The expensive police investigation of the Skripal affair has been a complete waste of time and money, because we already knew who was behind it, and because it ignores the crucial question: Why did the Kremlin feel free to use a Novichok neural poison in a British city?
The answer is that Vladimir Putin views Britain, our governing class and our government with complete contempt. He has seen the moral cowardice and psychological weakness at the heart of our country.
If we do not have the will to suppress the epidemic of stabbings, acid attacks and gun crime by young thugs in our cities, why should a major foreign power show any respect for our criminal laws. In 1952, it took just one judge, Lord Carmont, to end the scourge of the razor gangs.
If we negotiate a one-sided peace agreement with terrorists, which gives them a de facto amnesty, while our own soldiers are pursued to the grave, and the terrorism continues, why should anyone respect us? By contrast the Spanish held their nerve and eventually the Basque terrorist movement ETA disbanded.
The same psychological weakness has been at the heart of almost every failure by British governments of the last sixty years. Only under Margaret Thatcher was there a degree of strength.