RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: This deranged invasion is no laughing matter… but as Eurovision bans Russia, will Ukraine be Vladimir Putin’s Waterloo?
Yes, OK, I get it. We live in interesting times. The world is teetering on the brink of nuclear armageddon. Or not, depending on who you believe. Your guess is as good as mine.
Either way, Mad Vlad’s deranged invasion of Ukraine is no laughing matter.
Nobody is underplaying the gravity of the situation, least of all me. And certainly not readers of the Daily Mail, who have responded magnificently to this newspaper’s appeal, which last night had raised £1.2 million towards easing the terrifying plight of the Ukrainian people.
We do what we can, whether that involves writing a cheque, opening our homes to refugees, sending food parcels, saying a silent prayer — or, in extreme cases, flying out to join the resistance.
There are plenty of reasons to mock Liz Truss, our ferociously ambitious Foreign Secretary. (That voice, Mr Regan.) But Fizzy Lizzy’s public backing of those willing courageously to travel from Britain to Ukraine to fight the Russians isn’t one of them.
In the same spirit of generosity, I imagine Labour’s ‘Let ’Em All In’ enthusiast Pixie Balls-Cooper is preparing to welcome an unlimited number of Ukrainian refugees into one of her own two lovely homes, just as she rolled out the red carpet for those destitute Syrians not so long ago.
Hubby Ed is no doubt already knocking up another loft conversion and preparing to spend the next couple of years kipping on a camp bed in the garden shed, eating beans from a can warmed up on a portable Campingaz stove.
So I hope you’ll forgive me for casting a quizzical eye over some of the other international reaction to this unprovoked act of aggression.
As I said, we do what we can. Which, presumably, is why Russia has been booted out of the Eurovision Song Contest. That should make all the difference.
To be honest, I wasn’t aware that Russia even entered the Eurovision Song Contest. Then again, I haven’t watched the Eurovision Song Contest since Bucks Fizz won in 1981, when my daughter was six and knew all the words and dance moves to Making Your Mind Up.
You gotta speed it up, And then you gotta slow it down.
Sounds like Vlad’s orders to his tank commanders in Ukraine. Still, given the stockpiling of Molotov cocktails by the resistance, he’d have been better off telling them:
Don’t let your indecision, Take you from behind . . .
Stop giggling at the back.
Russia has been banned from taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest in Italy this year after its organiser said inclusion would bring contest into ‘direpute’
FIFA President Gianni Infantino (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin with the World Cup trophy
As sanctions go, being kicked out of this ludicrous festival of kitsch is pretty feeble.
Mind you, for all we know, Mad Vlad is a dedicated follower of the fashionable Eurovision pageant. Maybe once a year he pulls on a sparkly sequinned Abba outfit and hosts a gala Eurovision party at the Kremlin, complete with caviar vol-au-vents served by topless Conchita Wurst lookalikes and ice sculptures of Agnetha flowing with rose petal-flavoured Stolichnaya.
Could Ukraine prove to be his Waterloo?
Be honest, though, how many Russian pop groups can you name? There was, er, and, um . . .
What’s pick of the pops, pop-pickers, in Moscow this year — The Roubles with their cover version of Back In The USSR? Not ’arf, comrade.
Perhaps Mad Vlad was planning to revive Lulu’s 1969 triumph, Boom Bang A Bang, to coincide with the fall of Ukraine. Cheap shots. But at least Eurovision should be warmly congratulated for doing what it could.
Given there’s rightly no appetite for sending troops into Ukraine — which the British Left would only characterise as ‘perpetuating the cycle of violence’ — options are limited.
Treating Russia as a pariah is the best course of action. Which is why, as usual, the behaviour of FIFA, the international professional football association, has been so predictably despicable.
FIFA is in hock to dictators and despots. Its blazered boots-fillers appear to be primarily concerned with where the next bung, bejewelled Rolex and six-star private jet junket are coming from.
They have sucked up to Putin’s gangster state and anti-democratic Middle Eastern oil sheiks for donkey’s years.
The invasion of Ukraine gave FIFA’s bosses the perfect opportunity if not to redeem themselves then at least to enter a plea of mitigation. They could have done a Eurovision and booted Russia out of all international competition as a basis for negotiation.
Russia’s Manizha performs during the final of the 65th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest in May last year
Scotland Yet! On to Victory! by Richard Caton Woodville
Countries including Poland and Sweden acted unilaterally, announcing they would not play Russia under any circumstances.
Even our own venal, virtue-signalling FA — these days bought and paid for by foreign money —called for the expulsion of Russia from the World Cup. Inevitably, though, motivated by greed and self-interest, FIFA prevaricated as long as possible, until finally caving in to pressure last night.
The English FA allowed Putin’s billionaire kleptoligarch mate Roman Abramovich to slither out of his ‘stewardship’ of Chelsea by handing control over to a ‘trust’ — whatever that means in practice. Nobody’s quite sure. Abramovich still owns the club.
And yesterday, we learned that Old Dead Eyes Abramovich was offering himself as an ‘intermediary’ between Putin and Ukraine in an attempt to achieve a ‘peaceful resolution’ to the conflict.
Truly, you couldn’t make it up, tovarich.
Meanwhile, serious face Boris has played a blinder so far. Cometh the hour, and all that. Somehow half-eaten packets of cheese ’n’ onion and warm pop don’t seem to matter much any more.
Enjoy it while it lasts, since the Boris-bashers will be back on his case just as soon as the Scotland Yard Prosecco Squad reports.
Yet it would be churlish not to acknowledge that ‘Despite Brexit’, as the BBC says, Britain has made all the running in support of Ukraine. Even the gas-junkie Krauts are on board with economic sanctions.
Whether any of the Western pressure will have the slightest effect on Putin remains to be seen, especially since the Chinese and the Indians are sitting on their hands.
But we all must do what we can. And Daily Mail readers are once again ahead of the pack, giving generously not just from your pockets but from the bottom of your hearts.
Since we’ve been talking Eurovision . . .
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