When all else fails, blame Russia, has increasingly become the mantra of many within not just the political class in the US in regards to Trump’s victory over Clinton, but now in the UK in regards to Brexit. Elected members of the Labour Party, despite their leader having advocated withdrawal from the EU and consistently voted against further integration, have cast the finger of blame squarely at the Kremlin. Even Theresa May alleged that ‘bot factories’, spreading dark propaganda onto our Twitter and Facebook feeds are a threat to Western democracy itself. Our country, along with much of Europe has gone through world and civil wars, depressions, invasions, the rise of fall of far-left and far-right political movements – the idea a few social media posts by bot accounts or not could pose a threat to the very fabric of our democracy seems overly dramatic at best, insane at worst.
One such MP, Ben ‘Blame the Russians’ Bradshaw during a recent meeting of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) named the WRF, among others, and asked the ISC to look into their relationship with government and activities. He also mistakenly referred to us as the Conservative Friends of Russia, suggesting we were simply renamed – despite the fact the WRF is made up of members of all political parties and those of no party at all. We contacted Mr Bradshaw’s office to ask him as to why he made this request of the ISC and by the very nature of such a request, the implication that the WRF poses some kind of security threat he refused to elaborate and simply said it was his “parliamentary privilege”. This isn’t just cowardly, but a damaging abuse of such privilege that Mr Bradshaw feels he cannot or does not need to explain or justify himself to the very group he has asked to be investigated. We informed him all our activities are clearly available to view on our website, so is our structure and points of contact and that we would be happy to provide him with any further information – but there has not been any request from his office to date.
Further to this, Mr Bradshaw also doesn’t seem to understand what the ISC actually does, which is worrying in itself, particularly for a shadow secretary of state. The ISC’s role is to examine the policy, administration and expenditure of the UK’s security and intelligence apparatus, not to carry our McCarthy style investigations of organisations or individuals, on the back of spurious and politically motivated claims from MPs. In his constituency of Exeter 55% voted to remain, 45% voted to leave, but I’m confident close to 100% would be insulted or even furious at the accusation that those who voted to leave not just in Exeter but across the rest of the UK, did so under the influence of supposed Russian meddling in the
referendum. I think we can all remember the actual and quite frankly unwelcome foreign interventions from Obama, Clinton and a host of other world leaders that Cameron undoubtedly asked to publically endorse Remain – yet if Remain had won, I wonder how seriously accusations from the Leave side of ‘foreign interference’ would have been taken by those of Mr Bradshaw’s yolk? This is also a man who supported rival leadership candidates to Jeremy Corbyn at every opportunity, then suddenly became a Jezza convert in order to safeguard his political career, and to jump on the bandwagon of what is fashionable – as is the case again with Russia-bashing.
At first bitter Remainers blamed the old for their loss in the EU referendum, and the nation had to endure embarrassing political accusations that the old generation ‘robbed’ the young generation of their future. Well, many of us realise it was the generations before us that fought the Nazis, fought for democracy, and fought to defend these islands and it was them that gave the younger generation a future. We want to know where Russia was when both France and The Netherlands rejected the EU’s failed Constitutional Treaty in referendums. Where was Russia when Ireland voted against the Nice Treaty in their referendum? Not a single peep from Russophobes or the usual suspects that we now see, using Leave’s victory to further what is a hate-filled agenda against the UK’s 13th biggest trading partner, and a global, political, economic and military power that regardless of how the referendum had turned out, would be in not just the UK’s but in Europe’s interest to collaborate with on issues of climate change, threats from Islamist terror and extremism as well as efforts to tackle world disease and hunger. If people like Ben Bradshaw want to use the outcome of the UK’s largest ever democratic exercise, whether they supported the outcome or not to launch cheap-shots at Russia, because it’s a popular media story right now then so be it – it will only further damage their own reputation and credibility in the long-term.
The WRF Team