SKETCH: Peter Tapsell Remembers His Time as Eden's PPS

Students of unintended consequences will thoroughly enjoy the new Crimean War – it can be blamed on the European Union.

Peter Tapsell made a decent start today, attacking the organisation that draws its self-esteem from having kept the peace in Europe for 50 years.

He suggested that “the already over-enlarged Union” was “trying to extend its boundaries to Mongolia” and that would result “in a third world war.”

People laugh at Tapsell because he was a personal assistant to Anthony Eden during Suez – around the time the Crimea was handed over to the Ukraine. That isn’t history for Tapsell, it’s current events.

People talk about the “inviolability of Ukraine’s borders”, the treaties, declarations and accords that councils and supra-nationals have put together.

But Tapsell says, “Every Russian knows the capture of the Crimea was the greatest achievement of Catherine the Great – that’s why she was called the Great!

“No Russian government could ever give up Sebastapol, and the Russian people are passionately in support of President Putin.”

That has more explanatory power than a treaty signed in 1954, and an inky Memorandum issued from Budapest.

Ian Austin suggested a search party be sent out to look for backbone in Europe’s governments. Never had there been a time when the West was less inclined to defend it values, he said and called Putin a “KGB thug”.  High praise from Ian Austin.

The plan seems to be a calm, united, reasonable response. A “graduated hierarchy of costs and consequences.”

Wish them luck. The Russian president poses shirtless on horseback. He makes George Bush look like Barack Obama.

Hague said consequences would include no officials going to Sochi for the Paralympics and possibly suspending Russia from the G8.

Putin will live with a suspension from the G8. He might just come along anyway. With tanks.

Labour’s Douglas Alexander didn’t try to link the invasion of the Crimea to the cost of living crisis facing this country. This was prudent. If war causes a spike in energy prices, it will play havoc with Miliband’s 20-month price freeze.

If the Labour noodle is prime minister, that might even cause World War Four.




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