Notes From the Margins…

Stuck Inside of Moscow with the Kremlin Blues Again

  • September 06, 2013
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Pity David Cameron.   It’s bad enough that he has to show up at the G-20 Conference, all dressed up and no one to bomb, because that “copper-bottomed —-”   Miliband voted against him, thereby denying him the opportunity to stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with Obama.   Then he has to endure the galling spectacle of France riding up on the imperial stagecoach instead, with Hollande really looking like a bespectacled cat that got the cream.

That’s not something any red-blooded Englishman is going to take lying down, and you can forgive Lord Snooty for looking a little like a market trader selling something no one wants to buy:

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron attends the first working session

Because His Lordship does have goods to sell.   That’s why he showed up in Moscow with ‘new’ proof that sarin gas was used in Ghouta, tested at our own Porton Down labs, which he described as a “game-changer.”

Skeptics might think it odd that the United States, France and Britain have all managed to get samples and traces from Ghouta before the UN Inspection Team has published its own findings, even though its members were actually closer to the scene.

Some might ask why and how these samples were “brought to Britain from the Syrian borders”, when they could have been provided to the UN inspectors who were actually on the spot.   But don’t expect to get any answers in a hurry because, according to the Guardian, ” British sources did not give further details of the precise content of the UK tests but said they were confident the samples had not been tampered with during their passage to the Syrian border, and then to Britain.”

His Lordship is also confident, and told the summit yesterday:

We were confident and remain confident that Assad was responsible not only for this chemical weapon attack, when we saw children being gassed on our television screens, but also we know that there have been at least 14 previous chemical weapons attacks.”

The problem is that no one except the US and its cronies share the same confidence that Assad was responsible – or the same conviction that bombing Syria is the correct response even if he was.   The European Union, China, Russia, Brazil, India and even the Pope have all opposed this option.

None of that is likely to bother Cameron too much – he already knew that before he went to Moscow, and like most British prime ministers, there is only one country whose opinion he has any interest in.   But even the US seemed oddly indifferent to His Lordship’s ‘game changer’ , and his hosts were openly dismissive, declaring – not without reason – that any new evidence on chemical weapons should have been presented to the UN.

And then to add insult to injury, Vladimir Putin is reported to have described Britain as ” a small island that no one listens to” except for some “oligarchs who bought Chelsea football club.”   Putin later denied having said this, but the damage was done and Downing Street was piqued, so much so that a   ‘No 10 source’   tried to suggest that the conference was really Made In Britain after all, and that it was driven by “a very British agenda on trade and tax”,   which “highlights how a small island with great people can achieve a big footprint in the world.”

And now His Lordship has stepped up to remind the Gremlin in the Kremlin that “Britain may be a small island, but I would challenge anyone to find a country with a prouder history, a bigger heart or greater resilience.”

It also turns out that we “invented most of the things worth inventing”.

Cameron clearly believes that he is one of those great people with a big heart.   Asked about last week’s vote he praised himself for “the decision to take a strong and principled stand against the gassing of children in Syria” and suggested that those who voted against him lacked conscience and moral backbone or simply don’t care as much as he does.

Others clearly see things rather differently.

And when they look at the downcast figure in Moscow, they may conclude that David Cameron is not great, but is in fact a cynical, opportunistic dilettante devoid  of wisdom, insight or conviction, and frustrated at his failure to drag his country into a war based on a lie.

And some may conclude that such a man deserves to be ‘sidelined’ and feel relieved that no one really seems to be listening to him.

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About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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