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Thursday 9 April 2015

Tories Trident Missile Misses

The election campaign became noticeably warmer yesterday after Mil The Younger declared that what Pitt The Younger had enacted over 200 years ago - “Non-domicile” tax status - should come to an end. While Young Dave and his jolly good chaps put on brave faces and deployed their Labour-bashing keyword (“chaos”), there was a realisation that Miliband had once again stolen a march on them.
There was only one thing to do - put one over on Labour! But how? Here we come to defence, an area where the Tories have traditionally been strong, but recently have come under fire from supporters of the armed forces - and from Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers at UKIP - for not committing to spending 2% of GDP on those armed forces after the General Election.

But hey, details, eh? The logic was this: a decision on replacing the Trident submarines has to be made next year. Therefore the next Government will take that decision. At present, the Parliamentary maths suggest that Labour will not be able to form a majority Government, but after some kind of deal with the SNP, they would have the numbers. The SNP are opposed to Trident. Therefore Labour would have to do their bidding.

There was, though, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, only one thing wrong with this idea - it was bollocks. Labour has thus far taken a line on Trident more or less identical to that taken by the Tories, and the SNP have not committed to voting down the Queen’s Speech, or any other legislation, of a future Labour administration unless they get a commitment to scrapping the deterrent.

But hey, details once more, eh? Mild-mannered political journeyman Michael Fallon was duly dispatched to the studios. And then it all went wrong. He “said Mr Miliband had ‘stabbed his own brother in the back’ to lead Labour and was now ‘willing to stab the UK in the back’ by doing a deal on Trident with the SNP ‘to become PM’”. Er, hello? What happened to the “weird” and “useless” Miliband? Did he never really exist?

As the BBC has pointed out, “The Conservatives and Labour are both committed to replacing the UK's ageing fleet of Vanguard class submarines which carry Trident nuclear missiles and maintaining the continuous, at-sea deterrent”, although why we need the ability to vaporise every large urban area on the planet, when, as we are constantly being told, the greatest threat if from terrorists, is not clear.

The impression has been given that Fallon has been sent out with a script from which to deliver his uncharacteristically personal attack. Exactly who might have written the script and given him his instructions is not known, but an increasing number of Labour voices are pitching the name of Lynton Crosby. Margaret Hodge has delivered a broadside in his direction on the question of offshore interests; there will doubtless be more.

So the Tories have just shot themselves in the foot once again. Never mind, eh, lads?

1 comment:

Bob said...

I'm sure this will be giving the Tories and Lynton some food for thought: