2007 - 2020

Britain’s Vision of the Future: Lasers, Rockets and Jobs in the Army

The atmosphere of decay and crisis is palpable in the Conservative Party and British Government.  A week of gaffs by Boris Johnson ended in the resignations of Oliver Mundell from the Scottish Tory Shadow Cabinet and Sir Alex Allan the adviser on ministerial code after the PM backed Home Secretary Priti Patel. Mundell is of little consequence to anyone but the resignation of Allan is a sign of deeper problems within the British state.

Sir Alex announced his resignation as the prime minister released his statement on the report’s findings backing Priti Patel. Allan said, in barely coded Whitehallese: “I recognise that it is for the prime minister to make a judgement on whether actions by a minister amount to a breach of the ministerial code but I feel that it is right that I should now resign from my position as the prime minister’s independent adviser on the code.”

The idea that was put about at the beginning of the week was that Cummings departure was a sure sign of a “re-set” and a new progressive Conservative government: “back to the Old Boris” we were told. In reality he has backed a Home Secretary with medieval views on crime and punishment who has a history of conducting rogue foreign affairs who has just been accused of widespread sustained bullying.

The bullying probe was launched in March, prompted by allegations that Patel belittled colleagues and clashed with senior officials in three different departments. It also followed the extraordinary resignation of the Home Office’s most senior civil servant, who announced his intention to sue the government for constructive dismissal after what he termed as a “vicious and orchestrated” campaign against him.

Where are we now?

The idea that Cummings and Cain were somehow the rotten apples in the barrel is a fanciful narrative, the government is riddled with malignant and incompetent people – and the condoning of Patel’s behaviour is just a refection of this.

As we face expulsion from Europe on terms that were previously though unthinkable, the UK is shifting under the leadership of Johnson.

Britain is now emerging out of Europe armed to the teeth but totally isolated, promising rockets and lasers and jobs in the army. Predictably the announcement of massive investment in the armed forces was welcomed by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer who said: “We welcome this additional funding for our defence and security forces. And we agree that it’s vital to end what the Prime Minister called an era of retreat.”

Opposition as capitulation. is part of the new normal as the smearing of Jeremy Corbyn goes on indefinitely as a sort of blood sport for the media class.

“Our warships and combat vehicles will carry directed energy weapons, destroying targets with inexhaustible lasers. For them, the phrase ‘out of ammunition’ will become redundant,” Boris Johnson triumphantly told the Commons. It’s like 2000AD meets Victor in 2021, with Patel as Judge Dredd.

As Johnson blabs about “the defence of the realm” – there is no conceivable military threat to justify this massive change in direction, when the very real threats are mounting up and vying with each other for attention. You don’t need to be reminded what they are: they are our lives, peppered with ongoing and pending financial ‘uncertainty’, a crisis of mental health and social decay.

Britain’s response is lasers and rockets and electric cars.

Space Command

Amidst a raft of announcements (ranging from £16 – 25 billion depending on what you read) the PM also announced a new “Artificial Intelligence Agency” and a “National Cyber Force”.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “This is excellent news.”

The Sun drooled: “A NEW Space Command to fight in the final frontier is set to be built in Scotland — with the first rocket sent into orbit as soon as 2022. It will make Scotland, and the whole of the UK, better protected and able to play a more active role defending our allies and values following the landmark defence investment.”

Who we are to be better protected from wasn’t stated, but we can all sleep safer tonight.

The Sun continued: “The existing Space Directorate, based at RAF High Wycombe, will become the Space Command. Investment in weapons and tech, including ships and Tempest fighter jets, will support 10,000 jobs, the government said.”

“Successful rocket launches will give Space Command a sovereign capability to put weapons and surveillance satellites into orbit, to defend British interests, without relying on other nations.”

War Baby

This war cry comes at a time of great social need but greater political need for Johnson.

The Prime Minister told MPs: “Our national security in 20 years’ time will depend on decisions we take today. I have done this in the teeth of the pandemic, amid every other demand on our resources, because the defence of the realm and the safety of the British people must come first.”

Like everything there is a backdrop of a rolling constitutional crisis that everything must quietly reference, Johnson also claimed it would help “spur a renaissance of British ship building across the UK – in Glasgow and Rosyth, Belfast, Appledore and Birkenhead”.

He added: “If there was one policy which strengthens the UK in every possible sense, it is building more ships for the Royal Navy.”

This is Hearts of Oaks stuff, drawing heavily on Brexit Britain’s favourite drug: Nostalgia and Military Nostalgia specifically which its has been taking in higher doses intravenously for years. Having exhausted Spitfire Britain Johnson is now hurtling backwards to draw on myths of England as a naval power.

Simon Jenkins in the Guardian writes: “Desperate to make some use for his new £3bn aircraft carrier, Queen Elizabeth, Johnson is sending it to the South China Sea at vast expense with four protection vessels. It is hard to see what this will do beyond offer target practice for China’s massive air and submarine defences.”

All of this, like the spurious Green Industrial Revolution comes heavily laced with bribes and the promise of jobs in Scotland.

The not-so-subtle tactic is to prey on peoples deep insecurities at the coming economic depression and ask people to cleave to the Union, even if it is one based on a heavily militarised future.

Attack Dogs for the Union

All of this looks and feels like 2021 will feel even more V for Vendetta than 2020.

But if the promise of jobs building warships and rockets in Sutherland protecting our glorious future seem glamorous there’s an iron fist in this velvet glove.

This week it was revealed by the Sunday Times that Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings plan to “bring the Union together” included the creation of a special unit to fight Scottish independence. What the Sunday Times didn’t say was that this was set up in June this year.

According to the BBC’s political correspondent James Cusick: “Instead of this unit being announced and the fanfare being blared – nothing has happened. What I understand has happened is that people have objected – I mean senior civil servants – to the politicisation of the civil service and asked whether this unit is too overtly political.”

“They’ve now come to the idea that they may need to go down the contractors route … these are highly professional “attack dogs” … this is a unity of high-powered attack dogs who need to get on the Gove agenda.”

In summary the government is announcing war with the world just as it is at war with itself, but it is also outsourcing war on Scottish democracy.

 

Image credit: Stewart Bremner

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (22)

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  1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

    Neo-chrìochnach agus nas fhaide?

  2. Mark Bevis says:

    The parallels with Nazi Germany go on and on and on.
    Next up the “Anschluss” with Scotland as it brought “back into the Union”. Or is it a remake of the reoccupation of the Rhineland?
    Ramped up militarism to create jobs – well we’ve seen that before! That didn’t end well.

    If climate change doesn’t get us first, it’ll look something like this:
    2027: Brexitnavy plc (used to be the Royal Navy) sinks Spanish fishing boats intruding into our newly declared EEZ which goes up to the EU coast and 200 miles out northwards, westwards and southwards. Further actions force the EU to declare war on Brexitland. The Euro-army sends in it’s forces and crushes our feeble privatised forces, with German KSK and FFL commandos seizing London in a surprise coup de main. The US refuse to allow us to launch last minute Trident strikes against Paris, Bonn and Berlin, afterall they are dual-control and EU markets are worth more than UK ones to US corporations. As the island is liberated by EU ground forces the horror of Universal Credit workcamps “disability corrective camps” are revealed to the world……

    Although the climate change scenarios are more likely. The reason we’ll be fighting over fish is simply because there aren’t that many left. And you can only trawl the seabeds once for seafood, once it’s been raked over it’s gone for good.

    1. Alan Reid says:

      Hi Mark, You seem to have rather worked yourself up into a fit of unnecessary indignation!

      Example: “The parallels with Nazi Germany go on and on and on”.

      In 1938, the time of the Anschluss, Nazi Germany spent 17% of her GDP on armaments.
      Today, the UK spends a little over 2% of GDP on Defence – and the increased expenditure announced will barely change that amount.

      Let’s try and keep it sensible …………………

  3. Jacob Bonnari says:

    His lack of scientific literacy is astonishing.

    He’s clearly not heard of the laws of conservation of mass and energy nor has he heard of fuel.

    Also, isn’t the final part of this article telling us something from several.weeks ago? Cummings is no longer part of the scene.

  4. Blair says:

    “The Sun continued: “The existing Space Directorate, based at RAF High Wycombe, will become the Space Command. Investment in weapons and tech, including ships and Tempest fighter jets, will support 10,000 jobs, the government said.”

    I suspect these jobs will be in England with a few positions in Scotland to prepare the rockets. With AI and robotic drones controlled from England via satellites Boris will secure his legacy within our post Covid-19 world.

    From Larisa Brown Defence And Security Editor For The Daily Mail Daily Mail:

    “RAF pilots flying the next generation of fighter jets will be able to rely on a ‘virtual assistant’ if they get in trouble, engineers revealed yesterday.

    Scheduled to be in service by 2035, the Tempest warplane will be capable of being flown by humans or the computer ‘co-pilot’.”

    The computer co-pilot will fly the warplane when the pilot loses connection with the satellite or goes to the loo.

    Technology has and is changing our way of life. Technology has the potential to destroy or protect our country/planet.

    Indyref2 must be about protecting Scottish long term interests and their ability to create a more equal and fairer society. We need to become a neutral nation to avoid becoming a military target, to that end we cannot afford to stay within England’s broken state protection and subsidy system.

    We really need to stop believing our politicians & start seeing why our country/world is so unfairly divided.

    1. Axel P Kulit says:

      Figher Jets have a toilet?

      1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

        A supersonic, laser-guided jobbie-wheecher, no less.

      2. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

        Seriously, though: AI is definitely the way technology is going, making ‘boots on the ground’ largely redundant. That and cyberwarfare, by means of which we can disrupt the activities of a state or other corporation by attacking its information systems. Gamers and hackers are the troops of the future.

        But imagine the revolutionary potential of this? It could be cataclysmic as far as global capitalism is concerned, its very deconstruction.

        Hasta la victoria siempre!

        1. Axel P Kulit says:

          Yes, when Terrorists graduate from IEDs and knives to viruses like stuxnet the coporate capitalism we know will be in big trouble.

          They might even be better at chrashing our economy than we are.

          And there is more: imagine a deep fake of the current Prime Minister created to damage the establishment.

          Interesing times ahead

          1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

            An ‘upswelling of the incalculable’. Interesting times, indeed.

            I wonder what will eventually emerge from the anarchy.

          2. SleepingDog says:

            @Axel P Kulit, terrorists already have nuclear weapons and are already running our economies (in nuclear-armed states at least).

      3. Blair says:

        No. The toilet will be in the same building as the pilot who is flying the plane remotely.

        1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

          Fair point. In fact, the remote pilot might even fly the plane while sitting on the toilet.

  5. Tom Ultuous says:

    He’ll need the navy to keep English boat people from reaching Europe.

    1. Colin Graham says:

      Love it!

  6. SleepingDog says:

    That would be Judge Rico Dredd rather than Joe (contempt for the law, rather than embodiment). There is also something a bit Dan Dare about the British space fantasy, although I’m not sure who the beatable mortal enemies are supposed to be these days. I suppose that’s what you get when the government are apparently living in parallel worlds with alternate histories.

  7. Axel P Kulit says:

    I find little to add to this except that the increase in defence spending can also be used for internal suppression of dissent

  8. Daniel Raphael says:

    As capitalism implodes, it simultaneously explodes; internal repression mirrors and is mirrored by increasingly expansive imperialist adventures. As this occurs, the veils of sophistry and obfuscation fray and are discarded; “rule of law” increasingly reveals and is acknowledged to be simply a matter of “we want it and take what we want.” The fig leaf of “defense” is discarded for the less genteel, naked shout for “greatness.”

    The United States has long been the preeminent melanoma on the world stage of perpetual state violence, but its capos and wannabes like the UK operate with the same system, experiencing the same centripetal and centrifugal systemic forces. ‘Force’ is indeed the central and abiding reality of state rule–taking from its own populace what it wants, threatening other nations and peoples via the military projection of greatness.

    All this is portrayed as democracy, civilization, and normalcy. It is in fact psychosis and the necrotic appearance of the drive towards planetary extinction. Can the independence of Scotland stop this? The question is risible, but there is a redeeming kernel of affirmation: every act of true resistance to the drive towards militarism and reaction lends its might to the international struggle to halt and turn back the madness of business as usual. Scotland’s assertion of right and of rights is a real impediment to the authoritarian process emanating from London. Your article is part of this effort, Michael, and I thank you for it.

    1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

      Risible, indeed.

    2. Blair says:

      The independence of Scotland would throw a spanner into works because Scotland would be free and in a great position with all its natural resources. The key is how we develop and share ideas and knowledge in the real economies of the world: Much will depend on the links we establish with other nations & how we can achieve results intelligently.
      Capitalism as we know it is working only to keep the elite & privileged divisions in place, this being done via education and training, God forbid that this should change.
      If we look at our history and how we have behaved its not too difficult to see that the workers Today are just shoring up the divisions for another generation until technology enables them to achieve their goal.
      Hadrian’s Wall was built for a reason: An independent Scotland can build an intelligent firewall. This is not a task to be entrusted to Nicola Sturgeon or our SNP government alone.

  9. Wul says:

    ‘Kin ‘ell…are we to become the home for UK Space Rocket Command as well as the megadeath submarines ? I’m so sick of this pish.

    The best defence is friendship, honesty and love.

    1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

      Wul, I’ve been in some dodgy situations where the deployment of friendship, honesty, and love didn’t quite cut it. Sometimes a surprise, pre-emptive kick to the scrotes and a swift exit are called for.

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