Toby Neal: Giving Putin a look-in?

By Toby Neal | Politics | Published:

Who would have believed it?

Looking our way?

Right-on thinking up to now has been that that elderly couple, Horace and Daphne Tuffett of Acacia Avenue, voted Brexit because they were part of a sinister 1930s-style rise in Fascism in Britain, a groundbreaking theory known as the Lammy Doctrine.

But no! We now know that as Mr and Mrs Tuffett placed their crosses in the 2016 referendum they were under the influence of Kremlin mindbenders who had seized their brains.

In retrospect, we should have seen the signs. There was that infamous slogan on the side of the bus – Vote Brexit And Get Back £350 Million A Week For The National Healthski.

And the intervention by a prominent Red agent in deep cover, called Obamavitch, who deliberately wound up British voters.

In another shocking act by Putin and his cronies, they stuck their oar in during the Scottish independence referendum in a devious attempt to break up the United Kingdom without even having a war.

As you watched news reports of the revelations of the Intelligence and Security Committee's report on Russian interference you may have, like me, waited to hear some particular examples. Yet despite the item heading news bulletins, nobody seemed to think that very relevant, so in desperation I accessed the ISC report online.

It is the biggest load of balalaikas of any ISC report I have ever read, a mountain of flim-flam, history lessons, telling us things we already know, and statements of the obvious.

Grab your seats.


"Open source studies have pointed to the preponderance of pro-Brexit or anti-EU stories on RT and Sputnik, and the use of bots and trolls as evidence of Russian attempts to influence the process."

Oh yes, Russia Today and Sputnik. They're required viewing in my household. I particularly like the cookery programmes.

"Open source" by the way is top secret code for something committee members have read, or heard down the pub.

The number of detailed, verified, examples of Russian interference in the 2016 EU referendum outlined in the 55 pages of the report is zero.


Yes, that's right. Not a single one.

According to the report, the Government has not seen, nor sought, evidence of successful interference in the UK democratic processes. But the committee wants the Government to look into it, which is an interesting new principle.

I have not seen, nor sought, evidence that the Moon is made of Cheddar Cheese. Mmm... perhaps it's something I should look into.


Nor is there any evidence that visitors from the planet Zog are making clandestine night-time visits to Sedgley High Street to riffle through the bins. I think it is worthy of investigation. You haven't seen them? That's proof of how clever they are.

Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, how do I know what you're thinking? And you're wondering that if Vladimir is planting fake stories in the British mediascape, how do you know that what I am writing is not being dictated by my Kremlin controllers. Full stop, new paragraph.

Or that the Star is not in on it. Comrades, I confess that I write in an environment in which my freedoms are curtailed, and I am told what to do – yes, I am home working (my wife is out, don't tell her I wrote this).

On reflection I am the product of years of Soviet cultivation. During my childhood my mother twice went behind the Iron Curtain. She told us they were "holidays," but I can see now that these trips to Leningrad and Budapest were to receive her latest instructions.

And why, at school, did we have that mysterious term learning Russian if it was not to plant the seeds of a Dawley People's Front? It may not have been a term actually – it just seemed that long. All I can remember now is a phrase which went something like "stork isabrishna nork, niyakinski."

Translations welcome.

An aspect of the ISC report not made much of is that half of London has been bought up by Russian oligarchs, the capital is a giant washing machine for dirty Russian money, and wealthy Russians are so integrated in the capital that the report describes it as "Londongrad".

Now this really is a crisis. To avoid any potential risk of inadvertent Russian influence which brainwashes the British people, all London-based media organisations should be evacuated from the capital as a matter of urgency.

If you want the unbiased truth, and to sidestep attempts to influence how you vote, turn to our good old British politicians. And journalists in the regional press.

Now, back to watching how to make rice pudding using vodka.


Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.


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