by Rab Bruce’s Spider

The news that scientists at Porton Down Chemical Research laboratories have been unable to confirm whether the nerve agent used in the Salisbury attack originated in Russia comes as no real surprise to anyone who has been following the debate. Some people are taking great delight in saying, “We told you so!", while others are becoming annoyed that it seems people are ignoring the track record of Russia when it comes to eliminating troublesome individuals. The whole matter is so shrouded in secrecy, rumour and speculation that it is well beyond the scope of this humble blog site to pontificate on who was behind the attack. Russia may well be the prime suspect, and certainly has the ability and the will to carry out such attacks if it deems them necessary, but enough doubt has been cast by the attitude and actions of the UK Government to aid the conspiracy theories.

Whoever was behind the attack, an important issue for most people in the UK is the fact that, once again, our Government has lied to us. Theresa May was very quick indeed to point the finger at Russia, and Boris Johnson went on television to assure the public that the Porton Down scientists had confirmed the nerve agent came from Russia. Those claims look just as pathetic, if rather more serious in their potential to cause international tension, than his Brexit lie which he put on the side of a bus.

What is puzzling is quite why so many European states leaped to ally themselves with Theresa May’s anti-Russian claims. Of course, many European states fear Russia, so maybe they didn’t need much encouragement, but it does seem a little premature unless there is other evidence which has not yet been made public.

But, in the absence of any such evidence, we are surely entitled to believe that Theresa May and Boris Johnson lied.

Some are claiming this could be the end of the Tory Government because such egregious mendacity must surely bring about a vote of No Confidence. Yet this is to ignore the fact that this Government and its immediate predecessors have consistently lied about a whole range of issues.

Perhaps it stems back to the IndyRef in Scotland, when better Together churned out so many lies it’s hard to keep track of them all. That was followed by the Brexit Referendum which included more lies and misleading statements. Some of these may have been down to ignorance, but some must surely have been deliberate. Either way, the UK Government has learned that it need not tell the truth because the voters in England will continue to support them. For all the calamity of the Brexit negotiations, for all the economic harm forecast, for all the businesses packing up and leaving, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is still unable to overtake the Tories in the opinion polls. Of course, Labour is a very pro-Brexit Party, too, so maybe the voters in England reckon they’d rather have the Tories in charge of the train wreck than Labour. It’s not as if Jeremy Corbyn is averse to lying either, as evidenced by his many utterances when he visits Scotland to spout Unionist propaganda.

The big question is whether the voting public are aware that they are being lied to and, if they are, what they propose to do about it. One must feel sympathy for voters in England since their choice is very limited. Unless they all decide to vote Green in the upcoming local elections, Lib Dem is their only option if they want an anti-Brexit Party, and the Lib Dems are not exactly squeaky clean in the Telling the Truth Department.

Lying, it seems, is endemic within the Westminster system. Yes, circumstances may change, resulting in a politician’s promises not being kept, but, as evidenced by The Ferret’s recent article on Fact Checking, the majority of claims made by the Scottish Tories are false, and it’s easy to believe that the same applies to their Westminster counterparts.

Politicians lie to us because they know they can get away with it. Resignations are rarely called for, and the media usually tries to play down the importance of the lie or to distract with smears against Corbyn or the SNP. The system, in other words, is utterly, utterly broken. It’s about time Scotland woke up and realised it.