Completely independent, crowdfunded film, about a British person on holiday in Crimea!
This week, on the fringes of the Conservative annual conference in Manchester, Uk Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson cracked a joke about the Libyan city of Sirte, becoming the next Dubai if they could ‘clear the dead bodies away’. The remark, of course tasteless, and insensitive, and that’s Boris, drew anger, and condemnation from a number of sources:
On Sunday 1st October, violence in Catalonia by the Spanish police, aimed at crushing the independence referendum of that day which delivered a 90% ‘yes’ vote, resulted in around 900 injured. It resulted in a tidal wave of outrage, condemnation, and more – from the media, politicians, commentators, groups, Joey Barton – a sampling of that here –
So the west can certainly condemn when it wants to. But the condemnation, and attention, in the case of Catalonia, from one day of beating, easily surpassed that directed at Donbass, for over 3 years of war there, and ongoing shelling of civilian areas, by Ukrainian forces.
In August of 2014, Ukrainian forces destroyed a truck carrying refugees fleeing from the war, killing at least 17 – mostly women and children –
I’ve written about that here:
It was condemned by the US:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department condemned the deadly shelling of a convoy in eastern Ukraine on Monday that killed dozens of people,
but said it could not confirm who was responsible for the attack.
This attack was 100%, clearly by Ukraine, who made no real attempt to even deny it. But, that’s ok, the west has got them covered.
From October 2014 – Ukraine crisis: Red Cross condemns Donetsk shelling
However, they only did this because one of their own members was killed. And they let Ukraine off the hook with the classic get out – ‘The rebels and the government blamed each other for the shelling.’
But look at January 2015, when shelling hit the city of Mariupol, in Donbass, killing arond 30 civilians. The OSCE were quick, not only to condemn:
OSCE Chief Monitor in Ukraine condemns Mariupol shelling as reckless, indiscriminate and disgraceful attack on innocent civilians, including women and children
Both sides indeed blamed each other for this. Evidence was presented to support both claims. Yet the OSCE just went ahead and blamed ‘the rebels’ –
None of the ‘both sides blame each other’ here…
In February of this year, in a warzone, the OSCE – based in Kiev, and generally regarded as doing surveillance for Ukraine, pitched up near a Donbass block-post and attempted to fly their drone, without permission. They were told not to do that, as you can imagine in pretty strong terms, by DPR members.
This result in more condemnation: Ukraine conflict: US condemns threat to OSCE monitors
So, we can see, the west can condemn when it wants to. It can even condemn in Donbass. However, it only does so when one of their own is affected, or they can blame the ‘pro-Russian rebels’ for something.
As for Boris, no condemnation from him, for Catalonia, and of course not for Donbass. And due to the actions of Boris, there are more ‘dead bodies to clear away’, there.
However, no condemnation from the west for any of that.
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has very often got a lot to say, about a lot of things. You can still find him in the press every week, sometimes every day, casting out his opinions, keeping himself in the public eye, potentially eyeing up the return to the political arena we all know he would not only love, but really thinks the people are waiting for.
Blair’s opinions are known to even those who wish they didn’t. Loves the EU, doesn’t much like talking about Iraq (really thinks that’s all been covered, and really can we not just move on?). Or Libya. Yugoslavia. And some more.
But gosh, does Blair, who now runs a consultancy business and has set up various foundations in his own name, including the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, really does love talk about the EU. In fact, it’s pretty much all he talks about these days.
If you’re reading about Tony Blair in the media, you’re reading about Tony Blair talking about the EU. And it really is pretty much all the same, and has been for a long time.
Which actually makes much more interesting than the articles keeping Blair in the public eye, the comments beneath about what the actual public thinks of him. I’ve had a look at recent articles, and chosen those comments by people identifying themselves as British, where possible, for the purposes of this.
Daily Mail, 18th September – Arch Remainer Tony Blair brands Brexit a ‘self harming act’ and suggests the UK could STAY in the EU
England expects, suffolk, United Kingdom, 1 week ago
He sold his soul to the devil and he will have his day of reckoning. Along with all the other co–upted politicians who signed their nation sovereignty away to contracts without their citizens consent.
Weapons of mass destruction! Liar and murderer.
Ok, that’s a national paper, let’s go to the regions.
Brexit has one-in-three chance of reversal, claims Tony Blair – the Birmingham Mail, 19th September
Does this man not realise how despised he is by the British people? Anything he says has a devious undercurrent to it. His time is done, thank God, so he should butt out and maybe do another series of highly paid ‘speaking engagements’ as pay off from his masters in the USA.
Why is this idiot not locked up
Reassuring to know that this fine statesman is fighting for Britain.
Back to national with the Sun, from September 20th.
Hopefully there’s better odds on his asassination.
Tony B.Liar is a liar, a thief and a conman. He lied about WMD to go to war, he stole thousands of peoples pensions and sign up for the PFI (private finance initiative’s) that are now crippling the NHS and education budgets. The man makes me sick and anyone who listens to him or follows him must be smoking something illegal.
There we have it, how Tony Blair is regarded by the British public a little over 20 years from when he first came to power, in an almost unprecedented wave of optimism. A British public who he really does rather hope to return to.
What was Kiev like pre-Euromaidan? I lived there myself for 2 years, worked at a magazine in the city, knew the city well:
It was a good place to live, had cleaned its act up in the run up to Euro 2012, along with all the new infrastructure that had gone with that. Fancy hotels were opening, I even reviewed one on a gig, investment was rising. Things were fine.
What’s happened to Ukraine, post-Euromaidan? Economic collapse, national debt is rising, corruption is rising, corruption is institutionalised, Ukraine has become kind of a dumping-ground for ex-jihadists, can’t even get Ryanair to fly into it, economy run by ‘economic hitmen‘, has become either one of, or even the poorest country in Europe, health system in crisis, an unreformed penal system, a tuberculosis epidemic…
There are things like the ongoing farce with Saakashvili. He’s the governor of Odessa Poroshenko ally, then he’s not. Then he’s an opposition leader. Then he’s had his Ukrainian passport revoked. Then he’s in the USA telling everyone about how awful Ukraine is (but, Russia is ‘worse’, of course). Then he’s in Poland saying he’ll come and rescue Ukraine… it goes on, and on ….
And to add to that, Ukraine’s capital Kiev has now plunged into one of the 10 Least Liveable Cities in the World – Economist Intelligence Unit finds –
10. Kiev, Ukraine — 47.8/100 points. The capital of Kiev saw the biggest decline in terms of liveability — 21.4 points — of all 140 cities surveyed. It is the also the only European city in the 12 that scored below 50 points. The city is still in a recovery that remains under threat from unrest, economic instability, and the ongoing civil war taking place in the Donbass region.
Occupying the next places, Cameroon, and Zimbabwe. What does the UK’s LGBT-obsessed ambassador Judith Gough have to say to this? It’s hard to agree – I see that Kiev is getting better, not worse!
In diplomatic world, as ever, bad = good where Ukraine is concerned….
The UK followed up on getting it completely wrong about Euromaidan, with … getting it completely wrong about what happened in Crimea, in 2014.
Blanket support for Maidan, meant that the UK’s position was, from the start, against those in Crimea protesting against the coup in Kiev: Maidan – good. Against Maidan – bad. Went the UK’s thinking.
However, there was something interesting in this, the BBC, ever the faithful mouthpiece of the UK government in international affairs, actually veered from the Crimea narrative, in the early days. Fresh from blanket coverage of the sunny side of Maidan, beautiful / heroic protesters speaking about their desire for a ‘free Ukraine’, to ‘be Europeans’ etc etc –
…none of the molotov-hurling terrorists or acknowledgement that the east of the country was actively opposed to Maidan – the BBC’s Daniel Sandford (pictured) was down from Maidan, reporting from Crimea, on February 25th, 2014, that people there were ‘demanding Russian passports‘… ‘To the people of Sevastopol, it’s not a Ukrainian history, but a Russian one‘…. before adding the obligatory ‘if Russia wants to cause trouble (in Crimea), all the ingredients are there.’
Yet very quickly, even this tokenistic attempt at objectively from the BBC had been ‘corrected’, and their reporting had reverted to script, February 27th: Ukraine crisis: Russia warned against Crimea ‘aggression’
Out went the actually talking to people in Crimea, and by the way I was in Crimea myself at this time, finding people readily disposed to talking, and a very different picture to the one the BBC were depicting –
Over at the BBC, it was :
Cameron of course, later, a few days after the referendum, upped that to that the vote had taken place ‘under the barrel of a Kalashnikov‘. Ridiculous, of course, and even very silly. I was in Crimea, visiting polling stations, on the referendum day.
The BBC, ‘strangely’, nowhere to be seen on that day, an entirely calm, jubilant even, day, where Crimeans, en masse, headed for the polling stations –
Start of the day:
Street interviews with people in Simferopol:
Do these people really look like they’d need to be made to vote under the ‘barrel of a kalashnikov’? Was there any evidence at all of that at polling stations. Of course not, it was nonsense from the UK, who even admitted later they got it all wrong:
The British government was left in the dark during the Ukraine crisis because its diplomats can’t understand Russian
MPs says the lack of language skills in the Foreign Office is ‘alarming’
In the years since, neither language, or seemingly any other skills have improved at the Foreign Office. The UK have zoned in on the supposed ‘persecution’ of Crimean Tatars are the latest cause celebre of the day. I was in Crimea in 2016 filming the largest gathering of Crimean Tatars yet, at the Hiderlez festival –
Meanwhile the UK’s ambassador to Ukraine, LGBT obsessed Judith Gough – who’s never once been to Crimea in her time in the role, was tweeting this –
What does Boris do? Well, goes to Ukraine, meets up with Crimean Tatars in Kiev – who’ve been there for the past 3 years, making a comfortable living by speaking about how everything is dreadful in the Crimea they’ve not been to for over 3 years, and who their own people regard as traitors: (this, my interview with an actual Crimean Tatar leader, in Crimea):
Boris meets them, and mouths off a few buzzwords about ‘human rights’ etc, ‘Russian annexation of Crimea’ etc on his travels. There are clear signs of increasingly fewer people believing Boris, or the British position on Ukraine, and Crimea – however this doesn’t deter Britain from just blindly barrelling on with its pre-set polemic from a parallel reality.
What’s the problem then? Is it language skills? Is it mental skills? Or does the UK’s foreign policy bear a lot less relation to reality, than it does to UK business interests?
Whatever the reason, Britain’s policy on Crimea is mistaken, misguided, deceitful, and mired in the kind of blinkered small-mindedness which currently condemns the UK to the tier of second-league nations.
I’m not the only British person who finds this all deeply embarrassing.
Pleased to present first part of my new interview, with West Ham legend Sebastien Schemmel:
I’m on my way to Russia now, but, I’d prepared for the UK not to allow me to leave, given the political climate there now – and actually I was more than in the mood to turn my full attention, and reportage to the absolute debacle, festering pit of dishonesty, and deceit, that is UK politics, and the manifest problems in UK society right now. However, that will have to wait, for now.
As it was, while others passed through customs at Dover in a minute, I was detained for half an hour. Asked where I was going, to which I answered, entirely truthfully, Luxembourg, then Russia. What I’d be doing there – filming reportage– for how long – I’d decide that later, where to after that – I’d decide that later.
However, that was that, I departed the UK, and I’m now well on my way to Russia. I’ll most likely be back in the UK after the World Cup 2018, with lots, lots of work to come before that, from this part of the world.