…and I’ll tell you: “Sack him.”
We are waxing indignant about the unauthorised BYOB shindig at 10 Downing Street, and fair enough: that was an appalling lapse of judgement.
Having said that, even more appalling are our media with their never-ending parade of lachrymose diatribes from wronged Britons, along the lines of “I couldn’t even say good-bye to my dying mother, and there they were…”
We get the point, chaps, just one or two illustrations would have sufficed. The PM is crass, insensitive and divorced from the reality we common folk inhabit. A sacking offence? Perhaps. Or perhaps not. I’d sack him anyway, even if he had led a suitably monastic existence throughout the lockdown.
For me the issue of Boris Johnson became an open and shut case when he elevated to the Lords Evgeniy Lebedev, who co-owns, with his father Alexander, several British newspapers. Lebedev père bankrolled the purchases, with no one especially interested in the source of his wealth.
It wouldn’t have taken an extensive investigation to find out. Alexander is a career KGB officer, one in the long line of KGB gangsterish ‘oligarchs’ whose godfather sits in the Kremlin. His millions were a little stream in the mighty flood of Russian cash flowing into the veins of our body economic and infecting it with contagions much worse than Covid.
Many of these ‘oligarchs’ live in England; some, like Lebedev, even become citizens. All of them know how to cultivate useful friendships with politicians. Their methods are as old as the hills: lavish parties and even more lavish donations to the party coffers (I’m talking strictly about legal methods).
Their road to British respectability is paved with ill-gotten gold, and they seldom fail to get to that destination. Yet even I was surprised when Johnson conferred a peerage on the scion of a KGB spying family. That was it, I thought. I would have fired him there and then.
Now it turns out that two of his other Russian friends and, coincidentally, Tory donors, are in charge of the project guaranteed to make Britain even more dependent on foreign sources for her energy.
The friends in question are Alexander Temerko, who has donated £730,000 to the Tories, and Victor Fedotov (a mere £500,000). The two gentlemen are controllers of Aquind Limited, a company that is awaiting government approval on its £1.2 billion project to lay a power and communication cable plugging Britain into the French grid.
Both of them have links to the Russian oil and gas industry, which means to organised crime, which means the KGB/FSB, which means Putin. Temerko also used to head an armament company owned by the Russian government, which seldom supplies weapons to our friends.
I was particularly moved by the stories of the intimate friendship between Alexander Temerko and Boris Johnson, né Alexander. Apparently they call each other ‘Sasha’, which is the Russian diminutive of their name.
The deal with Aquind is wrong on more levels than one can find in an average skyscraper.
First, energy is a vital strategic resource, and a serious country must do her utmost to be strategically self-sufficient. If that’s not possible, at least foreign energy suppliers should be seen as our reliable long-term friends. France, which has already tried to blackmail Britain with EDF electricity, doesn’t quite qualify – and a company owned by Messrs Temerko and Fedotov definitely doesn’t.
Second, though I don’t know if Johnson has facilitated this deal directly, Temerko’s close friendship with the PM couldn’t have hurt. Or does Johnson think Temerko and his millions are drawn to his insouciant sense of humour and enviable erudition in matters classical? No ulterior motives, not even teensy-weensy ones?
To her credit, my favourite government official, trade minister Penny Mordaunt, is trying to stop the deal in its tracks. She correctly feels that this increased dependence on foreign suppliers will further jeopardise our energy security.
She doesn’t cite Johnson’s friendship with shady Russian characters as another reason for demurring. That’s understandable: he is, after all, her boss.
Since I don’t owe Johnson any such institutional loyalty, I don’t mind saying that I’d sack him just for such links – and never mind the odd ill-advised drink.
We don’t realise to what extent our institutions, both political and financial, are penetrated by foreign criminals. Pecunia non olet is the governing principle of our powers that be, but money, especially if originally denominated in roubles, does smell.
It reeks of criminal corruption, moral decay, intellectual myopia and enmity to everything Britain should stand for. Not exactly the qualities one would like to rub off on our leaders.