Tim Farron came out in suppport of the US airstrikes inn Syria. Yet when Boris, the UK foreign secretary lest we forget, backed this up by walking away from talks with Lavrov, Farron said that Boris had made a mistake; even been played for a fool. I don’t understand this position at all.
Look, as long term readers of mine will know, I’m no Boris fan – I think the idea that he’s in charge of the FCO a cruel joke against all of us who care about the Britain – but I think he’s actually always handled the Russians pretty well, and part of this has been Syria. He’s been consistent in saying Assad needs to go, and that there can be no peace there unless he does. I thought refusing to be treated like a gimp by Lavrov was both pretty ballsy and the right thing to do. I feel like I’m missing something, so fellow Boris doubters help me out here: what would have been a better way for the foreign secretary to have played this exactly? Is this part of the “we need a dialogue with the Russians” line of bullshit? Guys, the Russians have been playing the west for either fools or softies for years, at least since the whole South Ossetia moment and that’s getting on for a decade now. All they get is action. Boris wasn’t about to send Britis ground troops into Damascus, so embarrassing Lavrov was all he had to hand and he used it. Seriously, what else was he supposed to have done. I mean, I hate to say it, and I do so with gritted teeth, but on this one I’m forced to say: well played Boris.
Like you, I am no huge fan of Boris. I am glad we have a foreign secretary who is not timid, but I am not sure I see the strategy behind his rather varied and unpredictable pronouncements. however, like you, I think regarding Russia his stance has been justifiable and not unreasonable.
I suspect Tim Farron has reacted in the way he has simply because his politics are entirely tactical. He is in the habit of contradicting everything said or done by the government – even if in doing so he ends up contradicting what he demanded a few days ago. I don’t think he has any principles or much of a clue. He is a bit like a weedy class sneak.
I am surprised you missed what happened. Yes Boris Johnson is a blundering buffoon, so rather like his alter ego Jeremy Corbyn free potshots art there to be taken.
However in this case, the cancelling was not presented as a protest and there was confusion because Trump’s response was a volte face. Lavrov nor Putin were particularly embarrassed. Johnson compounded this by announcing that he would press for stronger sanctions against Russia. Given previous antics,and mindless insulting behaviour towards the EU and its member states Johnson was unlikely to get anywhere. He didn’t.
If Johnson were an imposing serious figure, he would have commanded attention, but then a serious, imposing figure would be taking responsibility for the fall out in Syria and backed up proposals with shouldering a large share of the burden. When there is every sign that the opposite is true and his words ring hollow, how can he expect to be taken seriously? Farron’s criticism simply reflect a general perception that Johnson is floundering.
Mr Nicholas Stone says
Don’t forget Johnson did write this article about Putin not long ago.
I want a tough line on Assad *and* Putin.