Self-defeating Schoolyard Spite

If I have to see one more newspaper copyeditor thinking he or she is clever by using the headline “From Russia with X”, I think my head will explode. However something tells me there will be many more abusive references to the James Bond movie in the press leading up to the elections, so I had better start looking for a cliché pressure valve. Today we are treated to the headline “From Russia with Spite” – an op/ed in the Times of London:

It beggars belief that an Anglo-Russian relationship relaunched in a blaze of Blairite bonhomie eight years ago should have sunk to this. The British Council’s connection to the Litvinenko affair is non-existent except insofar as its UK-appointed staff have diplomatic status. This, Moscow believes, gives grounds for reflexive attacks on the council’s operations whenever any aspect of the bilateral relationship is causing irritation, without risking a full diplomatic rupture. It is true that closing libraries and cultural centres may be less dangerous than shutting embassies. It is also true that Russia’s latest round of bullying is shot through with schoolyard spite, and entirely self-defeating.