The news currently is dominated by the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia which took place sometime last Sunday. In fact so much so that other news, one might feel is equally important, isn’t getting much of a mention.
The outbreak of hubris and the wall to wall coverage, once again casting the Russians as the villains, also overlooks the fact that the British Government, as recently as 21st August 2015 deliberately targeted and killed Junaid Khan with an RAF drone strike in the Raqqa area of Syria, with Junaid Hussain similarly killed three days later by the Americans. However, this is all, apparently, quite ok. This extrajudicial and highly suspect action of direct assassination was justified by a defence that you or I would have some difficulty in applying under any other circumstances, that of pre-emptive self-defence.
In short, the British government murdered a British citizen on foreign soil, with a very dodgy excuse, which is exactly what we are accusing the Russians of doing (without the excuse bit) and described by the Home Secretary as outrageous.
Apart from the fact that the UK actions are factual and uncontested the culpability of the Russian government is much less clear, but quite handy for a whipping up of anti-Russian sentiment on the grounds that they have done it before, only that was never proven either. It’s not a very reliable process to take an event which wasn’t proven, as evidence of a repeated event, of a similar type, also not proven. I wonder if it might be possible for agents of another power, who have a vested interest in blaming the Russians, could have staged this elaborate stitch up? After all, much of it makes no sense and rather akin to dropping the murder weapon in someone else’s pocket and hoping that the following frenzy prevents the authorities from looking too closely.
We’ll probably never know the true story, yet in any event, it’s takes some gall to chastise the wrongdoing of a foreign power for doing exactly what we do as well. It’s not right either way, and the worry is that the eagerness to stick it to Putin may well negate any thorough efforts to find out who really did it. The ‘did they, didn’t they’ speculation is to newsworthy events as an old-style London smog was to carefree driving, so quite useful for burying other stuff that we might not like too much.
So, what else might be of interest and invisible, so much so, that one will only find it in the pages of Private Eye.
When the Beast of the East showed up, a time when we needed more gas, not much flowed at all. The reason for this was the restrictions placed on French traders by French regulators to stop selling us gas in case they needed it themselves. Not for the first time have the French shown such true European Unity, because the EU issued a minor reprimand when the French did exactly the same thing fourteen years ago. Don’t expect any action now though, as we’re in the naughty corner.
The result of this was a hike in the wholesale price of gas from 50p a therm, to 450p a therm. That’s about nine times higher. You’ll all be pleased to know that we’ll be paying for this later in the year.
So why is this such a non-story, particularly as the National Grid issued the first ‘gas-deficit’ warning in eight years?
It seems that the pro Brexit effect that such dastardly doings might generate outweighs the beneficial effect of reminding all the anti-frackers out there that relying on foreign imports of gas is a really risky option, particularly when we have enough of our own. That our providers are the French cuts no ice as they might just as well be the Russians for all the difference it makes.
If the gas goes off it can’t just be switched back on again. Back in the day when the gas industry was a single entity, there were enough engineers to visit every property to ‘turn on’, but in today’s fragmented world it’s not certain that it could be done, particularly as an unplanned exercise.
We may not know what areas would be affected or how many people, so it will be the equivalent of a military exercise on a grand scale to return supplies to normal. This won’t happen in July or August, of course, but in a similarly, bitterly cold, period when people may be without heating or cooking facilities for days or perhaps weeks.
Self-sufficiency in energy is a priority for the UK and will become more so as time goes on. You simply can’t trust imported supplies, even those of our European ‘friends’.
However, not a mention of this in the national press, TV or radio as everyone is preoccupied in extending the nerve agent story for a long as possible in the hope that everyone will have forgotten how perilous our energy supplies are, and the Remainers can continue to tell us how we simply cannot survive unless we are ruled by the unelected foreigners.
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