The Greatest Threat to Britain Isn’t China or Russia, It’s Boris Johnson | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

The Greatest Threat to Britain Isn’t China or Russia, It’s Boris Johnson

The lifeblood of intelligence agencies is threat inflation: exaggerating the gravity of the dangers menacing the public, and calling for harsher laws to cope with them. MI5 director general Ken McCallum did his best to follow this tradition in his annual speech this week, in which he explained the security risks facing Britain.

He spoke of threats from states such as Russia, China and Iran; from far-right activists, Islamic terrorists, and the resurgence of violence in Northern Ireland. Alongside these were the more amorphous threats posed by encrypted messaging, online spying, and cyber attacks.

Many of these developments are less threatening than they look. Russia may engage in gangster-type assassinations, such as the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury, but the very crudity of its attacks on its critics underlines the limitations of Russian capabilities. President Putin may relish the fact that his country is treated like a superpower – albeit a demonic one – but it has nothing like the power of the Soviet Union. The idea, for instance, that the Kremlin determined the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election was always a myth. Hillary Clinton’s dire campaign is sufficient explanation for Donald Trump’s election.