Monday, January 23, 2006

Blair Does Listen!

Hidden Camera Footage

What makes me laugh about these stories is the way the government types act incredulously. "Us? Spying? Why the very idea is laughable. Are you some sort of conspiracy nut?" Just saw Dennis McShane do this on Newsnight. So the British government doesn't spy on people? Don't be silly.

I've got no idea whether these allegations are true but I can say with some certainty that the British government do spy on the Russians and the Russians know they do and and vice versa. It's part of "the great game" and really no big deal. Happens all the time.

The Moscow Times says that these allegations have been made on the record by "Sergei Ignatchenko, the chief spokesman for the Federal Security Service, or FSB". To be honest, the Russian government's mock outrage is totally unconvincing. Putin, was a lieutenant colonel in the KGB after all. You can't help but wonder if he's feeling nostalgic for those good old Cold War days.

Putin is a worrying fellow. It looks like this affair is designed to exert pressure on various human rights NGO's inside Russia more than anything else. It's probably also a warning to the British and other Western governments that the Kremlin has no intention of allowing foreign governments to promote too much "civil society" (democratic society presumably) in the Motherland, above board or otherwise. Worrying.

We're still quite a long way from the days when Mutually Assured Destruction was the only thing stopping World War Three though. Who remembers those public information films? "If the Soviets launch a full scale nuclear attack against Britain, and you don't have access to a suitable bomb shelter, hide under your mattress." I presume that was just to give you something to do in the four minutes before you died. Very considerate.

I really do remember having "what would you do in the four minutes" conversations at school, in fact. Ah, these young people today. They just don't know what it was like to live in a world which was always four minutes from total oblivion. You just don't get honest to goodness fear like that these days.

And did you know, when I was young, I used to live in a hole in the road... Sorry, this post has waffled off at a tangent.

Anyway. Putin. Worrying fellow.

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