Forget all our other troubles – the Russians are coming!

Neil Clark
Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66
RIA Novosti / Sergey Guneev
The gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow. Train and bus fares continue to rise. Twice as many people are living in poverty than 30 years ago. And our National Health Service is being privatized before our very eyes.

But hey - we Brits must forget about all those things - because there’s something far more important to worry about. The Russians are coming!

That “sinister tyrant” Vladimir Putin, doesn’t’ just threaten the whole of Ukraine - and the Baltic States - but even poses a “threat” to Britain too!

This simply must be true (says author, tongue firmly in cheek), because the claims are being made by prominent members of the British political and media establishment - you know the same bunch who in 2003 told us Iraq had WMDs, who in 2011 told us that toppling Gaddafi was a great idea, and who in 2013 wanted us to bomb Syria and topple a secular government that was fighting ISIS.

UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon (who voted for the Iraq war in 2003), raised the specter last week of Putin targeting the Baltic States.

I’m worried about Putin. I’m worried about his pressure on the Baltics, the way he is testing NATO,” Fallon said. “It’s a very real and present danger,” the Minister went on, just in case we still didn’t appreciate the Russian ‘threat’. “He (Putin) flew two Russian bombers down the English Channel two weeks ago. We had to scramble jets very quickly to see them off. It’s the first time since the height of the Cold War; it’s the first time that’s happened.”

Sir Adrian Bradshaw, the NATO Deputy Supreme Commander in Europe, went even further than Fallon, saying that “the threat from Russia” represented “an existential threat to our whole being.”

Meanwhile, the former Air Chief Marshall Lord Jock Stirrup raised the horrifying prospect that civilian planes containing holidaymakers could be brought down by Russian jets.

In case these warnings weren’t enough to give us palpitations the so-called Russophobic hack pack - the group of mutually-adoring propagandists who obsess about Russia - weighed in to reinforce the message that we all ought to be jolly scared about Putin. My own personal favorite warning on Twitter about Putin and Russia was this one:

The second commenter provided useful advice on “How to stop Putin nuking us all” (which includes blocking RT).

While ordinary people in Britain struggle to make ends meet, for theelite, the big burning question of the day is not “What can we do to reduce bus and train fares?” but “How can we can deal with the Russian ‘threat?’”.

Can the UK handle the Bear threat from Russia? “asked the Independent. “With bad guys about, you can’t ignore defense” was the title of one comment piece in Rupert Murdoch’s Times.

Putin’s war on the West” was the cover story of the Economist. “As Ukraine suffers, it is time to recognize the gravity of the Russian threat - and to counter it.. The EU and NATO are Mr. Putin’s ultimate targets.”

Very helpfully, amid all these concerns, the BBC News website ran an article entitled “How to spot a Russian bomber.

I printed the guide out and thanks to it I was able to rule out the possibility that the plane flying over my local playing fields was a Tupolev Tu-22M3 and was able to sleep easily in my bed that night.

Of course, the claims that Russia poses a threat to Britain are absolute baloney. As are the claims that Russia threatens the Baltic States. There’s more chance of Count Dracula being elected Prime Minister of Romania than a Russian invasion of Britain, or indeed Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia.

And as for the Russian bombers flying over Britain story - it’s worth reading the official Ministry of Defence Statement: “The Russian planes were escorted by the RAF until they were out of the UK area of interest. At no time did the Russian military aircraft cross into UK sovereign airspace.

The elite are trying to scare us again in the same way they tried to scare us about Saddam’s non-existent WMDs in 2003. They are scaring us because they’d rather us focus on a non-existent threat from Russia, than our problems at home. They are scaring us because they want to ’sell’ the case for a renewal of Trident, Britain’s so-called nuclear deterrent - and they are worried we might vote for parties like the ‘crackpot’Greens who don’t want us to renew Trident and who don‘t want us to get involved in any more wars of aggression.

They are scaring us because they want us, the British people, to share their obsessive Russophobia.

The establishment anti-Russia/anti-Putin campaign went into overdrive last week because of anger that a peace deal was reached in Minsk. The Russophobes want the conflict in Ukraine to continue to justify the sanctions on Russia. They want the Russian economy seriously weakened, regardless of the cost to the Russian people - believing this will eventually lead to ‘regime change’ in Moscow and someone like Garry Kasparov or Mikhail Khodorkovsky taking over in the Kremlin.

READ MORE: UK media demonizing Russia as ‘guilty’ of daring to resist US Empire

They’ve never forgiven Putin and Lavrov for blocking war against Syria in 2013 and for having the temerity to stand up and defend legitimate Russian national interests. Don’t these damn ‘Ruskies’ know their place!

That’s why we got these ludicrous warnings of the Russian ‘threat’ - just at the time when real progress has been made to try and bring the conflict in Ukraine to an end.

The good news is that the man - and woman - in the street aren’t buying into the scaremongering.

As I’ve noted before there is a real disconnect between establishment views on Russia and the views of ordinary people. Compare the bog standard “Putin is a threat to us all” comment pieces and the views of ordinary members of the public in the letters pages.

The most honest assessment of the situation I’ve read was by a letter-writer to the Daily Express newspaper, one Terence Matthews from London, who said “Putin is neither mad nor bad; he is looking after the rights of his people, just as I would expect my government to do…. The US does not want a strong Russia and is paranoid about it.. Let’s get the truth out and not lies”.

In fact if you want the truth on Russia in Britain, you’re generally much better off reading the letters pages, and below-the-line comments than you are reading the opinions of puffed-up pundits in ‘serious’ newspapers and journals who try and outdo one another in their Russophobia.

Laughing at the preposterous “The Russians are coming” brigade really is the best response. Refuse to stand to attention and deferentially tug your forelock when a neo-con or faux-leftist starts to lecture you on “the Russian threat”: Establishment Russophobes hate it when they’re not being taken seriously. And make sure that when you do come across a “The Russians are coming” scaremonger, check out what that person was saying about the Iraqi WMDs ‘threat’ in 2003. It’s usually quite revealing.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.