Feb 28th, 22:45
Blog - 28th February 2022
Readers of this blog will know that I usually write about public services such as local government and housing.
However, this week is an exception.
I am sure that we are all shocked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
I am also shocked at what I consider to be the inadequate response of the British government.
I have therefore written to my MP as follows:
28th February 2022
Dr Neil Hudson MP,
House of Commons,
London. SW1A 0AA.
Sent by email to: email@example.com
Dear Dr Hudson,
I am writing to you as one of your constituents because I am concerned at what I consider to be the inadequate response of the British government to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
You will be aware that in 1994 the Budapest memorandum was signed. This obliged Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons in return for security guarantees from Britain and the USA. However, now that Ukraine has been attacked, Britain and the USA have gone back on their word, refused to provide military assistance to Ukraine (other than supplying some equipment) and are relying on totally inadequate sanctions. I think we should introduce firmer sanctions and not rule out military involvement.
Several hundred thousand refugees have already left Ukraine and are being sheltered principally in Eastern European countries. It is estimated that eventually there may be millions. The generosity of people in places like Poland and Romania towards these refugees is remarkable. However, as with all refugees, Britain is displaying a churlish attitude, providing inadequate aid to refugees who are in Eastern Europe and resisting those who wish to claim asylum in Britain. Britain should be more generous both in providing finance and in accepting refugees.
While Britain is making it clear that it would come to the aid of a NATO member that was attacked by Russia, the same statements clearly imply that it would NOT come to the aid of Finland or Sweden if they were attacked. These countries are close allies of Britain and I think a clear statement should be made that Britain would come to their aid if necessary.
It is often said that Britain should avoid war with Russia but these statements miss the point. Britain is already at war with Russia. Not only because the attack on Ukraine is an attack on every democracy on the planet, but because for years Russia has sought to undermine democracy and democratic countries – including Britain - using several means including terrorism, information technology, finance and political involvement. Russia has attacked several neighbouring countries and shot down a civilian plane over Ukraine. Russia has even sent agents to Britain to assassinate political opponents, killing innocent bystanders in the process and the British government has done next to nothing. The time for appeasement has long since passed.
London seems to be the main centre for the laundering of money by the criminal oligarchs who sustain Putin’s regime. I cannot understand why this has been allowed to happen, but it should be stopped. Russian money has also been used to fund political parties and political campaigns including the Conservative Party and the Vote Leave campaign. Some British political leaders have openly expressed admiration for Putin while others appear on ‘Russia Today’. Some ministers have made inane remarks about the war. This leads to a suspicion that British politicians and institutions may be serving Russian paymasters rather than legitimate interests. We need more transparency in business and politics. Releasing the report on Russian interference in the European Union referendum campaign would be a good start.
Despite the danger that Russia (and some other countries) represent to Britain and to the democratic world, this government has made significant reductions in the budgets of the armed forces and security services. Britain should follow Germany’s example and increase these budgets.
Successive British governments have not only failed to see the danger posed by Putin but have pursued policies that must delight him. For example, it was Britain that vetoed NATO’s plan to intervene in the Syrian civil war on the side of those who wanted democratic reform; and it is Britain that seems intent on creating divisions in Europe. Despite what most British politicians and journalists seem to think, politics is not a game. As we are seeing in Ukraine, it is a serious matter, a matter of life and death. Britain needs serious politicians and cannot afford to be led by people who are at best ‘useful idiots’. Surely the Conservative Party can find better leaders than the ones they have at present!
I hope that you will use your influence to address the issues that I have identified in this letter.
If you agree with me I would urge you to write to your MP in the same way.
I would also urge you to support the Ukrainian refugees by donating to the United Nations Refugee Agency at Donate to UK for UNHCR (unrefugees.org.uk)