Mad Vlad's rant today
Was I the only person who watched the speech - or rather rant - by the President of the Russian Federation today and thought "This guy has completely lost it."
A previous ruler of Russia, Nikita Krishchev, once banged his shoe on the table at a United Nations meeting in what was generally assessed as a deliberate tactic to scare Western leaders by making them fear that the man who controlled a massive nuclear arsenal was not entirely rational.
The least alarming scenario is that Putin is playing the same Kruschev gambit. I can only say that if he was trying to convince the world that he's a dangerous madman, it was an alarmingly good act.
The worst thing the West could possibly do in response to Putin's hysteric rant is to panic and show weakness. The Kremlin's policy for decades has been to probe with bayonets, then if they find steel, draw back, but if they find mush, push harder.
We must push ahead with implementing the strongest possible sanctions against Russia and Belarus, and that includes recognising that much more needs to be done to prevent Putin and his friends from using London as a safe haven for money stolen from the Russian people. Governments of all parties have been complacent about Russia - and also China, by the way - for too long. I believe that lesson is now being learned but we have to make sure that the promises of real action are carried out and fully implemented,