Monday, 28 November 2016

Parliament's dereliction of duty

The egregious stupidity of Rebecca Long-Bailey last week is this week matched by Emily Thornberry in suggesting that we should mount aid drop operations over Syria. First of all one would note that this does not happen without the permission of Russia lest it be a very dangerous and messy business, and secondly we lack the capacity to mount such an operation.

Paraphrasing tweets by Think Defence, the A400m is not yet in service and the C17 is not cleared for air despatch. He asks "Where are the stocks of parachutes coming from for such a massive air drop and how many of those do you think we actually have available?"

He tweets "MPs have presided over a huge reduction in UK combat power. On Aleppo, they cannot now propose we 'do something' when we 'have nothing'. This is the harsh reality, the RAF air despatch capacity is limited, limited by reality, not MP's fantasies".

Think Defence concludes that we could probably "muster something" but it would be a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed. It would need to be a sustained operation. And this is what happens when we have politicians who think that detail is for other people. Though it is their job to ask questions and hold government to account, they choose instead to concern themselves with everyday trivia and virtue signalling. The consequence of this disengagement from policy-making is a yawning capability gap. 

And this should worry us. We've already seen what craven narcissism our MPs are capable of when it comes to intervention and consequently we are rinsing every last airframe hour out of the Tornado GR4 in Syria. Now we are seeing the same kind of sabre rattling in relation to Russia while the MoD thinks it a jolly good wheeze to prune our main battle tank fleet by 33%. Should it come to a crisis we will find our MPs deep in the bunker pushing imaginary divisions around the map.

It's one thing for our MPs to completely abandon any kind of involvement in trade, a travesty of its own, but to delegate defence of the realm to the bureaucrats and corporate lobbyists is nothing short of criminal. We have been here before with the Snatch Land Rover, whereby British forces suffered multiple unnecessary casualties, turning the tide of public opinion against further involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Scandal through that was, it was a political failure and one we stand to repeat on a much more frightening scale.

Across the board we have politicians who are not only incapable of doing the job, they show no interest in doing it. Incompetence is barely forgiveable, idle lack of interest, however, is inexcusable. MPs are only interested in defence when it is a polarising tribal issue like trident or if, like the QE class carriers, is creating jobs in their own back yard, but as far as everything else goes they have, through negligence, reduced our armed forces to a shell while they write cheques we can't cash. Says Think Defence, "there is a lot of power in soft power, but it means nothing without the hard power to back it up".

It is hard to say whether this atrophy of politics is entirely the consequence of EU membership but Brexit has certainly exposed our political class as venal, shallow and crass. Their collective ignorance is breathtaking. They are intellectually ill-equipped for the task at hand and risk the nation's prosperity with their dereliction of duty. Now, though, they risk the security of all of Europe through their indifference and self-indulgent narcissism. Parliamentary incompetence is now a national emergency. 

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