Socialist Worker

Britain’s licence to kill

Issue No. 2595

Gavin Williamson has suggested Russia had deadly plans to get more money for the military

Gavin Williamson has suggested Russia had deadly plans to get more money for the military (Pic: James N. Mattis/Flickr)


Theresa May threatened Russia with retaliation if it didn’t respond to an ultimatum by Tuesday night.

It followed the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, who spied for Britain, and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on 4 March. He is a Russian secret service colonel who defected to Britain.

May accused Russia of “unlawful use of force”. It seems force is only “unlawful” if perpetrated by the West’s enemies.

Last December she defended the killing of Reyaad Khan by a British drone. Khan was a British citizen who joined Isis.

May claimed outrage that Russia’s nerve gas attack put civilians at risk. The Ministry of Defence’s own chemical laboratory is located in Porton Down near Salisbury.

May’s rhetoric is alarming, but it’s unlikely to lead to much as Britain has long been a third-rate power.

But Russia provides a good opportunity for grandstanding. It’s a time-worn tactic to justify defence spending—or bury bad news. To get more money for the military, Defence secretary Gavin Williamson suggested Russia had plans that could cause “thousands and thousands” of deaths on 26 January.

There are real imperialist tensions between the West and Russia that have led to barbaric conflict in Syria.

We should reject our rulers’ hypocrisy—and the imperialist system that produces their deadly rivalries.


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