The contrast could not have been starker. On one side of the House of Commons Prime Minister Theresa May was solemn and serious, in total command of her brief, laying out the case against Russia with calm, clear logic.
The Kremlin, she said, had been asked to explain how a nerve agent manufactured by the Russian state had come to be used in an attack on a provincial English town, putting potentially dozens of lives at risk.
The Russian response, she added, had been one of “complete disdain... sarcasm, contempt and defiance”. And in those circumstances the British government had little choice other than to respond with measured retaliation, including the expulsion of 23 “undeclared intelligence officers”.
When the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn rose to respond many hoped his speech would be an improvement on his efforts earlier in the week when he declined to utter the merest hint of criticism for Vladimir Putin’s gangster state.
It wasn’t – it was worse. He was peevish and petty, his voice rising in pitch as the mutterings of discontent from his own backbenchers increased in volume.
He spouted Moscow’s lame talking points before, with depressing inevitability, blaming the crisis on “Tory cuts”. I am sure they speak of little else in the Kremlin.
Let’s be clear here – a foreign power has staged a chemical weapons attack on British soil, and the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition couldn’t bring himself to utter a single word of criticism of his ideological soul mates in Russia.
Instead he demanded the British government hand over samples of the nerve agent to be tested in Moscow. So, he is not prepared to believe the findings of British intelligence, but he’ll accept what he is told by the Russian equivalent. Says it all really.
One thing is obvious from the events of this week – and if you didn’t know it before it should be crystal clear by now. Corbyn is unfit for high office. He is unfit for the leadership of a once great and proud British party. He is unfit to be an MP. I wouldn’t trust him to run a second-hand market stall.
If Corbyn ever gets the keys to Number 10 we may as well shut up shop and pull the duvet over our heads, because this country will be well and truly finished.
The instinct of most decent politicians when this country comes under attack from a hostile foreign power is to stand shoulder to shoulder across party lines to defend our democracy.
And to be fair many sensible Labour backbenchers, along with the Lib Dems, the SNP and the single Green Party MP, did precisely that.
Not so Jeremy Corbyn or many of the far left who occupy his front bench. Instead, they follow an ideology that insists that everything the UK and other Western democracies do is always, always wrong.
And whatever the enemies of liberty and the West do, whether it is extreme Russian nationalists, Republican terrorists, jihadists or the bigots who run Iran, is always, always right.
That’s why throughout his career Jeremy Corbyn has given his backing to Britain’s enemies – from right-wing dictator General Galtieri to the Islamists and racists who run Hamas and Hezbollah.
In a long and undistinguished parliamentary career he has never once backed his own country in a dispute with hostile foreign powers.
Electing him as Prime Minister would be the equivalent of running up the white flag of surrender to our enemies.
As for Theresa May, her response is tough and proportionate – but we shouldn’t kid ourselves that it will bring about any change in Putin’s Russia.
The government has also done well to build an international consensus, including gaining the vital backing of the US as well as Germany and the EU.
One major problem is Europe and the UK’s reliance on Russia for our energy supplies. Russia supplies about 35 per cent of Europe’s gas needs, and the UK imports about 44 per cent of its gas from Europe. Putin having control of much of our gas supplies is like having his boot across our throat.
That’s why we need a big drive to become more self-sufficient in energy – including a big expansion of fracking, clean coal, nuclear and renewables.