Jeremy Corbyn (centre) with a giant courgette
A war of words has broken out between the UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, and the leader of HM's official opposition, Jeremy Corbyn. Boris is known for going off-piste with his rhetoric. Calling Jeremy, "The Kremlin's useful idiot" seems to have upset the Labour Party. It has told a German newspaper (why German?), that the Foreign Secretary, "Undermines his own government's position."
The row, stemming from the alleged poisoning by Putin of an ex-Kremlin double agent and his daughter, reflects the nature of the new cold war. A slanging match and accusations of communist sympathies, played out on social media, hastily organised press briefings and sympathetic foreign newspapers. This plays straight in to Putin's hands.
So is Corbyn an idiot? Well, his response to Theresa May's statement in the House of Commons reflects either idiocy or a favouring of Russia's side of the argument. His suggestion that we should give Russia the benefit of the doubt and allow them to test the poison themselves is either naïve, disingenuous or simply weak. Corbyn is a pacifist, which is admirable for a Liberal Democrat or a member of the Green Party. For a potential Prime Minister, with the support of hundreds of thousands of doughy-eyed lefty students, his seeming reticence is simply dangerous.
For there is only one question. If not Russia, who? Which other nation would want to kill an ex-KGB Russian secret double agent? Thailand? Iceland? Australia? Which government has a history of killing Russian double-agents? The Philippines? Perhaps its those bitter Swedes? Or the nasty vengeful Swiss?
The Russian's have suggested that the whole thing might be a British plot to undermine Russia - as if Russia isn't doing a good enough job itself. Corbyn seems to have sympathies with that perspective - he thinks we can get to the bottom of the situation through, "robust dialogue" with Vladimir Putin.
When a British political leader is forced through events to make a tough choice between giving the obvious perpetrator the benefit of the doubt or coming down hard in the national interest, that leader will show his true colours. Corbyn's is unquestionably scarlet red.