Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Labour Party dilemma: could you see Labour MP Diane Abbott as Home Secretary, Abbott says UK Government rushed to blame Putin for Salisbury attack without enough facts; her intervention is more about support Jeremy Corbyn’s view than adding anything to the debate, thank God that Abbott isn’t Home Secretary

Dear All

Sorry for being off for a bit but I have been having internet problems which are still ongoing. I was hoping that the library would get it's act together but apparently not just yet.

So, here is a question could you see Labour MP Diane Abbott as Home Secretary?

In politics, like football anything can happen but the idea of Diane Abbott stepping up from Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott to do the job as a Minister is something which I wouldn’t support.

Diane Abbot made a name for herself playing the race card, and if you google you can find examples of her putting her foot in her mouth. Abbott is close to Jeremy Corbyn which explains why she has a key role in his shadow cabinet.

In times of national crisis, party politics need to be pushed to one side, the good of the nation comes first, well that’s the theory but the reality appears to be rather different among some in the Labour Party.

Diane Abbott says the UK Government has rushed to blame Putin for Salisbury attack. In politics, there are some who are opportunist and latch on to anything to attack the Government. That said Labour has accused the Government of rushing to blame Vladimir Putin, after scientists at Porton Down said they had not verified that the substance came from Russia.

So why can’t the scientists at Porton Down not verify the substance which they have identified is military grade nerve agent came from Russia? They are scientists, they aren’t the intelligence services, and you would think that Diane Abbott would know this as an elected politician.

Porton Down hasn’t cleared Russia, and although the development has ratcheted up tensions between Moscow and London, the Russians need to be entertained by some incredibly blunt and plain speaking. The opportunity for that should be done at the extraordinary meeting of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague. The meeting was called by Russia to discuss the case, and since a lot of their spies have been kicked out of European countries and the US, they aren’t happy.

When the incident in Salisbury happened and the weapon was identified as a military grade nerve agent called Novichok, and used on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, I didn’t think Russian denial was plausible at all. In fact, I thought, this is the Russians signing their names to this attempted murder as a warning to others. Let’s face it, the Russians could have easily opted for the traditional approach and shot them, and if they were worried about upsetting the neighbours, a silencer or suppressor works wonders. In light of the gun crime in London, this would have blended into the background as just another random act of murder.

And in London there have been a huge increase in crime, especially violent crime under the London Mayor, as an aside there is a case for more funding for Police in the Capital to made, in terms of national security.

Although Putin, the Rissian President has said there is an “anti-Russian campaign” going on there isn’t, what there is an abuse, former Russian spy Sergei Skripal should have been off limits, he was exchanged in a spy swap, killing him serves no purpose, he is retired, any information from him has already been taken by both sides.

What the Russians are doing by this show is back peddling, when they did their ‘tit for tat’ revenge in expelling UK diplomats from Russia, it convinced me even more that the Russians did the Salisbury attack. Their responses and the output from their RT Channel about spies not being safe in the UK just added to the conviction that our Russians colleagues overreached themselves.

What Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott is doing is trying to support Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who has been under attack for sometime, and attempt to raise his standing by saying that he should now be given credit for demanding more evidence before allocating blame.

As I mentioned before numerous times, when it comes to foreign affairs, this is an area where Jeremy Corbyn does rather badly.

The Government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), Gary Aitkenhead has said the military-grade Novichok nerve agent which could probably be deployed only by a nation-state. In other words, the list of ‘who done it’ has decreased dramatically. Although anyone can pull a trigger, the ability to make and use Novichok is something which requires extensive training, plus the ability to smuggle this into the UK is a feat in itself.    

At present, there is a disinformation war going on, the Russians have even suggested that the UK might have poisoned the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Presumably the Russians think if they keep throwing mud there is a chance that some of it might stick.

Not in this case.

I think the conclusion by the British public would be this, our Russian cousins have overreached themselves here and the ‘good idea’ to finish off some unfinished might have looked like a winner on paper but the aftermath hasn’t been thought out.

The people in the UK aren’t stupid, someone has to pay for what happened in Salisbury, whether that is done privately or publicly between the UK and Russia remains to be seen, however no body means no forgiveness, and no business as usual. Of course we all accept that our Russian cousins are spying on us and we are on them.

But unless someone is about to blow someone or something up as an imminent threat, they don’t deserve a bullet or indeed nerve agent used against them.

Finally, Diane Abbott intervention seems to be more about shallow internal party politics rather than looking at the bigger picture. All I can say is thank goodness that she isn’t in charge of the Home Office, in the midst of a national crisis; we are finding that she doesn’t have it upstairs where it counts in the mental department.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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