Labour Party,  Russia

Putin implicated in Litvinenko poisoning; Corbyn mum

Just when you think Jeremy Corbyn can’t get any more worthy of contempt:

The killing of Alexander Litvinenko was “probably approved” by Vladimir Putin. We suspected that already, of course: Your average hired thug doesn’t exactly have access to radioactive polonium, much less use it to murder an FSB defector in broad daylight in the middle of London.

But the official inquiry into his death has now given a definitive verdict about how it happened, and who was to blame — or as definitive a verdict as can be expected.

Theresa May, in a statement to a mostly empty House of Commons, denounced Russia in the strongest possible terms. But the U.K. home secretary didn’t exactly specify what would be done, beyond giving the ambassador a stern talking to — presumably because Russia’s limited co-operation over Syria is too valuable to be jeopardized.

It was a point seized on by Labour’s Andy Burnham, who accused her of “appeasing” Putin and suggested the expulsion of every FSB agent from Britain and stripping Russia of the right to host the 2018 World Cup.

To which the near-universal response was: Has Burnham shared that view with his leader? Even as his MPs condemned the “murderous kleptomaniac regime in Russia,” Jeremy Corbyn remained silent.

This is entirely understandable. The fact that the Russian state, or elements within it, assassinated a British citizen (as Litvinenko had become) on British soil is distinctly awkward if you are a political leader who has made regular appearances on the state-owned Russia Today network. Especially if your chief adviser, Seumas Milne, has not only written endless pro-Putin columns but shaken his hand and shared his stage.

As Rachel Sylvester pointed out in an excellent column in the Times this week, the hard Left’s admiration for Russia survived the end of the Cold War undented. And it isn’t just Putin. The basic setting of Corbyn’s view of foreign policy is to blame everything on the West (especially Britain and the U.S.) and see the rest of the world as its victims. Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Iran — in Corbyn’s world, they’re Asterix, and we’re the Romans.

MP Burnham, the shadow home secretary, also called Litvinenko’s death “an unparalleled act of state-sponsored terrorism.” Set aside for the moment the possible consequences for Russia; what will be the consequences for him? Surely even Milne won’t dare to contradict him, will he?

A perfect time for a “Sister Souljah moment” by Corbyn. Any chance he’ll take it?

I didn’t think so.