people but based on what are supposedly false names. It makes no sense. Also, according to what we are supposed to believe, the two men arrived in Salisbury long after the Skripals supposedly left their house where they were supposed to have been contaminated (‘by nerve agent on their house door handle’). Again, it makes no sense. But you will find that as time passes the official explanation of what happened will likely be changed (on the basis of no evidence whatsoever) to remove such inconsistencies. For the time being, as the Russian Embassy in London have remarked on their website (which is worth looking at regularly as they provide comprehensive daily updates on the fluid situation) all we know for sure (??) is that there were two men of Eastern European appearance in Salisbury over the weekend when the Skripals were purportedly attacked with a nerve agent. If I sound doubtful that is because I believe nothing we have been told for reasons too numerous to go into!

      With regard to your question about the Aeroflot passenger manifest – as far as I know we haven’t been told what enquiries have been made of Aeroflot either by the UK or the Russian Federation and what they might have revealed. I’ve just had a look at the Embassy’s website and they do not appear to mention any contact with Aeroflot. As you say, I think they are probably too busy to respond to your question and, to be honest, I think they would be reluctant to reveal to the UK authorities too much about their own investigations at this stage in view of the UK Government’s complete unwillingness to communicate or co-operate with them. Who could blame them?

      • BushveldJock

        @ Borncynical

        The British police have never stated that the Skripals left around 9 on Sunday morning and never returned. They have never said that there is no CCTV footage showing them returning from their (cemetery?) visit. Very early in the investigation they announced that Sergei’s car had been seen travelling through Salisbury (London Road, Churchill Way North and Wilton Road) at around 9.15. The direction of travel – away from Christie Miller Road or towards it – was not specified. Conspiracy theorists have wilfully misinterpreted this statement, together with an early appeal for information on the Skripals’ movements on Sunday morning, as a declaration that the Skripals left and never returned. Anyone with an ounce of sense can see that it is nothing of the sort.

        If the Skripals didn’t go back to Christie Miller Road before their restaurant visit and incapacitation in the centre of Salisbury why was their car spotted on CCTV in India Avenue (200 metres from Christie Miller Road) at 13.30, travelling in the direction of the city centre?

    • Deborah

      I find it interesting in the Russian articles I’ve read on the Skripals that even though throughout the articles they refer to them by their names Sergei Skipal and Yulia Skripal or the Skripals they also refer to them as “the violins” in the headlines and occasionally throughout the article “the violins” or “the fiddlers”. At first, I thought this was a translation issue but then I decided it was maybe sarcasm as in being played like a violin or a cheap violin. it fits with the case of the Skripals A. they are the violins being played B we are the ones being manipulated. I asked my Russian friend and all she said was Skripal does not mean violin but Skripa means violin in Russian. The articles I’ve read did not need to be put through Google translate either because there was Russian and English version.

  • Nick

    I know you think things are bad at the moment, they are. But at least you haven’t had to try to explain the plot of Shaun of the Dead to your 90-year old mum…

  • mike

    Southfront is always worth a look for analysis. Al-Masdar News is more on-the-ground updates. Both very good.

  • mike

    Ten out of ten for this:

    “We warn the US and its allies against new dangerous steps,” [Russian]Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated in response to the question about the development of the situation surrounding the Syrian “chemical dossier,” according to the minstry’s website.

    “Despite the fact that the OPCW has repeatedly confirmed the complete destruction of Syria’s military chemical potential under international control, a row of accusations and threats were again brought down to Damascus in connection with its supposed intention to use chemical agents in the province of Idlib.”

    “Terrorists must not be shielded because they all are one way or another linked to Al-Qaeda (outlawed in Russia) – the group we all started to fight after the Nine Eleven attacks,” Nebenzya said.

  • truthwillout

    Just watching “The Spy who Loved me” (1977). Happy Days…. UK and Russian spies working together. This was, of course, before the reign of The Iron Lady.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Yes, but in most Bond stories in 1950s-1970s, it was CIA+Bond vs evil Russky SMERSH.

      Fine bit of Empire brainwashing the James Bond brand….

    • Tom Welsh

      For anyone who cares, I recommend the actual novel “The Spy Who Loved me” by Ian Fleming. Short enough to be almost “bijou”, I treasure it because it features no Russians (or dastardly foreigners of any sort except for a crushingly insensitive German husband), no WMD, no satellites or giant bombs. Just a young woman, a counter-intelligence officer (strictly not a spy) passing through, and a couple of US born-and-bred thugs.

      It reads like a breath of fresh air against the background of a series of films each of which attempts to outdo its predecessors in ridiculous exaggeration and grotesque violence. And it actually has something to say about the real lives and feelings of real human beings.

  • Dungroanin

    Nice to see Emily Thornberry getting ahead of the game with the imminent theatre macabre of White Helmets rushing around after a chemical attack.

    Craig is tweeting it.

    Are they really going to risk running a bust scam? Everybody knows how it is done!

    • Sharp Ears

      Forked tongue there Dungroanin. She is conflicted.

      ‘Labour’s foreign spokesperson Emily Thornberry endorses Israeli racism
      Asa Winstanley
      Lobby Watch
      14 December 2017

      Emily Thornberry addressing Labour Friends of Israel’s 2017 dinner. (LFI)

      The UK Labour Party’s shadow foreign minister Emily Thornberry gave a speech last month that could have been written by a pro-Israel lobbyist.

      In a groveling address in front of the Israeli ambassador at the Labour Friends of Israel annual dinner, Thornberry attacked BDS, the Palestinian-led boycott divestment and sanctions campaign.’


      • Dungroanin

        That’s sharp! Maybe this is her… evolving.

        I am only repeating the fake news of Craig Murray’s tweet.

        “It comes as a huge shock nowadays when a politician says something this sensible.”

        I know Thornberry isn’t everyones cuppa. But she appears to have chosen a side. I know she is a lawyer and a Lady but she seems to have chosen a side. She really could have more than blown the doors off the Labour project over the last year but she seems to have chosen her side. I mean unless she is the deepest cover mossad agent – she really is inked in as the first Labour female PM (in due course). She is politic enough to play footsy with the hardcore LFI stabbers in the front brigade.


        • Rhys Jaggar

          As a non-politician I cannot understand why anyone grovels to Israel. Small insignificant country of religious nutjobs, completely bankrupt without trillions in US funding, plenty of which will no doubt have come from the $3trn missing from pentagon coffers…..

          No need to be anti them either, just ignore the lot of them. Tell them they can kill each other interminably, just stay a very long way away from Britain.

          Problem is, no UK PM can say a word independently of the nutjobs in Washington…..another thing I see as priority one.

          • Sir Christopher "Cockerell" Cummings

            You don’t take advantage of its wonderful tourist potential? Four hours away and you have sun, sea, genuinely friendly locals, history in spades; the size of Wales, you can cheaply hire a car and travel round the country in a fortnight and no two days will be the same. More chance of a terrorist attack in London, it’s remarkably safe too, though you have to get used to the frequent body searches on entering the finer restaurants.
            Not your cup of tea,then, Mr Jaggar?

          • Charles Bostock

            Sir Christopher

            And don’t forget the excellent cuisine at all price ranges (said to be the best of any Mediterranean country) and the wonderful Tel Aviv beaches with those delightful non-bimbos!

            The municipalities of the State of Israel keep their beaches clean. This is the opposite to what most Arab countries around the Mediterranean do (as was pointed out well over 20 years ago by travel writer Paul Theroux in his “The Pillars of Hercules”. He was particularly censoriouis about Syria, btw).

          • Dungroanin

            Money Rhys. If that doesn’t work – threats and murder.

            The tourist destination! There are a host of med countries that one could get to easily. Though i understand one ‘not so’ Pretty Patel enjoys the lovely welcome and travelled freely from one end to another and beyond even into the Occupied territories on a holiday there last year – all expense paid? I’m still waiting for the cod-fax from the Guardian (not!) to show her paying the bills with her own money.
            Ps their mangoes are shit. They have such a development of new agricrops that are not native – not mentioned in any holly books – that one could be on any all inclusive package anywhere in the world.
            I’ll be visiting one day on my way from Syria and Iran to compare notes on culture, agriculture and food.

            Pps Bosy – Leigh Fermer is the serious travellers goto not Theroux.

            You are welcome.

          • Borncynical

            CB (14.09)

            That would be Paul “Theroux, famous for his bad-tempered books about the world. …[He] plays on his grumpy reputation throughout the book”. (Guardian review of 11 November 1995)
            For balance, you might have quoted Bill Bryson’s comments in an interview in 2003, having spent some time in Syria (and Jordan), that “I thought it very interesting there … There are so many interesting things out there”.

      • Dungroanin

        Of course when push comes to shove, she (and other UK MP’s) will have to finally pick their sides – Freinds of I.. or UK parliamentary MP’s only.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Are they really going to risk running a bust scam? Everybody knows how it is done!”

      Your reaction is natural, but I fear you miss the point. Precisely because everyone knows the government’s statements are completely untrue, willingness to accept them anyway is a measure of loyalty and conformity.

      “[Bureaucratic systems] always create a culture of complicity. It’s not just that some people get to break the rules – it’s that loyalty to the organization is to some degree measured by one’s willingness to pretend this isn’t happening…”

      – David Graeber, “The Utopia of Rules”

  • Sharp Ears

    Peter Hitchens
    21September 2018

    ‘Please write to your MP now without delay – War, terrible war, may be on the way again.

    WMD All Over Again: Our Government moves stealthily towards a new war of choice.
    IS war coming? This is the traditional season of the year for plunges into war by British governments which mislead themselves and the country about the extent and nature of what is proposed.

    In August 1914 we were ushered into war by a government secretly committed to an alliance with France and Tsarist Russia which had never been discussed by Parliament or put to the Cabinet, let alone to the public, who imagined that August day that the war would be chiefly fought at sea, and never imagined vast British Armies dying in the mud of Flanders. That cost four years of privation and death, a huge increase in the power of the state, and turned us into a debtor nation. It liquidated our long-gathered foreign investments and began the process which led to the dissolution of our Empire and Naval supremacy.’


  • Paul Barbara

    As I have made available today and before to ‘Mossad’, both directly and by another method we share, if the Syrian situation goes to ‘Hot’ and we have a serious military confrontation in Syria, if it really gets nasty, Isr^el is a cinder.
    They are ‘vorried’ about Iran already?
    Best pull off of the already filmed ‘CW attack’, if I were them. Or take a chance…..

    • giyane

      Strange that the Brexit hotspot has been magically solved all of a sudden, peace and love breaking out between the two sides: rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb. (conglomerate of Barnier and Raab)

      The MSM seem to be cranking up the Idlib story now, ready for the global satans, viz politicians to resolve the problem. That’s all politicians do, make unnecessary problems so that they can be seen resolving their own dramas, concocted entirely by them and deleted by them like a packet of chocolate Bourbons.

  • N_

    @JMF referred above to reports on this.

    RT: “Filming of staged chemical attack in Syrian Idlib begins – Russian MoD“.

    Published time: 11 Sep, 2018 11:25
    Edited time: 11 Sep, 2018 17:34
    (Not sure what time zone.)

    Footage, meant to serve as proof that the Syrian government has conducted a chemical weapons attack in Idlib, Syria, is to be handed to global news outlets by the end of Tuesday, the Russian military claims.”

    “Several Middle East TV channels and a US news channel have been sent to Jisr al-Shughur in Syria’s Idlib Governorate to produce the footage needed for the provocation, a statement by the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation said. It added the intelligence came from local residents of Jisr al-Shughur.”


    “It also said that an Islamist group was provided with two canisters of a “chlorine-based chemical” for the purpose of the operation.

    The Russian military said the footage would include scenes of White Helmets operatives treating supposed victims of an apparent barrel bomb chemical weapon attack by Damascus.

  • Blunderbuss


    I’m still puzzled by the missing 4 hours between 9.15am and 1.30pm on the Sunday. We are told they went to the cemetery but why spend 4 hours in a cemetery? The obvious answer is that they were meeting someone. Another possibility is that they went to church. Is it known whether either of the Skripals is religious?

    • Robyn


      I’m even more puzzled that, of all the people directly involved in this, the only one we’ve heard from in an unscripted interview is (to the best of my knowledge) Charlie Rowley.

      The biggest question of all is: where are the Skripals (and the minor associated players)?

        • Tom Welsh

          Just as a matter of interest: can you define the difference between a “safe house” and an oubliette?

      • SA

        It really is like trying to argue with an inebriated person. There is no reality in all of it . The focus surely now has to shift to the impending war. The Skripal story has fulfilled its purpose of distracting all of us.

      • Jo

        A Russian citizen is being held prisoner by british military intelligence.Jeez. Time for a spetznas operation to free her and Julian Assange.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Well if they are religious, most likely they are Russian Orthodox. Not too many of those in Salisbury, so I guess a pragmatic change of colours would be indicated.

  • SA

    Now who would have thought of this.
    Start rumours if WMD in Iraq, bomb the place and cause hundreds of thousands of deaths then own up that you made it all up.
    Refine scenario: get terrorists of Al Qaeda to stage CW attack in Syria so that this time the lie is more difficult to verify then try regime change. Nothing could go wrong can it? No, something does go wrong: the Russians pull thier weight and after 4 years of carefully watching decide to help an ally. So now we must accuse Russia also of the same. Make up a story about WMD this time a micro WMD on British soil. Now we have not only a duty to defend freedom in Syria for the terrorists but also a threat to the homeland. Meanwhile demonise the opposition completely by making up fake allegations of antisemirism. Concentrate on all of this while we have austerity without end for 10 years selectively for the poor whilst billionaires multiply, then ignore Brexit.
    Meanwhile a minority DUP propped government continues unchallenged as if they represent us all. Parliament is paralysed and discusses very little of substance. Is this really sane? Is this really democracy? And they expect us to believe this?

    • A.C.Doyle

      I don’t disagree with your main conclusions, but I believe the Skripal case is still worth looking at, even though it has all the makings of a transparent hoax. That is because, although time it running out, those involved its construction may still be motivated, “Snowden style”, of exposing it, with all the consequences I have already alluded to in a previous post here:

      • Doodlebug

        “the Skripal case…has all the makings of a transparent hoax.”

        Dawn Sturgess’ death was no hoax. Nor can it have been unrelated, since the Met. have themselves linked the two investigations.

        • John A

          “Dawn Sturgess’ death was no hoax. Nor can it have been unrelated, since the Met. have themselves linked the two investigations.”

          Apart from her poor general health condition due to her lifestyle, I could guess they are related in the sense that she knew too much and got offed. Charlie survived but he is being a very good boy to avoid a similar fate.

          • Doodlebug

            What do you think she might have known too much about? I wouldn’t dispute the possibility if it turned out she was in fact the blonde witnessed by Freya Church in the vicinity of the park bench.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Why do you think Civil Servants represent the people through administering their will? They rule as unelected puppetmasters feathering their own nests….

      • Tom Welsh

        ‘In a mature society, “civil servant” is semantically equal to “civil master.”‘

        – Lazarus Long, “Time Enough for Love” by Robert Heinlein.

      • Sir Christopher "Cockerell" Cummings

        Bit harsh there. Although much of the work of civil servants is grotesquely self-referential and seemingly pointless (though much is not), they are hardly “feathering their nests”. You’d be earning more money as a line manager in Asda than a second sec in Accra, and plenty of academy schools heads earn the salary of a High Court judge.
        A friend recently left the civil service, having become fed up of the constant pressure of providing “value for money” and tripled her middling salary by scoring a nice international admin job at a Russell Group University. Nice colleagues, plenty of interesting travel, she finds it quite relaxing. Now there’s a feather bed suitable for the Princess, but without the pea.

  • SA

    The only nation that has used Nuclear weapons as WMD was the US in Japan in 1945.
    The only nation that used chemical warfare on a massive scale was the USA in the Vietnam war.
    The only nation that used phosphorus in a massive scale, you guessed right this time, the US in Vietnam and Fallujah and their proxies in Gaza.
    The only nation that has hundreds of military bases around the world is USA.
    One of the few countries that has not yet destroyed all it CW arsenal is US. Both Russia and Syria have done so verified by the OPCW.
    The only country known openly to have been involved in regime change in many parts of the world US.
    So which is the rogue nation? Why do we constantly hear of the ‘Russian threat’ and ‘resurgent Russia’.

    • Bu axmoqlik

      You seem to have forgotten WW I and II regarding chemical warfare for gassing troops and prisoners and of course the widespread use of “tracer” shells and “bombs” during those conflicts in Dresden and Coventry.
      The allies too (UK & Russia) were all complicit in the overt regime changes in those wars, for which in both cases the US joined in late. Not forgetting the overt annexation of Eastern European states following WW2 and Yalta by all nations involved in those conferenced.
      To be fair the US’s inability to stick to a timeline makes them late for everything, for which they have been criticised across the board. No wonder they now start before others do and are usually last to complete. The same rule applies to the destruction of their CW arsenal, they are obsessed with deterrence.

      • SA

        Did not mean for this list to be comprehensive.
        “The allies too (UK & Russia) were all complicit in the overt regime changes in those wars, for which in both cases the US joined in late.”

        This was not regime change in the modern sense. It was a result of aggression by Germany in both cases as I understand.

        • Bu axmoqlik

          You seem to Believe that Germany was the aggressor. You seem to be following the kind of construct that you clearly oppose, open your eyes and mind. WW2 was caused by a soft but overt regime change by the west in the Rhineland through the reparations imposed on the innocent German people who subsequently elected a socialist & nationalist party.

          • SA

            Don’t be stupid
            So yes there is obviously truth in that but following the election of the said party, there was excessive militarisation and a very ideological and racist driven regime that sought to conquer the rest of Europe

      • Tom Welsh

        By the way, isn’t it intriguing to reflect that WW1 and WW2 – which between them caused about 75 million deaths – had dozens of losers, but only one victor nation?

        Of those 75 million deaths (give or take the odd 10 million), the USA’s share was about 520,000.

        WW1 smashed Germany, Austria, France and Russia, and ruined Great Britain financially and economically. WW2 completed the destruction of most of Europe and the Western USSR, extending it to North Africa, Japan, China and most of the Far East.

        It is deeply instructive to compare the USA’s relative position as an industrial and financial power in 1914 with its position in 1945. And anyone with insight into human affairs is bound to wonder, “Cui bono?”

        • Dungroanin

          Indeed TW.
          You could look deeper and find that bankers/industrialists/empirists all benefitted – though they rob from each other all the time to be top dog.

          WW2 could be seen as a proxy army like AQ, the Nazis, funded by the US and UK bankers to take apart the French, Dutch and Belgian empires and then get into Russia and the RoW. Remember the Nazis somehow, in half a dozen years took a broke economic basket case to modern miltary industrial autobahned crazed fighting machine – how? Well by investment. Who lent them the money and invested? Yup. Always follow the money.

          Then it seems something went amiss amongst the original conspirators and the British Empire got stabbed in the back. The US bankers stole a march and the Dollar became king of the world replacing Sterling – Bretton Woods.

          There is a direct link all the way to today over many many centuries.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Nuke technology has advanced big time since 1945. Technology is now at the level of micro nukes, nothing like Hiroshima.

      There are credible reports of many micro nukes having been used the past 20 years, including setting off the Boxing Day tsunami in SE Asia…

        • joeblogs

          Rhys may not know that concept, furthermore the Hiroshima and Nagasaki events were atomic ‘bombs’; the research done in the decades following resulted in precisely the opposite of what Rhys believes – the new weapons are now hydrogen ‘bombs’ and are orders of magnitude more powerful than the atomic ‘bombs’ of WWII.
          The US has never possessed a weapon it did not use.

        • Tom Welsh

          Yes. A critical mass of plutonium in the form of a sphere is less than 10 cm (about 4 inches) in diameter. What’s your point?

          • Sir Christopher "Cockerell" Cummings

            Depending on how you look at it, that’s a great amount of plutonium. In early 50’s Britain, the vast bomb manufacturing operation at Windscale was beavering away for months to produce such an amount.
            Tom’s point that it is a small-sizes quantity is well-made, however; of course, plutonium production has rather dramatically increased since those days.
            Mr Blogs’ point about increasing yields is less well founded, and of course Mr Jaggar is entirely on the money here. Since the mad rush in the 50’s and early 60’s toward bigger bangs (culiminating with the Soviet Tsar Bomba at 100/50 megaton) there has been increasing miniaturisation of thermonuclear devices. Davy Crockett weapons systems were perfected in the 60s with dial-a-yields from tens of tons to low kilotons. They were intended principally for use in such theatres as the Fulda gap, and were politically a particularly worrying development.
            Obviously that was 50 odd years ago, things have moved on (a little), and overall I think Mr Jaggar is closer to the truth here.

          • Sir Christopher "Cockerell" Cummings

            The post war sledgehammers were intended for disposing of hardened bunkers. Guidance technology (rocket science) really is hard: the perfection of systems capable of sufficient accuracy has been far slower than the thermonuclear developments. Accuracy being absolutely crucial, modern “bunker busters” can now be effective with large “conventional” explosive charges, though obviously a small nuke would be even better. It might trigger Armageddon, however, so the hard-tipped Torpex type is now the weapon of choice

          • Clark

            “I think Mr Jaggar is closer to the truth here.”

            I think Rhys Jaggar is a silly conspiracy theorists with a very unpleasant ideology. His comment last night and my reply to it have been deleted, or I would link to illustrate.

            There is no reason to suspect that a tsunami in a tsunami zone was caused deliberately by a nuclear device.

          • Kempe

            It means there’s a minimum size to the blast that can be produced. The Davy Crockett warhead mentioned elsewhere is about as small as can be made, talk of mini and micro nukes is nonsense.

  • SA

    Surely this impending war that has already been planned warrants a new insightful post Craig. We are all waiting.

    • Tom Welsh

      Or perhaps Craig could post only when he has something useful or interesting to say.

      But I suppose that would be boring for those of us who have nothing useful or interesting to do.

      I recommend listening to Gabrieli, Monteverdi and Schuetz.

    • Robyn

      Guardian Australia has been doing a politics podcast for ages. Nobody who wants to know what’s going on will bother with anything put out by or in collaboration with the Guardian. Even if it is free.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Nuke technology has advanced big time since 1945. Technology is now at the level of micro nukes, nothing like Hiroshima.

      There are credible reports of many micro nukes having been used the past 20 years, including setting off the Boxing Day tsunami in SE Asia…

      • douglas clark

        Could you provide some evidence specifically about the Boxing Day tsunami? Else, why have I never heard a word about it being set off by a mini nuke before your posting here? Bold claims need lots of evidence Rhys, and a you really need to provide that.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      You do not have to listen to them. We are not yet forced into Neocon iChurch, corralled into sermon listening or ostracism.

      John Bolton is trying to drum up support for that though…..

  • James Kennedy

    Yet another example of state collusion when it comes the construction of a motive for war. You don’t have to look too far from our shores to see how such actions have been used to construct a case for war. Be it Iraq twice where Saddam Hussein was coaxed to invade Kuwait or the infamous WMD lies, or the constructed partition of Northern Ireland, destruction of Yugoslavia or even the demonization of the democratically elected German parliament of the 1920s & 30s. The answer is to question the states involved and hold them to account be they Israel, US or Britain.
    A sad sad bunch of states and their affairs.

    • SA

      Did not mean for this list to be comprehensive.
      “The allies too (UK & Russia) were all complicit in the overt regime changes in those wars, for which in both cases the US joined in late.”

      This was not regime change in the modern sense. It was a result of aggression by Germany in both cases as I understand.

  • Sharp Ears

    NHS cont’d. Don’t become ill this Winter.

    ‘Staff vacancies in the NHS have increased nearly 10 per cent in just three months, as experts warned of an unfolding “national emergency” with nearly 108,000 jobs unfilled.

    Official data from the first three months of 2018/19 released by watchdog NHS Improvement have laid bare the parlous state of the NHS with winter just months away.

    Vacancies rose by 9,268, from 98,475 in March 2018 to 107,743 in June, meaning one role in 11 is vacant. This is despite national and international recruitment campaigns to attract key health workers.’

    • Loony

      There is probably no cure at all for the disease of brazen idleness that infects the British.

      What possible reason is there for you to go around the world effectively seeking to steal high value human resources from the the foreign man? It is somewhat strange that a country seemingly obsessed with racism sees nothing racist about stealing trained health professionals from some of the poorest countries in the world.

      If you are too lazy and too stupid to train your own health workers then maybe nature has no need for you.

        • Tom Welsh

          Loony asks, “What possible reason is there for you to go around the world effectively seeking to steal high value human resources from the the foreign man?”

          Leaving aside the implied gendrism, surely this is the normal behaviour of all ruling elites throughout history. Albert Jay Nock explained it quite lucidly over 100 years ago. Note particularly the last of the three quotations.

          “The State claims and exercises the monopoly of crime . . . . It forbids private murder, but itself organizes murder on a colossal scale. It punishes private theft, but itself lays unscrupulous hands on anything it wants, whether the property of citizen or alien”.
          – Albert Jay Nock, “On Doing The Right Thing”

          “Taking the State wherever found, striking into its history at any point, one sees no way to differentiate the activities of its founders, administrators and beneficiaries from those of a professional-criminal class”.
          – Albert Jay Nock

          “…I thought that the formula, Man tends always to satisfy his needs and desires with the least possible exertion, should bear the name of Epstean’s law”.
          – Albert Jay Nock, “Memoirs of a Superfluous Man”

      • SA

        I agree with the message Loony but not the way you delivered it. The British NHS system (and actually probably in other scientific fields but also in fruit and seasonal crop harvest) is based on exploitation. It is built into the NHS system that we do not train enough staff for what we need, neither in medicine nor in nursing. We rely on plundering the third world to get their hard earned assets in terms of locally trained people in order to run the system. This is a carefully planned and built into the system and not an accident. It also serves the purpose of solving one of the most difficult problems in these structures, that there is a pyramidal hierarchy whereby everyone aspires for top jobs but very few can get them. So we get the pick of these as well and the others are maintained as a standby workforce, as locums and as non-career dead end jobs in the NHS in medicine.
        It is too expensive for this rich country to train everyone when you can steal them from elsewhere.

      • joeblogs

        Read A. J. P. Taylor’s ‘History of Britain, 1914-1945.’
        The most powerful trade union is the BMA: they told the government of the day, that if they even think about educating working class British people as doctors, they will down tools immediately. They refused to work with us, as we were not of ‘their class.’

        • SA

          This may have been in 1945 but is not the case now.. The BMA has no say on how many doctors are educated, that is determined the GMC and the Universities but of course guided by government policy.

          • Charles Bostock

            “The BMA has no say on how many doctors are educated, that is determined the GMC ..”

            BMA = doctors

            GMC = doctors.

          • SA

            Both joe logs and Charlie are trying to divert from the basic message. And actually Charlie is factually incorrect . Whereas the BMA is the trade union for doctors the GMC is a regulatory body and the council is made up of 6 doctors and 6 lay members.

  • Bu axmoqlik

    So now that Putin himself now says these two characters exist what next? They will not hand them over as article 21 of the Russian constitution doesn’t allow it under any circumstances. To be honest I’d be surprised if they are still alive. Expect them to be used in a spy exchange soon, or it may well have happened already.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Saying that characters exist is hardly saying ‘and I tasked them with bumping off old Sergei’, is it?

    • truthwillout

      Putin is now saying much more, according to BBC website. They are civilians from the far east of Russia, and they have a perfectly innocent explanation. They are very much alive. This could be interesting.

      • Steven Polonium

        Of course, they travelled to Salisbury on 2 separate occasions as they are fans of the Greggs outlet there, during their 2 day visit to London. The Police are sitting on a mine of CCTV evidence. For Putin to say these two are “nothing special” is a bit of an overstatement as they are incapable of covering their tracks, killing the real target, hiding their identity or acting like civilians on an innocent trip. The simplest answer is they are awaiting payment from whomever offered the hit on Skirpal, probably someone from linked criminal gang/military outfit.
        What is puzzling is why on earth have the Russians admitted to “knowing the real identity” of the pair?

        • Borncynical

          Grateful for a link to the Russians “admitting they know the real identity of the pair”. In the televised statement made by Putin that I saw this a.m he simply states that “they have now identified who the two men are and they are ordinary civilians who he hopes will come forward”.

    • SA

      There is nothing that the British Government has so far produce that will suggest that the Russian Government should hand them over is there? They haven’t even asked for thier extradition. That is very pertinent irrespective of whether there is a likelihood of thier being extradited. To ask for extradition you need to produce a legal case and that would also entail sharing some of this supposed secret intelligence that the British Government say they have. Now that would give the game away won’t it, because it would also entail giving the Russian Government access to thier own citizen Julia Skripal who is presumed to be illegally detained.

      • N_

        And while Britgov are at it, they could explain why they stuck two fingers up at Russia’s requests for the extradition of, say, Ahmed Zakayev, the spokesman for Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov who was responsible for the 2004 Beslan massacre in which hundreds of people, mostly children, were killed. Instead, Britain gave this guy asylum.

      • Tom Welsh

        It would be futile and meaningless to ask for extradition, which the Russian Constitution expressly forbids.

    • Tom Welsh

      I suspect that Mr Putin has Mrs May fully rigged for detonation, and is holding the trigger in his hand. Whenever he desires, he will be able to blow her and her fellow-conspirators sky high.

      The interesting question is whether – or when – it would be most convenient to do so. In politics, as in chess, the threat is often much more powerful than the execution.

        • Tom Welsh

          No, just a story about foreigners possessing information that proves the British PM lied in her teeth, deliberately and repeatedly, about a very important matter.

          Being foreigners, they perhaps think that will surprise the British people.

  • N_

    Parliamentary goings-on

    1) Smears against Iram Awan

    The smears against Jeremy Corbyn’s private secretary Iram Awan could be big. At the moment, and as far as I know, this is being run only by HuffPo. You can expect it to be taken up by other organs within the next hour or two. Everything is being thrown into this story to support the line that Corbyn-run Labour is a major national security risk. Islamist terrorism gets a mention, so does Russia, so does Ken Loach. It is a Tory classic.

    Does I__ael have a role in the British parliament’s vetting process? To answer this question, consider how the Commons Speaker is John Bercow, who stood on a “manifesto” for election to that role. In that manifesto, he promised to cooperate as speaker with “voluntary bodies”, but he didn’t name any. Any guesses?

    This is what Labour should make the issue: parliamentary vetting has been compromised by Tory-backing traitors.

    2) Watch out for a “Speaker’s Ruling”

    Talking of John Bercow, he is likely to play a major role in dramatic Brexit events very soon.

    Journalists and political and “constitutional” experts tend to be ignorant and to operate in a herd: this is what Oxford University’s PPE – politics, philosophy and economics – degree is for. So take it from me: there is a strong possibility of a Bercow intervention that will be comparable to the “Speaker’s Ruling” of 1913. That was when Commons Speaker James Lowther refused to allow the tabling of an amendment that would have given women the vote.

    (If this happens, remember you read it here first 🙂 )

    3) Jeremy Corbyn should get some kidney punches in against the Tories and do it fast

    You must remember that many Tories when they see Jeremy Corbyn walk into the Houses of Parliament, they think “Ugh, look at that piece of dirt walking along. Pondscum like him shouldn’t be allowed in our club”. That is especially so when he is accompanied by a dark-skinned woman who isn’t a cleaning lady.

    For God’s sake, Jeremy Corbyn, kick the leading Tories in the teeth NOW. Talk about Boris Johnson’s links with Rusian mafia boss Evgeny Lebedev, Michael “Lord” Ashcroft’s laundering of drug money in Central America, Jeremy Hunt’s involvement with Chinese money, and so on. Personalise this. I want to see Tory blood on the floor, and I want to see it VERY SOON. Okay?

  • Sarge

    Idlib FF chemical attack scheduled for announcement later today by all accounts. Signalled weeks in advance this time but expect the feigned shock and humanitarian outrage to be as intense as ever. Probably more so in order to deflect from its glaring phoniness. Westminster and Portland Place to be ablaze with excitement in anticipation of orders from DC.

    • Anders Novichok

      That’s what the Russian incompetent mis-information bureau want you to say. Keep up an don’t be a puppet. Ventriloquism isn’t your strong point.

      • N_

        The last time Russia predicted a falsely attributed chemical attack in Syria used as an excuse for F-UK-US bombing, it happened. Perhaps memory isn’t your strong point.

      • Sarge

        The black flag men, aka ‘the rebels,’ ‘white hemets,’ have been rumbled even farther ahead of the event this time round but seem to have gone ahead with it anyway. They know they’ll be believed regardless. Prepare to be shocked Anders boy.

        • replikante

          hi, where did you get that info?
          I’m looking for it through the web and cannot find anything

    • Tom Welsh

      Thanks. Now we can sit around waiting to see if the Russians shoot down the NATO missiles… or aircraft… or destroy the launch sites… or ships… and what Washington then decides to do.

      Given Johnson’s refusal to defend the USS “Liberty”, presumably on the grounds that to do so would besmirch Israel’s pristine reputation… will Trump deem the survival of the human race as cogent a motive?

      I rather think not.

    • Anders Novichok

      We know who they are? Why wouldn’t they? They were travelling on valid passports from and to Russia.

      • Tom Welsh

        Er, the British authorities also announced that they were using false names. How that squares with “valid passports” is hard to understand. If the names in their passports were their real names, how could they have entered the UK under aliases? On the other hand, if their aliases were in the passports, obviously those passports could not be genuine.

        It’s not often you find even the British government lying in its teeth quite so obviously.

        • Anders Novichok

          “They were travelling on valid passports from and to Russia” according to the Russian press release, so why do they need to clarify that they know who they are? The identities and passport photo’s were published last week.
          I’m sure Putin et Al will explain why travelling on a Russian Flight from Russia on a fake Russian passport isn’t a crime and they are therefore innocent.

        • Borncynical


          I agree with you. However it all depends on what the UK would claim to mean by ‘valid/genuine’. I think that they were trying to be ‘clever'(??) by implying that the (physical) passport was ‘valid/genuine’ but the names were aliases so we have to deduce that this proves the passports must have been issued with the knowledge and endorsement of official authorities (under instruction of course from the Kremlin!). The UK manipulates and distorts everything it tells us to suit their corrupt agenda. Nothing uttered by the cretins in the UK Govt is to be taken for truth.

        • Charles Bostock

          Tom Welsh

          Are you incapable of understanding the difference between a genuine (ie, not fake) passport with the bearer’s real name and a genuine (ie, not fake) passport with a name other than the bearer’s real name?

          If your English is a little weak, a real name is the name someone is born with (subject to it having been changed, legally, by deed poll).

  • N_

    Britgov has been caught sending begging letters to “EU member states” (i.e. France) asking for “side negotiations” on “haulage” in the event of a “no-deal Brexit” (i.e. food lorries).

    Oh, and on “aviation” too. I.e. keeping London’s Heathrow and City airports open. In themselves they have nothing to do with food but they are crucial for a) finance, and b) the evacuation of the super rich. I reckon they will mostly go to the US and Canada.

    • N_

      I read one article seriously saying that Britain would be in a better position than EU27 after a “no deal Brexit”, because if there’s a logjam at Dover Britgov can break it by waiving the need for customs checks, whereas EU27 would have to follow the bureaucratic procedure of seeking agreement from all or most of the EU’s remaining member states.


      Reality check: Britain depends on EU27 for food, and EU27 does not depend on Britain for food.

      Yet we still hear this crazy line that don’t worry, the poshboys will allow food to the lower orders, because foreigners are bureaucratic and incompetent and waste their time on strange foreign rituals, unlike the straight-backed British poshboys, who were born knowing how to give orders in a crisis.

      The truth: the posh boys ain’t good at shit, other than lining their pockets, raking off a percentage, telling sneering lies, and preparing to worship their god Thomas Malthus as high-concentration working class residential areas get left to go to f***.

      • joeblogs

        An interesting take on what might happen, although it was fiction, is the television drama series, ‘Noah’s Castle.’
        It aired, and was set, in the 1970’s. Filmed in black and white, it shows a Britain under martial law with food riots and lorry hi-jacks commonplace, particularly in the big cities on the brink of starvation. The hoarding of food becomes an offence punishable by prison, but, more often than not, death at the hands of a lynch mob.
        This was shown less than twenty years after war rationing of petrol, food, clothing etc., was lifted.

      • Vivian O'Blivion

        I would declare a foul, metallic taint of grievance politics in the whole endeavour but I’m not sure I am qualified to comment. Being an occasionaly sober Celt, I can’t remember our European neighbors being nefariously enclined ragards our general wellbeing. Perhaps some beastly foreigner jumped the queue on the infinitely self entitled Jacob Rees-Mogg in his formative years? Perhaps the posh boys feel no grievance at all but rather seek to propagate it amongst the proles to further their ambitions of occupying the big chair?

  • Anders Novichok

    I see all the theorists grasping on to any shred of hope they have. Putin knows the “real” identity of these two clowns and they are innocent civilians apparently, not travelling illegally on fake passports with fake visas for the UK? Maybe the hotels in Salisbury were too expensive or not posh enough for their weekend away so they stayed in a 2 star central London Hotel instead. So they travelled across southern England by train to visit the tourism hotbed of central Salisbury rather than pop in to Stonehenge Visitors centre? Maybe they thought the antique shop they visited had stone-age artefacts in it? Ha ha halfwits, the pair of them.

      • Borncynical


        Perhaps you could clarify why you think this. It strikes me it was more a case that they weren’t trying NOT to be seen, which of course isn’t the same at all.

    • Borncynical

      “two clowns” – very presumptive description, when you consider how we actually know next to nothing about them and why they were in Salisbury. Put it like this, I know more about you than I do about them so if you would like a definition of “clown” I would be happy to provide it.

  • Peter

    Further to ol’ Sharp Ears’ reference to Peter Hitchens’ blog regarding military intervention in Syria above, this is from Monday’s (10th) Hansard during an urgent question on Syria:

    “Emily Thornberry: … First, will he assure us that if there are any reports of chemical weapons attacks, particularly in areas of Idlib controlled by HTS, the Government will not take part in any military action in response until the OPCW has visited those sites, under the protection of the Turkish Government, independently verified those reports and attributed responsibility for any chemical weapons used? Secondly, if the Government intend to take such action, thus escalating Britain’s military involvement in Syria and risking clashes with Russian and Iranian forces, will the Minister of State guarantee the House that we will be given a vote to approve such action before it takes place, even if that means recalling Parliament?”

    To which the minister replied:

    “Alistair Burt: … I am not prepared to say at this stage what the United Kingdom’s detailed reaction might be or to give any timescale, because the importance of responding appropriately, quickly and with the safety of personnel in mind will be uppermost in the mind of the United Kingdom.”

    Public influence on MPs (ie democracy actually working) stopped us becoming embroiled in the insanity of the Syrian war when previously Cameron wanted to take us in, so, as Hitchens suggests, now would be the time to urgently contact your MP to state your position and demand that there is no move to war without the prior approval of parliament.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Alistair Burt: … I am not prepared to say at this stage what the United Kingdom’s detailed reaction might be or to give any timescale, because the importance of responding appropriately, quickly and with the safety of personnel in mind will be uppermost in the mind of the United Kingdom.”

      So, when contemplating WW3 with the consequent deaths of every human being on Earth, it is more important to act quickly than to wait for any evidence to be collected.

      As for “the mind of the United Kingdom”, that is a pretty funny idea. Since we are individual human beings, not some vast hive mind like the Borg or Frank Herbert’s “Green Brain”, there is no such thing.

      Which is also very true of HMG, and apparently of Mr Burt.

    • Sharp Ears

      Not so much of the ‘ol’ Peter 🙂 Don’t believe anything Anon1 writes.

      As my MP is a Tory stooge and has a ministerial post, do you think I would be wasting my time writing? When I do. I normally receive an acknowledgement from one of the three parliamentary assistants in their office and then a reply comes weeks later which is basically a proforma.

      See how many staff are being paid from the public purse. There must be a large bureaucracy running it. HR, salaries, etc.
      Register Of Interests Of Members’ Secretaries And Research Assistants [as at 22 August 2018]

      It’s illuminating to see who is being employed and how many trips are made. One MP Ian Austin even employs the Director of Labour Friends of Israel, Jennifer Gerber.

      Thornberry employs nine people!

      • Peter

        @ Sharp Ears – No offence meant Sharpy, sorry I mean Sharp Ears, I meant it as in “Good ol …’” or “Ol friend” given your regular, I’m sure appreciated, contributions here.

        Your MP may indeed be impervious to reason but you never know what impact a large expression of public opinion may have, especially when we have a minority government, especially as an early general election is a distinct possibility and especially when said early general election could deliver the Tories’ worst fears – a Corbyn lead government. So your views could still carry weight.

        And let’s be clear, if Trump/America takes the supremely foolish and catastrophic decision to intervene militarily in Syria to effect regime change and May chooses to join in, quite apart from the appalling, still greater increase in death and destruction this would cause, it would be a de facto, if not de jure, declaration of war on Russia. We have potentially reached that level of madness.

        There can be fewer occasions when it is appropriate to make your views known to your MP/Parliament.

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