Boris Johnson is a clown, a cheat and a liar. Over the last few years, his government has been beset by a ludicrous number of scandals. Any one of these would have toppled his predecessors. The man has absolutely nothing to offer the country. He has made this country worse in virtually every aspect, and MI5 once branded him a security risk. We are in desperate times, and the critical question everyone should be asking is how far does Russian money reach.
There is a difference between Russian citizens and Oligarchs
Before I continue, I want to make one thing clear: there is a fundamental difference between the Russian people and the Oligarchs in thrall to Putin. Boris Johnson and his groupies have been doing their best to deflect criticism by conflating the two groups. In case there is any doubt:
Russian citizens = fine
Russian billionaires with links to a hostile foreign government being used to funnel cash into the UK in order to influence UK domestic and foreign policy = not fine
I find it staggering that this point has to be made, but we are dealing with a corrupt and selfish snake oil salesman who will do whatever he can to get through the next news cycle.
That being said, let’s start with the Russia Report…
Remember the Russia Report?
The Government suppressed the Russia Report, a document that was critical to national security, for 8 months. They made up some pseudo-political nonsense as to why he could not release it. Coincidentally this meant that the report, which should have been released prior to the 2019 election, was delayed until after the votes were counted. Unsurprisingly the verdict was damning. Russian influence was far reaching. The Government had done nothing to stop it. At best, it had been negligent, at worst complicit.
But did Russia attempt to influence the Brexit vote? The answer is almost certainly yes, but to what extent is unclear.
The UK Government actually went out of it’s way to ensure that we do not find out. Let that sink in for a second. The Government has blocked all efforts to find out if a hostile foreign power interfered with the democratic process. This was not a parish council by election. This was a referendum that would have an effect on the direction of this country for generations to come. The worst bit? The Government and it’s cheerleaders then attempted to claim that the report found no evidence of Brexit interference. Here’s a hint as to why; they were explicitly told not to look.
Arise, Lord Lebedev
Over a year on, and nothing has actually been done in the wake of the report. In fact, if anything the situation has actively worsened. Shortly after the report was finally released, Boris Johnson made a Russian billionaire (and the son of a former KGB spy) a Lord. This man is now a lifelong member of the UK legislature.
The timing was abysmal. It is almost unbelievable to think that a Prime Minister could have such poor judgement, and it raises serious questions. There is no logical reason for Boris Johnson to risk such criticism at a time when he was already vulnerable. Irrespective of the specific reason that Boris Johnson elevated Lebedev to the peerage, what is clear is that the Conservative party is awash with Russian money.
How many Rubles to the Pound?
Over the last 12 months, the Conservative party has received £4.9m from Russian sources. In the wake of the cash for access scandal that rocked the Conservative party a few weeks ago it is hard to believe that these donations were entirely philanthropic.
London has, for a long time, been used as a laundromat for dirty Russian money. “Investing” in the government could be viewed as an insurance policy in case things turn sour. The UK’s sluggish approach to sanctions and a reluctance to seize assets may suggest that this is paying off.