The top-read story in the FT had nothing to do with the financial times but to do with a counter-offensive by the Ukrainians in a flattened City on the country’s south eastern province.
We have a huge appetite to hear a good news story, even if that story is about more soldiers dying in a place none of us has been to and which is all but deserted by civilians.
The key statement is not from Kiev but from the warlord Prigozhin, the commander of Wagner – as preposterous as Donald Trump.
“Our army is fleeing. The 72nd brigade pissed away 3 sq km this morning, where I had lost around 500 men,”
Tactically but not strategically significant, the counter-offensive in Bakhmut is seen as a precursor to a full scale counter offensive in the next few days.
This is , I suspect, why FT readers are interested, they are fiercely partisan and support Ukraine in its resistance to Russia.
This is being played out against the events in Liverpool where Europe is trying to party and to mourn for Ukraine, often in the same set.
Meanwhile in America
Any sense of morality – attaching to former president Trump, is now lost. The president seems to have celebrated a $5m dollar fine for sexual assault on CNN last night. His popularity ratings appear to have gone up as he denied the legitimacy of the civil judicial system, claimed he would exonerate those who caused an insurrection at the White House and repeated the lie that the 2020 elections were rigged. Trump’s comment on Ukraine was as amoral as insincere.
“I want everyone to stop dying”
The subtext reads could read “damned Europeans, getting in the way of me getting the headlines”.
Trump’s attempts to dismiss the rule of law through the courts, the ballot box and the rules of international justice are working within the bubble of his support. The question is whether that bubble can be sufficient to launch him to become a presidential candidate and on to the White House for a second term. If he can achieve this, he will have control over a democratic country , the like of which we have not seen since pre-war Germany. I am genuinely frightened that there is not a strong enough opposition to Trump, to stop this happening.
The upholding of the rule of law.
Faced with the amorality of Putin and of Trump, decent people in Russia, Europe and the US focus on little things, what is happening in Bakhmut and in Liverpool, to avoid the terrible alternative of lawlessness and the rule of amoral despots.
While Trump trivializes the war in Ukraine , dismissing it as meaningless carnage, Putin dramatizes it as a war with the West. Both Trump and Putin us Ukraine to cement their power bases and ferment discord against those who oppose them.
It is easy to ignore this and read about financial stories, but that’s not what the readers of the FT are choosing to do. They are interested in the preservation of liberty in Ukraine and thankfully so are the vast majority of UK citizens.
The public’s expression of its support for decent human justice will reach its climax on Saturday night. The contest may seem trivial but in the context of the insincerity and amorality that we see to our east and west, Eurovision is an important statement.
Our unequivocal support for Ukraine is needed now , as much as ever, and whether we support Ukraine as FT readers or Eurovision watchers, our attention and support of their ongoing struggle is a credit to us.
It is of course the least we can do and many are doing much more.
One minor point – he will pardon the Jan 6 convicted, not exonerate them.