The news has got about that Boris, Liam and David are despondent about the prospects for exciting new trade agreements made possible by Brexit. Disentanglement from Europe is far more complex than they thought and – to be frank- the whole process could take up to ten years. On their journeys around the world other governments have appeared pained and confused. ‘What is it that you Brits want?’ is their complaint and answers there are none.
I want to be helpful. Indeed we should all enter into this task of becoming a world power again in a helpful frame of mind. There is much to be done. Have our negotiators thought about the Pacific Islands? I guess not.
I have a suggestion. Don’t laugh I want you to take the suggestion seriously. I suggest that the Foreign Office has not prioritised the Pacific Islands. Did you know that their are some 25,000 islands in the Pacific with a total population of 40 million people? Impressive isn’t it. Of course since the days of the British Empire other countries have muscled in: Australia , Indonesia and the United States, in particular, and the EU and the Commonwealth have been active. We used to play a big role in the Pacific . People would joke about our gunboat diplomacy. (They can’t do that now of course. I was distressed to learn that all Britain’s modern warships are in dockyards awaiting repairs. Shameful!).
I appeal in particular to Boris. The Pacific is a wonderful area to take holidays with an abundance of fine beaches and welcoming hotels. What better than to spend several months in the Pacific Islands each year with friendly people. Exercising due diligence you could invite family and friends to join you. It could be very, very pleasant. Wonderful!
On a more serious note the Pacific Islands are getting their act together and the timing might be good. They have combined to form the Pacific Islands Forum which aims to help the islands develop their economies. We can help, Boris, and they can help us.
Why not look at this way, Boris. If you are going to fail in your mission why not enjoy yourself? Their is no point in spending fruitless time and energy in Canada, shivering in the hotel entrance while waiting for a cab when you could be on the beach of an exotic island. If you are going to fail do it on the veranda of a wonderful hotel on a Pacific island.It is a no brainer.
Filed under BBC, Boris Johnson, Cabinet, Economics, Imperialism, John Martin, Labour Home, Labour List, Labour Party, Larisa Martin, Liam Fox, Liberal Voice, Politics, Sky Sport
Blair tells us, that is the British public, that we need a better plan for North Africa and the Middle East. What does he mean? If he means what I think he means a better plan is the last thing Britain needs. A little clarification will help. Who are ‘WE’. It appears that NATO, the European Union and the USA are ‘WE’. or to be brief the Western World. And what do we need a plan for? What is it to do for us? The purpose of the Plan is to assist Arab states become more like us. Particularly those who possess oil and mineral resources but to be fair all states within that geographic area. In our view all democracies will repect universal rights fair representation, equality and freedom under the law and all of them wish to attract more investment, grow and attract investment and develop commerce to and from the West. What should we do? We should intervene to help these changes take place and use diplomatic and financial means and armed force to help bring these changes about.
President Obama approves these objectives but despairs of a lack of willingness of NATO countries to pay the price for the extra spending on defence such a policy requires – including both France and the United Kingdom. There is, apparently, no political will. Friends Cameron and Hague have the will but not the money and each day that passes limits our armed capabilty. Imagine a conversation at the Foreign Office.
Secretary of State can we have you direction, please. Here is a list of countries we are determined to assist to democratic status. They all require a UN resolution. What do we do? What do we do, you say. We act, this Goverment acts. Give me the Calendar. Not that one, 2011 you ass. Let’s see. We need to allow a week between resolutions. Let’s do it aphabeticallyby week. 1.Bahrein 2. Gulf states(?) (need to be more precise here) Israel/Palestine (a tall order this) 3. Lebanon (good thinking), 4. Saudi Arabia, (you’re joking(? ) , 5. Syria (a brutal race, we need armed force here, get the Turkish Premier on the phone. What’s that! A deal on Cyprus needed? Have we not done one of those? Get Greece on skype. 6. Yemen ? (Good God 500,000 men could get lost in the desert. I exagerate. But you know what I mean.) What does Obama think? More defence expenditure and quickly. Something about lendlease, if it would be helpful. So we have reached a decision point. I’m strong on decisions you know. Look I can’t think clearly now. Get Liam in the office on Monday. Hold on. Here is one of my inspired thoughts. National Service! Get the unemployed youth off the streets, lower the unemployment rates at a stroke, re-issue some of those Lee Enfield’s -and off we go. Hey, ho the boys. Let Liam know ahead of the meeting, there’s a good chap.
Filed under Arab League, Bahrein, BBC, Cabinet, Cameron, Coalition Government, Colonialism, Economics, Ed Balls, France, George Osborne, Ghadaffi, Gulf States, Israel, Italy, Labour Blogs, Liam Fox, Lib Dem blogs, Liberal Voice, Libya, Middle East, National Service, NATO, Nick Clegg, Obama, OBR, Politics, Sarkozy, Syria, Turkey, Wlliam Hague, Yemen
I have a complaint to make. Could not the media, and in particular the television news channels, raise its game in the reporting of the Libyan crisis? Can anyone explain for me the rationale behind an Anglo-French alliance pressing for war to aid the overthrow of the Libyan regime? Of course, I know the bit about the importance of supporting democracy throughout the Middle East and the horror of a government slaughtering its own people to maintain an authoritarian and unpleasant dictator and his family. Let me pin my colours to the mast. I am on the side of the rebellion. But is it not a fair question to ask for a reason for Britain and France to be the most bellicose Western powers and alone in pressing for armed intervention? Why is France so premature in recognising the rebel Council in Benghazi as the legitimate government of Libya? Is there anything in the history of Anglo-French relations with Libya that might help an analysis of the issue.
Look, I am hesitant in suggersting an over-riding issue. But what distinguises Britain and France from other members of the European Union? Hold your hats, please. They are major suppliers of arms to Libya and other African states. David Cameron has told a wondering British public that the principal objective of British foreign policy under the Coalition is now to be the promotion of trade. Is he not fresh back from visits to authoritarian Middle Eastern states accompanied by British arms dealers? Hasn’t he nailed his colours to the mast? Could it not be that he has his eyes on the opportunities that would be opened up for arms deals if the Gaddafi Libyan regime were to fall?
As for France, in 1967 the French government was quick to welcome the Gaddafi regime in and became a major arms supplier for his regime. But France was greedy and insisted on selling the sme equipment to Gaddafi’s African neighbours so nullifying any Libyan military advantage. Libya decided to buy its weapons elsewhere. Here is a new opportunity for France. Aid the rebels and rearm Libya.
And then there is the issue of oil. Could it be an interest of Britain and France to gain new oil concessions and protect existing contracts? That is a major issue in its own right. But you get my drift. And what unworthy thoughts they are. I’m suggesting that these two right wing governments are desperate to be on the side of new democratic countries which they imagine are evolving from the ruins and contradictions of the existing authoritarian regimes. I am suggesting more than this. In the world of real politik they are desperate to take any action, no matter how absurd and reckless, to place themselves in the vanguard of the revolution.
Let us suppose that they are wrong. Could it be that the regimes that emerge from the ruins of the old are very like the ones they supplanted and their national interests are unchanged? Could it be that our government in its desperate search for fools gold has got it wrong? Is it too wrong and misguided of me to point this out? Come on, BBC. Isn’t that your job? Never mind the pictures what are the issues?
Filed under Arms dealers, BBC, Cameron, Coalition Government, Defence Review, Egypt, Europe, France, Ghadaffi, Guardian, Labour Blogs, Labour Goverment, Liam Fox, Lib Dem blogs, Liberal Voice, Libya, NATO, Politics, Russia, Sarkozy, United Nations
Sometimes I wish myself to be ubiquitous.You know what I mean: to possess powers to look in and over, to find out what has really been going on in the corridors of power. For example, who were the arms dealers who accompanied David Cameron on his recent trip to the Middle East and what did they sell and to which authoritan regime. In this age of transparency you would think it easy enough. It isn’t and if you doubt me try it yourself. To mix my metaphor, so to speak, sell bullets to the wrong dictator and they can come back to bite you. This task is so difficult that I have been obliged to invent my own un-Parliamentary questiosns and answers.
Q. What arms deals were negotiated with what regimes on the Prime Minister’s recent trip’. A. Following parliamentary proceedure I cannot answer this. I would remind the questioner that there has been no change in the guidelines that rightly govern these transations. Q. Can the Government confirm that over the past five years, no arms have been sold to Libya. A. If a company wishes to sell arms to any particular country, such as Libya, it must apply for an export licence in the normal way. As I say the rul;es have not changed. Q. Will the Prime Minister confirm which companies on his recent trip will be applying for export licenses and in respect of what arms and to which regimes? A. Britain is one of the world’s most successful arms exporters and I shall do nothing to undermine its efforts to sell arms to a diverse range of countries. In the nature of things a power we regard as responsible at one moment of time may become irresonsible the next. We cannot stand over them when they pull the triggers, can we? Look chaps, some of you types that have attended schools in Wolverhampton and Walsall understnd the facts of life that are learnt in the playgrounds. If you think it was easier for types like me on the playing fields of Eton you are deluded. It is tough and you do not survive without a bruise or two. Basically the rules of the game are simple. You do not take on a bully at the height of his powers. You wait until his position has weakened and when he has lost some of his friends. Then you pounce on him when he least expects it yelling that you are the boss now. If need be get a few friends to help you. Give him a few kicks. Make sure that all the other kids know that you are the champion now. That’s what we are doing with Libya. Never mind the past, ignore the previous arms deals and the British banks stuffed full with his illegal funds. Force majeure and all that and you are the champion now. The others soon fall into line. And that is our policy now. Move over you swine, you might say. We are the champion now. And the rest of you buying arms from us today. Don’t think that we won’t turn on you in the future if we have too. Oh yes, we are not cissies. Look at my muscles. Well come to think of it, perhaps not.
Filed under Arms dealers, BBC, Cabinet, Cameron, Coalition Government, Defence Review, Egypt, George Osborne, Labour Blogs, Labour leadership, Liam Fox, Lib Dem blogs, Libya, Middle East, Parliament, Politics
Q. Dave, when you were a young lad were you a Cowboy or an Indian and why? Answ. A Cowboy, of course. I believed that the Cowboy’s were the winners and the Indian’s the losers, and history proved me right, did it not? Q. Who were the moral winners? Answ. The Coyboys of course, the right is always morally superior. Why do you start with such a question? Q. For good reasons. You have recently approved an SAS and Royal Airforce mission into Libya in what appears to have been a storm in the desert, that is an intrusion into the airspace of another country, the use of ground troops and the involvement of Royal Air Force C130s without the approval of Parliament , NATO or the the UN. Wasn’t that an incredibly dangerous thing to do? When President Carter tried it he made a terrible mistake and became the laughing stock of the world. Answ. Oh come off it. we won didn’t we. The British public love the SAS and we pulled it off didn’t we? Q. What I understand is that a plane was hit by small arms fire and wasn’t some attempt made to slash the tyres of one plane? What if the people firing had heavier calibre weapons, might that not have brought the plane down with the loss of 150 lives including foreign nationals. Answ. I never comment on operational details. Are you saying we should not have acted to save these men? Q. Yes, I am saying that? Answ. Well I think you will find that British people are on my side in this. Everyone loves a winner. Q. Another question Dave. Were these C130s given fighter aircraft cover and if not why not? Answ. Good question. Naturally, I took advice but every Captain must in the end trust his own judgement. I didn’t become Chief Cowboy, if you pardon the mixed expression, by accident. Q. Straight answer Dave, please , yes or no? Answ. Look, you know me well. I’m a politician I can’t give you such an answer. Q. Were the Chiefs of Staff consulted? Answ. Ditto. Look I’m getting rather cross about this. Chief Cowboys are not asked these kinds of question. Q. OK. Let’s vary it a little. Have you had any military resignations over this and are there any in the offing? Answ. Well I can answer that one. No. And I don’t expect any. Q. Last questions Dave. Isn’t this a prime example of the strategic advantage of aircrat carriers. Not in the misty ages to come BUT now? Wouldn’t the Ark Royal and a few Harriers have provided the air cover that a mission like this needed? And secondly, did you consult the Americans? Answ. Look you liver-lilied journalist (a joke, let’s see you smile). A Leader must lead and journalist must follow. Isn’t that the right order of things, the Scheme of things? As for the American’s, all you journalists go on about the inability of Britain to act independently but when I do it you are the first to criticise. And thank you for the session , very invigorating it was too. Now back to the war games. Tally oh, chin chin, and all that. All I need now is a twiddly moustache. Can’t afford the wax in this age of austerity. All the responsibility of the previous Labour administration as I have said before.
Filed under Army, BBC, Cabinet, Cameron, Coalition Government, Defence Review, Economics, Labour Goverment, Liam Fox, Middle East, Obama, Parliament, RAF, SAS, Tony Blair
I have oftened wondered. When the cavalry were ordered to charge Turkish positions at Balaclava in 1855, an event immortalised byTennyson, did anyone query it? Did someone say, ‘Hold on Colonel, we cannot possibly achieve any strategic objective and we shall be riding to certain death. Get back to Headquarters and explain the circumstances.’ It was not the moment for that: a blinding and overwheming passion had gripped the Squadron. Do and die were the echoing voices.
I am reminded of it by the news that the Coalition cabinet met yesterday to discuss the Spending Revew and to start the process of determining draconian cuts in public expenditure. I imagine that the discussion was general. You know the sort of thing. Here is the scale of cuts proposed so far. It is not good enough, big enough. Go back to your Departments and do better. There were cheers. How refreshing to be reminded of the missionary task confronting them all. We are all in this together. Soon we shall reassemble and all that we have hoped for will be seen to be possible, and as we all know it is inevitable, it is our mission to save the country from financial ruin. I do not know how they do things in the Cabinet. Did someone put up their hand and say, It is too much. No one round this table should be asked to do more. It would be better to do less. Did someone say, the public would understand and support us if we said we have had secondthoughts. We must cut to reduce the Budget deficit but more slowly and we shall do nothing that hits the poor and disadvantaged. It is impossible to shield the deseving poor from cuts on this scale and I for one do not wish to be a party to it. And another voice said, my objection is practical. By slowing the economic recovery at this point of the recession will be counter productive and the pace of deficit reduction slowed. A third might have chimed in to say the public would understand and support us if we started the process of reduction now but held some of it back. We could tell people that we are not irresponsible fools with a blind faith in some discredited economic theory. We should say we have identified further savings but we are not so reckless as to make them unless economic circumstances considered in the round permit us to do so.
But other eyes are glinting. This is a challenge they have waited for all their lives. Like the Cavalry assembled 155 years ago the task is afoot, the blood surges, you can hear the hurrahs in Surrey and the more salubrious watering holes of the Southern Counties. This is their moment. They have waited a long time for it. Impatience , conviction, faith in the impossible is their’s. Off with their heads. Charge.
Filed under BBC, Big society, Cabinet, Cameron, Coalition Government, Defence Review, Deficit, George Osborne, Guardian, Labour Blogs, Liam Fox, Lib Dem blogs, Liberal Voice, Nick Clegg, Politics, Treasury
I am informed, reliably or not, that the Con leadership held an emergency session in Padstow early this evening without the presence of George Osborne who was busy speechifying in London. This is what our Dave is alleged to have said.
I have become concerned over recent days that the concept of the Big Society has become difficult to sell to the electorate. It has been suggested that I think of a rebranding, not abandoning the idea you know, but giving it a new dimension. Cleggie, who is fertile in these marketing matters, has suggested what I think to be a powerful new dimension which could be added to our message. As you know, he is hot on historical matters and, in particular, modern Russian history. He has suggested that we use a new slogan, that we should rename our message – wait for it and don’t smirk at the back- the British Perestroika. He is quite right on the similarities: the old Communist brand of socialism had come to an end in 1989, the people wished to cast aside the centrally directed and collective dictatorship of an overbearing state, there was a need to end corrupt government and reform the electoral system, there were popular demands to end a ruinouus Afghan war, the economy had collapsed, inflation was out of control, whole areas and regions of the State sought independance from Moscow . Ring any bells. Oh yes, and the maintenance of a large army, an independent nuclear arsenal of weapons, and attempts to boss large parts of the world needed to be abandoned. (By the way before I forget it I have suggested that Liam think twice before sacking any Generals, Air Marshals and Admirals at the moment. We don’t wish to encourage military unrest at this time, if you get my drift.I have always loved boats.) And remember, Perestroika, the demand to reorganise a whole political system, did succeed in the end. Admittedly after a period of confusion and abject poverty but as George was saying today in a few years time we shall all feel better about these regretable hardships. As Margaret was apt to say this misery is a price worth paying.
I’m sorry I did not quite hear you. Yes, that distinguished looking person with the moustache, on my right. Wall, you say, we don’t have a Berlin wall to pull down. Good observation. I get reports, for all I know you get them too, that our party position has become desperate in Scotland. I have been told that we are likely to be wiped out entirely in the Scottish Assembly elections next May. It would of course, be a disaster for the Union. We do have a wall. It isn’t necessary to invent one. Hadrians Wall. We could pull it down as a gesture to the Scots. No more Imperial British power or painful memories of past hostilities. We, the Brits and the Scots are in this together as friends and allies. We wish you to share our misery and our hopes for a better future. We are all in this together.
(The meeting broke up in confusion).
Filed under Afghanistan, BBC, Berlin Wall, Big society, Cameron, Coalition Government, Conservative Home, George Osborne, Gorbachov, Guardian, Labour Blogs, Labour Party, Liam Fox, Lib Dem blogs, Liberal Voice, Local elections, Nick Clegg, Politics, Poverty, Russia, Scotland, Scottish Assembly, Thatcher
Hello, you out there. I’m going to boast a little. I have been in this job only three months and I have not only shaken up Britain -Small Government Big Society-, he, he, he – but I am changing Britain’s tole in the world for good and I hope for ever – or at least until the next General Election. And by the way I am fixing that, the date and circumstances of an election, so if you think you can easily throw me out think again. Don’t try it! In this I am helped by William [Hague]. He is a real historian, if I ever met one, and knows all about Walpole: no foreign wars, no army to wage it, a few ships to make it difficult for nasty powers to invade us, and local militia (I have been thinking of beefing up the School Cadet Service and the Territorial Army). When I look at what has been happening abroad I am truly appalled: foreign wars in places like Iraq and Afghanistan; following the Americans into those god-awful places, Kossovo, do you remember it; slavishly following the European Union line; cowtowing to Canada in NATO. You name it, we did it! No more. William is wise in all this. He tells me that we could not have defeated the Spanish Armada but for the storms that dashed their ships on the rocks; and it took us fifteen years to defeat Napoleon and we would not have done that but for the Prussians. And the two World Wars? Well as I said to Obama, we should have left to you. It would have saved us a lot of grief. I have changed all that. You can’t engage in these wars if you do not have an army, air force or navy can you? Liam is knocking them all down to size.We need to sell goods and services around the world. We want those countries who are large and growing powerfully to buy from us. Why not? We can make things too. Countries like Turkey, India, China, Brazil, and South Korea. I have a Plan. I go there and act humble. I tell them about our needs. I support them vocally and denounce their enemies (sorry about that fraulein). I become their buddy (this is a strategy I learnt at Eton, by the way). So what if I annoy other countries. Who the hell in Britain wishes to toady up to Germany and France – otherwise known as the European Union! And how much more can we sell to Israel? Be reasonable.
Now some people question both my judgement and character. They describe me as combustible, excitable and something of a bully, and they complain that I am alienating powerful players in the world. They are entitled to their opinion. But did you not know that Britain has traditional ties with our Turkish friends, that we meet more curry than any other type of meal! We can eat more curry still, take it from me. And now for a word on immigration. The question has been asked whether Turkish membership of the European Union would result in hundreds of thousands of Turks settling in Britain. Perhaps, yes, perhaps no. With a bit of luck we might be out by the time they get in. Joke joke! But then you can’t have everything in life can you? Did I ever say you could?
Filed under BBC, Big society, Cameron, Coalition Government, Conservative Home, Guardian, India, Iraq, Liam Fox, Liberal News, Liberal Vision, NATO, Nick Clegg, Obama, Pakistan, Politics, Turkey