There were plenty of republicans in Old Labour, "public respect for the Crown" has never been an "obstacle" to any politician, the monarchy is not an issue with any electoral traction either way, people in 1939 certainly did blaspheme, in fact the Arab Spring in Egypt (although not elsewhere) had its roots in the global day of demonstration against the Iraq War, and China-baiting is as unsightly as Russia-baiting. But in amongst all of that, Peter Hitchens writes:
Now the West likes to despise Russia's sinister tyrant Vladimir Putin. But who do they think will replace him? Before him, we had Boris Yeltsin, who (everyone now forgets) called up tanks to shell his own parliament.
Yeltsin, having come to power on a pretence of hating corruption, was so corrupt it shocked even Russians, who, shall we say, are no strangers to corruption. While I was living there you could do hardly anything without a bribe.
And now we are supposed to admire 'opposition leader' Alexei Navalny. Yet the very people who promote Navalny would shy away from any Western figure who had his record of militant nationalism and bigotry.
He has appeared at rallies next to skinheads. He once took part in a video where he appeared to compare people from the Caucasian regions, often unpopular with ethnic Russians, to cockroaches.
While cockroaches can be killed with a slipper, he said, for humans he recommended a pistol. His defenders dismiss this a joke. Well, maybe.
He has also spoken in favour of Russia's repossession of the Crimea, saying 'the reality is that Crimea is now part of Russia… Crimea is ours' – a view I think reasonable, but which is hated by the BBC and liberal types who currently laud him.