+Putin’s government has a lot to answer for, and hopefully sooner rather than later justice will take its course. But in the meantime the tragedy continues. The latest twist is the sabotage to the Russian Nordstream gas pipelines to Europe. Immediately the question is raised: Are the Russians to blame? Almost immediately the answer comes back: They must be. The West has it nailed. Of course, it could have been Greenpeace, or maybe even Jeremy Corbyn—except he’s now a bit redundant in his role as a Commie-loving bounder (except in Keir Starmer' s mind). As always the best question to ask is Cui Bono? Surely not the Russians—at some point they’ll want to get those pipelines working at full tilt to get the income flowing again. I suspect the question ’who benefits’ might be answered with: the Ukrainians. Russian gas is still transited through Ukraine (business goes on despite the war) and they won’t want to lose the revenues it generates. Here’s an article published in Politico yesterday:
‘A war of words between gas companies in Ukraine and Russia is threatening gas transit to the EU. Ukraine's Naftogaz and Russia's Gazprom are at loggerheads over payments for gas shipments through pipelines across Ukraine — a trade that has continued despite the war between the two countries. But that deal is starting to fray.’
Ukraine therefore has a motive to neutralise other routes. It’s very hard to see what motive Russia would have for sabotaging its own infrastructure, which of course just happens to bypass Ukraine altogether. But it must be the Russians, right? I realise that by writing this I have just broken the unspoken rule that one cannot suggest that Ukraine is capable of doing anything wrong whatsoever.
+In North Korea, every failure is a success in the hands of the regime’s newsreaders (for those who actually have TV sets). The same is true here. Everything is under control following Kwasi Kwarteng’s car-crash budget. Here’s what the Treasury had to say (on PoliticsHome):
"Global financial markets have seen significant volatility in recent days. The Bank has identified a risk from recent dysfunction in gilt markets, so the Bank will temporarily carry out purchases of long-dated UK government bonds from today (28 September) in order to restore orderly market conditions. These purchases will be strictly time limited, and completed in the next two weeks. To enable the Bank to conduct this financial stability intervention, this operation has been fully indemnified by HM Treasury. “
Where’s the blame lie? Global financial markets (whose bankers will get bigger bonuses after this one). In a calm and measured analysis, the Bank of England has identified a little hiccup and will make an adjustment here and there over a day or two to set things right, all very neutral sounding isn’t it? Oh, and at the end of the day everything will be alright because HM Treasury will indemnify the purchase of its own debt. Never mind that it was its own debt that caused the problem in the first place. Go back to sleep, it’s all under control.
Our general economic position was quickly summed up by this in the New York Times this morning:
“The sense of crisis ramped up yesterday when the Bank of England warned of “material risk to U.K. financial stability” from the government’s plan and said it would start buying British government bonds “on whatever scale is necessary” to stem a sell-off in British debt. For some experts, the pound’s journey indicates a decline in economic and political influence that accelerated when Britain voted to leave the E.U. in 2016. In many respects, Britain already has the worst performing economy, aside from Russia, in the 38-member O.E.C.D.
Analysis: “It’s just a question of time before it falls out of the top 10 economies in the world,” said Ian Goldin, professor of globalization and development at the University of Oxford. Britain currently ranks sixth, having been surpassed by India.” (emphasis added)
So you see, what’s happening now is merely evidence of the Remainer Conspiracy!