Russia’s interference in our democracy is shameful, says TIM NEWARK


IF poisoning political opponents on British soil is not bad enough, now we have proof that Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s cyber henchmen have been interfering in our democracy and trying to break up the UK.

The damning report released by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) makes it clear that Russian agents sought to influence the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, hoping a “yes” vote would weaken the UK. There is “credible open-source commentary that Russia undertook to influence the campaign on Scottish independence,” says the report. Shortly after the narrow result in favour of the Union, Kremlin-backed Sputnik news agency set up its first UK media hub in Edinburgh. At the time the SNP dominated city council saw no problem in hosting a mouthpiece for Vladimir Putin. “The arrival of Sputnik News is yet another example of Edinburgh’s broad international appeal,” enthused a council spokesman.

Former SNP leader Alex Salmond was happy to forge links with Russia when he launched his own political talk show on the Russia Today TV channel in 2017.

Yesterday, asked about Russian influence in Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon claimed “I don’t think we could be further removed from the values that Vladimir Putin and the Russian regime stand for.”

So how come the SNP has been so keen to roll out the red carpet for them in the past?

In contrast to this condemnation, the ISC report concludes there is no direct evidence of Russian influence in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Ever since Leave triumphed, Remainers have been desperate to prove the involvement of Russia as a means of invalidating the result.

Millionaire Leave backer Arron Banks was hauled over the coals by left-wing journalists keen to expose his alleged links with Russian embassy officials, but it all proved to be insubstantial with Mr Banks being told he is “not the subject of criticism” in the report.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage also feels justified by the conclusion. ”Years of lies and smears from Remain politicians and much of our media,” he says. “It was all a hoax—apologies are now required.”

ISC committee member and SNP MP Stewart Hosie claims the lack of Brexit-interfering evidence is because the UK government “did not want to know” but he would say that, wouldn’t he?

Bearing in mind the proof of Russian influence in SNP-ruled Scotland.

This continuing Remainer criticism has echoes of the three-year Mueller investigation into US President Donald Trump’s alleged Russian collusion during his 2016 election campaign.

That turned out to be a costly, waste-of-time exercise in mud-slinging intended to undermine the legitimacy of Trump’s victory.

Calls for a similar investigation into Brexit should be resisted as yet another distraction from enacting the result of that democratic process.

The Left can’t abide the fact that British and American working class voters have deserted them by the thousands and they seek to blame Russia or anyone else for their failures rather than their own misguided policies.

If anything, Russian agents have sought to assist them.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab recently pointed the finger at Russian hackers helping Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the 2019 general election by leaking a document online claiming that the NHS was “on the table” in a post-Brexit trade deal with the US.

“While there is no evidence of a broad spectrum Russian campaign against the general election,” said Mr Raab, “any attempt to interfere in our democratic processes is completely unacceptable.”

It is true that a lot of Russian money has found its way into Britain and seeks to buy influence but it certainly hasn’t lessened British government outrage at Putin’s aggressive foreign policy, especially following the Salisbury poisonings.

The ISC reports wonders if the UK government has taken “its eye off for the ball on Russia” when it comes to defending Britain against cyber attacks.

Without doubt, Vladimir Putin is happy to unleash an army of hackers on our national institutions, always seeking weak points.

In response, Raab has made it clear that “We will be resolute in defending our country, our democracy and our values from such [a]Hostile State.”

In the end, this report has shown that where there are willing UK participants in Russian shenanigans, Putin can exploit that, but when it comes to Brexit or our general elections his malign influence has been much exaggerated.

He thrives on being seen as an international arch villain, but it takes more than a bit of fake news to sway the great British people.


About Author

Leave A Reply