It’s April Fool’s Day but I don’t think anyone is in the mood for jokes. After all, we’ve been set up for fools by this government and the MSM for a long time, regardless of the date. The front page of the print edition of the Daily Mirror this morning says it all – it’s right at the top in the BBC’s compilation (link). Other ‘news’ regarding this war make me ashamed of our government. More on that below.
Let’s firstly look at the ‘roubles for gas’ situation. This came into effect today although Putin has permitted a frist of ten days for EU countries to sort themselves out. The reasoning is quite simple: given the sanctions and the freezing of Russian money in their banks operating in the EU, USA and UK, payments in € and $ for Russian gas would go into those frozen accounts. In other words, Russia would deliver gas and oil ‘for free’. Now the payments must be made in roubles. Reuters explains how this will work (link). If you want to read the Russian side, here‘s the RT report.
EU countries apparently believe they have sufficient gas reserves to sit this out. However, I seem to recall reports last autumn that ‘strategic’ gas reserves here in the UK but also in Germany were down to 30%. Remember that gas is not just needed for people to cook with or heat their homes with. It’s needed for industrial production. If there’s not enough to go around, shortages and rationing can be expected.
I wonder if in that case only the readers of the Daily Mirror will be outraged. At the moment they call on Sunak to ‘do something’. Will people be happy to keep supporting Mr Z of the Ukraine against big bad Putin when it means even higher inflation and a reduction in our living standards?
Have a heart though for the Frogs and Jerries! Their leaders said yesterday that they wouldn’t pay in roubles, that Putin was blackmailing their countries and that contracts must be fulfilled (link). Germany, said the green Vice Chancellor Habeck, is ‘prepared’ to go without any Russian gas. Well, the German Green party’s policies are all about returning Germany to a pre-industrial state. Thus it doesn’t matter if all Germans would become poorer (link).
Mr Putin made clear however that non-payment would be a breach of contract (link), so while Green Mr Habeck stamps his green feet, imposing poverty on ordinary Germans, there are the first warnings that gas shortages would severely affect German industries, leading to closures of production sites and job losses, as Reuters reported on Wednesday (link).
I wonder if Sunak and Johnson are aware that the same would happen here because a gas shortage on the world market would affect our industries just as much. Meanwhile, there was a USA-EU meeting in Washington where they talked about ‘moar sanctions’:
“WASHINGTON, March 31. /TASS/. The first meeting of the US-EU High-Level Dialogue on Russia was held in Washington on Wednesday to consider further steps to “isolate Russia further from the U.S. and EU economies and the international financial system,” according to a joint statement of the US Department of State and the European External Action Service. The US side was represented by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland […] (link)
Delicious, isn’t it: in 2014 Madame N became famous for her ‘F*ck the EU’ outburst when she was organising the coup in the Ukraine. And here she is again, collaborating with the EU. I wonder if she dropped a “f*ck China” remark, given that the two parties agreed to put pressure on China not to circumvent those sanctions.
And lo and behold we also learn that some animals are indeed more equal when it comes to sanctions. The USA, the main driver of imposing sanctions, is ‘easing sanctions’ on agricultural products because food prices soar in the USA:
“The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury recently published a new general license dated March 24, which effectively removed restrictions on the import of Russian fertilizers. The document authorized transactions relating to the exportation and re-exportation of agricultural commodities, banned last month by Washington’s ‘Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations’. The list of agro-related products now exempt from sanctions includes food for humans, live animals, vitamins and minerals, food additives and supplements, seeds for food crops, fertilizers, and reproductive materials.” (link)
Sanctions can be eased when they hurt the sanction-makers? Who knew! I wonder what’ll happen if Russia demands payment in roubles for all those products . A Russian MP has already called for that. There’s another dilemma for the keen sanctioneers:
“MOSCOW, March 31. /TASS/. The United States and Europe are afraid that sanctions against Russia’s Kaspersky Lab software company will add to the risks of cyberattacks against Western countries, which is why there is no accord in the US administration concerning restrictions against that company, The Wall Street Journal said on Wednesday, citing its sources. According to the sources, the White House’s National Security Council has postponed discussions of possible sanctions against Kaspersky Lab in the US Department of the Treasury.” (link)
Oh dear. How … awkward. Apparently none of the bright sparks in Washington who demanded that the ties between Russia and the West must be cut as much as possible have realised that this would have an effect on their own industries. At least Washington fears the ire of Americans when food prices soar. There are the mid-term elections in November, a prospect which wonderfully concentrates political minds. We’ll see how our government’s ‘decisions’ will affect the local elections next month.
Will people still remember the utterly shameful, disgusting, war-mongering attitudes and remarks displayed by this government? There’s not just Miz Truss who has made no secret of her ‘undying support’ for the Ukraine, there’s not just Mr Wallace who, according to the BBC, said that “President Putin is not the force he used to be, […] He is now a man in a cage he built himself” (link) because that’s what GCHQ and MI6 told him and us. There’s also the No 10 inmate egging on Mr Z to keep fighting, and there are The Times’ fabulous ‘sources’:
“Some of our allies may be too eager for him [Zelensky] to settle,” a government source said, singling out France, Germany and the US. “We think Ukraine needs to be in the strongest possible position militarily before those talks can take place.” The source said that this could lead to significant concessions on territory, sanctions and the pursuit of Putin as a potential war criminal.” (link, paywalled)
Our government is cheering on the Ukraine from the sidelines with no thought given to the humanitarian cost nor a whisper about war crimes committed by Ukrainian soldiers. It is utterly sickening. It’s as if Johnson’s government has no idea about the actual situation ‘on the ground’.
For example, one of Mr Z’s ministers said that the Ukrainian defence industry had been destroyed (link). Does Johnson really think that ‘military help’ from us will arrive ‘in time’? How, when Russia has shown that they can destroy such convoys and such depots?
I leave you with news from one of the ‘chihuahua states’, Latvia, where displaying the letters ‘Z’ and ‘V’ is now banned (link). That’ll impress Putin no end! This is how to signal one’s virtue without any costs involved – except to make oneself look ridiculous. No, this is not an April Fool’s Day joke.
I better remove Latvia from my holiday ‘bucket list’ lest they refuse me entry because of that suspicious letter ‘V’ in my Christian name …