On Air Now
In Conversation With Steve Allen 9pm - 10pm
16 March 2018, 11:40
James O'Brien sided with Jeremy Corbyn over his argument to wait until we have concrete evidence of Russia's involvement in the Salisbury nerve agent attack before taking more serious action.
Theresa May says it is "highly likely" that the Russian state was involved in the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal and announced a series of measures, including the expulsion of 23 diplomats.
But the Labour leader said he felt we needed 100% proof of Russia being involved before we went any further. And as James discussed it, he asked a very powerful question.
He said: "I think he did it, but I can't prove it. What's wrong with saying that until it has been proved, we should hold fire. What's actually wrong with that?
"I became a bit of a tin pot patriot earlier this week. I became one of those slightly stupid flag wavers. I felt this affront to our sovereignty, this assault upon our streets merited a completely unified response.
"I use the phrase national unity a lot, but what does that actually mean? National unity is what sees us send our sons to the fields of Flanders to die in wars we don't understand. And send white feathers to those who've taken the time to workout whether this particular war is worth fighting.
`'Lions led by donkeys dying in their hundreds of thousands for a cause that none of them could properly articulate but which are being rendered, if you read the First World war poets, as a form of patriotism. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. That's where it leads, this blind call to arms.
"'It is a sweet and wonderful thing to die for one's country.' It's not, you know. Not unless it's a cause of unchallengeable integrity. And if I can't prove it and Theresa May can't prove it, at this point what is actually wrong with Jeremy Corbyn saying, 'Until we have proved it, let's hold back.'
"He backed the expulsion of diplomats and he called, I think, for greater economic sanctions. The Labour Party in general are a lot closer to enacting the Magnitsky Act than the Conservative Party are.
"The question of culpability has not been proved. As far as I am aware, Theresa May has said to Russia either this happened or that happened. It definitely came from Russia. It's either come as a result of government intervention or a security service intervention, a state-sanctioned murder.
"I'm 99.9% certain it is, but I can't prove it to you. And I'm a journalist. A politician can't prove it to you. Wouldyou send your son to this war without proof? Would you?"