Thursday, 31 January 2019

Attack State Red?

I almost admire the gall of someone like Colonel Richard Kemp, who thinks that his role in the war in Afghanistan gives him some kind of moral or intellectual authority.

More is the pity, compared to the alternatives available, but the wars in Iraq and Libya did not end with Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi back in power, nor did they take half a generation to bring that about. But days or even hours from now, the war in Afghanistan will end after seventeen years, right back where it started, with the "Taliban" as the winners. The people with somewhere else to go will always go back there eventually. But even the Viet Cong did not have to wait this long.

Over those years, Britain has moved from a country that was never very good at voluntary military recruitment or at looking after veterans, to a country where neither public schoolboys nor the sons of the Daily Mail reading classes will even join up anymore, where staunchly Conservative businessmen will not employ veterans, where staunchly Conservative landlords will not house them, and where Conservative councils in places like the West End and the South Coast will neither employ nor house them, even when that leaves them sleeping on the streets. I hope that Kemp is exactly as proud of that as he should be.

Not that he will ever sleep on the streets, of course. Again, more is the pity. But we may console ourselves that his obvious political ambitions are doomed. The British have never cared for military politicians, even in better days than these. No one who had ever been a member of the Armed Forces has led either main party into a General Election in 40 years, and he was defeated. No one like that has led a party to victory since as long ago as 1970, the only defeat of electorally the most successful member of the War generation, a perfectly healthy man who had never worn a uniform, yet who had still managed to come out of the War with the OBE before he was 30.

Alas, those who are equally unblooded, but who have a weird Beta Male crush on it all, remain powerful within both main parties on the floor of the House of Commons, if nowhere else. Another hung Parliament is coming, however, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. It has become a local commonplace that I am on 30-30-30 with Labour and the Conservatives here at North West Durham, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post. I will stand for this seat, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email Very many thanks.

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