Is the Foreign Secretary a poodle, a puppet or a principled man?
Boris Johnson has received plenty of brickbats over his controversial decision to cancel his visit to Moscow as the war of words over Syria rages on unabated.
The decision was taken after a telephone call between Johnson and Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State, only hours before the Foreign Secretary was due to fly out.
Tillerson is himself going to Moscow, but it was agreed that Johnson should stay at home and campaign for a tough G7 statement condemning Russia’s standing and its siding with President Assad over the chemical missile which killed so many people in agonising circumstances.
Johnson has been accused of meekly submitting to the dictates of President Trump that he should not go to Moscow.
This row is escalating, and it certainly came as a salutary shock to the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, that Trump used cruise missiles to attack the airfield from which these chemical weapons apparently originated.
Putin is not used to being treated in this way, and it is important for the UK, the USA and other allies to keep up the pressure. Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has already said that Russia is responsible for all those deaths.
And this will not be helped by internal squabbling in the west.
- If ever anyone qualified for the title of ‘Political Chameleon of the Year’, I can think of no one more worthy of the ‘honour’ than Mark Reckless, the former MP at Westminster, who now sits in the Welsh Assembly.
He seems to change his political colour with the frequency with which some people change their socks. He enters the revolving door for the first time as a fully-fledged Tory and comes out the other side as Ukip. He then turns round and goes through the doors again as Ukip and re-emerges where he started, this time as an Independent with Tory leanings.
That may be all very convenient for Reckless, but it is playing fast and loose with the voters who elected him, on the list system, as a Ukip man and nothing else. His conscience should tell him he should quit.