In the UK, the election campaign is in full swing – there are only three weeks ahead of the early elections to the lower house of Parliament. It is on December 12 that British voters will come to the ballot boxes to cast their vote for a particular political party. Their choice is not really wide, as the 650 seats in the House of Commons are mainly claimed by representatives of four parties: the Conservative party, the Labor party, the Liberal Democratic party and the Brexit Party.
The day before, Reuters released the results of another Kantar-conducted opinion poll. They showed that the ruling Conservative party (Tories) stretched the lead over its main opposition force – the Labor party – to 18 percent. 45 percent of respondents said they supported the Conservatives, while the Labor enjoyed a mere 27 percent. 16 percent of Britons would vote for the Liberal Democrats, and two percent for the Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage.
It should be noted that the election campaign in Britain, unlike, say, the United States 2020 presidential election campaign, where Donald Trump is threatened with impeachment, is quite boring and uneventful. For instance, last Tuesday's first TV debate between the key political opponents Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn ended slightly in a draw. According to a YouGov survey, the current Prime Minister Johnson won 51 percent of the viewing audience, and Corbyn got 49 percent. Mind you, exactly the same figures were recorded following the referendum on the country's withdrawal from the European Union (Brexit) held in summer 2016.
The debate mainly focused on Brexit, health, education and security, but none of the participants made any conceptually new statements. Johnson insisted his agreement with the EU was perfect and Brexit would definitely take place before January 31, 2020. Corbyn, in turn, said that the new agreement with the European Union was worse than that of previous Prime Minister Theresa May, and that the document should be submitted to a second referendum. And this is what he will campaign for in case of the Labor Party victory in the upcoming election.
Certain revival in the election campaign was brought about by leader of the Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon's recent statement to ITV about her wish to leave Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage in the middle of nowhere. She said she wouldn’t want to spend any time with either of them in the jungle. Sturgeon can be understood, because Prime Minister Johnson not so long ago once again said he would not tolerate an independence referendum in Scotland and its departure from the United Kingdom. And in this regard one can assume that after Brexit, official Edinburgh will once again raise the issue of holding such a referendum, with its outcome to become a disappointment to London, according to present-day sentiments among the Scots.
Speaking about the upcoming election in Britain, one cannot fail to notice one point of interest, namely the Russian "interference" in this process. The country has been for weeks talking about the "Moscow hand" to allegedly affect election results. The British media, particularly the BBC, note that there are at least six "friends of Russia" from the Tory party taking part. It is pointed out at the same time that they have long-standing relations with Moscow which started with the Conservative Friends of Russia group founded in 2012 and later renamed the Westminster Russia Forum.
In the way of evidence, supporters of Kremlin's "interference" in British democracy refer to the fact that before the December 12 elections, Boris Johnson's government refuses to release the report by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament. It is claimed to allegedly contain information about Russia's "interference" in the United Kingdom's democratic processes, particularly the 2016 referendum on Brexit. However, last week Prime Minister Johnson said there was no evidence of any Russian interference in the electoral processes in the United Kingdom. "There is no evidence of that," he said on BBC radio, responding to the presenter's remark about the gravity of Russia's alleged interference in British politics.
At the same time, Boris Johnson added he saw "no reason whatever to change to timetable for publication [of the report] just because there was a general election going on." Asked about a British media report on wealthy Russians making donations to the country's ruling Tory party, he said the following: "All donations to the Conservative Party, or any other party, are properly vetted and properly publicized."
Here it is worth noting another interesting fact. Stemming from Britain's exaggeration of the "Moscow's hand" report and alleged Russian influence on the Brexit referendum outcome via social media, the British side demanded that the American social media leadership provide data on "Russian interference" in the 2016 referendum. And the other day, Facebook technical architect Mike Schroepfer called Russia's advertising spending on that platform ahead of Brexit next to nothing. The Facebook report even disclosed the exact amount – 97 cents. So the aforementioned 50-page report can be safely called the "Report on 97 cents."
All this fuss around the alleged Russian interference in the British democratic processes once again proves that sanity is clearly not the strong suit of the entire present-day political elite of the United Kingdom. Today in the Brexit era, everything seems to become the British establishment and media, with Russia remaining the key "scapegoat" and the cause of all the country's troubles. Unfortunately, there is not a single hint that things are going to take a favorable turn in the near future...