UK: And so the 30-year betrayal of our Armed Forces goes on

“Even now, many people do not realise just what a disaster Tony Blair let us in for in Iraq when, after glorying in our invasion with 42,000 men, he then left the Army with only 9,000 soldiers to pacify the British sector of Iraq, where fanatical militias were running riot. As chillingly chronicled by my colleague Richard North in his book Ministry of Defeat, this led to one of the most humiliating defeats in the Army’s history, when our troops, having retreated from Basra, were contemptuously ordered to leave the country by the Iraqi prime minister.”

Workers leave BAE Systems at HMS Nelson, Portsmouth after hearing the defence giant is to axe 1,775 jobs across its naval ships business and end shipbuilding at one of the country’s most historic yards

The news that Royal Navy shipbuilding in England is to end after 600 years is only the latest chapter in the story of how, over the past 30 years, successive governments and a dysfunctional Ministry of Defence have progressively brought about the virtual destruction of our Armed Forces. Much more than is widely realised, however, there has also been a strong EU dimension to this sorry tale.

The last occasion when our services were still able to operate in full accord with their proud traditions was the retaking of the Falklands in 1982, only made possible in the nick of time thanks to an array of ships which our cost-conscious defence secretary, John Nott, already planned to scrap. His successor, Michael Heseltine, as a fervent Europhile keen to integrate our defence industry with Europe, set in train the process whereby our helicopter industry came to be owned by the Italians and landed us with the Eurofighter project, a hugely expensive aircraft initially designed to fight a Cold War that soon afterwards came to an end.


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