VLADIMIR Putin is an egomaniac and the world would be an infinitely better place without him as Russian dictator.

Squinter doesn’t say that just because it’s true, which it is, he does it because in order to say what he’s about to say without bringing down a barrage of hysterical abuse on his head from liberals and centrists, he needs to say it. So. Job done. Here goes...
Alexei Navalny was a far-right nutcase with incredibly violent racist opinions about Muslims.

At this point Squinter needs to say something else that should go without saying, but which the gatekeepers of decent thinking demand as an entrance fee: Putin was directly responsible for Navalny’s death by locking him up in an Arctic gulag.

So having duly qualified that simple fact about Navalny with the necessary critiques of his jailer/killer, it is now possible to move on to the central point, if not without dissent, then at least having mildly placated the late Russian dissident’s army of adoring fans.

How come it is possible for someone who thinks that Muslims are “cockroaches” who must be “exterminated” to be a role model for a librarian from Galway who grows her own tomatoes and took on a rescue dog rather than buy from a puppy farm? How can a mild-mannered teacher who admires Greta Thunberg and recycles as if his life depended on it believe that he needs to put a candle in his window to mark the death of a guy who made a video dressed as a dentist and pulling out teeth – the rotten gnashers representing the brown immigrants he so vehemently despised?

And how can we find ourselves in a state of affairs where those so deafeningly and righteously supportive of the people of Ukraine are in mourning over the passing of a bloke who shared precisely the same putrid nationalist opinions about Ukraine as the man who would later be responsible for his death?

The answer’s a simple one, of course: My enemy’s enemy is my friend, no matter what bodies he has hidden under his patio. It’s why we’re supposed to pretend that the Ukrainian army doesn’t have a big far-right problem – that the notorioius Azov battalion is only joking when it prances about wearing Nazi patches and badges and waving ultra-nationalist flags. And it’s why Squinter again has to point out the obvious – that Putin should get the hell out of Ukraine.

What we’re increasingly hearing as fascist or sub-fascist politics takes an ever-tighter hold across the world is the barked instruction that it is not possible to hold two views at once. If you think it was an outrage that Alexei Navalny was effectively murdered by Putin – as Squinter does – then that’s the end of the matter. Putting in brackets after that “The guy was also a very nasty piece of work” is verboten and if you have the temerity to suggest that both things are true then you are a closet Putinista and you hate the dead man’s wife and children.

Similarly, if you want the Russian army to turn around and go home, that must be the end of it. Under no circumstances are you to allude to the fact that the Ukrainian army isn’t exactly a camogie club otherwise you’re a Kremlin sleeper who hates our Western values.

This dread edict is policed on Twitter by none other than Elon Musk, a man about whom it is impossible to harbour only positive thoughts. During the current Israeli offensive on Rafah some particularly disturbing images of dead children were circulated –  disturbing even by the gut-wrenching standards of the past four months. Those who shared the images found themselves immediately subjected to varying degrees of Twitter censure – punishment noticeable by its absence when pro-Israel elements distribute sickening images of October 7.

Musk is warm and comfortable inside the Israel tent while outside malign forces circle in the night – Jeremy Corbyn, Gary Lineker, John Cusack, Susan Sarandon, Leo Varadkar. People like these, we’re assured, are driven by raw anti-semitism, while the bold Elon has made it his life’s mission to save the world from anti-Jewry. Well, most of the time...
Last November a Twitter user posted a deeply racist and anti-semitic message accusing the Jewish people of “hatred against whites” and espousing an old and familiar anti-semitic conspiracy theory that “hordes of minorities”are flooding the West as part of a planned takeover by Jews. In response to the bonkers tweet, Musk banned the user for life. Only joking; he replied: “You have said the actual truth.”

There followed a period of stunned silence across the West as politicians, religious leaders and Twitter advertisers took in the enormity of what the world’s richest man had just said. Then some advertisers withdrew, some Jewish representative bodies expressed their outrage and the White House slammed Musk’s tweet as “abhorrent”.
Jeremy Corbyn may have done many things to upset Israel and its supporters, but he’s never endorsed an anti-semitic conspiracy theory; and while Gary Lineker has an uncanny ability to get up the nose of the Daily Mail, he’s never suggested Jews are out to take over the world.

Four months on and all’s well in the Western world. Gazans are still being blown and sniped to death, the United States is still paying for it, advertisers have quietly returned to Twitter and politicians have fallen silent. And Musk is now the judge of anti-semitism on the world’s most influential social media platform. And it’s still all Jeremy Corbyn’s fault.