Dame Margaret, Lady Hodge, has always been quite remarkable in her ability not to quite understand the subject under discussion. She's not failing us now:
The monstrous attempted murders in Salisbury, allegedly authorised by the Russian state, were shocking. Expelling diplomats, limiting attendance at the World Cup, and orchestrating international condemnation through the UN and Nato are good symbolic gestures. But they will not stop Russian state-inspired terrorism taking place in the UK.
Wouldn’t it be far more effective to clamp down on Russian use of Britain as a safe haven for illegal wealth? Britain has become the jurisdiction of choice for kleptocrats, crooks and money launderers – including Russians – because of our weak regulatory framework, shrouded in secrecy and very lightly policed.
The important point being that the interests of the Russian people in Britain and those of the Russian state are, here at least, diametrically opposed. The UK is indeed a safe haven of legality and property rights. Which is why people from places with less than perfect records on either shift assets or themselves to our sceptered isle.
That they do so, that they can do so, thus limits the depredations those less civilly free states can make into the fortunes or freedoms of their own citizens. Not just because money outside their borders is more difficult to snatch, but because the mere possibility of more moving limits ambition.
Cracking down upon the ability of Russians to move to, or send money to, the UK increases the power of that Russian state over Russians. That's really not what Dame Margaret is intending so why is Lady Hodge doing so? Ah, yes, that ability to understand the subject under discussion.