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Why are the Tories so afraid of making Britain great again?


IN the 1950s a new comic hit the streets, the Eagle. One of its leading characters was Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future, whose arch-enemy was a little green man with an enormous bald head, the Mekon. A friend who was Field Marshal Montgomery’s military assistant at the War Office bought a copy for his son. His boss was very interested in the education of young people and asked if he might borrow it. The great man read it from cover to cover and handed it back as though freshly ironed. ‘Jolly good,’ he said, ‘Jolly good.’

I don’t suppose for a second that the Field Marshal ever imagined that an old Etonian Prime Minister would dismantle our defences on instructions from a faceless bunch of Earthlings who can’t blame the Mekon, because he has been in hospital. The origin of this latest idiocy will be with someone who rides a bike as opposed to a compact travel machine that can go anywhere in the universe within seconds.

What is it with the modern Tory Party that they are so frightened of becoming a great nation again? The people aren’t – otherwise we wouldn’t have voted for Brexit.

What kind of management did we hire at the last General Election after giving them the huge majority needed for doing Brexit properly? Did they all think it’s because we regard them as lovely people?

Well, no surprises after all; Johnson’s – or should I say Cummings’s – government without Dom is as Mickey Mouse and shortsighted, indeed as daft as Cameron and Clegg, Cameron and Osborne, May and the EU. This government will blunder on the scale of John Nott unless stopped.

Just look at the muddle over exams and school rules; the U-turns make one giddy. All are signs of dithering, confusion and lack of detailed knowledge; the latest over masks in class is just plain panic or else people talking at cross purposes. As Napoleon said: ‘Order, counter-order, disorder’.

Cummings has a talent for winning campaigns. Let him focus on that? I would have said yes, until I realised that someone else has a talent for getting things half right. For defence of the realm that is not good enough.

Yes, of course we should develop the Tempest fighter and unmanned systems and cyber, but not by dismantling a fighter programme that has only just got going yet already transforms our ability to defend these islands and our allies all over the globe. The F35 is flying off Queen Elizabeth most days. Tempest will go into production around 2035.

I’m sure Vlad and the Eurasian Empire will sit on their hands until then.

I fear Johnson and Sunak have all fulfilled my low expectations. They cannot think laterally, indeed their thinking is not far short of tunnel vision. Anyone with half a brain can see that the Chinese Emperor’s Kung Flu has brought about changes within weeks that otherwise would have taken years. Schroders Bank have told their staff to work from home for as long as they wish. The time-wasting age of commuting is over, thank heavens: no longer will half a million people squander two or three hours of their lives every day sitting in a tube or a train chugging in and out of London.

That places huge question marks over the point of HS2 and Crossrail 2. If the government needs saving there’s £146billion right there.

Need more money? Air travel is not going to return how it was, so forget another runway at Heathrow. That’s another £20billion.

Let’s go further. If Rishi can’t find the money for the F35 programme, rip up the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU and don’t hand over any more money. I reckon £39billion will buy a lot more than 138 F35s fighters. At £77million each I make that 506 F35s.

The £150million squandered on useless PPE gear would have bought two F35s.

Let me offer a couple more thoughts. The last time we had a proper Navy was in the 1960s when we were still an independent nation. Unless we rebuild the Navy to that level of strength, Global Britain is political posturing and the government won’t fool anyone – starting with the British voters, closely followed by Angela Merkel and the EU, last but by no means least the Americans.

Whoever dreamed up these ideas must be quarantined. Must not be allowed anywhere near the Ministry of Defence or anything connected with national security. They are the spokesmen for, or are being used by, a claque of EU-loving officials who want their own country utterly dependent on Germany’s EU.

We didn’t vote for another crowd of managers of decline. We voted to turn the ship around. And if our political class and the civil service aren’t capable or resist the very idea, then step aside, we the people will do it ourselves.

I’m a great fan of Swiss direct democracy. We need more. Direct democracy is why we’re out of the EU.

Let’s really take control. If you’re my age, you owe it to your grandchildren.

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Adrian Hill
Adrian Hill
Adrian Hill. Former soldier and diplomat, afterwards member of CBI Council and author.

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