So, Dave, it’s the run up to the election. You’re drifting into the final corner and about to accelerate up the home straight. Let’s just take a moment to go through the pre-election check-list, shall we?
George has taken care of that. Two billion to the NHS, no mansion tax, cuts in spending and the economy is in better shape than almost anywhere else. People (voters) will soon begin to feel the benefits of the rising economy, hopefully before the next worldwide recession starts. Business is helping of course—faced with the possibility of Ed and his mob of class-war warriors getting in, employers have started upping wages a bit. Still not too certain where the two bill is coming from and if you can make any more cuts in spending it will be the best trick since Lazarus picked up his bed and wandered off down to the pub. It was a brave move, letting George talk about the economy. We all know that it will get worse before it gets better. I suppose you thought that having a politician tell the truth would be so novel that we’d be impressed. You might be right—it certainly makes Ed look so last century, although to be fair he was doing a great job of that himself, aided by the likes of Harriet Harperson, Ed Ballsup and Rosie Winterton (the Chief Whip—but you knew that, right?). I thought that George did a great job of deflecting unwarranted, unfair and impertinent criticism concerning missed targets and broken election promises. He was so convincing that I almost believed him. It struck me at the time that perhaps honesty might pay—just don’t get carried away though. Too much of it and we’ll be expecting it all the time and then where would the spin doctors be, eh?
Always a tricky one. Thatcher got away with it over the Falklands, but only because a)we won and b) then Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington resigned over the failure of the British and Commonwealth Office to predict the Argentinian invasion. Definitely one of the ‘old school’ and I can’t see his successor—several times removed– Foreign Secretary Phil Hammond, doing the same when the current ‘adventure’ in Bahrain goes wrong, as it almost certainly will. I suppose, seeing as Dave has decided to tell us the truth about some things, that it’s not too late to impeach Blair over the invasion of Iraq? No, that would be going too far and anyway, seeing as ‘the Boys’ are home for Christmas—pending deployment to Poland—perhaps Dave should quit whilst he is ahead. After all, in politics as in life, the truth will only get you so far before you have to resort to the usual lies and chicanery.
It almost certainly would have seemed a jolly wheeze to current Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Houghton when First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas suggested a new naval base in Bahrain. First and foremost it meant that that the Navy would actually need to have some ships to put in the new base, if only to save embarrassment. With George—Chancellor George not First Sea Lord George—looking to make some substantial cuts in government spending in the near future this meant that the new carriers would not be cancelled. Yes I know that it would cost more to cancel them now than go ahead but that has never stopped a creative chancellor before and based on his performance this last couple of weeks ‘Our George’ wouldn’t need to pause for thought, or indeed breath, before plausibly explaining how much money he had just saved. The plan had the added benefit that the Americans also have a naval base in Bahrain, so when we wanted to borrow some aircraft to put on the new carriers the Americans could just ‘hop over’ and we could pretend that the pilots and engineering support staff were on some sort of exchange. So long as nobody asks what we exchanged for them, everything will be fine.
Of course, as with most plans there is a flaw. In this case the flaw is that we might actually have to get involved in a punch-up and we can’t really afford to do so. Of course George could produce the money from somewhere but unless the punch-up just involves using the F35 aircraft we are going to borrow from the Americans until we’ve saved up enough for our own, we’re going to be a bit stuffed. You see, one of the areas of cost-cutting has been the army. Now the cunning plan was to have a small standing army and have a large reserve force that could be activated in times of need—and most likely not paid when we didn’t need them. The only trouble is that the economy is doing quite well, unemployment is down—despite what the two Eds (Milliband and Balls) would like you to believe—and nobody is interested in being a reservist because most people read this blog and know what is coming next. Take my advice, if you have children do not let them join the Scouts because they are about the only bloody reserve forces we have at the moment. If you start hearing about ‘The Cameron–or more likely Farage– Youth’, grab your children and emigrate.
No, the flaw in this particular plan is not that we might still be bombing IS forces in Syria/Iraq by the time the new base gets up and running, because we will have borrowed some reliable aircraft by then. The flaw is that we might get involved in a fracas with Iran. We are applauding right now because they (Iran) cobbled together enough F4 antique aircraft to carry out a bombing raid against IS forces in Iraq but medium-term they want to bolster-up Assad’s forces in Syria and that is where the trouble might start. Vladi Putin is not as creative as Cameron when it comes to producing money out of a hat but then he doesn’t really have an electorate to pacify so he’ll cut food supplies and blame Europe. If he finds himself stymied in Ukraine then he might decide to cause trouble in the Middle East. Russian aircraft and ‘instructor’ pilots could cause a problem for Western aircraft bombing Iranian forces on the rampage in southern Iraq whilst en route to Syria.
Naturally, the Gulf States are delighted to see the West position more assets in their neck of the woods—it means they don’t have to publicly cosy up to Israel for protection against Iran. Everybody is happy—we can play at having an empire again, the Arabs have got somebody to defend them and the Americans get to do what they like doing best, bomb somebody. Oh yes, and Israel will be happy because Iran will not be able to resist having a go at ‘The Great Satan’ and they will be able to say ‘told you’.
So Dave, that really only leaves actually winning the 2015 election then. You can probably rely on the two Eds to lose it but just to be on the safe side, let George talk about the economy, Theresa talk about law and order and you basically keep quiet and look stern—and above all do not forget to send Angela a nice Christmas present. Something suitably Teutonic and martial. You know it’s what she really wants and it’ll put the fear of God into Vladi.