I suppose it was inevitably that someone in the EU debate would mention the prospects of war between European powers. It is intensely disappointing that it should be the Eton and Brasenose, Oxford educated Cameron. Either Oxford is not all it is cracked up to be (Cameron was described as “one of the ablest students I have taught” by Professor Vernon Bogdanor – but he could be wrong) or Cameron is both being insincere and treating us with contempt.
Let’s get this war thing clear; the only members of the EU who are not also part of NATO are Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Malta and Sweden. If any of the others were to be attacked, then NATO treaties would be invoked. Finland may be at some risk from Russia, but Brexit changes nothing. To a lesser extent the same is true of Sweden. Like Switzerland, Austria is surrounded by NATO members, so can rest easy. Cyprus is regularly invaded by sun seekers and dodgy businessmen. So is Malta. Invading Ireland from the rest of Europe is hard.
Moreover, whereas there were plenty of tanks and fighting men in Europe during the Cold War most of the swords have been turned into ploughshares. The French Army has just 200 tanks, fewer than the UK used to keep in Germany waiting for World War 3 to kick off. Germany has 250 (one tenth of their Cold War strength). The Poles have about 900 tanks, but their major concern is to the East.
So although it remains unclear whom Cameron fears is going to start a war it is obvious that there is no militarily capable protagonist – as anyone with an inkling of military knowledge of ten minutes to spare on Google knows.
In any case, this is the same David Cameron promised “fundamental, far-reaching change” from the EU and turned up with a non-binding concession on benefits. This is the same military genius who though dropping bombs on Libya would be beneficial and, when that didn’t work, expended huge political capital to make sure he could drop bombs on Syria too (with an equal lack of benefit). He produced at public expense a booklet on the EU decision that made Blair’s dodgy dossier look like the ten commandments.
What is it about an Oxford degree that makes some people treat the rest of the country like fools? OK, so we voted for them, (actually of course most of us did not), but how is it they are able to continually spout inconsistent, inaccurate slogans that would embarrass a fifth form debater? At what point are the Paxmans, Boltons, Marrs and Neils actually going to do their job and intellectually eviscerate these popinjays? Or, whisper it, are we going to have to do it ourselves?
It seems to me that the out campaign is winning the argument while metamorphosing into a protest against the entire political cabal. I think project fear is backfiring and the ones now afraid are Cameron, Osborne and Tim the LibDem. Frightened people are not rational – and that is about the only possible explanation for Cameron’s bizarre assertions.
There are some in this country who mock the Americans for ending up with a choice between Trump and Harridan Hillary, and others who pity them. But look at what we have – call me Dave and Corbyn. And Tories may have to choose between Osborne and BoJo. Look who the bozos are now.
Of course, “things can only get better” (ha!) Blair tried simply to reform the House of Lords by sacking the hereditary peers and filling the building with political placemen, neatly increasing the patronage powers of the prime minister. Since then, no progress and the appointment of ever more unlikely, pointless near-celebs. What benefit does Lord Lloyd-Webber bring to the parliamentary process? Since 1998 he has voted 35 times out of the 2,011 time that he could (source theyworkforyou).
I have no idea how we are going to fix our broken political system. I do not believe that any politician is capable of it. Gunpowder is a bit passé, storming the place somewhat Gallic, marching around shouting too Teutonic and the wretched Yanks stole the tea-party idea. Perhaps it’s time for the Queen to intervene?