It was all going so well for the Prime Minister, hubris is funny thing.
Today, the FCO are having to delete tweets that said Porton Down had identified the Novichock agent as having come from Russia.
Russia, unsurprisingly, are having much fun with this. Indeed, the whole incident has been treated with humorous contempt by Russia from the get go. I was so reminded of the excellent documentary by Adam Curtis on Vladislav Surkov, the shadowy aide of Putin.
In Russia, Surkov plays a masterly game, using mainly the broadcast media and internet, the game is played of bigging up celebrities to be politicians then dropping them, backing the hard right, then alternately attacking the hard right, assassinating journalists and enemies at will, making up tax charges to seize property and arrest opponents at will. Overseas, since Surkov was appointed as Ukraine and Crimea advisor, the Russians managed to seize Crimea with unbadged troops and pretend they were not invading Ukraine, as they invaded Ukraine. They claimed they had not shot down a Dutch airliner with their missiles, even as footage of the missile and reaction of the launch crew was broadcast to the world.
The Maskirovka strategy has a long history in Russia and a very successful one. Indeed, the Germans noted they had destroyed every division the Russian army had listed in 1941 and were unable to explain the giant army that still existed in front of them.
So with all this history, I just can't believe the naivety of our UK press today, making out that Russia has scored some huge victory because they can twist a few words spoken by a Porton Down scientist. This is what Putin's Russia does, lie, disseminate and confuse. Their own people, the world, probably even themselves.
In recent years they have added computer hacking and twitter/facebook trolls to their arsenal of deceit. Yet, it is all out in the open this strategy, recognised for what it is- this is how PM May got such massive support in the first place after the Salisbury attack. Russia has a long history of assassinating its own people at will and the Salisbury attack is prima facie part of their wider assassination programme, with tens of other unexplained deaths in the UK alone.
The UK needs to quickly challenge this current maskirovka with its own truth based version to our own Media, to date we have ignored the Russian game with some success, but the media being populated by naïve idiots means this strategy is not guaranteed to continue with much success going forward.