Skripal 2.0: It’s High Time for the British Government to Explain Itself – Here Are 10 Easy Questions to Help Them Out

09-07-18 07:41:00,

“C’mon British Government. It really isn’t hard. Or at least it wouldn’t be if the case you’ve presented is true”

In his statement to the House of Commons on 5th July, the British Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, stated the following:

“The use of chemical weapons anywhere is barbaric and inhumane. The decision taken by the Russian government to deploy these in Salisbury on March 4 was reckless and callous –  there is no plausible alternative explanation to the events in March other than the Russian state was responsible. The eyes of the world are on Russia, not least because of the World Cup. It is now time the Russian state comes forward and explains exactly what has gone on.”

Anyone with their wits about them will immediately notice the cognitive dissonance in Mr Javid’s statement. On the one hand, he states that the Russian government took a decision to deploy chemical weapons in Salisbury on 4th March, 2018. This is an emphatic declaration, and implies that the British Government possesses irrefutable evidence that this is so. Then in the next breath, he states that there is “no plausible alternative”. This is very much less than emphatic, and the word “plausible” implies that the British Government does not have irrefutable evidence to back up their claim.

This is not a subtle difference. It is the difference between suspecting something and knowing something. If you know something to be true, because you have the hard evidence to back it up, you don’t use equivocal phrases like “no plausible alternative”. You simply say, “here is the evidence to prove it beyond reasonable doubt.” On the other hand, if you do not possess irrefutable evidence of something, as the weasel phrase “no plausible alternative” suggests, then you have no right to pronounce definitively on the matter, as Mr Javid felt fit to do.

Still, he’s only the Home Secretary. You can’t expect him to understand such petty legal concepts.

As it happens, there are plenty of plausible alternatives, as Mr Javid no doubt knows only too well. If he’s interested, he can check out the one I have put forward here. Of course, regardless of whether my “plausible alternative” is correct or not,

 » Lees verder