Russia, the Ukraine and the West

I have no more liking for governments that kill their own voters than most who write about the Ukraine. Nor do I like corrupt governments, or Presidents who imprison their opponents. These ways of behaving are incompatible with a modern democracy.

Equally incompatible with democracy is taking to the streets with Molotov cocktails, pulling up the cobbles and paving stones to throw at the police, or taking over the main buildings of a government in paramilitary uniforms, with weapons in hand. The dreadful scenes from the Ukraine, and the tragic loss of life, shows that country has a long way to go to create a stable democracy.

In a democracy those who disagree with the government campaign noisily but peacefully for change, in the knowledge that a bad government will be thrown out at the next election anyway with a peaceful transition to something new. Opposition enjoys immunity for what it says, short of libel. In a democracy the government moves willingly towards its critics when they have good points to prevent its popularity plunging too far. Both sides accept the rule of law, and the police are neutral. The government does not shoot or imprison political opponents, and political opponents do not take to arms themselves.

So far I trust all are in agreement with me. We then have to ask what is the role of the EU in these fast changing events in the Ukraine? Does it make sense to be on one side and to encourage revolution, when the west if it has an interest should be helping a fractured country build a more stable democracy? Did the negotiations the EU undertook to force change on the government help, when the revolutionaries saw the compromise as a sign of weakness that they need not accept. The EU compromise did not last for a single day.

The events in the Ukraine revealed the weakness of EU intervention, given the fact that the EU was never going to intervene on the ground to reassert law and order and decide who governs. The main issue concerning the EU is how is its intervention perceived by others outside the Ukraine? What will it do to Russia, who has interests in the region? Does it make a split in the Ukraine between the Russian influenced East and the EU influenced west more likely? Isn’t the EU just playing dangerous big power politics over the heads of a troubled country, without the troops and the political will to intervene directly? I hasten to add that the last thing I want is an armed EU that does intervene.

The west generally has to understand that Russia has legitimate interests in the region, as well as being a force to reckon with. Whilst I am no lover of Russian policy here either, I do think the west needs to distinguish between Mr Putin’s legitimate needs and aims, and where he pushes too far in an anti democratic direction.

If the EU were serious about challenging Mr Putin they should first gain energy independence by going for cheap locally produced energy instead of relying on Russian gas. One of the main reasons I want my country to be able to run its own affairs again is I think pushing for energy self sufficiency for the UK is a realistic goal, if only we did not have to follow EU policies. A country or group of countries that is dependent on too much imported energy will always have to compromise in ways it may not like.


  1. arschloch
    February 24, 2014

    JR spot on analysis on the real game here being to clip Putin’s wings by starving him of hard currency gas sales to the West. Apart from this, Putin is not going to roll over if the Russian navy is going to lose its lease on Sebastopol and access to the Black Sea. Its also nice to see, as the UK remains under water, little George Osborne being so generous with our taxes to the voters in the Ukraine. However you can only wonder how much para 3 still applies to the UK, especially with regard to the “rule of law” that went out of the window with Iraq.

    1. Hope
      February 24, 2014

      Well said. Why is Osborne pledging to give money to the Ukraine, money he has to borrow pay interest on and give away. Another dull way to support the EU by pretending to give money independently of it.

      Some of JR’s comments are well intended but not accurate. What choice do people have when a government acts in contrast of its wishes and protest in a peaceful way ie EU referendum, gay marriage? Our government is leaving itself open to civil disorder by continuing to ignore the public view and offering no different political choice ie all pro EU parties acting a regional representatives of the EU. EU has already made political coups in Greece and Italy demonstrating democracy has no place in Europe, it does not have a good track record. EU also appoints commissioners they are not elected by any citizen of the 27 nations. Ukraine would be best served sticking with Russia. Osborne should not be using our money for such EU initiatives.

      Before condemning others it might be a good idea to reflect what British personnel were involved in the capture and killing of Gadaffi. A horrible man may be, but he deserved to be treated within the rule of law and there was no international mandate for regime change. Has Cameron been held to account for the UK involvement in the capture and killing? His actions caused distrust with China and Russia. They have every right not to trust Cameron, as the public have learnt since he has been in office, you cannot believe a word he says.

      Reply I am glad people in the UK do not resort to violence when they do not get their way by democratic means. The UK public can vote for a referendum next time at the General Election – the Conservatives will have that as a key plank of their election.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 24, 2014

        To reply: Indeed me too, but they do need a democratic means that is real and works, rather than a superficial con/veneer as now.

        Every time the public is mugged by local authorities, motorist mugging camera cars, silly fines, excessive taxes, more EU, expensive religious energy, pointless regulations, endless ratting on election promises and police who behave as they very clearly did after the Hillsborough disaster then democracy is diminished. Every time they see that it is one rule for the state sector and MPs and another for the pension less, cash cow workers also diminishes democracy.

        Did Eric Pickles not promise to get rid of the motorist mugging camera cars? Are the government ratting on that one too now?

        1. Hope
          February 25, 2014

          Is this the sort of EU referendum where if the result goes against they keep asking for a referendum like in Ireland? Or perhaps the EU constitution rejected in France and Holland only to be renamed and forced through by deceitful means. With Cameron’s aging he will never lead the UK out of the EU, based on his track record and that of the EU, who in their right mind would believe him?

          Taxpayers’ ones should not be used for the Ukraine no matter how much he EU might want it, Ashton should not be allowed to speak on the UK behalf- we did not elect her!

      2. APL
        February 24, 2014

        JR: “I am glad people in the UK do not resort to violence when they do not get their way by democratic means.”

        Ho ho ho! At last a statement by a politician you can take to the bank.

        (if you can find one still solvent).

      3. The Prangwizard
        February 24, 2014

        Violence does pay and is legitimised- look at the anti-frackers. They have sympathisers in government so they get away with it. The police are afraid to enforce the law.

      4. Mark B
        February 24, 2014

        It will be like the Scottish referendum. You have two choices, and only two choices:

        a) Continued membership of the UK, but still Governed by the EU


        b) Independence from the UK but still Governed by the EU.

        In other words: EU Membership or Associate Membership (EU-Lite).

      5. JA
        February 24, 2014

        John Redwood said, “Reply I am glad people in the UK do not resort to violence when they do not get their way by democratic means. The UK public can vote for a referendum next time at the General Election – the Conservatives will have that as a key plank of their election. ”

        Yes they do resort to violence in Britain – hence riot squads. Though it does not seem to be Conservative people and nor Ukip people it seems.

        It is interesting to see what pro EU people do when they don’t get what they want, as in Ukraine.

        Yet it is we who are called loons and fruitcakes.

      6. uanime5
        February 25, 2014

        EU has already made political coups in Greece and Italy demonstrating democracy has no place in Europe, it does not have a good track record.

        Not much of a coup given that both countries have held elections since then.

        EU also appoints commissioners they are not elected by any citizen of the 27 nations.

        The leader of each EU country chooses who they want their commissioner to be, so it’s not the EU’s fault if you don’t like who Cameron chose.

        1. Sean O'Hare
          February 25, 2014

          Actually we don’t like who Gordon Brown chose.

        2. Hope
          February 25, 2014

          Representatives of the people are elected by the people not appointed by other politicians, this is part of democracy. If we do not like what they do they get kicked, not given a huge EU pension for life as long as they remain loyal and maintain promoting the EU!

          EU stole the money of ordinary citizens in Cyprus, and, yes, there were coups in a Italy and Greece because the EU did not want the public to have a vote and did not want the predicted outcome. The same total lack of democracy regarding the EU constitution.

          If it acceptable for Ashton to offer support to those who promoted violence to get their way why should it be so different when the actions are against the EU? Incredulously Osborne is reported to want to give taxpayers’ money to these people!

        3. Mark B
          February 25, 2014

          A Coup is a coup, irrespective of what happens after. An elected official’s were removed from their posts at the request of others and not the people. That is interference in the internal affairs of another country.

          Commissioners are selected by an individual from each Member State, by someone from one of the Member States, usually a PM. But I have, and never will be consulted on such an appointment and, neither will I ever be able to vote for or against that appointment.

          This is the issue that you and others fail to address. These Commissioners are very powerful people. But we have very little control over them, and that is deliberate. There can be no change to this state of affairs since, that is what was intended for us.

          I was never asked or gave any consent to be governed in this way.

  2. Mark W
    February 24, 2014

    Apart from it not being the business of the EU to interfere or even encourage an uprising against a democratically elected government of a foreign nation the EU should have its own tongue in cheek as the EU commission is anything but elected itself.

    1. Mark B
      February 24, 2014

      Mark W

      I am sorry but you are wrong. It is the business of the EU because they deem it so ! Not that the UK Government get a say, let a lone you or I.

      The EU is a political project. This is politics, on a world stage. Its is what the EU is for, power-projection. Trouble is, they are going to start to step on a lot of peoples toes, and they going to find some countries do not like that much and will respond.

      1. Mark W
        February 25, 2014

        One can only hope that the EU has stuck its nose in once too often. I would quite enjoy watching them grovel to mr Putin to turn the gas supplies back on.

  3. Mike Stallard
    February 24, 2014

    One of the main attractions of joining “Europe” was that a great country like our own needs to be at the top table. If we “go it alone” we are a small country. The EU provides us with a “place at the top table” where we can resume our natural place of world power against China, Brazil and Russia.

    I note that it was the Foreign Ministers of Poland, France and Germany who were invited to discuss the crisis, Mr Haig was left on the sidelines.

    And Baroness Kathy Ashton of Upholland, the Foreign Minister of the EU in all but name, is now in a position to exercise all the power which the European Union wields. I look forward with interest to her first statement on the crisis and to her support for Ukrainian people so desperate to join her Federation of European States, the USE, that they will sacrifice their own lives.

    PS I don’t see any Scottish rioters. Why not?

    1. Hope
      February 24, 2014

      There is no such top table, a myth peddled by Euro fanatics like Clegg, Major etc.

    2. Timaction
      February 24, 2014

      Mr Redwood, when do you think the United Kingdom will return to being a democracy? With so much power given away to unelected dictators and most of our laws made by unaccountable foreigners, people are waking up to the knowledge that those in Westminster are NOT in charge. In fact Westminster is irrelevant. Most competencies have been given away to the EU and our President Barrosso has told us all recently that your leader hasn’t even started to talk about renegotiation or anything else, and that free movement of people is sacrosanct?
      We are living in a dictatorship where we aren’t even in control of who can come here and leach off our public services that we are taxed to provide. Particularly health and education.
      It is simply unaffordable to have a welfare state and free public services whilst being a member of the EU and free uncontrolled movement of people.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 24, 2014


      2. Mark B
        February 24, 2014

        We will only be free of the EU when we stop giving legitimacy to those who clearly do not wish to govern in the best interests of this nation and its people.

    3. Denis Cooper
      February 24, 2014

      Actually watching events in Kiev it crossed my mind that in March 2016 we might witness similar scenes in Edinburgh.

      The UK government is not standing in the way of Scotland breaking away from the UK if that is what the Scots want, and it is facilitating the process of trying to find out what the Scots want, so at present it is both legal and peaceful.

      But suppose there was a “yes” vote this September, and the UK government said that it accepted that result and so the multi-strand negotiations began; and then the Scots found out that the leaders of the three main Westminster parties had meant what they said and there would be no currency union, and the Spanish government had meant what it said and Scotland would not be allowed to slip easily into the EU as a new member state; and negotiations stalled and March 24th 2016, Salmond’s appointed “Independence Day”, was fast approaching, so he agreed to defer that date for the final separation; but extreme elements in the SNP would not accept that and demanded that the Scottish government made a unilateral declaration of independence on that arbitrarily appointed day as had been promised … then it could end with riots in Edinburgh.

      JR, as it seems that many Scots do not believe that the Westminster politicians mean what they say when they reject Salmond’s proposal for a currency union, and instead agree with him that it is just a bluff, would it not be possible for the UK Parliament to rush through an Act forbidding any such currency union unless it had been approved by a referendum in the rest of the UK? I would promise not to say anything about that Act being susceptible to normal repeal …

      Reply Yes, the 3 parties in Parliament could legislate like that, or could legislate to say if Scotland left they could not join a currency union with us, but I see no indication the leaders want to do this.

      1. Denis Cooper
        February 24, 2014

        If it was put into law ASAP that a currency union with Scotland would have to be approved by a referendum in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, just as by the present law a currency union with the eurozone states would have to be approved by a referendum, then any sensible Scot would realise that it would definitely not happen and take that into account when voting in September. At present about two thirds of Scots would prefer to keep the pound, but half of Scots agree with Salmond that Osborne is just bluffing and only a third believe that he, and Miliband and Alexander, actually mean what they say.

      2. Richard1
        February 24, 2014

        There is a very simple solution to this: it has already been accepted by all parties that we would not join the Euro without a referendum. The principle should simply be clarified so as to include any currency union. So if for whatever reason a UK govt did want to enter into a currency union with the Peoples Republic of Scotland, rUK voters would get a veto on it through a referendum. Such a policy should be an easy win for whoever proposes it in Parliament, as who would dare oppose such a motion? Why has no Conservative backbencher yet proposed this – or am I missing something?

      3. APL
        February 24, 2014

        JR: “Scotland left they could not join a currency union ”

        Salmond wants a sterling currency union simply because after independence if things go downhill for the newly independent state, he can point and say, “it’s the fault of them English”.

      4. Mark B
        February 24, 2014

        I agree with Denis. It fits in with my belief that a referendum for the rest of the UK that, independence means just that, independence and no currency union, would focus minds North of the Border.

        Do we still have time to do something on this ? Even if it comes too late in the day for the Scottish Referendum, something for the rest of the UK may still have an effect.

        1. Denis Cooper
          February 24, 2014

          Yes, with support from all three main parties a Bill can get through both Houses and become law within a few days.

          On July 5th 2011 Theresa May introduced an urgent Bill to remove doubts raised by a court judgement, and that became law on July 12th 2011:

          That was fast but it could be even faster, and a Bill designed to convince sceptical the Scots that the rest of the UK would not agree to a currency union with an independent Scotland could be kept short and simple.

    4. APL
      February 25, 2014

      And Baroness Kathy Ashton of Upholland, the Foreign Minister of the welfare beneficiary in chief of the EU ,

      Fixed that for you Mr Stallard.

  4. sm
    February 24, 2014

    Where are Talleyrand and Metternich when you need them? I look at the likes of Ashton and Barrosso and I despair.

    1. Alte Fritz
      February 24, 2014

      Good point. It is hard to imagine either of them encouraging the sort of humbug which causes much more harm than it stops. One would like everyone to play by the rules of a democratic civil society, but relatively few do. We need first and foremost to see and engage with the world as it is. More often than not. it will mean dealing with unpleasant people, but sometimes things do begin to work forward. One should have no illusions about Mr Putin but I would sooner deal with him than any of the General Secretaries formerly in charge. Russia is not a natural enemy.

  5. JoeSoap
    February 24, 2014

    A fair and balanced post.

    There seems to have been no admission by the EU that dependence on Russian gas leaves us exposed when a border state like this becomes unstable.
    Were we not in that position, we would be able to do a cost-benefit analysis on interference in what is, really, totally a third party squabble.

    The other point that comes out is how comparatively tolerant we are in the UK, where first we had Brown stealing from our pension investments, then cow-towing to banks, the public sector and welfare claimants, arranging bank mergers which were anti-competitive, then finally trashing the currency. This followed by the Coalition moving us to de facto rule by the EU, and taxing us practically out of existence to try to repay Brown’s debts.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 24, 2014

      I hear on the today progamme that Alex Salmond is now pissing millions away on carbon capture nonsense. Does Cameron approve of the scientifically, environmentally and economically bonkers carbon capture or not?

      Perhaps he cannot not decide?

      1. Lifelogic
        February 24, 2014

        Nearly twice as expensive to build and 30% of the energy burned is wasted on the capture nonsense.

        1. stred
          February 24, 2014

          And, as with bioethanol where you have to drive 10% extra to save 9% CO2, with carbon capture, you have to burn more coal to make the energy to save the 30%. Salmond is an economist, but perhaps a qualification in mechanical engineering would have helped.

          1. stred
            February 24, 2014

            Sorry= to save 1%.

      2. Richard1
        February 24, 2014

        As I heard it Cameron is proposing it and Salmond is being challenged as to whether it would still go forward in the PRS. Is carbon capture + storage also a nonsense, ive never looked into it?

        1. Lifelogic
          February 24, 2014

          Nearly twice as expensive to build and 30% of the energy burned is then wasted on all the capture nonsense. The difference to World C02 emissions is, after all that, virtually nothing anyway. Or you could spend the money on something useful like dredging, pumping, heathwick or underpinning the rail lines at Dawlish.

        2. A different Simon
          February 24, 2014

          Richard1 ,

          The term “Carbon Capture and Storage/Sequestration” is incorrect and deliberately misleading .

          It would be only half as misleading to call it Oxygen capture and storage because it’s CO2 which is being sequestered not just carbon .

          As lifelogic points out , the overhead in sequestering it in exhausted conventional trap hydrocarbon reservoirs is typically 25% of the net energy produced from burning it so one has to burn 33% more fuel just to generate the same amount of net energy .

          According to Linc Energy CO2 can be sequestered into the char left behind from in-situ gasification of coal seams at a lower energy overhead .

          Currently it only times it make sense is where the CO2 is used for enhanced oil recovery as Norway has been doing for 30 years .

          There might be other uses for it in the future in the production of methane clathrates from the sea bed .

          Injecting oxygen underground is such a barmy scheme that only politicians could think it was a good idea .

          1. APL
            February 25, 2014

            A different Simon: “Injecting oxygen underground is such a barmy scheme that only politicians could think it was a good idea .”

            Politicians as a class aren’t renown for ‘joined up thinking’, actually they aren’t renown for thinking* much at all.

            *other than the most innovative and effective method to farm an expense accounts.

      3. Lifelogic
        February 24, 2014

        And now it seems the son of John Gummer, (another purveyor of pro EU & tax payer subsidised green lunacy), Ben wants to rename National Insurance as Employment Tax.

        What a brilliant plan! A new name for the tax – that will change everything (we stupid worker bees did not realise it was a tax did we)? Let’s go the whole way & call VAT the Sunshine tax, NI the new moon tax, income tax the Pluto tax, fuel duty the Walk Home Tax, alcohol duty the moonshine tax and stamp duty the home buyers mugging tax.

        That will clearly make everything much better.

        Needless to say it will cost a fortune in stationary, web site changes, statutes, debates, legal actions etc. NI is more of an unemployment (the creation of) tax in fact.

        Just what we needed at this time a pointless expensive distraction. If you are going to do it just call it income tax and make the rates more like 43-55% as they already are in fact. A distraction from the EU non renegotiation of, UKIP, from uncontrolled immigration, from expensive energy/greencrap and from the dying days of this essentially Libdem administration.

        However you spin it with VAT at 20%, Income tax at 45%, NI at circa 23%, a new enforced pension tax, stamp duty up to 5%, council tax, road tax, green energy taxes, fuel duty taxes, parking taxes & fines …. it is just too much tax borrow and wasting there is only 100% to grab after all.

        1. A different Simon
          February 24, 2014

          I am strongly in favour of the principle of National Insurance being different from general taxation even if in practice our politicians treat it as general taxation to be spent how they choose .

          Recategorising it as a tax just legitimises this abuse .

        2. JoeSoap
          February 24, 2014


          On employment for a bright young graduate just trying to get going in the London employment market (not me on at least 2 counts) income tax is:

          Income tax 45% + NI 23% + Student loan 9% + NEST 8% = 85%

          All to the government!!!

          85% INCOME TAX!!!!

        3. APL
          February 25, 2014

          Lifelogic: “National Insurance as Employment Tax”

          It would have the merit of actually describing the true nature of the tax.

          Lifelogic: “And now it seems the son of John Gummer”

          Now you touch on a very interesting topic. It is extraordinary the extent to which the hereditary principle seems to have become entrenched in the Commons.

          Elsewhere on the web, there is an revealing expose of all the nepotistic relationships that exist there.

          We seem to have got rid of the overt Aristocracy and replaced it with a covert aristocracy.

          1. A different Simon
            February 27, 2014

            APL ,

            I hadn’t thought of it like that but you are right .

            Hereditory peers in the Lords is one thing but in the Commons ….

            Doesn’t it extend to all walks of life though ?

            The BBC , even the Oil and Gas industry .

            Isn’t it amazing that after all these years the position of the privileged has consolidated whilst social mobility has been curtailed .

      4. Mark
        February 24, 2014

        Is this another case where the Scots will spend and the English will pay?

    2. zorro
      February 24, 2014

      The Ukrainians obviously hadn’t harnessed the power of TV (Coronation St, Eastenders, Strictly Come Dancing and other endless tosh) to pacify/mollify their citizens into compliance.


  6. alan jutson
    February 24, 2014

    You description of modern democracy is fine as long as all participants are for the most part honest, with honest elections, and a non political police force.

    But what we have in many countries is not as you describe, but instead bent politicians, a bent/political police force and rigged elections,
    So I have some sympathy with those who feel they have nothing left, but to take things in their own hands.

    With regards to the EU.
    Those who are outside simply see riches hanging, ready for the picking.

    They look in recent times to the short term gains of so many who have joined in recent years and the governments see EU funded projects and subsidies, the people see a passport of free movement to other richer Countries and a chance to earn more,

    All seem to think in short term benefits.
    Thus the EU is happy to encourage those wanting to join, because they know they can play the long game.

    Those wanting to join forget about the experiences of Greece and Cyprus, because of the, it will never happen to us syndrome.

    For those in charge of the EU it is all about power and control, and the more they have the better they like it.

    What on earth are we doing allowing all of these millions of people the right of entry to our Country without any qualification of us needing them.

  7. Lifelogic
    February 24, 2014

    Energy self sufficiency for the UK is indeed a perfectly realistic goal, if only we did not have to follow EU policies. As indeed are many other positives such as a sensible legal system and democracy. I see that the wind farm owners were again being paid millions for shutting them down during the high winds as the cables/networks could not cope.

    We need on demand, far cheaper power which can be stored as gas, oil, coal, hydro, nuclear and converted on demand to electricity as needed. Not very expensive, rotating, crucifixes to the absurd green religion on every hill & sea and PV panels on every roof. Lets get fracking. Use the new technology when and only if it becomes economic to do so. Rolling out expensive nonsense technology is totally bonkers – some research perhaps by all means.

    Does Cameron actually belief in man made catastrophic global warming or not? Matthew d’Ancona in the Telegraph seems to think he actually does. I am not sure Cameron has any real beliefs at all – does he agree with Ed Davey or the rather more sensible Owen Patterson? Does he think it is all green crap or not? He is, after all, still paying huge taxpayer subsidies for it?

    1. Richard1
      February 24, 2014

      I think to be fair to Cameron he does believe it. He has been caught between a rock & a hard place on this one. At the time he became Conservative leader ion 2005 global warming theory carried all before it, there was very little scientific questioning, at least in public, the pause in global warming since 97 or so had not been highlighted (Lord Lawson did that in 2006), and the huge costs of green policy were not yet clear. So greenness looked like a free hit for Cameron as part of his attempt to move the Conservatives from 30% to 40% of the vote. In order to climb down from these disastrous policies he is at some point going to have to say that it seems the evidence doesn’t match the predictions.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 24, 2014

        It seems to me much cheaper energy, fewer dead pensioners, no ugly wind farms and lower taxes is a rather better free hit.

        But then we have the BBC, the met office, several universities and many government scientists all polluting the national debate with their nonsense religion of catastrophic AGW exaggeration.

    2. Lifelogic
      February 24, 2014

      I read on Wiki that:- David Cameron asked John Gummer to chair the Quality of Life Policy Group with Zac Goldsmith – so we can be pretty sure where Cameron stood on the green crap agenda then. But where is he now? Does he believe in anything at all has he just given up?

      Lots of words but no logic, reason, understanding of economics, energy production or real science.

  8. Old Albion
    February 24, 2014

    It appears some in the Ukraine wish to escape from Russian influenced dictatorship, in exchange for the EU dictatorship.
    When will they ever learn?

    1. Aunty Estab
      February 24, 2014

      Instead of Osbourne giving Ukraine OUR money, they could have our EU membership instead if they are so keen to be in it.

  9. Mark B
    February 24, 2014

    John Redwood MP said;

    “I have no more liking for governments that kill their own voters . . . .”

    What about shooting illegal Brazilian immigrants in the back at point-blank range ?

    “Nor do I like corrupt governments, or Presidents who imprison their opponents. These ways of behaving are incompatible with a modern democracy.”

    I quite agree.

    To try and pretend that ‘we’ are somehow better, or at least, not as bad as anyone else is a tad delusional in this day and age.

    Also, Treason is a crime. It was, until recently, the only crime on the Statute, that the penalty for breaking was death. But some people, due to their position, were able to side step this and lock a Nation and it people into a political project that has, at last, begin to show its TRUE COLOURS.

    We are, whether we like it or not, part of what is going on in Ukraine. Our association and membership of such an organization makes us as guilty as those in Brussels or elsewhere.

    From what I am reading elsewhere, the ‘protestors’ (sic) are not the kind of people that believe in the kind of democracy even our kind host would recognize. (some of ? ed)These people are generally believed to be Left Wing Fascists and Anti-Semites. I thought Europe and especially the EU Members learned a terrible lesson regarding the kind of people who hold those views and what the likely outcome would be.

    Ukraine has a large number of ethnic Russians living there. Putin has shown in the past with Georgia, that when it comes to these people, he will act if he feels these people and his interests are threatened.

    What has kept him at bay, is Sochi. The EU may think it has the upper hand but, as events of the past have shown, they will not give up and will play very dirty. etc ed
    Former President, Victor Yanukovych simply ran out of time. The Army would not support him and he needed help. The Russians could not be ‘invited’ in. Had he remained in power, I argue, then Russian troops tanks would soon be on their way to Crimea and Kiev.

    This game has a long way to go and, just like Syria, I want us to keep out. But because we are part of the problem (EU), we cannot be seen as either neutral or a potential solution. Therefore, our position in the eyes of the world has been diminished and that goes against everything we have been told about membership of the EU.

    Reply The tragic shooting of a Brazilian was we hope a one off event, a gross error, which has been much condemned and is not UK standard practice. This is no way comparable to the mass killing of civilians during protests.

  10. zorro
    February 24, 2014

    Some good points here John which, yet again, are sadly lacking in the analysis of your peers. What we have seen is the violent overthrow of a democratically elected President (doesn’t matter on their competence) by a mob of let us say very disparate and somewhat unsalable elements. We have seen the US/EU cheerleading these efforts for their own reasons. But what would happen if something similar kicked off in the UK or France? What would the authorities do? What would their arguments having supported this uprising, just because an agreement with the EU didn’t take place. Do you think if a referendum was won wanting us to leave the EU that we would be allowed to do so? In the Ukraine, Tymoshenko was lawfully convicted and is no shining beacon of goodness.

    Perhaps the authorities here should consider how they might be leaving themselves open to direct action? Sauce for the goose……


  11. TGod
    February 24, 2014

    A very fair analysis but clearly the EU has no role to play in Ukraine either the country will settle down after democratically electing a new dictator or else Russia will have to move in and clean it all up.

    Russia is the only power than can be effective in that area we should not be offering to waste our own money in that area.

  12. Roger Farmer
    February 24, 2014

    Much as democracy would be a great step forward in the Ukraine, I find the EU’s promotion of it a great hypocrisy. I would first say to the unelected mob of bureaucrats in Brussels, first get your own house in order before preaching to others.
    The world must accept that Russia has a long standing relationship with the Ukraine and a long term degree of inter dependency exists. If Russia could accept that the people of the Ukraine have had enough of corrupt dictatorships and then work out a mutually beneficial relationship for the future, it would be best for both sides. Europe should offer every encouragement to such a process.
    As a final point, the UK is in no position to preach democracy to anyone, having abandoned it, 70% to unelected Brussels, a mass of off piste quangoes at home, the civil service, and the ruling executive. I want our government totally back in the hands of a reformed Parliament where it once belonged.

    1. Mark B
      February 24, 2014

      Here, here. Excellent post, Roger.

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    February 24, 2014

    A well balanced analysis, unlike most in the media. 100 years since World War 1 and there seems to be little recollection of what can result from competing major powers intervening in conflicts in central Europe.
    Meanwhile, our spendthrift Chancellor is ready to further increase his budget deficit, as we read in today’s Telegraph: “Amid fears Russia could send troops into Ukraine and mystery over its ousted president, George Osborne says Britain will be ready ‘with a chequebook’ to help ‘rebuild’ country”.

  14. NickW
    February 24, 2014

    The first step to be taken by any Government which wishes to encourage democracy in Ukraine is to make sure that the people have access to and can afford food and the other necessities of life.

    Revolutions happen when too many people are left with nothing to lose. The new Government may well need help with food supplies.

  15. Duyfken
    February 24, 2014

    As reported in the DT today ‘George Osborne, the Chancellor, said that Britain and other countries will be ready “with a chequebook” to help “rebuild” Ukraine’ and this follows comments by Hague over the weekend warning Russia not to interfere. With such affectations exhibited by these two Ministers, it seems the good advice offered by JR in his excellent blog concerning the futile posturing of EU officials should also be aimed at the UK government.

  16. Alan Wheatley
    February 24, 2014

    “A country or group of countries that is dependent on too much imported energy will always have to compromise in ways it may not like.” I agree.

    However, it is not just imported energy that can force unliked compromises: with the experience of two World Wars behind us we should know, if we care to remember, the importance of being self-sufficient in food.

    So, for instance, building on flood planes is bad policy not only from the point of view of flooded homes but also lost farmland.

  17. Atlas
    February 24, 2014

    Empire building indeed by both Putin and the EU is a major factor. The way the EU Federalists deposed the EU leaders who did not agree with the solution the big players in the Euro crisis imposed, shows all the hall-marks of meddling due to a delusion of destiny.

    Remember that the Ukraine was the big battlefield in two world wars and Napoleon’s caper as well. Also remember Stalin’s land boundary changes and forced population movements. So it has a very fractured history.

    1. uanime5
      February 25, 2014

      Atlas I wouldn’t say Ukraine was important during WW1 or Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. As Ukraine was mainly rural during this period it was generally ignored by Russia and Austria.

      Though Ukraine was more important during the Crimean War and after the 1917 Russian Revolution (when it tried to become independent of Russia).

  18. Chris
    February 24, 2014

    The EU should stop meddling, and George Osborne should not pledge UK money to the EU and IMF for Ukraine, as he apparently did this morning/yesterday (reported on Today programme). I was incensed by this apparent pledge of his, and simply cannot believe the arrogance of such a man to take, take and take money away from so many at home, and yet promise it, with such speed and with no apparent concern, to Ukraine. There are some real terrorists and thugs on the so called “democracy” side – should we be supporting what some have in fact called a coup? What does the eastern side of the country think – where is their voice? I am extremely uneasy about the stance we have adopted, and very angry about the money pledged. I suspect the EU motives greatly and believe they are very closely tied up with the resource rich Ukraine e.g. significant resources of iron ore, manganese, coal, and also the strategic importance of the Ukraine, including 5 of the main gas pipelines from Russia crossing its territory (revenue from these also).

    1. Cheshire Girl
      February 24, 2014

      I’ m also very angry about this pledge of money to Ukraine. Every time there is an ‘uprising’ (and there seems to be one every other month now) our Government rushes to pledge some money. We don’t even wait to be asked! In a couple of weeks there will be a Budget and we shall be told again that there are ‘hard choices’ to be made. The British taxpayer must be sick and tired of this and wondering when it will all end. Sometimes i wonder if we are in debt at all, as there always seems to be money to burn when it comes to helping other countries. Our Government should be careful. There is a limit to what the taxpayer will accept, and i believe that limit gets closer every day.

  19. JoolsB
    February 24, 2014

    ‘In a democracy those who disagree with the government campaign noisily but peacefully for change, in the knowledge that a bad government will be thrown out at the next election anyway with a peaceful transition to something new.’

    Easier said than done John. You only have to look a lot closer to home if you want to see a lack of democracy in action and self serving politicians ignoring it. For example England alone in the UK and western world is still denied the government of it’s choosing and is often governed by politicians elected from outside England even when their decisions do not affect them or their constituents and yet our elected politicians with English seats watch on in silence even when those policies blatantly discriminate against the English and their constituents.

    England gave the Tories a 63 seat majority in 2010 and yet England, and it is predominately only England, is governed by a coalition it didn’t vote for whilst the other nations of the ‘UK’ despite having their own parliaments can still overturn England’s wishes even though they do not have to abide by the majority of the decisions made by the coalition they have chosen to govern England. It could almost have been a coalition of Labour, Lib Dums, Scots & Welsh Nats thrown in to make up the numbers if one self annointed Scottish PM had got his way, every party except the one England voted for and this could happen again in 2015. The Tories also won the popular vote in England in 2005 and yet Labour ended up with 90 more MPs with English seats than the Tories. England might just vote for he party calling themselves Tory again in 2015 despite the bulk of them being anything but Tory and yet the chances are England will still end up with a Labour Government or a Lab/Lib coalition despite most of what any UK Government does nowadays only applying to England, it being the only nation in the UK and western world denied a parliament of it’s own. Is this a good example of democracy John? Obviously our 500 plus MPs squatting in English seats seem to think so because their silence on the subject is deafening.

    Poll after poll also shows the majority of us are Eurosceptic and would vote to leave the EU tomorrow if we were asked so the Con/Lab/Lib-Dums refuse to ask us just as their attitude to the English Question is ‘best not to ask it’ because in both cases it might not be the right answer. Cameron says we will get a vote in 2017 but no-one believes him and that’s only if he’s still PM which looks unlikely especially as he refuses to address the English Question.

    What is the point of anyone in England voting for any of the nothing to choose between them pro-Europe, anti-English Con/Lab/Lib-Dum parties when all three refuse the English the democratic right to choose their own governance? It’s probably best not to lecture other countries on democracy until we get our own house in order and that means asking England if she would like the same level of self determination as the Scots, the Welsh, the NI already enjoy or even some far off islands in the Pacific which Cameron is so keen to preach the rights of self determination for. It seems democracy and self determination is a right for every nation in the world – just not England.

    1. Mark B
      February 25, 2014

      Here, here.

  20. Richard1
    February 24, 2014

    Good points. The idea of the EU trying to play the role of a Great Power is a nonsense. The EU should be about free trade and no more, with functioning democracy the condition of membership. Ukraine should be welcome to join. So should Russia. But we’d obviously need a different kind of EU for that.

    Listening to the hysteria about Russia I am beginning to wonder whether Putin is as bad as he is made out to be. Sure Russia is ruled by a corrupt and thuggish oligarchy. But is it really an existential threat? When the BBC (Andrew Marr) got a recent opportunity to interview Mr Putin, all they wanted to ask him about was gay rights. Probably 80% of Marr’s questions, including those when he had Putin one -on-one, were on this topic. Nothing on China-Japan, Syria, Ukraine, energy, trade, etc etc. All the great questions you’d have thought it would be useful to ask the President of Russia about!

    The solution to any perceived threat from Russia is shale gas and energy independence.

    One other thing that comes out of this- as it does from the Middle East shambles – the world would be a safer place with a stronger US president. Its a pity Mitt Romney lost.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 24, 2014

      To the BBC gay rights and “discrimination” and “the bedroom tax” and all woman lists are clearly the only thing that matter. Listen to woman’s hour if you do not believe me and with a few recipes and cooking advice thrown in.

    2. Mark B
      February 24, 2014


      The EU is what its founding fathers wanted to be. A Supranational Government for Europe devoid of any democratic baggage, or popularism, as they quaintly call it.

      What we are witnessing, is the EU stepping out of the shadows of the Members States and into the light. Its been doing it for quite a while but, this is the first time its played a key role in a coup of a dreadful but democratically elected government. I suppose some may correct me and say the Greek and Italian Governments might be the first but, no one to my memory ever pinned the blame solely on the EU.

      Now you are beginning to see what this political project is all about, perhaps now might be a good time to ask yourself, “how the hell do we get out of this ?”

      Article 50, and renegotiate.

  21. Graham
    February 24, 2014

    Be under no illusions that the EU are just as capable of holding down restless populations with the full support of sovereign government. You only have to see the indoctrinated glow of purpose from the unelected Reding woman to see that.

    I’m not that sure how many years we are away from that but it will come. EU troops on the streets of the UK anyone?

    1. Mark B
      February 24, 2014

      The Lisbon Treaty give the EU and other Member States the right to deploy armed forces in another Member States territory. Under the norms of international law, to do so with out just cause would be considered a war crime. But since Blair and Brown signed that right away, we have become fair game.

  22. English Pensioner
    February 24, 2014

    The problem is what the citizens should do in a “pretend” democracy. Where they know that the government won’t be thrown out at the next election because of ballot rigging or voter intimidation, as in Zimbabwe. What do the citizens do if their leader promises one thing and then does the exact opposite? What does the opposition do if its leaders are thrown into prison? What happens if the leaders are all corrupt? In this respect the opposition leader, released from prison, seems little better than the ousted president if the media is to be believed. Surely if these things happen, there is little that the people can do other than protest as in the Ukraine.
    If one tries to see Russia’s point of view, it is clear that they would like the Ukraine to be firmly on their side, if only to protect their naval base, just as the EU would like them on ours, largely for trade reasons.
    I would have thought that the best solution would be for EU and Russia to try to come to an agreement to have a common policy; perhaps they should encourage Ukraine to be strictly neutral and be like Switzerland.

  23. yulwaymartyn
    February 24, 2014

    The events in the Ukraine in my view show the strength of the EU who have been able to have a role in this without the need for armies and invasions. Furthermore the agreement brokered by the EU which lasted a day showed the Ukrainians that their government was unravelling.

    Where was the British government in all this? Nowhere. Why are France and Germany and Poland leading the way with the British nowhere to be seen? How does this contrast with a few years ago when a British Prime Minister chose to stand shoulder to shoulder with a ridiculous American President over Iraq and yet when it comes to a European country the British are not even in the room. A sign of things to come? I sincerely hope not.

    1. Mark B
      February 24, 2014

      We were there. You just couldn’t see us as we only represent 1/28th of the EU. And yes, that ‘is’ our future !

      1. yulwaymartyn
        February 25, 2014

        That’s absolutely fine by me. One twenty eighth is all this country needs.

        What do you prefer? Invasion of other countries by British forces with George W Bush at the helm declaring victory? Ludicrous

    2. forthurst
      February 24, 2014

      “The events in the Ukraine in my view show the strength of the EU who have been able to have a role in this without the need for armies and invasions.”

      Don’t forget the starring role played by neocon Victoria “xxxx the EU” Newland and her ilk for whom Ukraine is the new Syria.

      “Furthermore the agreement brokered by the EU which lasted a day showed the Ukrainians that their government was unravelling.”

      No. It demonstrated that the ‘Opposition’ as with Syria are not in control of the terrorists who are responsible for inintiating all the mayhem and murder.

      “…when it comes to a European country the British are not even in the room. A sign of things to come?”

      I sincerely hope so; as far I’m concerned Little Willy can stop squeaking at Putin who has more important things to do than listen to him and Gideon can put away my chequebook.

  24. oldtimer
    February 24, 2014

    I totally agree with your thoughts.

    Of course this country is not without violence and threats of violence from fringe groups – animal rights activists and elements of the anti-fracking movement spring to mind – though there is the suspicion that some involved are essentially anarchists ready to leap aboard and, they hope, to takeover the latest bandwagon. At time, it seems to me, some of their activities are given too much leeway by the police and the legal system. For example, in the past year, they have suceeded in preventing lawful exploration for shale gas by blockades and intimidation. Who, I wonder, is behind these activities?

    Even more dangerous is the nationalist instinct which caused so much damage to Northern Ireland and to the mainland. But I do wonder why the Blair government thought it necessary to pass the Civil Contingencies Act which, in extremis, grants powers to Ministers to shoot the citizens of this country.

  25. formula57
    February 24, 2014

    “I have no more liking for governments that kill their own voters than most who write about the Ukraine” – I hear you and applaud, (raises issue of deaths in NHS under Labour ed)

    It is very difficult to know what is really happening so far as the Ukraine is concerned but its use in a powerplay between Russia and the EU (presumably conforming to Germany’s aims) seems a huge disservice to its people.

  26. Leslie Singleton
    February 24, 2014

    Dear John, If you will allow a small jog back to a very important subject, BBC News Online has on it today a (year-old) article about whose Oil. My faith in the BBC is limited but I doubt they would show this unless there is something in it.

    Paste (very light editing)

    [The Oil] is, of course, a key question ……… and one which would have to be negotiated…… part of any agreement on independence.

    Prof Alex Kemp, from the University of Aberdeen, is the leading expert on Scotland’s oil industry.

    He says if Scotland were to become independent the “median line” principle would be the “obvious one” to use. [AMEN Leslie]

    This means drawing a dividing line on which all points are the same distance from the Scottish and rest of the UK coastline.

    Prof Kemp says this is the method which was used when the North Sea was originally divided up between the UK and other countries in the 1960s.


    1. Denis Cooper
      February 24, 2014

      Leslie. I find that here from last April:

      and I read:

      “Prof Kemp says there have been departures from the median line principle in various settlements around the world, including judgements made by the International Court.

      He adds: “To complicate the matter slightly, in 1968, there was another line drawn from the border straight across the North Sea and that was for civil and criminal court problems. North of that line Scottish law prevailed and south of it English law prevailed.

      “You might say we should use that line. The interesting thing is, from the economic point of view, it does not make much difference because there are just a handful of fields, and not very important ones now, between the median line and the line north of Berwick.

      “Although lawyers could have a long debate about it, in terms of economics, it does not make all that much difference.”

      If Scotland were to get a “geographical share” based on the median line it would mean about 90% of the UK’s oil resources would be under Scottish jurisdiction.

      According to research by Prof Kemp, in 2010 the Scottish share of total oil production in the UKCS was more than 95% while for gas it was 58%. The Scottish share of total hydrocarbon production (including NGLs) was 80%. The Scottish tax share exceeded 90%. This reflects the much higher value of oil compared to gas.”

      I’m rather surprised that you are still raising this question now, when it was being discussed in detail some years ago and the conclusion then was much the same as Kemp’s conclusion last April, and moreover it is not disputed in the economic and fiscal analysis produced by the UK government last September:

      Oh, and when the BBC says:

      “Under the present arrangement the oil tax revenues are assigned to an economic region set up by the UK government, which is called the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

      This means that oil resources are not officially assigned to Scotland but instead to a region distinct from the British mainland.”

      that “present arrangement” is dictated by the EU’s Eurostat, and the “economic region set up by the UK government”, “a region distinct from the British mainland”, is that mythical land of “extra-regio” in the Eurostat system being called by another name to disguise its origin.

      Just as the EU’s “Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices”, HICP, goes under the pseudonym “Consumer Price Index”, CPI, in this country:

      in order to avoid frightening the horses.

      1. Leslie Singleton
        February 24, 2014

        Denis, You have a way of making things complicated. To me it was and is obvious that the boundary has to be subject to negotiation whereas you were maintaining and, without I think the slightest exaggeration on my part, that it had all been agreed such that there was no longer any scope for negotiation. To me that did not make sense because even if there had been some sort of agreement and Acts of Parliament or whatever they would of course be swept away upon negotiation relating to Independence like everything else in the event of a Yes vote.

        1. Denis Cooper
          February 25, 2014

          Well, no, Leslie, you are making it unnecessarily complicated, as the professor you cited offered the conclusion:

          “Although lawyers could have a long debate about it, in terms of economics, it does not make all that much difference.”

          1. Leslie Singleton
            February 26, 2014

            Dear Denis–I lost count of the number of different links and opinions you regaled us with, all saying something different and yet you started off saying that there was no room for negotiation. The very number of your offerings says to the contrary. It is not my fault that the Professor in question is all over the place and, since you have mentioned him again, there is no denying that he DID say there would have to be a negotiation, as I have always made clear I believe; that said I agree that it probably will not make much difference but that was not the point.

          2. Denis Cooper
            February 26, 2014

            As we would be moving from what are at present merely internal borders to what would be international borders there would have to be a treaty, and of course that would have to negotiated before it was concluded. However the point has always been that realistically there is no scope for a maritime border drawn in such a way that it left Scotland with less than about 90% of the oil.

    2. The Prangwizard
      February 24, 2014

      Get ready for another betrayal of England’s interests to appease the Scots. They will be given just about everything they want, in this and all other demands.

    3. sjb
      February 24, 2014

      Readers interested about the maritime boundaries between England and Scotland might wish to read the opinion of a former Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (see link below).

  27. Normandee
    February 24, 2014

    People all over Europe are very unhappy with the EU, but our politicians and media are so involved in the conspiracy that the EU has become, that all talk of this is deliberately concealed. Politics and journalism have for years been vying for the position of least trustworthy, now as they have reached rock bottom they have achieved parity by being able to fall no further. Only the supporters of genuine parties for change see this, and whilst people like John Redwood are not prepared to go against the status quo, and just make noises designed to attract attention it will be difficult to make changes, the changes we must have to prevent us and the rest of Europe falling into terminal decline as a continent ruled by a communist elite. Make a change vote UKIP and break the mold.

  28. Bert Young
    February 24, 2014

    Ukraine is a tinder box with very divided interests between its East and West parts ; we should keep out of this mess and let the democracy there take over . I fully agree on the point raised concerning energy ; Russia holds a trump card here and will not hesitate to use it . The EU and the USA have no right to try to influence a shift away from Russia ; there are many strong family and cultural ties in existence with Russia that will prove more enduring than other relationships . Entering into the fray with offers of financial aid and the indirect suggestions from Wm. Haigh is a great mistake ; there are times when it is much better to observe and stay in the wings .

  29. Denis Cooper
    February 24, 2014

    Let me make my own position clear:

    a) I do not want Ukraine to be allowed to join the EU; and

    b) I would want to be able to vote against Ukraine being allowed to join the EU in a referendum, notwithstanding Section 4(4)(c) of Hague’s so-called “referendum lock” law, the European Union Act 2011.

    Which he invoked in February 2012 to block a referendum on whether we wanted Croatia to be allowed to join the EU:

    That being the same Hague who in July 2011 had told readers of the Sunday Telegraph:

    “Now you have power to veto EU changes in referendum”

    “This is a historic development for the British people and for our Parliament. This law hands back democratic control of the way the EU is developing to the British electorate.”

    1. Brian Tomkinson
      February 24, 2014

      You really must stop publishing these inconvenient facts. After all our host keeps telling us – the Conservative party is Eurosceptic and lead by Eurosceptics. Just how such an intelligent man can keep repeating this perfidious nonsense is cause for concern when we know that their aim is to permanently entrap the UK in this foreign organisation.

      Reply My aim is to get us a vote on In/Out, not to entrap us in the EU!

      1. Brian Tomkinson
        February 24, 2014

        Reply to reply,
        Your stated aim would sound more credible if you didn’t constantly pretend that your party and its leaders were Eurosceptic. They are not. They are determined to keep us in the EU.

      2. APL
        February 24, 2014

        JR: “My aim is to get us a vote on In/Out, ”

        So it’s a mystery how misleading your readers as to the nature of the Conservative party furthers your aim.

  30. miami.mode
    February 24, 2014

    Whilst a bad government can ostensibly “be thrown out at the next election” they may well have signed new agreements or brought in new laws that were not mandated by the electorate nor mentioned in any manifesto, before the “next election”.

  31. lojolondon
    February 24, 2014

    The EU is trying to get Ukraine to join up to reduce Russia’s influence there – Putin is dead against that, naturally, and will go to exceptional lengths to prevent that happening. The EU realised they are going to bite off much more than they can chew if they keep on moving forward, so they have once again taken the cynical strategy of encouraging riots, delighted (yet protesting) that Ukraine police kill Ukraine protesters and hoping put pressure on the Ukraine government for ‘humanitarian’ reasons. It worked in Egypt and Libya, nearly worked in Syria (except for the pesky Conservatives in UK Parliament) etc.
    Anyone who read George Orwell’s 1984 should be getting a powerful feeling of Deja Vu.

  32. forthurst
    February 24, 2014

    “Does it make a split in the Ukraine between the Russian influenced East and the EU influenced west more likely?”

    It is not inconceivable that Russia’s preferred solution as well as its bottom line is a fracture of Ukraine with the EU winning the Chernobyl Prize. The historic Russian communities in the South and East will not wish to put their fates in the hands of the ‘Right Sector’ responsible for the thuggery in Kiev. The US neocons set this pot aboil with a $5 billion investment in organised ‘opposition’ and many of the ‘protesters’ are as genuine as film extras.

    There may have been a coup but it is very premature to call it a coup d’etat since it may not include more than Kiev and the Western region which both the Russian speaking regions and Russia might be very happy to see depart.

    Paul Craig Roberts has written some illuminating posts on the Ukraine on his site.

  33. behindthefrogs
    February 24, 2014

    Perhaps you could lay out where the EU is stopping the UK becoming self sufficient with regard to energy My view is that most of the rules that the EU imposes point in the direction of energy sufficiency. The only thing that really can be laid on them is that they don’t always aim at the cheapest alternatives. We often hear that closing down coal fired power stations is one of the areas where the EU is ruining our self sufficiency. However a large proportion of these are run using imported coal, hardly self sufficient.

  34. Iain Gill
    February 24, 2014

    In case anyone is interested, you don’t have my permission to give my money away to the Ukraine, I’d quite like this country to start looking after its money a whole lot more sensibly.

  35. Antisthenes
    February 24, 2014

    Civil unrest around the world appears to me to be at an all time high. I suspect that is because of the communications explosion that has occurred over the last few years. Whereas before bad governments could say without little contradiction that they were in fact better and than others and who were much worse. The internet and globalization has changed all that and the people can see the reality for themselves and judge accordingly. Also mass communication has allowed better coordination of protest and can bring greater numbers out on the street. Turkey currently has passed a law to limit access to the internet which thank goodness is backfiring. Governments that try and do limit the internet are ones that it is certain to say are not very democratic or doing much that is in the best interests of their citizens.

    Certainly I agree that peaceful demonstrations are the ideal but I do see a case for it being more violent when governments are so corrupt, tyrannical, incompetent and manipulative of the electoral process and judiciary that nothing short of ousting them by force will bring about change for the better. Representative democracy has many flaws and I point them out from time to time. The Ukraine situation highlights yet another major one in that the government can so easily manipulate it for it’s own benefit because between elections it can become a virtual dictatorship and laws and the state can be changed by those in power to stay in power. Russia amongst many others is a country where we see this happening in practice.

  36. Tad Davison
    February 24, 2014

    ‘I have no more liking for governments that kill their own voters than most who write about the Ukraine. Nor do I like corrupt governments, or Presidents who imprison their opponents. These ways of behaving are incompatible with a modern democracy.’

    Comforting to know you’re not a fan of (named modern democracies ed) then John.

    Tad Davison


  37. John Bolton
    February 24, 2014

    Dear Mr. Redwood, How dare Osbrown wave his ‘chequebook’ at the Ukraine. He wishes to build more debt to sustain the unsustainable. One dictator is gone and another, Tymoshenko, awaits. I have read that she believes herself to be Eva Peron reincarnated. I have no doubt that if she does seize power, she will lead her country down the same ruinous path that led to modern Argentina.
    We must recognize that there are limits as to what we can do and this case we are far better sitting on our hands and let the Ukraine and Russia come to some sort of an accord.

  38. bigneil
    February 24, 2014

    2 points john
    how does it feel to see so many posts here describe this as a dictatorship?
    On another site -seen that someone is advising Cameron to change the party title to “The Workers Party” – – – -oh it took me ages to stop laughing. REALLY? come on !! Does he -and his advisors – honestly think that will work? -Post after post says he is a liar and totally untrustworthy – -and what on earth does DC etc know about genuine work – hard physical 12 hr shift – day and nights – weekends included – and NOT for the sort of money he gets. No expenses, No car supplied, etc etc. He knows nothing – absolutely, totally, 1million % zilch.
    A few years ago our manager at work wanted new practises, we said unworkable. Praise to him he said he would do a weekend of 3×12 hr night shifts over the weekend with us. He was about 30 -the rest of us in our 50’s. He didn’t manage 12 hours on any of them, admitted he was amazed how we did it. Cameron and his ilk are the same- -he really hasn’t a clue.

    1. bigneil
      February 24, 2014

      PS – good article – -praise where praise due.

  39. margaret brandreth-j
    February 24, 2014

    35 billion is a lot of money to come up with for the Ukraine,it is a lot for the international community yet the EU from various newspaper reports appears to be doing very well acting as intermediary and trying hard not to exclude Russia.If the international cooperation is activated, then Russia will not seem so big and powerful and have a sole opponent in the European community.
    The vulnerable always need help. The rescuer though ,oft becomes the dictator

  40. Rods
    February 25, 2014

    Your statement all very noble in theory, but is fatally flawed in practice as you are basing it on the UK model of democracy, with our sense of fairplay and abiding by the rules. Like yourself, I do condone the violence by both sides, neither has any moral high ground here.

    “In a democracy those who disagree with the government campaign noisily but peacefully for change, in the knowledge that a bad government will be thrown out at the next election anyway with a peaceful transition to something new. ”

    My wife in Ukrainian and as teachers, her and her sister have been polling station officials, so I have had an insight on some of what goes on.

    Like in all elections the battleground is in the marginal areas.

    It is far from certain if the last elections for the President and Deputies (MPs) is anything to go by that a bad president and party will be voted out. It is much more likely to go to the party with the biggest election funds and the most ruthless on the ground party system. In the last elections the former was used to buy votes $50-$100 is an awful lot of money to a pensioner who gets $15 a month pension and the latter was used by the party who won the biggest number of seats to tell potential voters in meetings, what they would do for them when they won, but even more so to tell them the consequences through verbal threats and bullying what would happen if they didn’t vote ‘the right way’, so their candidate was elected.

    With external monitoring looking for stuffed ballot boxes and counting irregularities things have moved on from this. They need to be monitoring more extensively looking for these things. At their last parliamentary elections all polling stations were fitted with CCTV and you could stream on the Internet what was happening.

    The winner takes all with the winning President and party using corrupt and patronising practices to see that those that bankrolled them are well rewarded along with their families and themselves. The system is not dissimilar to England in the middle ages when you needed the patronage of Royalty or the nobility to get on.

    I hope things will get better after this coup, but I won’t be holding my breath. Many left Freedom Square when Yulia Tymoshenko made her speech where she is seen by many as part of the corrupt ruling elite, with many viewing if she is elected as President it will be more of the same, with a more pro-EU veneer.

    Then of course there is the elephant in the room Vladimir Putin and what he does.

    The 20th century was not kind to the people of Ukraine with an estimated 5-8 million starved to death by Stalin in the 1932 Holodomor and about 7 million military and civilian casualties in WWII. Will the 21st century be any better?

  41. uanime5
    February 25, 2014

    In a democracy those who disagree with the government campaign noisily but peacefully for change, in the knowledge that a bad government will be thrown out at the next election anyway with a peaceful transition to something new.

    In a democracy a bad government should call early elections before the people try to remove them by force. Just because a government was elected doesn’t mean they can ignore public anger until the next election.

    If the EU were serious about challenging Mr Putin they should first gain energy independence by going for cheap locally produced energy instead of relying on Russian gas.

    Where exactly is this cheap, locally produced energy going to come from? Unless the UK starts mining coal we’ll have to import it from abroad (either from the USA, Russia, or China), we don’t know how much gas can be obtained through fracking so at present this can’t be considered cheap or viable, the north sea reserves can’t meet all of the UK’s energy needs and may become part of Scotland in September, and new nuclear plants will take decades to build and we’ll have to import the nuclear fuel. So all that leaves is renewables as we won’t need to import sunlight or wind.

    1. Richard1
      February 25, 2014

      Environmental leftists are in denial. It is clear there is a huge opportunity with shale gas in the UK, in other European and in other countries around the world. It offers an excellent interim solution for several decades until someone invents a solar energy system so efficient we have unlimited free energy. Of course we don’t know how much shale gas there is, but the way in which bodies such as the EU and the French Govt, due to the undue influence of green organisations, is trying to prevent us finding out is absurd.

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