There are three categories of liars: Liars, Damned liars, and… Boris Johnson, the Secretary of State for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The FCO minister, backed by Prime Minister Theresa May and the roar of the mainstream media, has provoked a collective hysteria in NATO countries with accusations and threats, as violent as they are unfounded, against Vladimir Putin, concerning the alleged poisoning of a former Soviet-era spy with a nerve agent ‘of a type developed by Russia’.
Over the last week those accusations have been dismantled by a few but very determined personalities including two distinguished British citizens: Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour party and Craig Murray, former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan.
The British own goal became evident when the French Prime Minister Macron, clearly annoyed at having being involved in a hostile and unfounded joint communiqué, had to run for cover and declare that France “does not deal with political fiction. Once the facts are proven, then decisions will be made”. Even in Germany the former foreign minister and other notable voices have sharply disassociated themselves from British accusations.
On Saturday evening, March 17th, Boris Johnson attacked once more, and was again backed by the mainstream media who loudly proclaimed: “Boris says he has evidence”. But again Craig Murray disassembled the second attack with the phlegmatic professionalism learned in Her Majesty’s diplomacy schools, by demonstrating that Boris is repeating the same tactics: using verbal formulations that allow people to believe something which actually has not been affirmed.
Of course, If the Foreign Office really has evidence of Russia producing and stockpiling chemical weapons, as per Boris Johnson, why hasn’t this been raised at the UN Security Council and with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)? This is what a responsible government respectful of international law would do.
Boris has, however, achieved one very predictable result: helped Putin to win another landslide election.
Now let’s wait and see. Some mischievous bet on a third attack to which no one will take the trouble to reply: as in the story of Peter and the wolf, the British government is self-discrediting.