In what some have called a wonderful turn of phrase considering the way his Momentum supporters are known for absolute intolerance of differing viewpoints, Jeremy Corbyn has written an article in the Guardian trying to rally support for his increasingly isolated stance on Russia by warning against a “McCarthyite intolerance of dissent”.
Evidently struggling to accept that the Russian government might be responsible for using nerve agents to assassinate people in the UK, Corbyn warned that Theresa May should not “rush way ahead of the evidence”, described the atmosphere in Westminster as “fevered” and suggested that the nerve agent attack could have been carried out by Russian-linked gangsters rather than ordered by Moscow.
The latter suggestion is of course possible, but would require levels of corruption that beggar belief to explain away the sale of nerve agents to criminals, and extraordinary levels of incompetence in the management, storage, and tracking of what are, no matter how you look at it, weapons of mass destruction.
It is a truly desperate straw to be grabbing at, given that the Russian mafia typically deal with enemies in a much more cost-effective manner. Maybe Jeremy knows something the rest of us don’t. Maybe the Russian mafia in London are known to have purchased nerve gas or nerve agents from corrupt Russian military officials, shipped them across to the UK and used them to bump off folks they don’t like. Maybe we all missed the memo.
Still, he did at least admit that the “horrific event” demands the “most thorough and painstaking criminal investigation”.
Corbyn’s comments come in stark contrast to leaders across the world, as the US, France, Germany and Britain made a joint statement backing UK investigators’ conclusion that Russia was the likely culprit for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4.
We get the impression Mr Corbyn likes being in opposition. It allows him to criticise everything the government does without actually taking responsibility for anything. It also allows him to persude people that he has the answer to every problem, and make promises he doesn’t have to put into practice. He can more or less say and do anything he likes, with no strings attached, as if the entire electorate was his personal ‘friend with benefits‘.
But being the leader of the opposition doesn’t mean slagging off the government no matter what, or kissing Russia’s butt no matter what. The leader of the opposition has an obligation to add strength to the government of the day by offering unreserved public support when dealing with terrorist murderers, whether they be individuals or states.
Naturally, he has both the right and ability to express any doubts or reservations to the Prime Minister in private. Anything else is shameful and fully deserving of ‘McCarthyite intolerance.’