BilloTheWisp listens obediently to our gracious, good, benevolent and extremely well fed leaders. He wonders at the marvels they say they shall accomplish in order to win our humble votes and patronage.
But Billothewisp recalls an achievement from another age. The Prime Minister at that long ago time was the somewhat lack-lustre Harold Wilson. He was the PM who oversaw the country during the great winding down of Britain's technological prowess and wealth in the 1960’s. Famously, he was the one who devalued the pound by a mere 20 % (Gordon take note) and then told us the pound in our pocket was still worth the same. Quite reassuring at the time
But what of this accidental though great achievement of the Harold Wilson era?
Quite simply, in 1968 no British soldiers were killed in action, either fighting our wars, or other people's. It is the only time in the whole of the history of the British army that there has been a year with no such deaths. ( see wikipedia here )
So Billothewisp, being a nostalgic, though hairy voter, would be really interested in any political party that adopted a policy that would endevour to try and emulate the 1968 achievement of Harold Wilson.
This could well entail the government deciding that fighting other people's wars, especially when there is little or no thanks at the end (like Iraq), is primarily a bad idea. It would mean the great and good would not be able to large it about on the world stage offering our soldiers as a blood sacrifice in order to get approval and applause from the other great, good and extremely well fed of the world.
The policy may also regrettably cost some money.
Particularly, the following activities are not compatible with repeating Harold Wilsons 1968 achievement.
1. Sending our airman to war in antique aircraft that spontaneously explode.
2. Arming our infantry with rifles that jam.
3. Saving a few quid by buying economy sub standard East European ammunition
4. Encouraging community amongst our soldiers by getting them to share body armour.
5. Sending soldiers out on patrol in vehicles designed in the 1950’s
6. Being economical and penny-pinching on buying and using helicopters.
It is highly likely that after the next election, the provision of decent equipment for our armed forces will be seriously curtailed and the current defence budget will be cut even below the historically low level of less than 2.5% GDP.
There does not appear to be any wish by any political party to reduce commitments.
So it seems likely that in order to maintain the applause and approval from the other great, good, powerful and extremely well fed, our leaders will continue to commit British soldiers to fighting othe peoples wars. Inevitably they will still be armed with vintage or economy kit.
It looks like Harold Wilsons achievement from the 1960’s will not be repeated anytime soon.