London Lying

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being lied to. Obviously, when it’s your children, or grandchildren, you often suppress a smile before putting them straight. But when it’s a corporate body as powerful and influential as the British Broadcasting Corporation, then it’s an entirely different matter.

For this is a source of information beamed into just about every home on this island and still trusted by most people.

That trust is misplaced, for the BBC is now the state broadcaster, the voice of the London government and, more insidiously, the voice of Britain and a stultifying Britishness. This latter role results in the BBC misinforming people in Scotland and Wales about their homelands, and it also results in people around the world being given a deliberately distorted view of events in these countries.

Propaganda is one thing, every country and all governments put out propaganda to a greater or lesser degree, but what makes the BBC different is that we are paying for it. From April 1st the cost of a colour television licence fee is £150.50.

So we are paying to be lied to!

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It was this realisation, and the thought of some campaign against the propaganda machine that prompted the tweet you see above. This tweet encouraged the guest post you’re now going to read.


Jac suggests on his twitter feed a campaign of non-payment of the television licence fee in light of the now clear editorial bias of the BBC in favour of the union, regularly demonstrated in the coverage of Scottish affairs.

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I have therefore taken time to look at how the television licence fee is spent, what happens in Wales, and what happens in the rest of Europe.

A two frame spreadsheet is attached.

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In the first frame I have divided the total BBC revenue for the television licence according to population of the countries within the union. The cost of the TV licence is the same in all countries. I have then extracted from this the services provided specifically to Wales, like the two ‘regional’ radio stations, the spend on S4C and then a population proportion for English language television broadcasts, online content, and administration, where Wales is treated as a ‘region’.

In the second frame I have listed the television licence fee payable in other countries in Europe, including countries where the licence fee has been recently abolished.


You will notice that income from TV licences issued in Wales is £180m per year while spending on all services the BBC provide to Wales is £240m per year. Some would argue that this is a subsidy of £60m per year. Those who are hostile to the Welsh language would argue that this is S4C (£76m per year) but for this to be true, all Welsh speakers have four eyes and are able to consume both English and Welsh content simultaneously. Previously only £70m of S4C revenues was not funded by the BBC and directly funded from direct taxation via the Whitehall department of Media and Sport, prior to that all of S4C was funded by DCMS.

click to enlarge (but it only makes JM look bigger!)

The issue with ‘state financed’ content is that if it costs £10m to make a content series this does not change, whether 3m people consume it or 55m people consume it. Only commercially financed content has a ‘break-even’ point in terms of viewers.


Plaid Cymru argue that ‘broadcasting should be devolved’. If this happened and the full array of BBC content currently available in Wales was to be maintained, the licence fee in Wales would need to increase from £147pa to £200pa or the shortfall financed through the block grant.


The reality is that the BBC is a unionist institution and while the population are fed a steady stream of ‘Eastenders bake a cake on Countryfile while Dancing in Coronation Street’, content which could alternatively be provided by commercial broadcasting on Sky, ITV, C4, C5, and others. What comes with the BBC, it’s USP, is a ‘unionist’ news service and content which in the last few years are broadcast as ‘Great British Bake-Offs’, an obsession with World War One documentaries and empire nostalgia dressed up as ‘lifestyle’ and ‘heritage’.

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A true Welsh nationalist would have to ague for the abolition of the television licence fee, and that any BBC content imported and consumed from England be on the basis of commercial subscription, as applies in the Irish Republic. This would also mean that Wales only content would either be financed by…

commercial activity only

One of the effects of making BBC imports a subscription pack is that more people consume content on other commercially available transmissions. This would result in a massive increase in the value of commercial sales advertising on Welsh channels.

from a much lower Wales only licence fee

To fund the £76m for a Welsh language channel, a Wales News channel in the English language at £20m with entertainment content purchased globally, the 18m of Radio Cymru and the £20m for Radio Wales giving a £100pa Welsh licence fee.

direct government grant for this from general taxation of £134m

Radio Wales can be based in the existing facility in Swansea, Radio Cymru can be based in the existing facility in Bangor and the English language TV channel can be housed in the new S4C facility in Carmarthen giving greater capacity utilisation. The most difficult issue in any of these options is having to demolish that new building currently squatting outside Cardiff Central railway station, where a bus/tram interchange should be or selling it off to fund transition costs.

♦ end ♦

Jac adds . . . 

Since the poisonings of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4th the BBC has slavishly toed the official line that it was Putin what done it. The nerve agent involved was quickly identified and attributed to Putin’s henchmen. Following the attack the USA and other countries fell into line and expelled Russian diplomats. It unfolded so neatly that it looked almost choreographed.

The BBC is still telling us that, “The British government says a military-grade Novichok nerve agent of a type developed by Russia was used in the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia”. So who in the British Government has the expertise to identify nerve agents – David Davis, Boris Johnson, Gavin Williamson?

In matters like this the experts are to be found at Porton Down, the UK’s centre for chemical and biological warfare. On April 3rd Porton Down’s chief executive, Gary Aitkenhead, told us they could not prove that the agent used to poison the Skripals had come from Russia. (Given that Aitkenhead is Scottish maybe it’s only a matter of time before the Daily Mail attacks him for being a ‘Sturgeon stooge’.)

This announcement clearly undermined the UK government’s case against Russia. Which is almost certainly why the BBC’s main Six O’Clock News programme on April 3rd ignored it entirely, and led with the important story of a 96-year-old man going into hospital for a hip operation.

Folks, we have a serious problem on our hands. We are paying to be lied to. Either they stop lying or we must stop paying.


37 thoughts on “London Lying

  1. Pete Ridley

    Hi Jaco,
    Have you read Andrew Montford’s excellent booklet “The Propaganda Bureau” about the BBC’s shenanigans wrt the Catastrophic Anthropigenic Climate Change (CACC) hypothesis? Any mention of climate change and they show in the background pictures of those cooling towers belching out those “pollutants” – H2O and CO2 – essential,life-supporting substances without which life as we know it would not exist.

    I’ve just been chatting to your buddy Ioan Richard, who spent years battling against those ugly, expensive and useless windmills that are going up in his (and Myron’s) back yard as a direct result of our politicians promoting the CACC nonsense.

    Al Jazira provides a much more balanced presentation of world affairs than our BBC.

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

  2. Brychan

    The BBC only does news from the ‘old empire’ in coverage. Africa, India, United States, and Australia.

    It covers Russia and Eastern Europe like some Agatha Christie novel, the orient as some place with exotic food in woks with pandas and communists, and the Middle East as just oil and war.

    To the BBC there is no news in South America despite it having 420million people, the world’s largest oil reserves, and a dozen democracies. Brazil appears to be depicted as a place of no people, just a forest of spiders and savages, while Argentina, Chile and the other nations completely invisible.

    I also find BBC documentaries quite amusing. You need to listen to the background musaks used. They have some Mau Mau drums as a backing track for anything African as if the whole continent is a monoculture, a few oriental twangs when the natives have slanty eyes, and coverage of our neighbours in Europe revolves around wine, garlic and spiced sausages.

    Sometimes it’s not what the ‘news’ covers, it’s what’s left out.
    Context is shallow, and footprint manipulated and patchy.

  3. Chopper Harley

    The BBC has traditonally been a cornerstone of the pyramid that constitutes the British establishment. However in recent years it has cast aside the thin veneer of independent impartiality behind which it had previously concealed its true character.The blockchain that links the right wing broadsheets such as the Telegraph / Times, the BBC, the Conservative & Unionist party and the Monarchy is now hidden in plain sight moreso than ever. The names of those who have left the corporation and moved into government positions since 2008 serves to reinforce that notion. Former major players at the BBC such as Craig Oliver, Thea Rogers, Guto Harri, Robbie Gibb have all transitioned seemlessly into the government / establishment spin machine., Who next Andrew Neil, Sarah Sands, James Harding or maybe that master of efficaciousness himself, Nick Robinson.

    Yes every pictiure tells a story.

    The disinformation war has moved up a gear, just like the Scots we in Cymru need to accept nothing and question everything that come out of the Anglocentric propagand machine.

  4. Anon

    Jac, your ‘CONTACT ME DIRECTLY’ form doesn’t seem to be working ?

    “Invalid Input – Spam?”

        1. How can you be sure of the connection between the company and the other lot? Can you tell me anything more about the two involved? I can’t raise the Facebook page for the company or the e-Bay listing. Try sending to with links.

  5. Dafis

    just picking up on your tweet regarding Darrell Scott’s songs. The man has been party to loads of collaborations with other big Country/folk/bluegrass names for long time and even worked with arch screecher Robert Plant who is one of the least offensive Anglo-Yank rock types as he has drawn on la broad mix of ethnic&cultural influences over his time, even a bit of Welsh in there somewhere.

    Anyway, I ramble on and don’t have the excuse that it’s 3.30 in the morning !! The bit that pisses me is the pejorative usage of the term “hillbilly” as it is at its most common among the liberal metropolitan pale types that obsess about fashionable issues, music, clothing all shallow superficial image nonsense that makes my guts turn. The hillbilly is typically a person still in touch with his/her roots, environment and ideals able to live, not exist, by making the best of what is available regardless of amount. That urban middle class America looks down on these people is a sign of their degradation and lack of values, more fools them. One of many symptoms why Trump won, and when Trump neglects these people and others in similar situations he will lose a chunk of his core support.

  6. I seem to remember some ‘expert commentator’ on some program or other saying that the main difficulty in making a nerve agent is not killing yourself in the process.
    That is, for a professional lab, it is difficult to make a nerve agent and requires lots of expensive facilities and equipment, because it is very important to avoid contamination to scientists working in the lab, or any accidental release of nerve agent into the environment (though of course Porton Down and other such labs have done this in the past).
    However a terrorist in his garage may be happier to take major risks with his own life and health and that of people who live in the local area, so it is easier for him.

    The BBC resale of its content commercially I think is an argument against the licence fee model of funding, because what programs are made depends on what will sell abroad and for repeats on commercial channels (e.g. old Pointless episodes on Challenge TV), and these are commercial decisions. Thus, licence fee (public) money is being spent in a way shaped by commercial priorities.
    The calculation for radio should also adjust to take account of BBC ‘local radio’ excluding Radio Wales and Radio Cymru though I would guess (not looking this up) this is less than the budgets of the national BBC radio stations.

    I noticed a long time ago that the BBC local radio websites had a map of “England” that not only included Cornwall, but also the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
    I complained at the time, noting also the image had replaced a banner with a more localised branding on an older version
    As anyone who’s ever complained to the BBC would know, I got an incoherent fob-off in response.

  7. Myfanwy

    It would seem like a masochistic form of self harm, to pay for a ‘public service’, that actually performs an obvious propaganda role for the British establishment, to the detriment of Wales. This propaganda, was clearly on display with the BBC’s biased coverage of the the Scottish Independence Referendum, but then the BBC is ‘British’ after all! The BBC Political Journalist and editor at the time, Nick Robinson was consistently booed for his biased reporting on the referendum. If you look at Robinson’s credentials, he fulfils all the establishment tick boxes, Cheadle School, Oxford University and networking at the BBC. He was the former president of the Conservative Association at Oxford University, President of the Conservative Party Youth group, Founder member of Macclesfield Young Conservatives etc etc, doesn’t sound like he would be an unbiased reporter in the making! He blatantly revealed his biased ‘British’ position in his reporting at a by-election in 2014 and mentioned here:

    “In November 2014, Robinson was covering the count of the Rochester and Strood by-election. He was seen smiling whilst posing for a photograph with Jayda Fransen, candidate and deputy leader of the far-right party Britain First.[39] Robinson denies all connections to Fransen, and would later claim that he had assumed she was a staff member at the count seeking a “selfie”. However it has since been revealed that Fransen was in fact wearing a prominent badge saying “candidate” at the time”

    The current Political Editor at the BBC, in succession of Nick Robinson, is Laura Kuenssberg, who is again accused of the same political bias. Ultimately, it is interesting to consider who is actually in charge of choosing the ‘talent’ or stars at the BBC and what are the reasons for their choices? Former ‘talent’ at the BBC included Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris, Clement Freud, Uncle Ed, Stuart Hall etc etc, the dodgy list goes on and yet no convincing investigation has been carried out into Savile and his connections.

    The thing that really annoys me about the BBC though, more than the soporific nonsense like the ‘British bake off’ ‘Eastenders’ etc is the blanket exclusion of Welsh language, Culture and history in it’s broadcasting in England. Minorities in Britain are all given a platform in the BBC’s PC world, but very little mention is given of Wales, apart from a place to move to, go on holiday etc. It is not surprising that many people who migrate to Wales, have no awareness of Wales as a Nation and this also plays into our own sense of identity, that we are being ignored, that we are in effect not allowed to exist. This is the most insidious aspect of the BBC’s propaganda, because it is a conscious exclusion, they are happy to represent all the cultures of the world, apart from the rich and beautiful one that exists right next to England!

  8. No one can be in any doubt that the BBC is the British Establishment’s voice piece, with an added clause in its charter also now in place to ensure that its coverage promotes the “unity of these islands”. As if they needed that clause!!

    They have of course toed the line unthinkingly and slavishly on the Salisbury poisoning incident.

    Unfortunately for them, and the Government, the official story is unravelling at the speed of knots.

    Yesterday, we had the Foreign Office having to delete an official tweet which announced that Russia was undoubtedly behind the poisoning, after the Porton Down facility itself said it could not substantiate such a claim.

    How Boris Johnson can keep his job after lying through his teeth to the International Community about this just beggars belief- but in a way his survival is just a metaphor for the absolute clusterfuck that constitutes the present Tory government,

    Today, we have a Professor of Organic Chemistry at Cornell University stating that any one who claims that the Novichock agent must have come from Russia is a “complete liar”: saying that it is actually a simple compound that any lab could make.

    Russia are now piling on the pressure for an official UN investigation into all this. It doesn’t look good for Maybot and co…….. a

    Worth reading the ever-excellent Craig Murray on this- “The poison in our body politic”.

    1. Myfanwy

      Boris Johnson caught on camera lying to the German Press, Johnson constantly behaves like a Sociopath and a buffoon around the World, but as you mention, why is he never sacked ?

  9. EU am byth

    The BBC also uses a subtle form of propaganda in most of it’s headlining – because it knows most people get their news from the headlines and never bother to read the article.

    Ambulance chaos in the NHS – the headline screams – four paragraphs down you read this is all about the ambulance service in England, leaving the casual reader with the impression that all four nations have the same problem. The same tactic is also applied to education and other aspects of everyday life.

    Their second tactic is category headings. Any news about the NHS in England appears under ‘Health’ – never England. Any news about the NHS in Wales or Scotland goes under the country heading. Again the same with education etc.

  10. Keith Parry

    Your loyal subjects will be pleased to hear that the Secretary of State for Bristol has named the Severn Bridge after a well known seventy year old red nosed drunk. My Lord Elis Thomas is making his mark on Wales.

      1. Big Gee

        For those more puritanical linguists, it should be “PONT y CONT” which is the masculine term for that part of the anatomy! As Carlo is a ‘he’ (at least the last time I noticed) then ‘Cont’ is far more appropriate.

    1. Penclawdd Donk

      i understand there was a consultation, Cairns had chat with the WRU and they gave a big thumbs up, in exchange for having dibs the name for the stadium in a couple of years. Does Alun know that ‘the wider silent majority’ detest him?

  11. Eos Pengwern

    Personally I stopped paying my TV licence fee (and stopped watching all broadcast television) about ten years ago. At the time I expected to miss it, though all I ever watched was Top Gear and Whose Line Is It Anyway, but in practice I don’t miss it at all and have lots more time to do useful stuff. Even so, I still tend to have the car radio permanently tuned to Radio 4 so I get plenty of exposure to the BBC propaganda machine – I just don’t pay them anything for the privilege.

    I’m really surprised at your take on the Skripal story, though. I came to pretty much the opposite conclusion, namely that the BBC was giving the Gary Aitkenhead story undue prominence, bearing in mind that none of the reporters actually seemed to understand what the story was about.

    To recap on what I understand the story to be here:

    (1) The Skripals were poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent. So far I haven’t heard anyone, not even Jeremy Corbyn, dispute this. Porton Down was able to identify the agent very soon after the initial event.

    (2) Novichok is a complex agent, difficult to manufacture without the resources of a nation state at your disposal. It was originally developed by the Soviet Union, and no other state besides Russia is known to have the capacity to manufacture it.

    (3) Therefore the Novichok used on the Skripals must have been deployed by Russia, or another country with whom Russia had willingly shared it, or a country [or NGO such as the Mafia] who had stolen it from Russia without the Russians’ knowledge.

    (4) In any one of those cases, the Russians are either guilty, complicit or incompetent. It”s really hard to see any other alternative*.

    The story that ‘Porton Down cannot prove the source of the Novichok’ seems to me a non-story, since how could we expect them to do so? It’s one thing to identify what a substance is, but far far harder (and often impossible) to tell where it came from. If you give me a cup of milk, I can tell that it’s milk straight away, but I’d be hard-pressed to tell you whether it was British, Irish, French or German milk. This point seems to have been completely missed by the BBC in all their reporting so far, and I’m afraid that incompetence seems a much more likely explanation for that than malice.

    [* There is of course one other alternative, namely that the whole thing is a massive conspiracy by the British government: either to pass something which isn’t Novichok off as if it were, or to have poisoned the Skripals itself using its own stock of Novichok which it obtained heaven-knows-how. This would have to be a conspiracy on the scale of the CIA causing 9-11 to happen, in which the rest of NATO is also complicit. I don’t believe that, because I don’t believe that the British security services are clever enough to carry it off.]

    1. I did not question that Russia/Russians/a third party with Russian help was responsible for the incident in Salisbury.

      My footnote dealt with the BBC’s sense of priorities.

      1. Eos Pengwern

        I guess I misunderstood you, but in any case you’re right to point a finger at the BBC’s news priorities. While the BBC’s biases are plain to see in the way that handle a whole range of news stories, the biases are just as evident in the way that they choose which stories to cover. As CambroUiDunlainge puts it above, the only thing to do is to gather news from multiple sources, knowing that each one is biased in one way or another, and try to form a view.

    2. Brychan

      I guarantee you can tell the difference between Calon Wen Organic Llaeth Hanner and Semi Skimmed British. Tescos in Carmarthen were doing a taste promo last week, trying to sell our own product for more money as compared to our own product shipped to England, blended, and shipped back. As for French milk, 98% of their market is UHT and easily identifiable from that slightly burnt taste.

      Which also helps explain the Novichoks. There are four distinct genres of Novichok agents, developed for different methods of use. Missile (targeted), air deployment (blanket), and two for close quarter battle (viscosity and gell dependant) to prevent cross contamination. Putin was in St Petersburg at the time of the Salisbury deployment, so obviously wasn’t him, so his guilt is based on joint enterprise, him ordering the attack, or by negligence, not preventing it. The key, as with milk tasting, is the method of delivery.

      The prime suspect in all murder attempts is the last person to see the main casualty alive. This would be the daughter who’d just arrived by plane from Moscow, bearing gifts. I would be looking for an aerosol canister like perfume with a gel contaminant. The highest concentration of toxin was on the front door handle that is applied by hand. Which hand? Ocardo/Pizza delivery man was not the target. The daughter may have administered the toxin by a deliberate or botched method, or unwittingly acted as the trojan by interception or coercion. This would be the first line of enquiry to eliminate. Going on telly to accuse foreign states is the last thing to do. The correct statement is ‘investigations ongoing’ from the home secretary and ‘sensitive implications, thoughts with the family’ from the foreign secretary.

      The only state to make Semtex during the Soviet era was Czechoslovakia. Doesn’t mean Gorbichov bombed Guildford and Brighton. To establish collusion you need to identify ability, opportunity and motive. Then follow the evidence. My hunch is that Putin does not have as strong a grip on power as his projected image suggests, and that policy is driven by a court of worshipers who bring daft ideas to the table, and if the plan is a bit dodgy he tries to makes sure the paper trail doesn’t end up at his door.

      Doesn’t stop the British trying to big it up like the old empire, and milking it (pun).

  12. Big Gee

    Why do you think that for many years now I have repeatedly referred to the BBC as the British Bullshit Corporation?

    For those who are awake, and question everything and accept nothing unless it comes from a trusted and proper source, it is as obvious as the nose on your face what it’s all about.

    It’s also a full circle. The British government advertise and promote the BBC as the most trustworthy news source in the world. People believe it because the establishment says it. In return the other half of the circle (the BBC) incessantly project the views of the British (Unionist) government.

    You also have the ‘repeater station’ phenomenon. The BBC puts the propaganda and the false news out, lazy journalists repeat it without any investigation or questioning.

    George Orwell did warn us about this in advance!

    1. CambroUiDunlainge

      I’d class very little as trusted. We tend to gravitate towards outlets which best reflect our own beliefs and ideas so our way of thinking gains confirmation. Or in the case of Plaid have a conference and a circle jerk which ends in them reinforcing each others opinions without challenge to the point that anything outside said circle jerk is far right and evil. That said interesting things were said at their last conference.

      Anyway where was I… yeah. Best thing to do is read more than one source – usually reading a rag you don’t necessarily agree, one you do and something foreign like RT. There is nothing in this world which is truly unbiased – for one its very difficult and for two most media moguls have an agenda.

  13. Let’s not forget BBC Worldwide (now called BBC Studios) which is the commercial arm of the Beeb which enjoys annual operating profits in the hundreds of millions of pounds.

    1. Brychan

      Good point. The BBC spends 50 times as much broadcasting stuff like news in Farsi to Iran, than it does in Welsh in Wales. And we pay for it. Also, commercial sales of productions from ‘Wales’ denominated budget (DrWho springs to mind) is revenue that is banked in sales from ‘BBC Worldwide’ as central revenues.

        1. Big Gee

          Yes – a classic example. Wall to wall coverage from the Gold Coast on Radio Wales this morning, with some coverage of Cairnes’ decision to call the 2nd Severn Crossing the Prince of Wales Bridge!

          That was only highlighted to provide subject material for a later phone-in, and being a divisive subject, many will provide fodder for the show. Where was the public consultation? This is the first I’ve heard of the renaming.

          And of course the London murder rate was the other topic covered, the other mandatory subject covered was the anti Russian propaganda message.

          We live in an abnormal country, and we need to normalise it.

  14. Earthshaker

    Good points from you both, the BBC is the state broadcaster, that’s what everyone needs to realize, it’s purpose is to protect the entrenched privilege of the British Establishment by pumping out propaganda and broadcasting bread and circus for the masses, sadly the majority of Wales lap it up and think Jason Mohammed is a great guy who asks tough questions.

    Gwynfor Evans was prepared to die for a Welsh language channel, does anyone think Plaid Cymru’s current leadership would do anything so important and selfless for the Welsh cause, no, me either. Something similar is needed to reignite the Welsh interdependence cause

    Again we are miles behind the Scots, most Scottish Nationalists and YES supporters stopped paying the licence fee after the 2014 indy ref, I suspect a lot of Welsh nationalists pay it to keep S4C going rather than out of any love for the BBC, but imagine what 200,000 Plaid Cymru voters paying £150.50 every year to a welsh news channel and news service would achieve instead of paying the BBC licence fee.

    Oggy Bloggy Ogwr has written a brilliant article today on the fate that awaits Wales and a report from 2006 which lays out what Labour wants for Wales, a retirement home and what Plaid Cymru fails again and again to challenge,

    If we don’t start convincing enough of our fellow citizens to wake up and see what’s happening to Wales it will as the article says be a hard landing from which we will never get up – I’m scared that’s already happening and it’s too late to save Wales.

    PS the latest Bella Gwallia article published today about us telling Wales story fits into this as well

  15. Andy Williams

    On April 3rd Porton Down’s chief executive, Gary Aitkenhead, told us they could not prove that the agent used to poison the Skripals had come from Russia. (Given that Aitkenhead is Scottish maybe it’s only a matter of time before the Daily Mail attacks him for being a ‘Sturgeon stooge’.

    Following the litte spat today, this has been clarified as meaning they could not prove it because they are only allowed to say what it is, not where it came from, but they re-confirm that it is military-grade and could only have been produced by a state.

    1. But that still doesn’t explain why the BBC ignored the story on its news bulletins, especially as it had given this story so much coverage over the past month.

      1. Brychan

        Of course the REAL storey in the Skripal affair is that (a) the May administration is incapable of protecting residents in her domain from assassins, from wherever that threat comes from, (b) the ‘security services’ far from being the best in the world, as those in the Westminster House like to portray, are in fact two snickers short of a ninja and have failed to adjust to new global circumstance as a method of anticipation or apprehension (c) basic policing lines of intelligence are not utilised through agencies to which they are subscribed, like Europol, and there are labs across Europe and Nato with equal, if not superior, forensic capability. Using Porton Down is a bunker mentality and closes down, rather than widens lines of investigation, (d) diplomacy is the art of speaking softly but acting decisively with clarity with known objectives.

        This applies equally in the Skripal affair, as it does to a constable dealing with drunks on the streets if Swansea on a Friday night.

        Putin is a suspect, for sure, but the art of nailing a suspect is to collate irrefutable evidence and present it at a time of your choice, to best effect. Don’t expect these important questions to be asked by journalists working for the BBC. They are too busy waving Union Jacks and agreeing questions in advance with cabinet ministers rather than doing their job of mining the truth.

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