Russia invades Ukraine: Don’t expect Vladimir Putin to blink in nuclear stand-off (dodgy plastic surgery won’t let him) – Susan Morrison

The threat of The Bomb loomed large in my young days.

My family lived in its shadow, thanks to a pair of old great aunties in Dunoon, which considered itself on the Cold War’s front-line on account of the Holy Loch US Navy base on the doorstep.

On summer evenings, my dad would buy me a pokey-hat ice cream and we’d sit on the pier. Occasionally we’d see a nuclear submarine ominously glide past the Cloch lighthouse as she slid out to sea, carrying enough destructive power to end virtually all life on Earth.

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I once asked my dad how we would know The Bomb had dropped. He said, “The Clyde’ll vanish.”

Dunoon may have been a faded holiday resort doon the watter from Glasgow, but it knew it was ground zero in the event of Armageddon and took its responsibilities seriously.

At any moment, the Soviets could come up the Clyde and we had to be ready for it. Sharp ears on the ferry listened for the sound of Soviet spies. Russian accents would give them away.

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Dunoon did not fear the KGB. We knew we could break their resolve and have them weeping for mercy after being subjected to the then dreadful service and the appalling coffee in Wee Rock Cafe.

Vladimir Putin attempts to blink (Picture: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

In those days we thought all spies had Russian accents. They did in the Bond films. Later we discovered they all had posh English accents and came from Cambridge. Shows how clever the Soviets were. That lot drank Mellow Birds. The bilge at the Wee Rock Cafe would have been an improvement.

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There was a moment in that Cold War when Khrushchev and Kennedy faced each other over Cuba, but both leaders knew what war looked like from the frontline and they were fully aware of the power of The Bomb. In that stand-off, Khrushchev blinked.

The Clyde still flows. The Berlin Wall came down and the threat receded. The Americans left Dunoon. The Wee Rock Cafe closed down.

And suddenly, The Bomb is back, like the villain in a horror film that just won't die.

Mr Putin has nukes and he says he’s not afraid to use them. What scares the living daylights out of me is that Vlad the Lad generally, madly, seems to do what he says. Even though it is sometimes difficult to make out what he’s saying because he has a tendency to sit very far away. From everyone.

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Where does he get those tables from? GreatBigLongTables4Dictators.com? I thought it might be a bit of a problem with a windy bottom. One doesn’t want people too close when one’s passing gas that can flatten a camel. I can relate.

They say he keeps people away because he fears infection. I suspect he doesn’t want people to look too closely at his wonky cosmetic surgery. Man’s a billionaire, I’m told, yet it looks like he got himself a bloke with a Stanley knife and a bicycle pump to shove in some Polyfilla.

I’ve not seen a face change shape like that since the days of Michael Jackson. At least he gave us Thriller. Mind you, Vlad looks like he’s surrounded by the walking dead as well.

It’s a new stand-off, but the problem is Putin doesn’t do blinking. Not with that dodgy surgery.

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