And goodbye No. 1?
Having been travelling in Australia, France and so on, I missed much of the furore about the Government cuts – but am coming across all sorts of implications. Yesterday it was the news that the RAF’s Harriers are to go, something that profoundly upsets my father – for whom No. 1 did a Harrier fly-past last month (see September 19 entries). Not sure whether No. 1 Squadron will go to, but it’s probably too good a brand not to slap on something else that flies.
I loathe much of the defence sector, where levels of corruption tend to be off the scale, as I was reminded when I chaired the Advisory Council of the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD), but we do need to ensure our national security. The question whether we need Harriers to some degree depends for its answer on whether we need to project power into other parts of the world.
History says we shouldn’t be in Iraq, at least in the form that we have been there in recent years, and it says we shouldn’t be in Afghanistan. But the idiocy of the Bush II regime and the complicity of the UK Government mean that we are up to our eyeballs in unwinnable occupations.
One of the horrors of the moment, watching the Republicans and the Tea Party campaign in the US, is to witness the unbelievable dishonesty and self-delusion of the more conservative elements in US society. It’s almost as if they have a national death wish. Can’t help but feel that in the coming century the US is going to follow the UK down the inexorable, increasingly slippery slope to irrelevance.