Most British people won't forget the demise of Alexander Litvinenko. Images of a frail and dying man on his hospital bed permeated the press, alongside those of him as a healthy, well-built Russian intelligence agent. He'd been poisoned by the Russians, we were told. Indeed, a radioactive trail of evidence was followed all the way back to the plane on which his adversary arrived. There was very little to question.
When Sergei Skirpal and his daughter were poisoned ealier this month, even the not-so-bright-of-mind couldn't fail to see the similarities. Dianne Abbot was one of the first to say the case reminded her of Litvinenko. Within 24 hours, Boris Johnson had warned the Russians that they would pay for this ; problem being, there was no evidence at all that the Russians were responsible.
Skirpal had lived a quiet life, not been politcally involved for years, and never criticised Putin. All this was happening at a time when President Trump was coming under pressure for not imposing the recommended sanctions against Russia. With so much on the line for Russia, the timing didn't make any sense.
As rumours and connections linking Skirpal to the Steele dossier appeared, the British Government kept up its narrative against the Russians, but the evidence to back up their claims still didn't surface. There was still no motive for the attack, either - wouldn't it make more sense to look at those who wanted to see the sanctions Trump had refused to impose on Russia put in place?
Nikolai Glushkov died in London a week later. A 68-year old Russian businessman, known for his alcoholism and love of drugs, it seemed like a reasonable age to reach. He had been an associate of Boris Berezovsky, the oligarch who had allegedly hung himself, and Glushkov had always cried 'foul play' on his friend's death, stating in interviews that he now felt that he was the last person left on Putin's hit list. When investigators found that Glushkov had been strangled, the pressure stepped up on Russia even more, once again without any evidence they had been involved in the murder.
It all seemed rather too convenient. We later learned that Novichoks can be made by pretty much anyone in a lab. The British nerve agent research facility, Porton Down, is situated just 7 miles away from the home of the Skirpals. Apparently, Sergei and his daughter are both still alive, but unlikely to recover from brain damage caused by the nerve agent, and their side of the story may never be heard.
Corbyn has been crucified simply for wanting evidence. Trump once again came under heavy pressure to act on this so-called 'terrorist attack' on Britain. Russian diplomats are being expelled from their embassies all over the world. However, it's worth keeping in mind that Hillary Clinton was the one who wanted a war with Russia, and DNC commissioned production of the Steele dossier.
I don't deny that Russia has committed some heinous crimes in the not so distant past. Still, without any evidence, the actions taken against the Russians seem disproporionate. It wouldn't surprise me if one day we learn that the poisoning of the Skirpals and the murder of Glushkov were inside jobs, with the sole aim of stirring up Russophobia in the masses to prepare and justify a war. The question we need to ask is, are we ready to go to war with a nuclear power like that?