Home > Blog > Fear and Nukes on the Campaign Trail 10′

Fear and Nukes on the Campaign Trail 10′

It’s taken a lot to get me to the stage where I’m now blogging about the general election. Two main factors swayed me in the end. One was that my morning Facebook rant was too big (590 characters) for the status box,  that’s a fair few Tweets as well, so I’d have to set up a new

The face of change?

blog just to get the vitriol out anyway. Secondly, I’m supposed to be a journalist so I should put my mouth where my blog is…?! Something like that.

(I apologise to anyone looking for fluffy prose and poetry, I’ll return to that full-time on May 7th.)

I’d like to point out that I have almost equal disdain for the three main Westminster parties. Well perhaps not equal. The Lib Dems, in their defense, haven’t been in government so have probably committed fewer acts of madness/cruelty/stupidity than the other parties. North of the border, the SNP are a particular target of mine, owing to their lack of any agenda beyond more devolution, and seem rather sluggish to responding to any political crisis whatsoever. All that taken into account, I’m going to vote for at least one of the parties come May 6th, and I’m not discounting the Save The Hills chaps, or the Greens. Or even the Socialists, if there are any left.  So here goes.

Hung Parliament Party:

The face of fear?

I’m quite unsurprised that just over a week to go and the Tories finally unveil their ‘fear’ strategy. This largely involves telling us that we little voters don’t know anything and are required to vote Conservative to avoid a repeat of Black Wednesday/Suez/Adwa or being subjected to the humiliation reserved for countries like Belgium, Israel and Italy, all of whom have vastly differing demographics to the UK, in very special circumstances, and are only ritually humiliated by the Conservatives themselves. They have an 87% gap in their proposed spending cuts, give us a break Osborne…

I would like to point out, with the backing of the sage Peter Riddell, that Germany and New Zealand rule well with multi-party co-operation. Okay, the Kiwi’s have a unicameral system, but if we are looking at economic stagnation, the Lords has nothing tangibly to do with money bills, so it’s a fair comparison. This hung parliament jazz is going to drag on. Riddell makes some excellent points here, positive thinking is not a weakness, as my significant other is want to remind me of an evening.

(do)Nate Dogg:

So the Lib Dems emerged this morning with a £95,000 donation from Sudhir Choudhrie. His family reportedly have donated up to £475,000 through their businesses. The big deal here is that Choudhrie has been accused of brokering arms deals. If this is the case he is a prime candidate to be donating money to a UK political party. See Wafic Said and the Conservatives, or JK Rowling and the Labour party; she has surely traded in the sale of many a lethal wand. I’m being funny again…

The Lib Dems have 30 days to choose to accept the donation or not. That will take us way past the election on May 6th and the news agenda will have changed. The acceptance of £2.4million from Michael Brown, the fugitive Glasgow Metropolitan College graduate, who did some other things too, is still an ongoing sore spot for the party, despite the donation being for the 2005 general election.

That one was all about Iraq, which doesn’t seem to have come up a lot on  the campaign trail. We went into Afghanistan first remember, and we are still there. For a brief note put together on the ‘Afghanisation’ process  by yours truly look here.

The face of nuke?

“We just need to be sure that the final result does not look like a humiliating defeat: to have lost so many men and now abandoned it all… in short, we have to get out of there.”

– Mikhail Gorbachev, on Afghanistan, 1986

When do you think we might see actual engagement on this issue? A discussion that brings up real, workable, practical ideas about our mission in that region of the world. As long as political parties can feasibly accept donations from arms dealers, it seems unlikely that Britain is ever going to be a peace-loving nation. The line that the Lib Dems seem to be spreading about “getting rid” of Trident is a falsehood that will dupe many a student. The more informed among us realise that any political party looking to win a majority must continue to use the military-industrial complex to win votes.

I’m not arguing for disarmament. Far from it, I think we have a responsibility to our dominion countries to help them modernise and democratise if that is the will of the people in those regions. Personally I feel that we need to invest heavily in a day-one response Navy, one that is capable of anti-insurgent, and disaster-relief deployment. Marines and helicopters, rather than Cold War nuclear technology. This would allow us to keep up our NATO and UN duties as a rapid-reaction peace-keeping force. It would cost jobs, and involve a military spending review, but I think in the long-run it would rejuvenate the role of the armed forces and the public attitude to their role.  I’m not even sure we can develop a new warhead under the NPT test ban treaty. If anyone can clarify that, then please get in touch. It would be nice to at least hear a discussion about it rather than hollow spending cut proposals and spiteful rhetoric. On Trident we should be listening to the military, not following them blindly (they cannot claim not to have a vested interest), but they should be involved at the top-level of discussion with civilian politicians, for all our sakes.

Stay classy blogosphere.


  1. Jonny 'back to the well' todd
    28/04/2010 at 11:21

    I am writing on my iPhone so I will keep it short. For the first time in living memory I have read an article of yours on politics and not had the urge to smash my screen or text you immediately with some profanity. Excellent blog keep up good work.

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