Richard North has it about right, I think:
Peter Hitchens thus has it, writing under the headline, “We’re being dragged into a new Cold War by a puffed-up bullfrog”. Stupidity and ignorance rule the world, he says, but the trouble is that the stupid and the ignorant think that they are clever and well-informed. He rails against the likes of Hillary Clinton who, like Deshchytsia, has directly compared Putin to Hitler.
But, in particular, he berates our prime minister for “puffing himself up like a bullfrog, and busily creating a new Cold War that will benefit nobody except spies and weapons-makers, for a cause he doesn’t understand and can’t explain”.
The whole pack of them are stoking the fires, seemingly yearning for death, destruction and war. And, remarkably, against that, it seems that the public are taking the contrary view, not in any way buying the bellicosity of their masters. As diplomacy dies on the streets of Kiev, never more have the likes of William Hague seemed so out of touch with ordinary people.
Well, they’re certainly ‘out of touch’ with me. In fact, it’s rather an understatement. It’s more that I think that UK politicians are all, with one or two exceptions, poisonous little reptiles. It’s the way I’ve felt about them since 1 July 2007. And it’s the way I feel about most of the EU political class as well, for the same reason. Because the likes of Rompuy and Ashton and Barroso are utterly nauseating too. None of these people – not one of them – represents me in any way, shape, or form. And so I’m glad to see them all getting a bit of a bloody nose in Ukraine.
And yet, just 10 years ago, I would probably have felt exactly the opposite. But back then I was a valued citizen. And now I’m part of a despised and excluded and demonised underclass. And I see everything through the prism of that experience.
Which is why I can’t bring myself to actually support Putin: because he’s yet another antismoker, and bringing in a full Russian smoking ban in June. He might be riding high in Russian opinion polls right now after his Crimean counter-coup, but I suspect that a few nights of standing outside Siberian bars in snow at 40 below will sour things a bit for the 60%+ adult male Russian smokers.
In fact, I wonder why he intends to go ahead with the ban at all, now that he’s burnt his bridges with the West. After all, these smoking bans are really all about becoming more “westernised.” And what’s the point of that now? I read recently somewhere that old Soviet cigarette brands are being relaunched:
The cigarette brands with the Soviet past from another company, Nevo-Tabak, also managed to improve their sales. The sales of such brands as Arktika, Troika and Leningad improved considerably during the recent six months.
“BAT Russia is not a pioneer when it comes to the launch of iconic Soviet cigarettes. This has been happening on the market of alcohol beverages too. One may recollect the fight of the Moscow Distillery Cristall for such well-known Soviet brands as Pshenichnaya and Stolichnaya. Dairy companies design Soviet-style packaging to win customers’ attention to their products….”
I reckon that about the best thing Putin could do would be to annul the Russian smoking ban, and start lighting up old Soviet cigarettes, and blowing smoke in the faces of horrified visiting Western bigwigs. And also start flooding the EU with the very same cigarettes.
They’d become the ultimate must-have smokers’ resistance cigarette, giving an in-your-face middle finger to our
nanny bully state puritans. What could be better than having a pack of Herzegovina Flor sitting next to your pint on a garden table?
They’re what Stalin used to smoke.