Britains place in a post SDSR world

#4
Well if you want to take what that odious little prick Simon Heffer has to say at face value then fine.

But he didn't write any of that because he believes it. He is paid loads of money to write stuff that advances the distinct political view of his employers and this is his latest effort.

And a jolly good one it is too, when looked at from the point of view of the people who paid for it.

The message being that our leaders have been selling us down the river since the end of the the last war but luckily there is one great body of men and women remaining on which the roast beef eaters of Olde Englande can always rely.... Her Majesty's Daily Telegraph!

An entirely synthetic 'point of view' spun up in a couple of hours by a clever man for the commercial and political benefit of his employers.
 
#5
Well if you want to take what that odious little prick Simon Heffer has to say at face value then fine.

But he didn't write any of that because he believes it. He is paid loads of money to write stuff that advances the distinct political view of his employers and this is his latest effort.

And a jolly good one it is too, when looked at from the point of view of the people who paid for it.

The message being that our leaders have been selling us down the river since the end of the the last war but luckily there is one great body of men and women remaining on which the roast beef eaters of Olde Englande can always rely.... Her Majesty's Daily Telegraph!

An entirely synthetic 'point of view' spun up in a couple of hours by a clever man for the commercial and political benefit of his employers.
So, have we not sold or scrapped ( or mothballing ) all our military assets then ?
 
#6
( As schoolchildren ) Did we not realise that, since 1945, the main job of Her Majesty's Government had been to manage decline?

We learnt that lesson, only to have it countermanded by our experience of the Thatcher era; but then we had to learn it again.
Thatcher inherited a windfall of cash from North Sea oil, without which she would have been sunk, along with our pretensions to being a major world power.

The legacy of having been on the right side during two world wars gave us a moral authority that has now been all but squandered. I do not mean purely because of our obedience to America in the contrived and lethal mess that was Iraq; I mean because of our steady determination, since 1945, to fritter away the means of exercising that moral authority.
Britain does not exist to exercise its moral authority around the world. In fact for most of its existence - including its most prosperous era - when running our empire we studiously avoided such a role, infinately preferring trading goods to exporting cant.

At the simplest level, the amount of influence we can exert as a power depends on our ability to back it up with force of arms,
Not true, certainly to the degree he implies. Far more influence is gained globally by soft power, especially for relatively minor nations who want to "punch above their weight" without actually having to wade in with their fists on the US's behalf. And as for our defence, I'd far rather more went on the FCO, Police and the Security Services than to the RN for their through-deck carrier fantasies.

We have for a long time been in the second rank of nations, but the way this Government and its predecessor have behaved, we are about to enter the third.
What utter, utter balls.

The piece is nothing but a pot-boiling whinge. I'm suprised its even made it to the pages of the Telgraph rather than the Mail.

We declined long ago, and its about time that he and others acknowleged it, or at least ceased to beat a Victorian drum to the middle classes.

Is Simon Heffer the new Peter Hitchens? On the basis of this piece you'd have good reason to wonder....

Charlie
 
#8
Well if you want to take what that odious little prick Simon Heffer has to say at face value then fine.
I couldn't care less if it was spoken by some chav, the truth is the truth and attacking the messenger, ie Heffer, because said truth is unpalatable does not make it less truthfull.


Plot a chart of the rise of the welfare state vs pretty much any indicator of political/economic clout you want and its an inverse one. While other countries were investing their national wealth into rebuilding their economies post WWII, we were busy squandering ours building a welfare state supported and nationalised new jerusalem.

 
#9
As I read this, I heard the sound of a hundred hammers all striking nails on the head in unison.
Dunno about that... I heard the sound of a journalist breaking the quiet of the newsroom on a slow news day by leaning back in his chair, cracking his fingers and wondering how he could dash off a piece which would pander to his readers' prejudices.

I don't find it unpalatable, just exaggerated. Simon Heffer is evidently the Telgraph's equivalent of Simon Jenkins...
 
#10
Thatcher inherited a windfall of cash from North Sea oil, without which she would have been sunk, along with our pretensions to being a major world power.
She was also lucky (or conniving) enough to be in the seat when Galtieri pressed the 'wibble' button in the South Atlantic. Op Corporate was probably the antithesis of Telic as far as public support for HMG goes.



Britain does not exist to exercise its moral authority around the world. In fact for most of its existence - including its most prosperous era - when running our empire we studiously avoided such a role, infinately preferring trading goods to exporting cant.
Oh, come on now Charlie - all those 'Force for Good in the World' straplines plastered everywhere across MoD, Saint Tony and the British Army as a spiritual guide to the poor benighted Americans, who just didn't understand how to run a stabilisation operation.

As for the Empire itself, whilst it started out as a purely commercial enterprise, the 'Pax Britannica' of the late 19th and early 20th Century was built entirely on the constuct of a 'Force for Good' (which was I believe, originally Lord Curzon's quote) - the idea being that rather than exploit them, we would teach the poor natives how to run their country properly before f#cking off. Of course, it never quite happened like that, and the military-industrial complex that protected and sustained the Empire became a self-licking lolipop.



Not true, certainly to the degree he implies. Far more influence is gained globally by soft power, especially for relatively minor nations who want to "punch above their weight" without actually having to wade in with their fists on the US's behalf. And as for our defence, I'd far rather more went on the FCO, Police and the Security Services than to the RN for their through-deck carrier fantasies.
I agree to a certain extent. If the maxim "Speak softly and carry a big stick" is true, our interpretation would be to go around with a small twig, annoying people by telling them how dangerous we could be if we wanted to get medieveal with it...then speaking softly when they told us to "do one, dullards".

What utter, utter balls.

The piece is nothing but a pot-boiling whinge. I'm suprised its even made it to the pages of the Telgraph rather than the Mail.

We declined long ago, and its about time that he and others acknowleged it, or at least ceased to beat a Victorian drum to the middle classes.

Is Simon Heffer the new Peter Hitchens? On the basis of this piece you'd have good reason to wonder....
I don't know - I think he has a point, but not in the Daily Wail sense of conservative outrage. I think his point is that our decline has been less than graceful in recent years, by the way we tried to convince everyone that the phrase "punching above our weight" was anything but a hollow soundbite to mask our sense of indignity.
 
#11
I would suggest that Britain's fall from influence began when we stopped being a red-in-tooth-and-claw bunch of piratical capitalists and conquerors, and started trying to be a force for good. Probably from the time the Royal Navy was used to put down the slave trade rather than monopolise it.

Nations with the most influence are those with the most money and the least scruples. Nice guys finish last.
 
#14
I don't know - I think he has a point, but not in the Daily Wail sense of conservative outrage. I think his point is that our decline has been less than graceful in recent years, by the way we tried to convince everyone that the phrase "punching above our weight" was anything but a hollow soundbite to mask our sense of indignity.
I don't think his article has that much depth. He seems to be confusing symptoms with contributory causes - argiung that maintaining or increasing our Armed Forces would slow or even reverse our decline. Wheras a genuine fightback would be on economic & social grounds, allowing an ensuing budget surplus to enable us to twat our neighbours whether we fancy being a force for good, or simply for the fun of slapping the French around.

That begins with a determination to succeed in the private sector, not the conservative classes perpetually genuflecting towards the past.

Charlie
 
#15
I don't think his article has that much depth. He seems to be confusing symptoms with contributory causes - argiung that maintaining or increasing our Armed Forces would slow or even reverse our decline. Wheras a genuine fightback would be on economic & social grounds, allowing an ensuing budget surplus to enable us to twat our neighbours whether we fancy being a force for good, or simply for the fun of slapping the French around.

That begins with a determination to succeed in the private sector, not the conservative classes perpetually genuflecting towards the past.

Charlie
Pah! Next you'll be telling me that we don't really need a pair of stonking great aircraft carriers, just because we're an Island Nation!


Runs for cover, as the noise of the 'Why we need a Navy' thread, dragging it's heels round the corner, becomes louder
:)
 
#17
My question is, what's wrong with withdrawing from the world?

The glory days are long gone. I think its about time we stopped our futile attempts to make ourselves important on the world stage, and instead concentrate on sorting this country out. Maybe half a century or so down the line, when this country has sorted out its internal problems and an opportunity presents itself we might be able to launch ourselves back onto the world stage.

Stop being the USA's lapdog. Hell, I'd suggest we withdraw from NATO entirely. We could withdraw from the EU while we are at it (Although we could keep the economic ties, a la Switzerland).

Most importantly decrease our dependency on fossil fuels and become far far more energy self-sufficient. It will do us wanders in the long run and when the rest of the world is fighting over scraps we will sitting back with a smug look on our faces, taking advantage of the opportunities presented to get rich off other peoples wars and play off squabbling countries against each. While we are at it we could make a fortune selling off renewable energy technologies and expertise to the world as they become increasingly desperate for energy self-sufficiency and alternative energy sources.

This country needs to start thinking in the strategic long term. We aren't doing ourselves any favours running around trying to remain relevant. We are increasingly ignored by the powers of tomorrow anyway, despite our often expensive efforts.

So lets take a step back, properly assess our position, be patient and I think a good few decades down the line it will pay off.
 
#18
Given the UK's dependance on overseas energy, food, services (by which I mean we earn a lot of our GDP by providing various services or by being the middleman) then a purely withdrawn policy is not without risk.

However we do need to grasp the nettle and conduct a proper SDSR than aligns what we want to do, funding, doctrine and staff/equipment to deilver it. For that matter we need to do that across the board no matter that its politicaly unpopular.

On the other hand I could just be bitter as my entire organisation has just been told we're all going to have apply for our jobs _again_ and yes there will be less of them _again_ and I could give serious consideration to punching the next MP I meet.
 
#19
Given the UK's dependance on overseas energy, food, services (by which I mean we earn a lot of our GDP by providing various services or by being the middleman) then a purely withdrawn policy is not without risk.
Well I'm thinking withdraw militarily and not tie ourselves down with defence pacts that are liable to lead us into more expensive wars in the future (NATO and FPDA being the main ones). And I think energy self-sufficiency is the best way to go about that. It also means we wouldn't have to suck up to scumbag Middle Eastern regimes anymore. The way I see it, the majority of wars we have been involved in in the last 20 years have been down to us either being dragged in by NATO and/or the US, or due (At least partly) to our energy needs.

Its not like we would just stop trading with the world. Even then, we need to be far more pragmatic in doing so. And there are plenty of largely untapped markets in the world that we can and should be exploiting. Germany does very well for itself without needing to use its military muscle (although granted its manufacturing industry is a fair bit larger then ours)

And while we are it, we need to start using our security council seat while we still have it. Currently we just vote whichever way the US does, regardless of what would be best for Britain.