Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Very British Coup?

I fully understand why Britain's intelligence and security services are upset at the possibility of Prime Minister Corbyn.

There are and would be, of course, means to express that concern which are legitimate within the rules of our constitution, and means which are not.

If there were any doubt in my mind that the concerns expressed really are coming from the intelligence services and the army, and not from, say, the Conservative party, it is the fact that Cameron, Osborne, and the people working from them would never have been politically unsophisticated enough to plant the following in today's Sunday Times:

"A serving general warned that there would be a direct challenge from the army and mass resignations if Corbyn became prime minister ..."

There would be mass resignations at all levels and you would face the very real prospect of an event which would effectively be a mutiny,” the general said. “Feelings are running very high within the armed forces. You would see a major break in convention with senior generals directly and publicly challenging Corbyn over vital important policy decisions such as Trident, pulling out of Nato and any plans to emasculate and shrink the size of the armed forces. The Army just wouldn’t stand for it. The general staff would not allow a prime minister to jeopardise the security of this country and I think people would use whatever means possible, fair or foul to prevent that. You can’t put a maverick in charge of a country’s security.

Straight out of "A very British coup" and entirely improper.

Resigning and then speaking out would, of course, be entirely within the rules, and I think it would happen. It is also entirely legitimate for retired senior officers to express their views and there would be a lot of that as well - the same article reported that Admiral Lord West, for example, who was a defence and security minister in the last Labour government, was expressing his concerns about what policies a Corbyn-led Labour party might follow.

But mutiny? Whatever means, possibly, fair or foul?

Whoever is behind this story needs to calm down. It's not as if there is a good chance of Corbyn winning the next election anyway - and there are far better ways to make his election less likely than for the armed forces to threaten mutiny. 

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