Wednesday 4 April 2018

The Porton Down statement tells us way more about our own government than it does about Russia's

There seems to be an awful lot of confusion about the meaning of the Porton Down announcement that they've been unable to prove that the Salisbury nerve agent was produced in Russia.

The announcement in no way indicates that Russians weren't responsible for the attack, it just means that the scientists who analysed the nerve agent couldn't conclusively prove that it was produced in Russia.

What the announcement does do is expose the fact that Boris Johnson lied. He lied when he said that Proton Down experts told him that there was "no doubt" that the nerve agent was produced in Russia, and the Foreign Office lied when they issued (a now hastily deleted) Tweet blaming Russia for the production of the nerve agent.

the announcement also vindicated Jeremy Corbyn for his calm evidence-seeking approach, and those who suffered a huge onslaught of vitriol and abuse for daring to ask questions about the government line, and specifically Boris Johnson's claims about what the Porton Down experts had told him.

It's absolutely clear that anyone trying to make out that the Porton Down announcement absolves Russia of blame is stretching way beyond what was actually said and should be ignored. These people are muddying the waters by misrepresenting what has been said, and distracting from the key issue, which is that the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom has been caught out in a lie.

What's more is the fact that Theresa May is simply letting Boris Johnson get away with it.

This refusal to discipline him for these false claims is yet another demonstration that Theresa May is such a weak and directionless leader that she doesn't even have the authority within her own party to sack one of her cabinet ministers, even when he's been totally exposed as a liar.

The Porton Down announcement tells us very little about Russia's involvement (which will almost certainly have to be proven by other means), but what it does tell us is that Boris Johnson is a dangerous liar who dissembles dishonestly even when it comes to crucial national security issues, and that Theresa May is such a weak leader that she's literally powerless to do anything to discipline him.

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