SKETCH: Dostoyevsky Off the A-Level Syllabus

Cameron reported a number of cautious, prudent and responsible measures to deal with the shirtless, bareback, gun-slinging psychopath with a nuclear arsenal.

Edward Miliband cautiously, prudently and responsibly urged him to be marginally less prudent and cautious, insofar as prudent responsibility would allow.

Miliband urged the Prime Minister to apply “maximum influence on allies” – up to and including the use of sarcasm.

The Prime Minister said Russian activity in the Crimea was “completely indefensible” – something the Crimean army has amply demonstrated. He also said in this grave hour, the Russian behaviour will “incur consequences”.

The Royal Family will not be going to the Paralympics.

They mean it to sting, all right. That’s a cut direct. How will Putin respond? The stakes are high. Europe is a tinderkeg.

The suspended preparations for the G8 will continue in a state of suspension. Be under no illusion: that’s not a go-slow, it’s an actual interruption. It’s a lacuna, the Foreign Office says, not a hiatus. That’s how serious it is.

Ministers won’t meet their Russian counterparts. Immigration talks will be postponed. Dostoyevsky will be taken off the A-level syllabus.

This retaliatory inactivity is a diplomatic strategy at which our world-class civil service excels.

On the positive side, a Facebook page has been set up so the leaders of Russia and the leaders of the Ukraine can talk to each other. And we in the West can only pray – ‘like’ each other too.

In the event that this robust package of doing nothing doesn’t succeed, the second phase of sanctions will start immediately. That is, immediately after Christmas.




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