Mark Dolan: It's time to get tough with Vladimir Putin, not roll over to his demands
Making Vladimir Putin the guardian of global energy, is like getting Count Dracula to look after the world’s blood supplies.
The energy crisis across western Europe and the UK is the worst kind, a self-inflicted one. We've only got ourselves to blame. The supposedly most respected politician in Europe, Angela Merkel, made the catastrophic decision not to develop nuclear energy in Germany. Hugely reliant on gas supplies from Russia - Germany and the whole of Western Europe are now in the back pocket of Vladimir Putin, who is now calling the shots.
This is a corrupt, toxic and effectively unelected dictator. It’s hardly a democracy when your opponents and critics either disappear or die. This dreadful bully, famous for his love of rising horses topless, is now riding Western Europe like a donkey. As the price of gas contracts soared on Wednesday by 40 per cent in just 24 hours, Gazprom, Russia's state-backed, monopoly exporter of pipeline gas, was accused of flexing its muscles, by both restricting supplies to Europe, and keeping its European underground storage facilities at deliberately low levels.
It’s clear what Putin is up to: he wants to pressurise Europe into approving the operation of Gazprom's controversial £8.1 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Now completed, this pipeline runs into Germany along the seabed of the Baltic Sea and bypasses Ukraine, in whose eastern regions, Russia has effectively been at war since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
The result is that Russia can now hold Ukraine and other Eastern European states to ransom. The Kremlin could shut down their gas, without having to cut off the rest of Europe. As the brilliant security expert Edward Lucas points out in today’s Mail Online, one group of nations will be played off against the other, in a game of divide and rule, with Russia in command.
Desperate for Russian gas, Germany will likely give this pipeline the green light, and keen to placate his chums in the EU, that hopeless coward Joe Biden has already said America will withdraw their objections.
The West is consistently losing out to the bad guys now. Take China, who own enormous amounts of western property, infrastructure and debt, and upon whom we are dependent for cheap goods, and whose lies and obfuscation caused the severity of the Covid pandemic. And yet we pay the price, as the Chinese economy once again soars.
The West gifted Afghanistan to the Taliban, after two decades of wasted billions and Allied lives, and now we present the greatest strategic opportunity of his career to that poor man’s Frankie Dettori, Vlad the bad, old Vladimir Putin.
Proof of Putin’s unprecedented influence, was seen this week, when his comments about supplying more gas caused the price of this essential commodity to collapse. That's gotta feel good, for someone who is all about disruption, influence and control. But with someone like Vladimir Putin, any help he does give us, will come at a price. The pipeline will be just the start of it. And here in the UK, we can't escape the blame game either.
In Britain, the problem is particularly acute, because we are one of Europe's largest gas users, all whilst massively reducing gas production from the rich fields of the North Sea and Irish Sea over the past 20 years. Instead, Britain has exacerbated its energy vulnerability, by depending on just-in-time imports from pipelines and seaborne cargoes.
In a moment of madness, the Government in 2017 decided to close the huge storage facility on the Yorkshire coast connected to the Rough gas field, believing both that supplies would always be plentiful and also because the energy companies believed that limiting storage would boost prices and thereby profits.
And here’s the kicker - we gave up fracking. Fracking is a clean, sustainable source of energy, and it's believed we have potential supplies that could last for decades. But eco-warriors got their way and we stopped shale gas exploration. What the frack. I'm sorry but there is no time for student environmental campaigns, when it comes to the nation’s energy supplies. The bitter truth is go woke, no smoke.
We just handed one of the most dangerous men in the world a blank cheque to get his pipeline, to make billions from Russia's natural resources, to enrich the Kremlin, to make him a national hero at home and to unduly hand him even more geopolitical influence.
It's time to challenge and diminish Russian power, not enhance it. Whose side are we on anyway? It's time to get tough with Vladimir Putin, not roll over to his demands. It’s time for the entirety of the West to work together and reject Russia's influence. Stick that in your pipeline and smoke it Vladimir.
Making Vladimir Putin the guardian of global energy, is like getting Count Dracula to look after the world’s blood supplies. Fangs, but no fangs. This is GB News.