OPINION: Jumping The Gun – The UKIP Response To The Russia Crisis
Let me start with a confession. I totally understand why many members of UKIP love and admire Vladimir Putin. He is a strong leader who rules his country with a patriotic zeal that many of us wish our own politicians were capable of and he does really ‘Put Russia First’. However, whenever my mind turns to the Russian regime my responses to it are conditioned by weariness and a lot of this has nothing really to do with Russia or indeed Putin himself but it ultimately boils down to his support for Iran which is clearly a material threat to the very existence of Israel, a country which through my faith is dear to my heart.
So, I approach this whole question in a bit of an equivocal and conflictual place. Initially, I felt that if Russia was responsible for the attack in Salisbury then this would be a horrific infringement of our national sovereignty and I still feel that were that to be the case then that would remain objectively true. However, it is increasingly clear to me that this is highly unlikely to be the case and that the Russian government and Vladimir Putin are the victims of a politically motivated hatchet-job.
Jurisprudence demands two things. One is that a defendant is presumed innocent until guilty and, this being the case, that reasonable doubt benefits the defence and results in an acquittal. It is quite clear that the British governments’ evidence against Russia is at the very best circumstantial and at worst completely non-existent. Indeed, as the days roll on, the case made by Theresa May is spectacularly imploding under the weight of its obvious contradictions.
This makes the response of the UKIP leadership unfortunate, to say the least. Gerard Batten kicked off our response with a highly emotive piece on UKIP Daily. He stated:
The poisoning of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia was almost certainly carried out on the orders of the Russian state.
Well no, as we have just explored, that is far from being ‘almost certain’. He went on to retell the story of the killing of Alexander Litvinenko, a murder it is more likely the Russian state WAS responsible for, sadly, his involvement with and closeness to that case seems to have coloured Mr Batten’s judgement in this case and severely, I would argue, blinded his objectivity. The UKIP Twitter account has run amok, even going so far as to retweet a blatantly fake news piece from The Independent. I strongly suspect that Gawain Towler, the former press officer who apparently is still doing some work pro-bono, is responsible for this not least because his Twitter timeline clearly shows a strong anti-Russia bias.
This would be bad enough but then we come to the piece of nonsense shown below:
UKIP MEPS withdraw from Russian Presidential Election Scrutinyhttps://t.co/Nol7Kl8wi0
— UKIP (@UKIP) 15 March 2018
Getting somewhat ahead of itself, the UKIP leadership has decided to impose its own set of diplomatic sanctions on the Russian regime. However, since the purpose of this monitoring is to ensure that the elections are free and fair and not gamed by Putin, one cannot help but think we just as a Party cut off our nose to spite our face.
Put simply, we have placed ourselves in the invidious position of siding with the British state when it appears that this state is a potentially very short distance away from being exposed as a warmongering liar which has fabricated a false allegation of murder probably to the nefarious end of keeping us well and truly hog-tied to the European Union through common security agencies and maybe even somehow involved in a common defence force. We are conniving in that sense in its betrayal of the British people. Forget Putin, jurisprudence and indeed loyalty to the truth demand that the British government is held properly to account over this issue. If we lose sight of that then we are in serious danger of dooming ourselves as a Party, now should be the time that we return to objectivity and serve those two principles rather than the sinister agenda of Mrs May and the British government.