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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

UKIP’S AGONY


UKIP’S AGONY


So now we know! UKIP, I think rather to the surprise of all involved as well as all commentators, has elected the relatively unknown Henry Bolton with just 3,874 votes.


Mr Bolton had been UKIP’s Police Commissioner candidate in Kent, but apart from that his career track record had been in the army and the police and as a Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate standing against Philip Hammond. He was also an EU apparatchik. His background is therefore somewhat surprising for the new Leader of UKIP!


Henry Bolton is the fourth Leader that UKIP has had in 18 months. Their chaotic leadership turbulence has undoubtedly contributed to their fragmentation from the highpoint of them being the main key to the ‘Leave’ vote in the EU referendum.


The public generally seems to think that UKIP’s job is done, judging by UKIP’s election results, but having 18 months of leadership turbulence cannot have helped. This can also be seen in the turnout levels in three leadership levels.


The turnout in the leadership election when they elected Diane James on 16th September 2016 was 17,842. The turnout on 28th November 2016 that elected Paul Nuttall was 15,370. The turnout that elected Henry Bolton on the 29th September 2017 was 12,915 votes.


Now the 2,755 members who voted for Anne Marie Walters and the 2,021 UKIP voters that voted for John Rees-Evans both look set to leave the Party along with both of their preferred leadership candidates.


This is not at all surprising given the insults which they have been subjected to by both Nigel Farage and Mr Bolton himself. If all their supporters leave it would be an exodus of 4,776 members.


I generally take it as the best possible measure of active membership within a party that every member of the party who still identifies themselves as a member of the Party and is engaged with the Party will vote in a leadership election. This is particularly so if, as in the case of UKIP, it was a postal ballot. There is little effort for the individual member in ticking a box and returning the form in the envelope provided, so almost all who care will do so.


It follows that shortly the engaged members of UKIP will be down to 8,139 which is below the 10,000 critical mass level required for maintaining a fully functional political party.


At that point UKIP’s only advantage over the English Democrats (with our 4,500 members) will be reduced to the difference in membership subscriptions and manpower and also the fact that they still have MEPs and other elected officials who are no doubt full time activists for the Party and contribute something to its running costs. Naturally most of those will go in mid-2019.


We may then be back to where we were before the UKIP surge in support in 2011/2012, when we generally beat them whenever we came across them especially where there was a reasonably level playing field. We also achieved much better results per pound than they were able to do. That was because the English Democrats were then clearly identified as the only political party standing up for England.


UKIP succeeded in initially pulling the wool over many peoples’ eyes and made them believe that they also stood up for English interests between 2012 and 2016. Now however it has become obvious, after their leadership elections in 2016 and 2017, that UKIP’s Leaders have rejected any pretence that they are interested in England, the English Nation or in English national issues.


The academic who has done most to study the rise of UKIP (and before that of the BNP) is Professor Matthew Goodwin of Kent University Canterbury. What his research shows and what he says himself is that there is space on the political spectrums for, in English politics what he would refer to, being himself of the Left, as a Radical Right party, similar to that of Marine Le Pen’s Front National.


It doesn’t appear from the remarks that Mr Bolton has made so far that he wants UKIP to be that party.


Mr Bolton has declared that he is not against immigration and, for that matter, he is not even against a transition period in the process of us leaving the European Union. He is therefore happy to not only wait to exit the European Union, but also to do so on the basis that Mrs May is currently talking about, that is continuing to make very substantial payments into the EU budget.


Mr Bolton also strongly attacked Anne Marie Walters and her followers as being racists and Nazis and of the BNP tendency.


Since Anne Marie Walters, although she is very much against Islam, does so from the militant Left/Liberal perspective of wishing to protect Gay Rights rather than as an advocate of the preservation of English traditions and traditional morality (which is not perhaps surprising given that she is of Irish origin and a Lesbian), it was clear that Mr Bolton’s intent on making those remarks wasn’t actually to describe Anne Marie Walters politics, but rather merely to smear her (given the Nazi regime’s record was of executing large numbers of homosexuals and others whom they called “degenerates”!).


If I am right and Mr Bolton’s leadership will take UKIP firmly back into the safe territory of British Establishment Politics, then I must say I really cannot see any future role or purpose for them at all.




Saturday, 7 October 2017

SOME SYRIAN CHILD REFUGEES TURN OUT TO BE A PROBLEM AFTER ALL!


SOME SYRIAN CHILD REFUGEES TURN OUT TO BE A PROBLEM AFTER ALL!



One of the bizarre side stories of the “Syrian Refugee Crisis” was the furore about England being required to let in large numbers of “Syrian child refugees” following the sad incident of a little boy’s body being washed up on the beach in Turkey after a failed attempt by his family of trying to get to the Greek Islands.


Anyone who opposed opening our border gates to un-vetted alleged Syrian refugees who were claiming to be children was shouted down and told that they should be allowed in without either any testing or even any attempt to find out whether they were really suitable people to let into our country, or whether they were actually a danger to our country and our people! Some Syrian child refugees were then let in. It was then straightaway pointed out that some of them didn’t even look anything like children!


The serious objection was also raised at the time that they might turn out to be Jihadis. Now, lo and behold, one so-called “Syrian child refugee” turns out to be the Jihadi who attempted mass murder in his failed plot to fully explode the bomb on the Underground which partly went off at Parsons Green Tube Station.


Surely nothing could expose the sheer irresponsible wrong-headedness of all those, including of course the BBC, ITV and Sky, that campaigned for an "open doors" policy on Syrian refugees, let alone the various politicians and miscellaneous so-called celebrities who said that they would take some into their own homes (but actually of course haven’t taken any in themselves at all!).


It seems that many of our country’s leaders have no care either for our country or for the safety of our people. Instead they care only for their multi-culturalist pipe-dream. Any one of sense could tell them that their dream is bound to smash on the harsh rocks of the reality that there are many people whose ideas, culture and tribal blood feuds not only don’t enrich us but actually positively endanger us. 




The fact that the British political system seems incapable of being sensible about such an important issue is yet another marker of how just broken that system is. We need a root and branch reform which replaces the multi-nationalist British State with a proper modern democratic Nation State!

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Interview about how devolution is developing in the UK



Interview about how devolution is developing in the UK


For all those who are interested in the future of the UK there was an important interview on BBC Sunday Politics for Wales on 17th September 2017 with the RT Hon David Jones MP. Mr Jones is the Conservative MP for Clwyd West and is a former Secretary of State for Wales and a former Brexit Minister. The interview was interviewing about the way devolution is developing in the UK:-

I think it would be a good exercise for anyone interested in UK politics to listen to this and to say who in the British Government or in the devolved Governments is standing up for England? 


Here is a video of that interview:- https://youtu.be/fgO8dpPNHGM

And here is a full transcript of the interview:-

BBC Inteviewer:-

“During his role as Brexit Minister (David Jones) worked with the Welsh Government. Now Carwyn Jones is unhappy that when powers over devolved areas like agriculture return from Brussels they will initially stay in Westminster rather than pass straight to Cardiff Bay.”

David Jones:-

“Devolution was established after Britain became a member of the European Community and then the European Union, so all the powers that were devolved to the Welsh Assembly and the Welsh Assembly Government were in the context of that European membership. Now we have to replace, for example, the common agriculture policy which is currently exercised at an EU level with something else which I would suggest in the interest of Wales as much as every other part of the UK should be under a UK-wide framework and that is not simply me saying that, that is what in fact the Farming Unions themselves are saying. They acknowledge that we do need a UK-wide framework for devolution.”

BBC Interviewer:-

“But isn’t there a problem there that there was a referendum in 2011. You were in the Wales office at the time which asked the Welsh people who should be responsible for those laws in the devolved areas quite explicitly saying without needing the UK Parliament’s permission and the Welsh people said yes it should be the Assembly. You could argue that you are going against that now.”

David Jones:-

“Well you could argue that but I think it would be wrong because of course that pre-dates the EU Referendum which of course changed the rules of the game completely I think.”

BBC Interviewer:-

“But it is still a devolved field isn’t it? Agriculture for example is still a devolved area?”

David Jones:-

“It is a devolved area and in fact none of the powers that are currently being exercised at the Welsh level will be taken away and indeed the Government has said that probably more powers will pass down and I think that rather again being a dog in the manger it would be really useful if Carwyn Jones would sit down and try to agree with the UK Government where those powers should be divided and where the competencies should lie. That is grown up politics and he actually knows that at the end of the day that is what going to happen anyway.”

BBC Interviewer:-

“You were saying for example on an agricultural framework for the UK that that should be decided at a UK level because otherwise there could be a race to the bottom. You were saying. Why would that happen?”

David Jones:-

“Well because for example in Scotland you might have a different framework developing that would be in Welsh terms unfairly favourable towards Scottish farmers. You have got to remember that the United Kingdom although it is a large economy it is a fairly small geographical area and distortions in the various parts of the UK can have a disproportionate effect upon other parts of the UK. Thankfully we are not proposing anything that doesn’t reflect the current status quo. In other words certain competencies are exercised as a UK level or as a EU level and others are exercised at a local level and the Government has said once the holding pattern has finished it is very probable that the Welsh Government will have more competence but we have got to work out where the correct division of powers lie.”

BBC Interviewer:-

“But no sensible government within the UK, none of the sensible Governments of the UK would want any sort of trade war within the United Kingdom because that is a nobodies interest”

David Jones:-

“I think we have to recognise that the various Governments within the UK are all of a completely different political complexity!”

BBC Interviewer:-

But they want what’s best for each individual country.

David Jones:-

That is exactly the point. For each individual country but not necessarily what is best for the UK as a whole.
 


So what do you make of that? Who in the British Political Establishment is standing up for English interests?

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

THE NATIONS ARE REVOLTING! (AND WANT INDEPENDENCE!)



THE NATIONS ARE REVOLTING! (AND WANT INDEPENDENCE!)


Many of us have now seen the results of the dramatic intervention of the Spanish Prime Minister who ordered the heavily armed Guardia Civil to storm the Catalonian Government Buildings and to arrest ringleaders of the Catalonian Government, who were saying they intended to go ahead with an Independence referendum for Catalonia (since they have been repeatedly democratically elected to hold one!). 



 The Spanish Prime Minster and the State system are claiming that holding an Independence Referendum is illegal, which of course merely goes to show that the Spanish constitution itself is undemocratic.


Memories of the Guardia Civil’s actions when Barcelona was captured by Franco's Spanish Fascists are regularly reawakened by the discovery of more pits of the remains of executed Republicans and Catalonian nationalists.


Now there has been a violent police attempt to suppress the referendum with injuries to about 900 people. Just as telling has been the anti-nationalist and authoritarian statist reaction of the EU which is supporting the Spanish State in suppressing the democratic nationalism of the Catalans.


Meanwhile in the Middle East a further consequence of the Iraq war is played out with the Kurds holding a referendum on independence from Iraq.


The Kurds were one of the victims of the post First World War settlement in the Middle East, since a just settlement would have given them their own Nation State since they were and remain self-evidently a Nation. Since that time they have suffered horribly from being divided partly into the post 1919 countries of Iraq, partly into Iran, partly into Syria and partly into Turkey.


Any nationalist who believes that the natural state of a nation is to rule itself must wish both the Kurds and the Catalonians well in their struggle to become free and independent Nation States.


Here is an article drawn to my attention by a patriot:-

>>> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/world/kurdistan-independence-referendum/hopes-for-a-new-kurdistan/


Our patriotic supporter rightly asks me:-

“Why is independence wonderful for Kurdistan, a country in excess of 74,000 square miles, but England is too big at just over 50,000 square miles?”



And so now what was that about England and the English Nation? What about our own Nation State?

Monday, 2 October 2017

“THERE IS NONE SO BLIND AS THOSE WHO WILL NOT SEE!”


“THERE IS NONE SO BLIND AS THOSE WHO WILL NOT SEE!”


The Bible is not only, of course, the holy scripture of Christianity for Christians and the Old Testament for Jews, but it also contains a huge number of deep insights into human nature and the recurring themes of the strengths and weaknesses in our nature, as well as much history. The quotation in my title “there is none so blind as those who will not see” has its roots in the Bible, Book of Jeremiah, chapter 5, verse 21 “Hear now this, oh foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears and hear not.”


The actual formulation that I have used in the heading appears in Jonathan Swift’s “Polite Conversation”. It has the same common-sense connotations about the difficulties of getting people to do or think things that they stubbornly and wilfully refuse to do, as the old English proverb “you can take a horse to water but you cannot make it drink”.


This article arises as a result of a conversation that I recently had with a teenager, who, like most teenagers in our country, has been subjected to a programme of politically correct “socialisation”, an important purpose of which is social engineering (Aka the National Curriculum!).


I always think it is worth bearing in mind when considering compulsory primary and secondary education that the first State to introduce it was the most militaristic of all historic European states, which was Prussia. The Prussian State introduced compulsory primary and secondary education for all boys to socialise them and to prepare them mentally and physically to become soldiers in the Prussian Army. In short compulsory education is much about a modern state’s socialisation agenda as it is at all about preparing children with the skills needed for work.


In England in many ways the education system has following the introduction of the “National Curriculum” become less effective in preparing children for work while it has become more effective at socialising children in the modern British States’ agenda of multi-culturalism and diversity.


Coming back to my conversation with the teenager, I had the temerity to ask about the background of somebody that the teenager was talking about and, in particular, what country his family had come from.


For all who have asked such a similar question, I am sure you can guess the kind of “stream of consciousness” response that I got!


But I persisted and pointed out that you cannot understand another human-being or sensibly begin to try to understand them unless you take into account politically incorrect questions about their culture, religion and hereditary. We are all, as human-beings, framed by these factors. 



 I would say to try to do so would be a bit like trying to sort out a dietary plan for someone without taking any account of the fact that the person in question is an orthodox Jew! 


In fact, our individual character, particularly when young, operates mostly within these frameworks, rather than being something that is completely separate.


I later had another conversation with a teacher who was saying that what is taught in a multi-ethnic modern school in England is to ignore all such framework questions as culture and religion and hereditary and to be “free from all such prejudices”. My response was to point out that it is itself a sort of prejudice to wilfully close your eyes to the most important parts of any human-beings character. I went on that “political correctness” was not a “freedom” or something that frees people up from things, but on the contrary it is a programme for the encouragement of wilful blindness.


All of which brings me neatly back to my proverb “there are none so blind as those who will not see” which I note in Wiktionary is translated as “understanding cannot be forced on someone who chooses to be ignorant”.




How true, I would reply, especially when that choice is guided by “political correctness”. Also how contrary that type of thinking is to traditional English Further Education which tried to lead young people out of their framework thinking and to encourage them to have “open and enquiring minds”.




To an alarming extent that ideal has now been replaced with all the political correctness and safe spaces of the UK's multi-culturalist diversity agenda!


Saturday, 23 September 2017

WHY IS THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA MANIPULATING WHAT IT TELLS US ABOUT ISLAMIST TERROR ATTACKS?


WHY IS THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA MANIPULATING WHAT IT TELLS US ABOUT ISLAMIST TERROR ATTACKS?



On Friday the 15th September there was another Islamist terror attack in England on London’s Underground. The home-made bomb partially went off at Parsons Green Tube Station.


When it was first being reported very shortly after it had happened, there were various pictures and clips which had been filmed on people’s mobile phones put up onto the internet in which you could see what was happening, including the above picture of the bomb.


The initial reports were of people who were in the carriage and who heard it go off who said that it wasn’t a bang, it was a sort of “whoomp”. There was a smell, smoke and some flames. People were desperate to get off the tube train and there was a wild panic to get off the station away from the train in which people were injured in the ensuing stampede.


At first the mainstream media were talking up the possibility that this attack could have been done by “Far-Right Extremists”. As their hopes of that faded there was an increasing unwillingness in the mainstream media, whether it be Sky, ITV or BBC, to report on what type of people were thought to be the perpetrators.


Even though it has since become clear that the people who have been arrested so far are young male Muslim “refugees” it is only recently that it has become crystal clear that the principle suspect is one of the Syrian child refugees that so much fuss was made about to bring them over to England. This was regardless of such and with no attempt to vet whether they were dangerous or not. Well now we know of course that at least some of them are going to prove to be dangerous Jihadists! So much for the effectiveness of our British authorities in showing any interest in looking after our own People!


One thing however that was striking on the day as reporting of the news story progressed on Friday was that, by the 6 o’clock BBC Radio 4 news, the BBC was reporting that the bomb had “exploded”, that there had been a “wall of flame” and that “29 people had been injured”, the obvious implication being, to anybody who didn’t know better, that the people were injured by the bomb, rather than as they actually were by the panic and stampede to escape from the station. The bomb of course did not “explode”. The videos at the time showed that there was not a “wall of flame”, at most the flames were a foot high and perhaps only six inches high.


What better example of fake news could you get than this distortion from the BBC?


The question that then arises is why would they do it? But then you have to think what Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has been saying in response to Islamist attacks in London. After the car ramming and knife attack on Westminster Bridge he said:-


"Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days - no reason to be alarmed. One of the things police and all of us need to do is make sure we're as safe as we possibly can be.


"I'm reassured that we are one of the safest global cities in the world, if not the safest global city in the world.


"But we always evolve and review ways to make sure we remain as safe as we possibly can."



After the van rammings and knife attacks on London Bridge and Borough Market he said:-

“Our city is filled with great sorrow and anger tonight but also great resolve and determination because our unity and love for one another will always be stronger than the hate of the extremists.


“This is our city. These are our values and this is our way of life. London will never be broken by terrorism we will step up the fight against extremism and we will defeat the terrorists.”



And:-


“I want to reassure all Londoners, and all our visitors, not to be alarmed. Our city remains one of the safest in the world.


“London is the greatest city in the world and we stand together in the face of those who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life.


“We always have and we always will. Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism.”



In stark contrast to these remarks however, after the attack on Muslims near the Finsbury mosque, he said:-


"The Met have deployed extra police to reassure communities, especially those observing Ramadan."


The moral of these quotations seems to be that, whilst Muslims must be protected whatever the cost to taxpayers, the rest of us must simply get used to being attacked by Islamists.


This agenda is confirmed by what he is reported to have said in New York:-

“Living with terror attacks - like the one that hit New York at the weekend - is 'part and parcel of living in a big city'.


'It is a reality I'm afraid that London, New York, other major cities around the world have got to be prepared for these sorts of things.


'That means being vigilant, having a police force that is in touch with communities, it means the security services being ready, but also it means exchanging ideas and best practice.”



In short what people like Sadiq Khan want to happen is that the general population accepts the story that these sorts of Jihadi terror attacks are now simply part and parcel of living in a big city, rather than what they obviously actually are, accordingly to common-sense: Which is the consequence of the British Establishment allowing unrestricted immigration by large numbers of unvetted Muslims, often from very troubled parts of the world, who too often bring their wars and their Jihadi mentality with them!


It should also be noted that when Islamists get involved in suicide bombing or other suicidal terrorist activity, their focus is currently being completely misunderstood by the authorities and, in particular being mis-reported by the mainstream media.


What we have to understand is that a Jihadist deciding to undertake such a mission is thinking of it not in terms of a “suicide mission”, but of a “martyrdom operation”. This explains why the London Bridge terrorists were wearing fake suicide vests. The point of doing so was to make sure that the police wouldn’t try to capture them and instead would shoot them dead!


It should be remembered that the point of a "martyrdom operation" is obviously to be martyred and is therefore done in reliance on the statements in the Koran and the Haddith that he who dies in Jihad will automatically go to Paradise and be rewarded by Allah with celestial virgins in a jewelled palace for eternity!


Jihadists truly believe that this is what will happen to them if they die in Jihad. So if their life has not been lived fully accordingly to Muslim law then they are a person who is more likely to feel that a "martyrdom operation" will get him to paradise, despite his sins, than if he had lived a blameless life.


It therefore makes no sense for commentators to talk about the fact that some pf those Jihadists who commit martyrdom operations have not lived strict Muslim lives!


We need to realise that the killing of unbelievers in a "martyrdom operation" is not the goal of the operation; it is merely the goalposts which enable the goal to be scored. That is getting into Paradise by being killed whilst on Jihad.


No wonder the mainstream media do not want people to understand what is going on because if they did then maybe the demand to end Muslim immigration would rise from its current opinion poll rating of about 47% to a pitch where almost everybody who was not a Muslim would be saying no to any further Muslim immigration!




Friday, 22 September 2017

"No defence for shrinking the military in times of terror"


"No defence for shrinking the military in times of terror"


Sometimes in all the fog of fake news and pointless or downright silly opinion pieces there shines through an article of real insight. Here is a really good example of one such.



It is sober reading for all who want to know the genuine geo-strategic situation of the UK.



It is only by understanding this kind of issue that we can get a real bearing on just how close to collapse the vainglorious post imperial British political system has now come to.


What do think?



Sunday Telegraph 17thSEPTEMBER 2017

General Lord Richards interviewed by Simon Heffer

"No defence for shrinking the military in times of terror"


In one of London’s grandest military clubs, its walls hung with portraits of moustachioed generals and field marshals evoking an age when Britain’s Armed Forces were perhaps the finest in the world, General Lord Richards and I discuss how well the country is defended today. Despite David Richards’s measured tones, it is an unsettling conversation.

He retired as Chief of the Defence Staff, a post he had held for three years, in 2013. Before that, he had been Chief of the General Staff. Lord Richards saw plenty of action. He did three tours of Northern Ireland and commanded the 4th Armoured Brigade in Germany in the 1990s. He served in East Timor and Sierra Leone, where his initiative prevented revolutionaries from overthrowing the capital, Freetown, in 2000.

He then commanded Nato’s rapid reaction force, and the international force in Afghanistan, before becoming Commander-in-Chief, Land Forces. He brought a high level of practical soldiering to the CDS’s job, and it still underpins his thinking.

I ask him whether the world has become more dangerous since he retired. “I think it’s at least as dangerous, and potentially more. I give advice on geostrategy to governments around the world, and if I were to look at Britain, I’d say it’s a particularly dangerous time for a country that’s steering an unknown course post-Brexit and has global pretensions.”

North Korea is one such danger. “I think Kim [Jong-un] has no intention of provoking a war,” he says. “He knows it would be the end of him. But my worry is that he miscalculates, and America is forced to intervene. And the result of a military intervention will, in the short term, be awful. There should be a diplomatic outcome in which Russia – or, more likely, China – is the major influence.”

And what could Britain do? “Very little. This is not something we could any longer become involved in. Even if the new aircraft carrier were up and running, why would we send it all the way over there to add a few planes to the American effort? This is not one for us.

"For Britain, with its Army of 78,000 and its Navy of 20 frigates and destroyers, to have the conceit to think it can fight a war in the Far East is almost laughable. Our practical role should be confined to Nato, Africa and the Middle East. We lost all other capability not in the recent cuts, but in the cuts of the early 1990s, at the end of the Cold War.”

A year after Lord Richards ceased being CDS, he compared Britain’s declining capability to that of a “banana republic”. Now he says: “I exaggerated for effect. We’re certainly not at the banana republic stage. But the runes are not good.

“The nation’s apparent ambitions are not going to be met without putting significant amounts of fresh money into defence. At a time when we are leaving the European Union and there’s much talk of being global, and with a navy that effectively cannot get out more than 12 to 14 destroyers and frigates, even if you look just at the maritime component of military power, things don’t look good. It hardly fits an image of a prosperous Britain with active, vibrant, sizeable Armed Forces that can influence other nations.”

Some of the decisions that cut the Forces were taken on Lord Richards’s watch. “I do feel guilty in that I was part of a process that led to very disappointing outcomes. In 2010, when I took over as CDS, the decisions on the Strategic Defence and Security Review had been taken. Even David Cameron said it hadn’t been very sensible to let another CDS be the major influence on this.

"I should have owned the process. The way I rationalised it was that that country was in a hell of a state. We agreed to a 7.8 per cent cut, but were given all sorts of promises that, come 2015, things would improve: and I think, to be fair to David Cameron, he meant to deliver.

“But there was another cut the following year, and in 2015, while there was in theory a one per cent increase in equipment, overall there was a cut. So the Army today is far smaller than I signed up to as CGS, which I think was 94,000. My successor agreed to a cut to 82,000, and it’s only 78,000 today.”

A plan to use reservists to bolster the numbers has failed. “I’m afraid it hasn’t been able to deliver and never will, because of real combat capability. However proficient they are, a part-time soldier cannot be as effective as someone who’s devoted his life to it and puts on a uniform every day.”

Despite Kim’s instability, he says that “extremism in all its forms, notably jihadism, is the biggest threat. I don’t buy the idea that Russia need be the big threat everyone says it could be. There are regimes – and North Korea is obviously one – that could be pitched into doing things they perhaps don’t intend to. One day you can find yourselves fighting a war you didn’t expect, and I suspect we are neither psychologically nor physically ready for that to happen.”

I press him about Russia. “I think we’ve mishandled Russia since the end of the Cold War. I think good diplomacy, of which military activity is a part, and clear red lines will enable us to have a good relationship. We share many things in common, not least a concern about extremism. Russia doesn’t need to become a threat. In any case, we’re all dependent on America for any effective response to Russian aggression.”

The Libyan intervention also happened under Lord Richards: he says it was prompted by Downing Street saying that “we cannot have a Srebenica on our watch”, referring to massacre of Muslims in Bosnia in 1995. “Bearing in mind we had no plan for what came next, I had the temerity to say: ‘This is an opportunity to pause and negotiate with Gaddaffi.’

"But it had become a regime change operation, and there was a view in Paris and London that we were on a roll and ought to finish the job off. Asking what the plan was then was an inconvenient question. You shouldn’t go to war unless you have a good plan that you are confident in for the day after.”

He adds: “Even in 2011, Britain and France could not run a war against a pretty minor dictator, because of the technicalities of a modern military operation. We needed Nato, because we needed America. That should have been another lesson.”

Nor was Libya the only problem “Back in 2012, I gave the Government a plan to deal with Assad. There was no interest in it. We did enough to keep the war going, but not enough to give our putative allies there a chance to win.

"I said if our Government were not prepared to do this then it would be best to let Assad win and win quickly, because otherwise we were fomenting all sorts of other problems further downstream – but that was politically unacceptable. So we let it drag on. Then Russia intervened and demonstrated the decisive use of the military instrument. And now we are tacitly supporting Assad, because the real enemy is Isis.”

He claims that, then, Islamic State "was not a huge military challenge. They could have been dealt with in weeks. Now there are five to 10 million Syrians displaced, their lives ruined, hundreds of thousands killed. Much of that could have been avoided by early decisive action. But we couldn’t contribute the sort of force we had in 1990-91, or in 2003.

“If our ambition is to be the second military power within Nato, and to be conspicuously proficient so that the Americans see us as their partner of choice, then having a navy of 19 ships, 12 or 13 of which might be available, but even some of those prevented from getting out of harbour because of financial constraints, then we are in a pretty sorry state.”

He feels his own service is struggling. “The Army, which has made a gallant effort to retain all its skills, can’t do so because it can’t re-train soldiers to the highest degree. The Challenger tank becomes obsolete in four years. The Warrior vehicles are 1970s designs. There’s a lot of gesture strategy – putting 200 or 300 people in somewhere. We’ve got 350-500 people in Afghanistan now, but there’s a debate about whether we should do more, as America now is.

"It’s a prime example of how our forces can fight extremism. If Afghanistan collapsed tomorrow, because we haven’t finished the job properly, we’d have to start all over again and sort it out. We couldn’t leave Afghanistan as a massive rogue state exporting extremism around the region and to us.”

He believes the Army is desperately short of soldiers. “I think mass matters hugely. That’s why the numbers of ships in the Royal Navy and the number of planes in the RAF are so important, too. A ship can only be in one place at a time: and an example of where we are caught short through and absence of ships has been the hurricane in the West Indies. It’s not just fighting wars, extremism or insurgencies in which you need mass.”

Mass, of course, costs money. “Our ambitions and the requirements of the various challenges we are confronting cannot be matched by the capabilities we have.” The new aircraft carriers, which he opposed, “are having a huge distorting effect on the rest of the defence budget. Now we have them we have to make them work. But you make them work at the expense of the rest of the Navy, of the RAF and of the Army.”

He says we may have to revert to being “a maritime nation with a good little Navy, with the Army put on the back burner and used only in very selective ways. If we go on as we are, we won’t even deliver on the government’s goals for defence.”

Although retired, he is constantly among soldiers of all ranks - and discerns that morale is “fragile”.

“At the moment there’s a consensus that joining the Forces, whether you’re heir to the throne or the son of a dustman, is a good thing. If the government breaks that consensus by not looking after the people in the Armed Forces properly, word will get out. It will affect potential recruits and those we wish to retain.

“These people aren’t idiots. They know the sums don’t stack up. Recruitment and retention are very difficult. I think there’s a question about the government’s commitment, notwithstanding the much-vaunted military covenant, to people rather than equipment.”

He is concerned that married quarters aren’t being properly maintained, and there’s no commitment to their provision in the long term. The Major government sold them to the private sector, and from 2021, the owners can charge a commercial rent.

“It all creates doubt and worry, and so people take the chance to leave when they might previously have continued a career with the Armed Forces.”

He hopes an element of defence spending might soon be included in our overseas aid contribution of 0.7 per cent of GDP, to pay for more “mass” – and he knows ministers, including Priti Patel, the Overseas Development Secretary, share his frustration that it isn’t already.

“I think the Government must conduct a campaign with those who write the rules, and if that doesn’t work unilaterally extract themselves from the process. To not be able to include the military contribution to overseas aid is ridiculous.”

But then, he concludes: “There is an absence of grand strategic thinking in Whitehall. Where is Britain trying to position herself in the world in 20 or 30 years time? And where is the plan to get us there?”

It sounds like a challenge to Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, who rarely allows the present CDS to speak in public on such matters, and only then when he has vetted the remarks. Grand strategy, like our first-world defence capability, seems already a thing of the past: and Lord Richards is unlikely to be alone in expressing the concerns that such a vacuum inevitably raises.

Here is a link to the original article >>> General Lord Richards: Why I'm certain North Korea won't start a war

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/general-lord-richards-certain-north-korea-wont-start-war/