+I may have slipped up comparing Alexei Navalny with Julian Assange. Whist they both share the characteristic of being thorns in the side of government, I was alerted by Counterpunch to an article that appeared in the New York Times on the 9th March, 2011:
‘Five years ago, he quit the liberal party Yabloko, frustrated with the liberals’ infighting and isolation from mainstream Russian opinion. Liberals, meanwhile, have deep reservations about him, because he espouses Russian nationalist views. He has appeared as a speaker alongside neo-Nazis and skinheads, and once starred in a video that compares dark-skinned Caucasus militants to cockroaches. While cockroaches can be killed with a slipper, he says that in the case of humans, “I recommend a pistol.”’
The West loves him because he hates Putin, is media savvy and came close to martyrdom. But actually we don’t really hear very much about his politics. Maybe he’s changed in the last 10 years. We may never be told—after all, all the leaders in troubled countries backed in Western coups were devoted democrats, weren’t they?
+ The Tories have today leaked a 'draft White Paper' which proposes reining in some of the NHS reforms they (along with the LibDems) introduced in the early years of their rule. These reforms introduced a much higher level of private sector competition into the NHS, notably in primary care. We are going to hear quite a lot about this 'u-turn' in the next few days, and my suspicious mind tells me that they are flying a kite either to distract from their Covid cock-ups or are really totally sincere in their desire to repair the damage they have done over the years. Now which could it be? There is a third alternative, which is to say they are so fearful of Starmer's New New Labour Party they are trying to steal Labour's strongest suit. Yes, maybe that's it, and if so Labour should be very worried indeed - if there's any substance to the 'draft' leaked paper, it signals a very difficult battle to come.