The extraordinary events of the Novichok nerve agent attack in Salisbury and the subsequent fall-out that is filling the media pages and airwaves poses some interesting questions and dilemmas.
The use of this substance on British soil was an act of war. It showed contempt, disregard and selfish ambition in the very belief that it could be obscured and 'got away with' by the perpetrators because of their belief that Britain is a small and, by comparison, militarily weak target. It was, therefore, gratifying to see the PM taking a fairly robust response - diplomatic expulsions, intelligence network degradation, de-structuring of criminal financial transacting and a long-term desire to no longer allow or accept Russian interference in our affairs. The Russians will scoff, no doubt, using insult and denigration of the puny affairs of a small country like the UK. But they will be wrong to do so. Their bluster and threat is based upon bully-boy tactics - for that is what Russia has always been - but there are things that the David's of this world can do to give the Goliath's pause for thought. Whilst Russia has ambitions to be some sort of mega-power this is a position they can only sustain for a limited period. They are spending vast amounts of money on weaponry and subversive technologies but their national output - their GDP - is by no means healthy and their gas reserves - the font of their legitimate wealth - are of temporary value to the West. They can only tax so far before their infrastructure and internal domestic support begins to waver. Sooner or later they will have to take their foot off the accelerator and then discover that they live in a friendless world.
The biggest dilemma facing Britain and the West in general is in destroying Russia's illegitimate wealth - its black money created from vast criminal enterprises which encompasses the entire Russian government. Crime goes hand-in-hand with governance in Russia and much of this created profit is laundered through financial institutions in the West to provide a revenue stream to the Kremlin. A serious crack-down on financial organisations that are handling criminally created wealth is essential. It is the life-blood of a dangerous state. Yes, they could obliterate us in a second if they chose to, but what would they gain from that ? Disrespect, loathing, disgust and a battery of counter-measures from across the civilised world. Play your cards carefully over there in the Kremlin - you might think you're the top-dogs, but you might get a shock.
I see Rex Tillerson was dismissed from office by Tweet. What a shameful way for a president to treat a senior member of his cabinet. Trumpy continues to outrage just about everyone and de-stabilise the US political image around the world. We see here an almost comparable, slavish redneck support for the Republicans in Washington as we see a slavish support for the Kremlin from Russia's uninformed. Whilst we all want to see big reforms in the nature of governance and move it towards a more fairly based, proportionate style of democracy, we need the right people to be at the vanguard. For the moment, the world has none of these available, it seems.
Worboys is still on the cusp of being released as some deranged QC and the Parole Board says he is "entitled" to be freed. We must get a serious grip on the flexibility and interpretation of some of our laws if we let this animal out of prison. This is a character who plays the system and preys on the defenceless. He should never be released.
Sad to see that Stephen Hawking has passed. A great loss to science and the human spirit.