Ukraine – we can do more
Putin’s unleashing of the most violent act of unprovoked aggression in Europe since 1939 has been matched in Russia by his resorting as never before to lies, violence and shutting-down free-speech.
Though the World’s dispute is with just one psychologically unstable autocrat and not with the Russian people, the consequential sanctions have triggering the biggest commodity shock since 1973, including one of the worst disruptions to wheat supplies since the first world war. Although commodity exchanges were already in chaos, we have yet to feel the full effects of rising petrol bills, potential food shortages and political instability. Putin will retaliate. Though he won’t care what that means for others, least of all the poor and vulnerable in his own country, the consequences will reverberate.
Though flag-waving gesture politics help to lift the spirit, it’s what our nations actually do to support Ukraine that counts. In that regard, I continue to the hold the (admittedly small minority) position that the West should give Ukraine the air support it repeatedly requests. Their ground forces, cities, hospitals, schools and people are sitting ducks to Putin’s cowardly carpet-bombing of that Country. It’s all unprovoked cold-blooded murder. I really don’t think we should believe that Putin will care less about the economic consequences of the sanctions, from which he’s personally insulated anyway.
It’s disappointing that the UK has again conspired to present itself as mean-spirited. The Conservatives perpetuating their dog-whistle ‘hostile environment’ immigration policy to desperate Ukrainians fleeing the war. The grubby excuses are of course routinely ventriloquised by local MPs using the usual Tory-central script. Shameful; though Ministers’ have made desperate attempts recently to back-peddle with reluctant concessions.
We can also see what true national leadership looks like. President Zelenskyy demonstrates selflessness, adherence to principle, determination. A comfort and inspiration to his Country in the most challenging circumstances imaginable.
Then there’s our PM, using someone else’s War to do the only thing he’s moderately good at; theatrical grandstanding. But only in a desperate attempt to redeem his tattered reputation as a serial liar who treats his country with disrespect and takes the public for fools. The contrast is embarrassing, and very damaging the the UK’s reputation around the world.