United we stand
The retiring cabinet secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell has caused a bit of a stir by asking whether the United Kingdom will remain united in the years ahead. He no doubt has his reasons for posing this question, or maybe he's just firing off an aside as he reaches for his pipe and slippers to draw attention to the fact he's about to slip into obscurity. Personally, I have no doubt the UK will survive and be even stronger in the years ahead. The challenge now is to see off the EU and the mournful incantations of people like Nick Clegg. We need the Prime Minister to rise to the occasion and, like Churchill, lead us into greener pastures, which are there for the taking if only we'd shake off the yoke and push on into the light. The optimists, the enthusiasts and those with steel in their spines will see off these siren voices and keep our country united, prosperous and British.
Posted on 22 December 2011 by Richard Drax
The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards, rightly warns us in yesterday's Telegraph of the danger of an economic collapse in the eurozone. Personally, I suspect this will happen and that civil disorder will grow as a direct consequence, at least in the short term. We have seen it already. Our military chiefs are looking at various scenarios and no doubt working out how to deal with them. However, I'd like to point out that our armed forces are both at their most stretched and being radically reduced. I have said frequently on my blog site that to cut our forces now is seriously flawed. I appreciate money is tight, but we're splashing out billions of pounds in overseas aid, money which should be used to retain the defence of our country and dependents. History has repeatedly shown that politicians denude our defences at their peril and I wish I could share General Richards' optimism that our armed forces will have to "combine realism with imagination". Neither of these two things will influence a potential enemy and, weakened as we are, I do worry just what we will do if another test comes our way.
Posted on 16 December 2011 by Richard Drax
Where do I begin? Perhaps I should start by praising many of my colleagues, not least Bill Cash, for standing up for our country against an increasingly undemocratic and bureaucratic EU for so long. These so-called eurosceptics - and I count myself as one - have stood by their principles come rain and shine. Common sense has won through in the end, and in the nick of time. What's more, this Tory message has given the Prime Minister heart for the inevitable fight. He has taken the first step back from the brink and now he has to take more. Unfortunately, the city is still at risk from EU legislation because we remain members and I suspect it won't be long before we are facing punitive moves from France and Germany. There is no doubt in my mind that the eurozone will collapse, and with it, finally, this federalist nightmare that has plagued Europe for so many years now. Common sense has, at last, returned to our shores, and now rather than dig in and prepare for the onslaught - if I may use a military metaphor - we must leap to the challenge and once more start to look to the huge trading blocks in places like China, Africa, Australia, India and of course America. Yes, we must trade with Europe, too, but on free terms, unburdened by rules and regulations dreamt up by unelected officials in plush offices in Brussels. I would predict that as our star begins to shine in the years ahead, other EU members will follow suit. The irony is that the europhiles, cult-like in their blind passion for the EU, are still saying that closer integration will prevent another war. There is more than sufficient evidence, not least the civil unrest in Greece, Italy and Spain, to point to the fact that the closer we pursue federalism, the more likely war is.
Posted on 11 December 2011 by Richard Drax
The Chancellor is hemmed in on all sides and I don't envy his job one bit: noone does. The state of our economy is dire and we are paying a heavy price for Labour's complete irresponsibility over its 13 years in office. Their spend, spend, spend mentality continues on the Front Benches today and there appears to be no shame about the predicament they have left this generation and the next in. I have no doubt that other factors are of course playing a role, not least the disastrous eurozone, but our country is in a precarious position to counter unprecedented times. I believe that radical conservatism is the optimum solution to stop this slide into the abyss. A massive reduction in taxation - not least fuel duty - red tape, bureaucracy, employment law, EU meddling, just to name a few, is the way forward. Tinkering at the edges will not make a significant difference, neither will raising unemployment benefits in line with inflation. This is hardly an incentive to encourage people to seek work. And while we are all struggling in this economic maelstrom, maintaining our huge overseas aid budget is totally inappropriate, especially at a time we are slicing into our precious armed services and South Dorset's search and rescue helicopter! Charity should and must start at home and, accompanied by some radical conservative thinking, I believe we could re-ignite our economy and place this country on the road to recovery.
Posted on 1 December 2011 by Richard Drax