Don’t try to play cricket in a glasshouse

 

Crimea is now part of Russia. The EU and the USA should understand this simple fact.  Russia has acted illegally and in ways which offend the West, but Mr Putin now has the Crimea under his control.

Imposing some sanctions retrospectively in a fit of pique makes the West look weak and is a kind of self harm. It looks like someone trying to play cricket in a glasshouse. The sanctions are not going to get Crimea back in the fold of the Ukraine.

The West should believe in democracy. That means we should have worked with the Ukraine for a new election to find a President of the Ukraine who could speak for all and hold it together. That means we should have helped the Ukraine organise a legal referendum on the future of the Crimea so they can settle their own future. Instead the West allowed or encouraged the overthrow of an elected President without an early election to replace him, and condemned the referendum in the Crimea as illegal without having a positive way of letting the Crimea have its say.

In the UK defenders of the Union in the Union Parliament have given Scotland the right to a voice on their future, showing the EU how these things should be handled. Identity and loyalty are important emotions in politics. Unfortunately elsewhere in the EU there is a determined attempt to stifle popular opinion and distort or change loyalties. The EU and the Spanish state are against Catalonia having a vote on its future. The EU and the Italian state are against Venice and the Veneto  having a vote on its future, though an unofficial one is currently underway. The EU and the Ukraine have been against the Crimea having a vote on its future, and partly as a result they have lost the Crimea thanks to Russian actions which the West  condemns but cannot stop.

If the West thinks Mr Putin might be emboldened to do the same again elsewhere, then the West needs to make clear in advance their disapproval and take the diplomatic and defence actions necessary so next time they have some control over events. The rest is just huffing and puffing. The best defence against the splitting of nations is good democratic government in each state that can command the loyalty and agreement of its peoples. Seeking to suppress or deny the existence of demands for self government cannot be the right way ahead.

 

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112 Comments

  1. arschloch
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    “The best defence against the splitting of nations is good democratic government in each state that can command the loyalty and agreement of its peoples.” Well the political class in the UK is doing its damndest to ensure that is not happening in the UK at the moment. It rules purely for the benefit of an elite with a few goodies thrown in for the underclass to ensure that they do not spoil the fun with any Summer rioting. In the mean time its the backs of those who do the work, pay their taxes and obey the law that have to carry this unnecessary burden.

  2. Brian Taylor
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Can’t wait for 2017 when I will get a vote on the EU’!’!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Timaction
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      We will not get a vote as we live in a dictatorship with the unelected EU Commissioners creating the laws and directives that our puppet Government passively agrees in Parliament. Who voted for any of them?
      The EU created this problem with its expansionist agenda threatening Russia. It had started the steps to enlarge its empire via Ukraine and other nearbye states with the support of the USA and wonders why Russia felt threatened?
      We need out of the EU to close our borders and regain our sovereignty and self respect.

      • Hope
        Posted March 21, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        Brian, no need to wait for 2017 . There is. Vote coming up in May for the EU elections, vote UKIP and help the UK get of the mess called the EU.

      • BobE
        Posted March 21, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        Time – I agree, this German lead superstate will start a war in the end. We must get out of the madness.
        Bob

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Yea sure!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 21, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        Cast Iron Cameron has ensured voters will never get a vote (and with Lord Patten and the biased BBC) it could never remotely be a fair one anyway.

        He could not even ensure a fair boundaries for the general election in 2015. He is a disgrace to left handers just like Obama and Clinton. Even the joker Boris Johnson (with his idiotic airport ideas) would do better according to the polls.

        Not long not until the Cast Iron liar comes a very poor third on May 22.

        I see we have Sir David Higgins in charge of HS2 now. Well I suppose he has lots of experience in building pointless, job destroying, white elephants with the Olympics.

        • Hope
          Posted March 21, 2014 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          We need to see the secret report about HS2 not a glorified piece of spin from the BBC. With roads congested and in a complete mess up and down the country £200 million offered by Osborne compared with the £80 billion to be wasted on HS2 seems good reason in itself not to vote Tory. Looney tune economics.

          • Timaction
            Posted March 21, 2014 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

            HS2 will be another EU driven directive to link the dictatorship via the TENs transport project!!

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 21, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

            Indeed roads are what is needed. They are far more flexible and are in demand despite the idiotic fiscal bias for trains.

          • Vanessa
            Posted March 21, 2014 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

            The Telegraph got hold of this “secret” Report months ago and Andrew Gilligan wrote extensively on it in the paper.

            It was horrendous – the amount of damage to almost everything in the area is just criminal and for what? Either 20mins off the journey or to gain a seat, depending on the lies you read. You can always tell when MPs know what they propose is wrong when they keep changing the reason for doing it.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 22, 2014 at 12:48 am | Permalink

      Brian there isn’t going to be a vote in 2017 as the proposed law wasn’t approved in time. Unless another bill is passed this year and forced through the Lords there won’t be a vote.

      • Posted March 24, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        Yes we know thanks! It was all fluff anyway, Cast Iron only thought to offer it in the hope that it would attract UKIP voters back in to the Tory fold.

  3. Mark B
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Shouldn’t the heading of this Article be; “Those who live in Greenhouses, should not throw stones.” ?

    Only, I do not think our continental cousins play cricket, so would not understand that particular metaphor.

    I think, Mr. Redwood MP sir, that you, along with many, are misreading the situation. It is hard to know what is in the minds of others but, I think it will be very useful if we looked at past events and tried to piece together the thinking of those parties involved.

    After the war in 2008, between Georgia and Russia, it was clear that Putin was determined to deliver on his promise to protect Russian’s wherever they may reside. Fast-forward to the present day, and we see once again, Putin delivering on this very same promise. So it could not be said that we did not see this coming.

    Late last year, we had the news that the then Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, refuse to sign a treaty with the EU. It was widely reported that, this treaty was nothing more than a trade agreement. And where have we heard that before ? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink !

    Here is the link of that agreement, kindly brought to my attention by Dr.Richard North, of EUReferendum.

    http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/fule/docs/news/20111221_more_information_fule_visit_to_ukraine.pdf

    This agreement was nothing short of a desire to attain FULL MEMBERSHIP of the EU. For Russia to have one of its border neighbours a member of what is a Supranational Government, would undoubtedly set a few alarm bells ringing in the Kremlin.

    There is a far bigger game being played out here. A game that involves Ukraine but does not end with Ukraine. The EU has, whether it meant to or not, has just come up on Russia’s radar. The problem is, as history has taught those of a mind to learn, that associations with other parties whose interests may not always coincide with those of your own, are bound to end in tears. ie The EU, and our membership of this organization, marks us out as a potential rival and threat, even if we in truth are not. We have no control and, despite what the likes of Kenneth Clarke and others say, we have very little ‘influence’.

    We are along for the ride. Lets just hope it does not get too bumpy, for all our sakes.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      The game used to be called Drang nach Osten, and this part involved Ukraine as the pathway to the Caucasus and Central Asia to encircle Russia from the south, and the last time that strategic move was tried it ended at Stalingrad.

      Here’s a handy map of the Caucasus and Central Asia for anyone who’s still a bit vague about the geography:

      http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/caucasus_central_asia_pol_2009.jpg

      Note that the Kazakhstan capital Astana where Cameron made his “I want the EU to stretch from the Atlantic to the Urals” speech last July:

      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/01/eu-extend-soviet-union-david-cameron

      is already further east than the line of the Urals – Yekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk are on the eastern or Asiatic side – and 1200 miles further east than Stalingrad, or as it has since been renamed Volgograd.

      Utter insanity, unless you believe that Russia is so weak that it will accept not only be encircled by its enemies but later being broken up into its European and Asiatic parts along the line of the Urals; and unless you really believe that the EU should have a border with China and very nearly with Mongolia.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 22, 2014 at 12:53 am | Permalink

      Dennis you seem to have forgotten that Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are also part of the EU and border Russia. Why would Ukraine ring alarm bells in the Kremlin any more than these countries joining?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 22, 2014 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        I haven’t forgotten, but I’ve taken the trouble to look at a map.

      • zorro
        Posted March 22, 2014 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

        uanime5, do you not read what people write? It is clear that Ukraine is far more of a threat than the Baltic countries would be. Do you think that it is good politics to threaten to destroy other countries? Cameron was threatening the existence of the Russian state….What about if Putin had done the same to us? Another mind blowing example of Western hypocrisy and double standards.

        zorro

        • APL
          Posted March 24, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

          zorro: “Another mind blowing example of Western hypocrisy and double standards.”

          It is extraordinary what our Politicians have managed to achieve, for example: This erstwhile Tory is sympathetic to Putin, a former KGB operative. How did that happen?

          Answer. The reckless irresponsible behaviour of our own Political class.

          • zorro
            Posted March 24, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

            U5….. Let me say that I cannot fault your last sentence in any way. There have also been presidents who were in charge of the CIA (G H Bush). I was never really that sold on the reality of the Soviet threat, and am certainly not on the ‘threat’ of Russia or Iran. There is a country that spends 13 times more on defence than any other nation, and more than a huge number added together. It also gas nearly 1000 bases in countries around the world. Nothing compares…..

            zorro

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Exactly as you say:-

    “The best defence against the splitting of nations is good democratic government in each state that can command the loyalty and agreement of its peoples. Seeking to suppress or deny the existence of demands for self government cannot be the right way ahead.”

    The EU is once again largely the problem.

  5. Old Albion
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    It’s about time he people of England were given some democracy. We are still governed by a Westminster UK puppet government, subordinate to the EU.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Well we would not want to become more like a Greater Switzerland would we? It might upset heart and soul Cameron.

      • Hope
        Posted March 21, 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        Only answer is to vote UKIP if you want a change from the EU dictatorship. It is literally in your hands, vote for change.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 21, 2014 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

          Not mine I have left the uk. UKIP cannot win, nor do anything much, but we might as well have Labour as Cameron. At least we will not have to watch him rat again.

          • Hope
            Posted March 22, 2014 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

            I can understand that, but if you dislike both choices on offer UKIP is the best way to give them a kick especially Cameron.

  6. Sue Jameson
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    All this does it to reflect the disorganised, expensive, corrupt mess of the EU and all its quango’s. Turkey (Cameron’s favourite for membership) has just killed free speech by banning twitter and a huge wedge of the CAP has disappeared down another unaccountable black hole.

    Why you Conservatives insist on supporting “Le Projet” is baffling the hell out of most of us. Its vast swathes of directives and regulations are made by appointed, unelected, overpaid bureaucrats and the word “referendum” has practically been banned.

    If you truly believe in any sort of democracy, whether it’s direct or representative, you know full well that this club is neither.

    We want out, invoke article 50 and let’s do a proper job of leaving.

    • zorro
      Posted March 22, 2014 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, I wonder how long until the EU wants to do the same when the criticism gets too personal?

      zorro

  7. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    I totally agree and whilst the people of the Crimea want to be with the Russian mother land , then let it be.

  8. stred
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Our PM seems to be playing the strong leader over in Brussels, demanding stronger sanctions against Russia. One wonders how his desire to expand the EU to the Urals fits the pattern and how much he knew about the involvement of the US prior to Mrs Nuland’s ‘****’ the EU phone call. The sanctions and tit for tat will certainly have that effect on the EU economy.

    Putin has played the game well and now has the sunny part of Ukraine with gas and oil and will no longer have to pay them to lease the naval base. While the EU has to borrow money to support the part which has been called a basket case, owes Russia a lot of money and has found $30 billion has been nicked. If he had asked the West to organise a bigger cock up, it would be difficult to imagine one. As you point out, they only had to wait a year until the election and then perhaps support someone they thought may be trustworthy. Mr Putin said recently at his press conference that the Ukraine had been badly governed by all their presidents. Presumably, what he wanted was an independent Ukraine which was honestly governed, and his loan back.

    The idea that seizing Oligarchs’ money will persuade them to ask Mr Putin to give back Crimea seems a bit strange. Weren’t these people the ones who shovelled all the money out of Russia when Yeltsin thought he was in charge, much to the annoyance of Mr Putin?

    • stred
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Some comments here question the legality and fairness of the Crimean referendum. If it became necessary, the Crimean Parliament could hold another, with more time and observers. Unlike EU second referenda, which are held in order to reverse a vote, a Crimean one would be to confirm it. Would anyone in their right mind then try to enforce the handing back of a region where such a high proportion of the population are against it?

      • sjb
        Posted March 21, 2014 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        stred wrote: the Crimean Parliament could hold another [referendum]

        If the remainder of the Ukraine prospers from the EU agreement and Russia declines further then perhaps a future referendum may produce a different result.

        Ukraine’s GDP per capita is just $7k per annum. By contrast, Czech Rep & Hungary – now both outside Russia’s sphere of influence (some will remember 1968 & 1956) and members of the EU – enjoy GDP per capita of $27k and £20k respectively.

    • Bob
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      @stred

      The idea that seizing Oligarchs’ money…

      It makes little difference whose money it is, the government just like any excuse to steal seize money.

  9. Kenneth Morton
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    An excellent and concise commentary.

    You have laid out plainly why, in the long run, the EU will fail causing untold damage in more than just economic matters.

  10. Leslie Singleton
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    All of a sudden it is sanctions against individuals but what good are they going to do because very surely the Russian State is going to indemnify the people so affected against any losses (and probably ten times over) and all “we” shall achieve is a bunch of important people in Russia hating us more than they already do. A step in the right direction would be to stop talking about International Law because no such thing exists, at least not with any kind of reality attaching to it.

    Dear John–I see you are not speaking to me again as regards one of my comments yesterday. Such is life.

  11. JoolsB
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    “In the UK defenders of the Union in the Union Parliament have given Scotland the right to a voice on their future”

    Scotland, Wales & NI already have a voice and have had numerous says on their future. Meanwhile ENGLAND continues to be denied a voice or any say whatsoever on it’s future. I wish the UK Government would stop preaching to other parts of the world about their rights to self determination until they get their own house in order and address the enormous democratic deficit which exists in their own back yard, ie. the English Question.

    Democracy? They don’t know the meaning of the word!

  12. JoeSoap
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    A good post.
    You might have also mentioned that had your leaders attended the Sochi games and had dialogue with Putin, instead of staying away in a hissy fit about gay rights, there would have been the opportunity for pre emptive talks about Ukraine & Crimea. We pay them to act on the world stage, but not in this puerile posturing way.

    • Bob
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      @JoeSoap

      instead of staying away in a hissy fit about gay rights…

      In realpolitik terms it might be best to avoid sending gay ministers (in or out of the closet) to negotiate with the Russians.

      • zorro
        Posted March 22, 2014 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

        It’s OK, I’m sure that they would send the Foreign Secretary to negotiate with the Russians surely?

        zorro

  13. Douglas Carter
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    One of the curious threads running through this strange affair is the agreement – or commitment – by several nations made in 1994 (?) to protect the independence of Ukraine.

    My understanding is that the principal signatories of that commitment on the Western side were the USA and UK. Now, whilst I was on several deployments that year, I do confess I missed the massed public clamour in the UK and USA to protect an emerging nation deep inside the Eurasian land mass, but I do recall massive defence cuts and downsizing of force levels in the UK. I also remember two Western leaders who were resolute in their efforts to present as incoherent and disjointed an approach to international matters as could be publically illustrated without falling into intentional satire.

    I’m presuming there was some form of very clever plan in mind by the leaders of those two respective western nations in respect of how Ukrainian independence was indeed to be protected so comprehensively. However, whilst I note that the leaders of those two respective nations in 1994 are still alive, they both seem to have been notably silent of recent weeks over this affair?

    Whilst I’m confident in the ensuing twenty years, the massive defence cuts and weakening of resolve over international affairs by the west has gone entirely missed by Russia (how could they possibly have noticed after all?) it does seem reasonable to question those two ‘World Leaders’ of that time and request of them they spell out exactly how the UK and USA was to deter any intervention into Ukrainian independence and how the physical security of that nation was to be underpinned if push came to shove? Because, with regard to answer, if comes there none, I would wish to be made aware of all other commitments that particular Prime Minister made on behalf of the British electorate solely on the basis of wishful thinking and contemporary path-of-least-resistance? If I began handing out blank cheques which had no chance in any respect of passing muster, people would rightly come to see me as an idiot?

    Messrs’ Clinton and Major might choose to tell us what they had planned? Is anyone in a position to request the details from them?

  14. The Prangwizard
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    And the UK and the British State are against England having a vote on its future.

    Seeking to suppress or deny the existence of demands for self government cannot be the right way ahead.

    So you deny there is a demand in England?

  15. Nick
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    John Redwood calls for the repeal of the proceeds of crime act.

    After all, if an armed robber has got away with the loot, we should respect their human rights to not be interfered with.

    After all, just as its the choice of the people living in Crimea to decide, its the choice of the armed robber if they want to keep the money.

    Reply What a silly misrepresentation of what I said. How do you propose getting the Crimea back?

    • Stewart Knight
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      That is not a silly misrepresentation; it is perfect.

    • forthurst
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      “The West should believe in democracy. That means we should have worked with the Ukraine for a new election to find a President of the Ukraine who could speak for all and hold it together.”

      If the ‘West’ believed in democracy it would not have aided and abetted the putschists in an armed insurrection against the lawful government of Ukraine. All this talk about ‘international law’ and the ‘illegal’ referendum in Crimea is absurd: there is no Constitutionally elected authority in Ukraine whatsoever, whether the neocons’ sock puppets like Little Willy recognise it or not. What is absolutely clear is that what has taken place in Crimea has more semblance to legitimacy, quite apart from popular approval, than any action emanating from the Kiev putschists.

      The ‘West’ is playing a very dangerous game by attacking Russia’s vital interests instead of looking to promote mutually benefical trade and cooperation in international affairs. The US and UK have less trade with Russia than several countries in the Europe, and they should not therefore presume to speak for all.

      • uanime5
        Posted March 22, 2014 at 12:59 am | Permalink

        All this talk about ‘international law’ and the ‘illegal’ referendum in Crimea is absurd: there is no Constitutionally elected authority in Ukraine whatsoever

        What about the democratically elected Ukrainian parliament which impeached the previous president and appointed a temporary president until new elections could be held?

        What is absolutely clear is that what has taken place in Crimea has more semblance to legitimacy, quite apart from popular approval, than any action emanating from the Kiev putschists.

        What happened in Kiev was approved by the parliament, what happened in Crimea was not. So the “Kiev putschists” have democratic legitimacy, while the Russian soldiers in Crimea do not.

        • forthurst
          Posted March 22, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

          uanime5 lives in his own private universe in which everything the EU does is right and everything else is wrong; in order to support his thesis he tells barefaced lies continuously. He knows perfectly well that the elected President and his Party of the Regions were driven out in fear for their lives by Right Sector armed thugs encouraged by the EU. If that’s his idea of democracy in action, there is very little scope for reasoned debate with him.

  16. John E
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Are Russia’s borders to be wherever Putin says? There are other parcels of territory he will look to repatriate given the West’s inability or unwillingness to stop him.
    I believe it was only the market reaction and flight of capital from Moscow that stopped him taking more of the Ukraine
    We will agree on the need to do much more to free Europe from energy dependance on Russia. I would also be putting more of our funds towards our defence spending – I think it has been cut back too far. We have decided the Cold War is over and Russia lost – I don’t think Putin has accepted that verdict.

    • Stewart Knight
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      No no, haven’t you heard? Benevolent Uncle Vlad, the man of the people, is just trying to save Russians who are being oppressed and trying to secure his borders against the aggressive and threatening tide of the EU military bear backed up by the Great Satan of the USA. He gave the people of the Crimea their say and they voted, almost to the man, as those in those great democracies of North Korea and Syria and Iraq, to join with Russia. [sic]

      That is the way this situation is being portrayed here and it is completely wrong and a green light to Putin.

      Putin would have annexed Georgia if he had been allowed, and sanctions worked to a degree.

  17. Gary
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    This extraordinary event showed another glimpse into western hypocrisy. We had western politicians in Kiev agitating for regime change and we had vote that excluded the people of Ukraine to change the govt. Then the people of Crimea vote by over 90% to leave and the west says it is illegal !

    The western media stands four square behind the outrage, not a fag paper between them.

    It is now obvious that the west does not believe in democracy, it cynically uses it as a mere slogan, and it is also now more obvious than ever the western media cannot be trusted, they are part of the conspiracy. This should also make people wonder who is really in charge and this should make people worried that perhaps our own democracy is a sham?

    • arschloch
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Yes what a bloody cheek. Anybody who wants to believe that Putin is the new Hitler should consider America’s invasion of Panama the parallels are unbelievable

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_invasion_of_Panama

    • uanime5
      Posted March 22, 2014 at 1:03 am | Permalink

      We had western politicians in Kiev agitating for regime change and we had vote that excluded the people of Ukraine to change the govt.

      This was approved by the Ukrainian parliament, who were elected by the people of Ukraine.

      Then the people of Crimea vote by over 90% to leave and the west says it is illegal !

      The Crimean parliament had no power to hold this referendum, there were thousands of Russian soldiers in Crimea, and many groups such as the Tartars refused to vote because they considered the referendum illegal. So it’s no surprise that this referendum was called illegal.

      • zorro
        Posted March 22, 2014 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

        There were thousand of Russian soldiers allowed to be based in Crimea anyway. You are telling fantasies and no-one believes you….If the Tartars refuse to vote, that is their choice. There is a big percentage of people who don’t vote in UK elections. What about that?

        zorro

  18. alexmews
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    good post, john. thank you

    I would be interested to >>really>> know the degree to which the EU / US ‘…encouraged…’ the overthrow of the elected UKR president. If there really was funding, agitation, promises put forth by Baroness Ashton and crew – then this is really something worthy of review and sanction as it is clear that policy is not supported by Member States – including Germany. In these matters it is critical to speak with one voice and it has been clear from the beginning that this is not the case.

    Russia knows this and continue to play a blinder. The remarks earlier in the week from the Kremlin pointing out that it was only Russia and the US and not France and UK, that supported German unification in the 1990s was a clever analogy and a handy tool of division.

    I sincerely doubt we are prepared to do anything material to get Russia out of the Crimea. We should be working towards medium term energy security and positioning ourselves to deal with the next iteration of this from Russia or elsewhere – east Ukraine? Belarus? Moldova? Poland? – and decide whether we really care as the UK; as Europe; as the West about this and, if so, what tools we have – diplomatic, economic, military – to deal with it.

  19. Hope
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Good view JR. We learn today the EU is going to provide financial support to the Ukraine, this is our money JR not some fictitious body who has income from another source. Your leader JR, your leader who is now committing our military to exercises, what is left of it. All for EU expansionism from a Cameron pretending to be a Eurosceptic! They are helping a revolutionary government that has not been elected but claim there is something wrong with the Crimea referendum. It has more credibility that than the current UKraine government. Do. To forget the disgraceful coups of Italy and Greece or the way the EU told elected government to re write their budgets!

  20. Max Dunbar
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Politicians here have a habit of defying both their constituents and the electorate.
    You mention Scotland’s choice. Cameron has stated, correct me if wrong, that if there is a NO vote then more powers will be devolved to the executive here. I would like to see powers repatriated to Westminster if there is a NO vote in line with this outcome, not the other way around, otherwise the separatists get almost all of what they want. Ideally, the Scottish Executive would be abolished but I know that that does not lie within the realms of the possible at present.
    It is very worrying for the residents of the UK who live in Scotland that we may be abandoned to a regime closely resembling those of eastern European countries, if not worse, prior to 1989.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 22, 2014 at 1:07 am | Permalink

      Max if Scotland is offered the choice of independence or their parliament losing powers to Westminster they will vote for the former because they don’t want the latter.

      • Posted March 24, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        At least it would be an honest vote, to give even more powers to the Scottish government in the event of a no vote, is not going to stop the movement for independence. It is in fact going to add fuel to the fire and make independence the end result because it it is a one way street.

  21. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    I am pleased to see that, unlike most of your colleagues and much of the media, you look at events in Ukraine in a more balanced way and without adopting an anti-Putin predisposition. The EU is an anti-democratic organisation. The EU and the US encouraged a mob to unseat a democratically elected President and thereby denied the voters their right to replace him in the normal democratic cycle. If the people of the Ukraine think that the EU will help give them freedom, independence, self-governance and democracy they are deluding themselves.
    You write: “Seeking to suppress or deny the existence of demands for self government cannot be the right way ahead” but that is the EU’s raison d’etre and your leader, along with Clegg and Miliband, is determined to keep it that way.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 22, 2014 at 1:09 am | Permalink

      The EU and the US encouraged a mob to unseat a democratically elected President and thereby denied the voters their right to replace him in the normal democratic cycle.

      Well the people of Ukraine don’t seem to object that’s he’s been removed early, just like the Americans didn’t object when Nixon had to resign before he could be impeached or voted out of office.

      If the people of the Ukraine think that the EU will help give them freedom, independence, self-governance and democracy they are deluding themselves.

      They’ll get more freedom, independence, self-governance, and democracy than if they become part of Russia.

      • Posted March 24, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

        Only the people in one part of the Ukraine, it is obvious that voters in another parts did not want to see their elected leader unseated.

        In any case he was democratically elected and unseated by a mob. Are you suggesting that we who do not want to be members of the EU should unseat our democratically elected leader who wants us to remain in the EU?

        Democracy is not about voting but about choice The allows voting but removes choice, so I do not agree the people of Crimea will get more freedom, independence, self-governance, and democracy in the EU than in Russia, they obviously do not agree with either.

  22. oldtimer
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Good post. Real politik rules. Huffing and puffing just wastes breath.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Exactly.

  23. Stewart Knight
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Let’s be honest here, according to you John, it is our fault, the EU and the USA, and the fault of those who opposed a corrupt puppet leader of the Ukraine. and opposed an armed aggression, an obvious and predicted act of theft backed up by force of arms.

    And you, a senior British politician, along with some misguided individuals here I can only assume are sycophants, condoned it.

    Might is right eh? The result of the referendum was almost as laughable as those held in Syria, North Korea or the old Iraq, and you support it.

    So who will be at fault next time when it is Moldova? Kazahkstan? Latvia?

    It’s difficult to express my disgust with some of the fawning comments and tacit support for Russian imperialism and hegemony.

    Reply Try reading what I write. I am no apologist for Mr Putin. I am a realist. The EU has bungled this badly and there is no way of getting the Crimea back – are you proposing we invade?

    • Stewart Knight
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      I have read it, and your first post before the invasion, the one during and now this. Being a fatalist willing to accept any and all unsavoury outcomes is not being a realist, it is being a fatalist.

      Do you honestly think Chmberlain was a realist?

      You’re deliberately ignoring the thrust of what I’ve said. By not condemning Putins obvious crimes, and condemning the EU and the USA and what their possible reply might be, you are giving support to Russia and Putin. A bit of lip service, saying ‘Russia illegally’ and at the same time saying ‘ho hum let’s get on with it then’ is for all intents and purposes supporting them.

      The result of the referendum, akin to North Korea result, showed how it was manipulated.

      Should we invade? Of course not. Should we threaten? Probably not. Should we open another Cold War front? Definitely. Should we impose sanctions? Yes we should, and make them harsh.

      The question f the EU and the USA bungling this badly is a sideshow against the rampant Russian aggression and attempt at hegemony that should be dealt with. We can deal later with the diplomatic farce; right now we should deal with Putin and Russia and condemn them.

      • Gary
        Posted March 21, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        oh God. Another Reds under the Bed cold war warrior. Get your tin hat on and you go to the front line and shoot at Putin.

        Apologist for neocon, oligarch looting.

        • Stewart Knight
          Posted March 21, 2014 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

          I did have my tin hat and was a cold war warrior? You?

          You are an apologist for Putin, Russian hegemony and the notion of might is right. You would have done well in 1930s Britain.

          • zorro
            Posted March 22, 2014 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

            That’s nonsense and you know it is. Russian hegemony – OK, do you really feel threatened by Russia?

            Do you think Russia feels threatened by the EU and US advance and comments from senior politicians?

            What about Cameron’s statement about the EU threatening the integrity of the Russian state by expanding from the Atlantic to the Urals? What if Putin had something similar regarding us?

            It is pathetic comparing this to the 1930s and Putin to Hitler. How many fascists are in government positions in the Ukraine? Do you know or care?

            You are an apologist for neo con warmongerers who have been responsible for destroying countries. How dare you question the patriotism of contributors to this site or John, and don’t even think of questioning mine…..

            No, I don’t support Putin, am not Russian, and have not voted for him….. but I support the best interest of my country and they are not going in the right direction.

            zorro

      • Mark B
        Posted March 21, 2014 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        Stewart

        What is your interest in this matter ? Only, you seem overly concerned, calling Putin a criminal. What crimes has he committed, that no other country has already committed. He has not invaded Crimea, his troops were already there under agreement with the Ukrainian Government. All he has done was, to ensure that his military assets were secure whilst the country was going through a crisis. A crisis I might add, aided and abetted by the EU and their neo-Nazi sympathizers. These ‘protestors’ made demands upon the democratically elected President and Parliament which, under pressure form the US and the EU, conceded. The ‘protestors’ were then further egged on by the EU, forcing the sacking of the President after he agreed to an election. The people of Ukraine have not had a chance to give those claiming to represent them a mandate for them to act for and on their behalf.

        A referendum was hastily held in the Crimea, in which a large majority agreed to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. This referendum is not recognized by the EU yet, we expect Argentina to recognize the referendum of the Falkland Islanders. That really strikes me as double standards, especially as Crimea was never really part of Ukraine and was given to them by, Khrushchev in the 50’s.

        I think if you take time and stand back a little, you will find there are no good guys here. Just a lot of people happy to use and screw-over the people, as always.

        • Stewart Knight
          Posted March 21, 2014 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

          oh dear……

          • Mark B
            Posted March 22, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

            Stewart

            I see your, ‘Oh dear’, and raise you to a, ‘dear oh, dear’.

            Clearly you cannot counter anything that I have given. Not even U5 can.

            BTW out of all the pictures and media coming out of the Crimea, and you being a military man, can you please tell me what tanks (T60, T72, T80 or T90) Putin has used to invade Ukraine, only they are either well hidden or, not there. And, as I am sure you may very well know, Russian conventional military doctrine is based around the Tank / Armored Units basically bulldozing their enemy.

          • zorro
            Posted March 22, 2014 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

            That seems to be the extent of your counter riposte…

            zorro

        • uanime5
          Posted March 22, 2014 at 1:21 am | Permalink

          He has not invaded Crimea, his troops were already there under agreement with the Ukrainian Government.

          So the Ukrainian government asked Putin to send thousands of unmarked Russia soldiers into Crimea and surround Ukrainian military bases? Ukraine didn’t ask Putin to send troops into Russia; that’s why they demanded that Russia remove them.

          All he has done was, to ensure that his military assets were secure whilst the country was going through a crisis.

          And that justifies annexing all of Crimea, rather than just the Russia naval base?

          These ‘protestors’ made demands upon the democratically elected President and Parliament which, under pressure form the US and the EU, conceded.

          Under a democracy the democratically elected have to listen to those who elect them. It’s neither illegal, nor immoral for the people to force a government to do something.

          The ‘protestors’ were then further egged on by the EU, forcing the sacking of the President after he agreed to an election.

          The people had the choice of keep the president and remove him in a later election, or remove him now; they chose the latter and it was supported by the parliament. So nothing illegal or undemocratic about this.

          The people of Ukraine have not had a chance to give those claiming to represent them a mandate for them to act for and on their behalf.

          What about electing all the people who represent them in parliament?

          A referendum was hastily held in the Crimea, in which a large majority agreed to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.

          Your forgot to mention the invasion by Russia and many people boycotting this referendum because they felt it was illegal.

          This referendum is not recognized by the EU yet, we expect Argentina to recognize the referendum of the Falkland Islanders

          Well the referendum in the Falklands was approved of by international observers and didn’t occur a week after a huge number of British soldiers entered the Falklands.

          That really strikes me as double standards, especially as Crimea was never really part of Ukraine and was given to them by, Khrushchev in the 50′s.

          By that logic it wasn’t part of Russia as the Tartars and other people of the steppes have lived their longer than the Russians.

          • Mark B
            Posted March 22, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

            You really do not understand what has and, what is, going on. The Crimea had a large number of Russian troops already there. These troops were there to protect the Naval base and Russian interests at Sevastopol. Ukraine agreed to this with an upper limited of some 20,000 Russian troops. There was no invasion just an increase in forces already there.

            Much else of what you right is typical Extreme-Left Wing Strawman arguments and I will not do them justice by replying.

            U5 said;
            “Under a democracy the democratically elected have to listen to those who elect them. It’s neither illegal, nor immoral for the people to force a government to do something.”

            You claim the people of Ukraine have the right to get rid of their President yet, you would deny the same right for the people of Crimea to determine there own destiny. That strikes me a hypocrisy.

            The people were not consulted. Parliament was pressured by the mob to get rid of the President. Yes, they may have used legal means and, yes, he was not a good man, but the reasons were more to do with what the EU wanted rather than what the people wanted. Not very democratic is it ?
            —–
            I would go on but I will end with this.

            Sometime ago I asked you why were you posting so late. Our kind host answered this by saying that he tended to put them up late (insert reason) and at that point I was satisfied. I have been monitoring your times and, this trait seems to me more than just that. You really are posting later and later and one can only wounder why.

            Could you, U5, care to explain why you will not engage with you fellow posters on a more meaningful way, rather than this silly hit and run tactics. You have something to say but you should also be prepared to defend you position.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted March 23, 2014 at 1:41 am | Permalink

            A neo-Nazi infested street mob is not “the people”. The interim Ukraine government is not yet legal and ex-President Yanukovic was not removed by legal means. The Ukraine government can begin the process of legitimisation by holding presidential elections in which Mr Yanukovich is allowed to stand and is physically protected.

      • Jennifer A
        Posted March 21, 2014 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        People here speak of “If the EU and the US decide to do this.” or “If the EU and the US decide to do that.”

        Already the EU is behaving like a superstate. When did this happen ? By which mandate ?

        Thus everything is on ‘our’ doorstep.

    • forthurst
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      “It’s difficult to express my disgust with some of the fawning comments and tacit support for Russian imperialism and hegemony.”

      Well, don’t bother then; your contributions would not be missed as they are not supported by any other than misrepresentation whether published in the MSM or not.

    • Aunty Estab
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Pity we no longer have Raglan,Cardigan & co to chase the Russians out of Sevastapol again.

    • Amanda
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      You seem to be in the minority Mr Knight !! Not only here, but across a large proportion of comment on many sites. Therefore, you might care to reconsider your view that you are right and everyone else is a sycophant. I am not sure what you think we would gain from sycophancy to Mr Putin.

      I have however, seen similar sentiment to yours, along with the same analogies – and it has turned out in many cases, that these have come from people with close ties to Western Ukraine, who have spent days on various message boards.

  24. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Referenda:
    Who accepts the results?
    Who organises them?
    Who bothers to vote in them?

    Trenchant questions which mean that referenda are widely different in nature.
    As far as the EU is concerned: the British will accept the results, but not the EU. The referendum will be affected by postal votes and unfair boundaries perhaps, but the BBC and the government will be strongly biased. The EU will pour money in as well. So how fair will it actually be? Lots of OAPs will vote, no doubt. But how many younger people will give their time?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Indeed how can you have a fair referendum with the BBC, the EU, some multinationals and governments using voters money to tell them what to vote?

  25. alan jutson
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    The whole World knew what Putin was like years ago.

    All he needed was an excuse to act.

    The EU in pushing its own agenda, simply pushed his buttons.

    The result, a forgone conclusion.

    Those who now wring their hands are just frustrated that might has trumped Democracy, something the USA has been practicing for years, albeit in a different and not so obvious manner.

  26. Bert Young
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Dr. JR , I completely agree with your blog this am . We are very foolish to think that anything can emerge from the mess in the Ukraine that will leave us better off in any way shape or form . Please do whatever you can to keep us out of it .

  27. David Williams
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Russia’s reaction to the encroachment of the EU is not surprising.

    The referendum in the Crimea is better than no referendum. The UK should respect the people’s democratic right to self determination just as we ask that of the people of Gibraltar and the Falklands to be respected by Spain and Argentina.

    The fallout from sanctions will hurt us more than the US. We risk driving out wealthy Russians and having an influx of needy Ukrainians.

  28. lojolondon
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    97% support for joining Russia is as unanimous as a referendum gets. The West shows themselves to be complete hypocrites when the democratic electorate have spoken.

    Ironically this all happened because the EU deliberately provoked Putin by inviting the Ukraine to join the EUSSR.

    I am with Mr Redwood – get over it.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 22, 2014 at 1:23 am | Permalink

      97% support for joining Russia is as unanimous as a referendum gets.

      Well when you have thousands of foreign soldiers supporting one side of this referendum and many people boycott it because they consider it illegal what do you expect to happen?

      • Edward2
        Posted March 23, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        Firstly Uni, the foreign soldiers were not entitled to a vote.
        Sceondly over 85% of the people turned and voted.
        Other than these two things your post was accurate as usual .

  29. Vanessa
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    The EU behaved absolutely despicably in this situation. It tried to bully Ukraine to join the EU not just to have a trade agreement. Now that Putin has shown that it was a step too far they are trying to punish him. The EU is like the old USSR everything is dandy as long as more and more countries want to join. But when countries are no longer interested in joining it will fall apart – I hope !

    They (our government in Brussels) are just bullies. Why do we still comply and pay them our membership fee ?

  30. Tad Davison
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    John,

    I absolutely could not agree more! But this type of double-standards has been practised by the west many times before in a host of countries. Thankfully, the more cogent members of society are beginning to see through it, but that is in no part due to the information put out by the British media. I am absolutely appalled by the poor standard of journalism that exists in the UK. It is crazy that to get the bigger picture, we have to access many foreign news services.

    The one that should be above it all, is the dear old BBC – that most ‘trusted’ of broadcasters. Unencumbered by an owner with a political bias, or an axe to grind, the BBC should be able to give a balanced view, but not a bit of it! They still trot out the same old EU-tainted propaganda and BS. Even that most trusted BBC journalist, Andrew Neil, was at it on his show yesterday evening. And when given no alternative to the ‘conformity message’, it’s little wonder people become brainwashed and swallow it all. Thank God that so many people who contribute to your blog have the capacity to see through it.

    I am English. This is my country. I will never be an apologist for another country’s foreign policy. But we desperately need openness and balance in our own politics and our own reporting. We are owed that much at least, and thank you for putting the case for a common-sense approach to this and associated international issues.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Vanessa
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Tad
      Try reading eureferendum.com it is the best site for reading the truth on what is happening in the world and in Britain.
      I agree the main media are cretins; they do not know what is happening under their noses and if they do, refuse to tell us the truth.
      I think it is time to take up arms ! I am sick and tired of being peddled lies by our MPs and the media.

    • Amanda
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      John – thank you for your article. A balanced and fair view , which I think is in line with that of many people. Over the past week I have read a number of comments on different websites; from the Guardian to the Daily Mail the bulk of comments have been against the imperalist ambitions of the EU, aghast at the fawning of Hague, and disgusted at the acceptance of the EU and US of a group of very dubious people as the new Ukraine interim leaders.

      Many comments have also been made about the biased reporting and warmongering of the MSM. For example, earlier this week we were told that Russian soliders had shot a Ukrainian soldier in the Crimea, this apparently meant war and the Kiev interim leaders where screaming about ‘war crimes'; their own ‘thuggery’ in cities across Easter Ukraine ignored.

      Reading the story across different media it was clear that the facts were not known and there was a lot of misreporting; but it didn’t stop the judgemental headlines. As it turns out, there was both a Ukrainian and a Russian/Crimean soldier(s) shot – the sniper was a 17 year old Western Ukrainian, apparently. I have yet to see the real story reported in a number of the MSM – they had the headlines they wanted and the truth and international relationships be dammed.

      The reporting from the MSM has been disgraceful. Like the writer above, I have opened up a variety of new sources for news from around the world – it is the only way to get any semblance of truth.

      • zorro
        Posted March 22, 2014 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

        Good for you – the MSM reporting is often diabolical – an example was about the socalled ‘storming’ of the Ukrainian base on TV….What a nonsense, they were desperate for many deaths…but surprise surprise noone was killed……ourageous so called journalism!!

        zorro

  31. ian wragg
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    What is your thoughts on the 2 cretins in the coalition devastating our armed forces now John. Vlad rightly knows only the UK had the muscle but now that’s gone he can please himself.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes for the Baltic States next and there’s damn all we can do about it.
    Roll on your time in opposition, you deserve it.

  32. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    An excellent post, absolutely spot on. Please put a copy in Mr Hague’s in tray.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      I’ve just seen David Cameron’s ludicrous performance on TV. Better put a copy of your message in his in tray too.

      Congratulations to Mr Putin. He has just ordered that his salary is paid into the Russian bank that his being embargoed by the West. That’s right, Vladimir, don’t let the b______s get you down.

    • forthurst
      Posted March 21, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      “An excellent post, absolutely spot on. Please put a copy in Mr Hague’s in tray.”

      He might also like to watch an interview by Oksana Boyko on ‘Worlds Apart’ with Malcolm Fraser, ex-premier of Australia, on the Ukraine. Fraser talks more sense in half an hour than Little Willy has done in his lifetime.

      http://rt.com/shows/worlds-apart-oksana-boyko/%D1%81old-war-and-peace-013/

  33. stred
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Watching CNN in Budapest, the picture is of the new Ukraine President, President Rumpey of the EU, Whateverheis Barosso and Baroness shAton our Foreign policy boss signing the ageement they wanted all along. How odd that none of them have been elected by anyone other than politicians. Even if they had been, no EU citizen has been asked whether they wanted to expand to the Russian border. Let’s hope that unelected Mrs Legarde doesn’t want us to borrow too much to pay for it. At least President Obama was and will say ‘yes we can’ chip in his taxpayers money. CNN will make them feel good about it.

  34. Posted March 21, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    If Britain remains in the EU, I can visualise something similar happening here one day. We will want to get out of the EU which will be opposed by threats from Berlin via Brussels, and the people will ask a friendly power to help them, probably the US.
    In the case of Ukraine, one suspects that in a free vote, those in the eastern part would probably have opted for independence or to join Russia anyway, so it is hard to see what harm has been done, other than to the egos of EU politicians along with those in Kiev.

  35. Mark
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    How refreshing to read some good common sense.

  36. Roger Farmer
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    “The best defence against the splitting of nations is good democratic government in each state that can command the loyalty and agreement of the peoples.”

    So when is the democratic deficit going to be addressed in the UK. A deficit that is highlighted in this age of instant information and communication. It leaves one in admiration of those protest movements of past centuries when the means of information spread was so limited. The current deficit I see as follows.

    Members of Parliament.
    Largely selected by party machines, and therefore on election dependant on that party for their careers. Those that aspire to government positions bow to the leadership rather than those who elected them. Selection of candidates should be via primaries so that the electorate beyond the local party or HQ make the final choice.
    The recall or de-selection of MPs should be enshrined in law. The system of candidate emergence should end the career of the professional politician. School, University, Westminster Gofer, MP, is not a cv that brings any life experience to the job.
    The rules for expenses, tax, and pensions should be the same as for anyone who runs a legitimate business. Build dedicated accommodation in London and offer a pool of secretarial and research help, paid for by the state. Much the same as for any officer in the military who gets moved from their domestic base.

    West Lothian Anomaly.
    Tackle this festering sore by ending the duplication of MPs in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. MPs from their indigenous parliaments can be invited to Westminster to discuss and vote on matters pertaining to the UK, but must have no say on English matters.

    Constituency Boundaries.
    Sort these so that English MPs represent roughly the same number of electors each.

    Whipping.
    Put an end to this anarchic practise. MPs represent their constituents and should vote in accordance with their wishes, while allowing votes of conscience.

    Quangoes.
    End them and bring back responsibility for their areas of operation to the House of Commons committee system, with expert help as required.

    Civil Service.
    It should be made absolutely clear that the Civil Service serves Parliament through ministries controlled by ministers. MPs and Ministers are responsible for laying down the agenda.
    At present they appear to act as the “Tail wagging the dog.”

    Europe and the EU.
    The only way is out of this socialist totalitarian block on democracy. They have no democratic mandate, in fact no mandate of any kind, yet hand out from Brussels 70% of UK law to a supine remnant of a Parliament. A reversion to the principals of Magna Carta would be refreshing. Meaningful re-negotiation is not on offer from Cameron. He is going through the motions pushing the UK well and truly into them. It is a charade and should be recognised as such.

    Putin.
    Putin is safeguarding his naval base in the Crimea in the arrogant way he has always acted. A country that leads the World in the game of chess could have done it with a little more finesse. However he knows that militarily and in most other ways the EU is a fart in a bottle, so he can get away with it. Having heard that Cameron believes the EU should extend from the Atlantic to the Urals I hardly blame him for saying in effect, no further, and not on my watch.

  37. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    There’s the EU, which has wide-ranging territorial ambitions but at present lacks the military muscle to ensure the defence of the new territories it acquires.

    Then there’s NATO, which willingly provides the military muscle that the EU still lacks, and the intimacy of the link between the two is revealed when Eurocorps describes itself as “A Force for NATO and the European Union”.

    And so then there is the US, which provides most of the military muscle to NATO and not only supports the territorial ambitions of the EU but apparently still harbours a Cold War desire to finish off Russia for good.

    I refer to this combination as the “EU/NATO/US troika”, because the three of them are all in close harness side by side pulling in the same direction.

    And for a long time one planned direction of travel has been around and across the Black Sea and across the Caucasus to the Caspian Sea, and then across the Caspian Sea to Central Asia; once again I offer a handy map showing that once Cameron had achieved his stated, insane, objective of the EU stretching from the Atlantic to the Urals it would not just be a case of Russia being encircled to the south it would be Russia split into two along the line of the Urals and the greatly enlarged EU, for which also read the UK, having borders with China and Iran and nearly with Mongolia, and no doubt later with Afghanistan:

    http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/caucasus_central_asia_pol_2009.jpg

    And of course the British people would never be asked directly whether they wanted any of this to happen, because when he wrote his “referendum lock” law Hague deliberately exempted all treaties for the accession of new countries to the EU.

  38. waramess
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    I did wonder if this was all cut and dried a long time ago and what we are seeing now is a replay for public and other consumption. A tripartide agreement between Russia, Germany and the USA.

    It must have become clear to the Russians that EU expansion is the same as Germany expansion; once again pushing for an European empire. Invite the rest of Europe in for a trade and income redistribution party and then change the agenda.

    Now we have a common currency, a common budget, a common foreign policy with expectation of common fiscal policies and then presumably a common legal code and a common tax revenue body and a common army.

    Doesn’t leave much to the imagination and, were it to be a game of chess then Putin would be looking to mobilise some pawn defence.

    No pawns? Better get some then.

    Why should the Germans be at all interested in the USSR? All they have is oil, gas and precious minerals.

    I believe the Germans now understand the game is up for the time being and a German empire without significant energy resources is better than no Empire at all.

    Putin on the other hand will have promised to be a good boy in the future. Neither can be trusted, of course.

    The Germans and others maintain that the EU is the road to avoidance of wars in Europe. History on the other hand tells us that road is better served by Germany not invading other countries.

  39. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Disgusted to see our Prime Minister in the picture here:

    http://euobserver.com/foreign/123574

    “The 28 EU Prime Ministers and Presidents, Ukraine’s interim PM, and top EU officials in Brussels on Friday (21 March) put ink on the same accord that was rejected by ousted Ukrainian chief Viktor Yanukovych last November.”

    That’ll be “Ukraine’s interim PM” of an illegitimate government in Kiev formed after the
    legitimate president was forced to flee by mob violence.

    “The refusal to sign the association agreement with the European Union created a popular uprising, a political and cultural shift. We pay tribute to those who gave their life for freedom … It [the signature] is a sign of our solidarity,” EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy said.”

    That’ll be the “popular uprising” fomented by the EU and the US precisely because the legitimate president of Ukraine refused to sign the association agreement; but now they have got what they wanted, haven’t they, and our very own “EU should stretch from the Atlantic to the Urals” Prime Minister is a party to this.

    • APL
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

      Denis Cooper: “Disgusted to see our Prime Minister in the picture here:”

      Why Denis? This is the Eurosceptic leader of the Tory party our host is always wittering on about.

  40. BobE
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    We should rearm soon. At least to maintain a balance. If not we risk loosing a war.

  41. uanime5
    Posted March 22, 2014 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    Crimea is now part of Russia. The EU and the USA should understand this simple fact.

    Not as long as Ukraine objects and the UN doesn’t approve of this.

    Imposing some sanctions retrospectively in a fit of pique makes the West look weak and is a kind of self harm.

    As opposed to doing nothing which would make the West look even weaker and lead Putin to believe that he can do anything without punishment.

    The West should believe in democracy. That means we should have worked with the Ukraine for a new election to find a President of the Ukraine who could speak for all and hold it together.

    In other words what the West was doing before Russia invaded Ukraine.

    That means we should have helped the Ukraine organise a legal referendum on the future of the Crimea so they can settle their own future.

    Something Russia objected to because they wanted to annex Crimea as quickly as possible.

    Instead the West allowed or encouraged the overthrow of an elected President without an early election to replace him

    When exactly was the West meant to do this? Russia entered Crimea almost immediately after the president was impeached by the parliament.

    In the UK defenders of the Union in the Union Parliament have given Scotland the right to a voice on their future, showing the EU how these things should be handled.

    By being approved of by the central government? Occurring after years of debate, rather than after a week? Being held when thousands of foreign soldiers aren’t occupying your country?

    The situation in Scotland and Crimea are very different.

    The EU and the Spanish state are against Catalonia having a vote on its future. The EU and the Italian state are against Venice and the Veneto having a vote on its future, though an unofficial one is currently underway.

    In other words the EU only supports these referendums if the central government of the country supports them. I trust you’re not saying that the EU should encourage countries to break up against the wishes of the central government.

    The EU and the Ukraine have been against the Crimea having a vote on its future

    Given all the thousands of Russian soldiers in Crimea and the short time period before the vote it’s no surprise that the EU and Ukraine objected.

    If the West thinks Mr Putin might be emboldened to do the same again elsewhere, then the West needs to make clear in advance their disapproval and take the diplomatic and defence actions necessary so next time they have some control over events.

    The West did make clear their disapproval of the referendum before it was held and they are sanctioning Russia as a result. So unless you want the west to station large armies in any country they think Russia might invade there’s not much else they can do.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Its only a few decades from a time when those like yourself who hold left wing political views Uni, were keeping themselves busy writing essays like your above, defending anything Russia did.
      Missiles on Cuba, invasion of Baltic states, imprisoning hundreds of thousands of dissenters etc etc.
      I find it revealing that as the EU drifts ever more to becoming a socialist “paradise” the left now defend the EU in a totally similar blind way.

      • APL
        Posted March 24, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        Edward2: “Its only a few decades from a time when those like yourself ”

        From the style and factual content of his scribblings, I doubt uanime5 has yet seen more than two decades in total.

  42. Chris S
    Posted March 22, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I’ve just revisited Tom Clancy’s Cold War Novel Red Storm Rising written in 1985.

    In the novel The Soviet Union attacks Germany to disable NATO in order to be able to take over the Middle East oil fields.

    The very suggestion in 1985 that Western European countries could ever contemplate becoming dependent on Russia for a strategic requirement such as oil or gas would have been laughed at. Yet, less than 25 years later, politicians in Germany have allowed their country to be put in exactly this situation.

    Short sighted policies have made it possible for another dictator in the mould of Stalin to do exactly as he likes in the Eastern part of Europe. It seems very unlikely that Putin will stop with the Crimea and Germany is in no position to support the former Soviet states in staying within democratic Western Europe.

    Britain has almost completed the withdrawal of its forces from Germany and all three armed services are a mere shadow of their former selves. With a ditherer in the White House with no idea how Military Power should be used to influence events, the West is seen by both China and Russia as weak and ineffective.

    It’s all our own fault. All the bluster and wringing of hands in Brussels and elsewhere in Europe is a complete waste of time.

    Telling Abramovich he can’t refuel any of his enormous yachts in Monte Carlo is going to be rightly regarded as an utterly ridiculous response in Moscow and Beijing.

  43. Javelin
    Posted March 22, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    The historic fall out from this debacle is that Russia will finally sign a gas and oil agreement with China. This will further shift power to China and enhancing China’s claim that the Renembi should be the new reserve currency. So it seems until Chinas debts reach the no sky moment they will be challenging the US position.

  44. PeteG
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad to see that there is one politician in the UK who understands what has happened in Crimea/Ukraine and has succinctly described what the West’s response should have been not the blustering waffle that came from Hague, Kerry and the EU.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
    Published and promoted by Thomas Puddy for John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU
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