Vladimir Putin and the Politics Of Division

by Neil Bamforth

Somebody once said ‘Divide and rule.’ I can neither remember who it was, nor, frankly, do I care. In fact, I’m not entirely certain that the phrase is credited to one person.

‘Divide and rule’ or ‘divide and conquer.’ Either way, it is a pretty good way of describing the political world at the moment if you ask me. Perhaps it always was but we just didn’t necessarily notice?

There appears to be increasing evidence that Russia, under Putins guidance, attempted to interfere with the Presidential elections in America. There is also increasing evidence that the same may apply to Britain’s Brexit referendum.

Whether the alleged interference occurred or whether, if it did, it had any amount of success is, currently, a matter of conjecture.

I’m inclined to think it certainly occurred. In fact, I’m inclined to think it is still occurring, certainly via social media sites such as Facebook.

The Russian regime know full well that western liberal democracies are particularly vulnerable to social media, precisely because they are western liberal democracies.

As such we have ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘freedom of expression’. Providing we are not inciting hatred or violence, we can say pretty much what we want on social media. Regimes such as Russia don’t allow that of course so, they have an ‘edge’.

It is far more difficult to post propaganda against regimes such as Russia, China, Iran and so forth on social media that can be accessed by citizens of those countries, quite simply because their regimes are so all controlling that they just block such things.

In our ‘free liberal societies’ we get to see anything and everything that is posted on Facebook and other such sites.

Facebook has recently ‘blocked’ a chap in Britain called ‘Tommy Robinson’. Oddly, this is not his real name. Why he uses it rather than his real name of Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon is a mystery to me, although it does trip more easily off the tongue I suppose.

Almost immediately after blocking him, Facebook were accused of preventing ‘freedom of speech’.

Tommy Robinson was the founder of the English Defence League, a far right organisation now considered an illegal organisation in Britain. He is now ‘on board’, so to speak, with UKIP.

Arguments are waxing and waning as to whether or not Tommy Robinson should have been banned by Facebook but, therein, lies the problem in liberal western democracies.

If ‘we’ ban someone for their views then are we not abandoning our cherished ‘freedom of speech’?

If we don’t then are we not leaving the door wide open for regimes like Russia to use the freedoms we have to undermine us?

Somewhat alarmingly, both our main political parties are also in a bit of a pickle regarding what does and does not constitute ‘freedom of speech’ or ‘expression’

The main opposition party, Labour, have a crisis regarding clear anti-semitism in their ranks that they are struggling to acknowledge, let alone remove.

The current Conservative government are accused of ‘Islamophobia’ and, seemingly, can’t decide whether this is a vote winner or should be sorted out.

In America, President Trump blunders from one crisis to another trying to build a wall and give brotherly hugs to a mad man in North Korea.

In Canada, their Premier seems to be embroiled in possible corruption.

Across western Europe, right or far right political parties seem to be gaining ground on the mainstream more liberal democratic parties.

Everywhere you look, outside of countries with oppressive regimes, there seems to be increasing chaos, indecision, corruption and division.

Could it be that Putin’s Russia is significantly involved in this? If so, how? Could they actually influence people through the freedoms they have, that include the social media freedoms that enable regimes like Russia to spread discord and division?

Is this ‘theory’ on a par with ‘the Martians are among us’?

Is this theory just another ‘conspiracy theory’?

Is all this just the meanderings of my unhinged mind?

I bloody well hope so!

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Posted by on March 8, 2019. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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2 Responses to Vladimir Putin and the Politics Of Division

  1. Michael John Scott Reply

    March 8, 2019 at 10:18 am

    Putin: Donald Trump’s best friend!

    • Bill Formby Reply

      March 8, 2019 at 5:06 pm

      Oh, I don’t know Mike. Trump is now openly expressing his love for Little Kim. I don’t think he has yet come out and expressed his love for Putin. If he does then might we have a spat between North Korea and Russia over which is Trump’s favorite despot? Little Kim still has his nukes and is not afraid to use them. I am not sure Putin would want to waste a nuke on North Korea or not. Such a sad display of bromance on the world stage.

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