DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Party madness plays into Vladimir Putin’s hands
Another day, another lurid account of a Downing Street ‘party’. Leave aside that it was a surprise for Boris Johnson’s birthday and lasted just minutes. The constant drip, drip of accusation goes on.
But isn’t this just proof that we are in the grip of a collective madness? For as Britain obsesses about parties, Vladimir Putin has been busy cranking up his formidable war machine. It is now fully primed for attack.
Yesterday’s news that we are pulling diplomats out of Ukraine suddenly made a threat which has been rumbling in the background for months terrifyingly real. And puts Partygate in its true context.
‘Leave aside that it was a surprise for Boris Johnson’s birthday and lasted just minutes. The constant drip, drip of accusation goes on’
If Russia does invade – and with thousands of troops and materiel massed on the border that could happen any day – the whole Western political class should hang their heads in shame.
Through disunity and mixed messaging they have handed Putin a gift-wrapped opportunity to expand his autocratic empire at Ukraine’s expense.
Guarantor of peace for more than 70 years, Nato is wracked with division. Germany is reluctant to offend Putin because it is a slave to Russian energy.
French President Emmanuel Macron undermines the alliance further, describing it as ‘brain-dead’ and calling for the creation of an EU army. Russia must be quaking in its boots.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden says a ‘minor incursion’ might not be enough to justify the most extreme sanctions. Could there be a more open invitation?
But despite the lamentable failings of partners, the UK has stood squarely behind Ukraine. We have provided armaments and training and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has condemned Putin’s bellicosity and Germany’s growing reliance on Russian gas.
A military response is unlikely but Russia must be left in no doubt that any invasion will be met with draconian, economically ruinous sanctions.
If Europe fails Ukraine, Putin’s greedy eye will fall next on some other former Soviet state. We should have learned by now that appeasing tyrants never works.
Now axe the tax, PM
Boris Johnson refused eight times yesterday to confirm that the planned rise in national insurance contributions will go ahead.
He’s clearly wavering, so let’s hope he now follows his Tory instincts and scraps this deeply unpopular increase.
‘As families brace themselves for a brutal cost of living squeeze, pressing on with this tax hike would be cruel and tin-eared’
Yesterday, the hugely respected Institute for Fiscal Studies said delaying it would have ‘no major impact’ on plans to boost health and social care funding.
Yet business leaders warn that pressing ahead with it threatens jobs and could worsen inflation.
As families brace themselves for a brutal cost of living squeeze, pressing on with this tax hike would be cruel and tin-eared. His Cabinet don’t want it, nor his backbenchers, nor the majority of voters. Do them all a favour, Boris, and spike the tax hike.
Broken asylum system
Emad Al Swealmeen (pictured), 32, started building a bomb factory at a rented bedsit as early as April, according to police
An Iraqi who arrived on a visitor’s visa from Baghdad. Pretended to be Syrian and claimed asylum. Claim rejected. Appealed. Lost. Challenged verdict. Verdict upheld. Reapplied under false name. Rejected. Appealed again.
This is the story of Liverpool bomber Emad Al Swealmeen’s seven-year bid for refugee status. He changed his name, nationality and even religion but was rejected every time.
So why wasn’t he deported? The Home Office says he slipped through the net. In fact, his case was depressingly typical.
Some 12,000 claimants have been here a decade or more without a decision – and that’s just those we know about.
Most will never be sent back, creating an incentive for migrants to cross the Channel. Ministers talk tough, but they can’t hide the truth. The asylum system is unfit for purpose.