The 52% of the participating electorate that voted for Brexit wanted an independent Britain that decides its own future. They rejected the economic argument for our membership of the European Union and voted with their hearts instead of their heads. We have now left the EU and we are supposed to have 'got our country back', but how independent are we?
The UK has followed America in most major conflicts. When British forces fought in the Korean War, as part of the United Nations, we had little choice in the matter because we were heavily in debt to America.
The Suez crisis of 1956 was the last time that we went to war without American permission. We invaded Egypt together with France and Israel in response to Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser's nationalisation of the Suez Canal, whereupon, a furious President Dwight D Eisenhower threatened us with economic reprisals unless we withdrew our forces. Prime Minister Anthony Eden promptly obeyed the American diktat and then resigned on the grounds of ill health.
Prime Minister Harold Wilson, to his eternal credit, refused to send British forces to Vietnam. The warmongering Tories supported America and the discredited KGB defector Antoli Golitsyn accused Wilson of being a Soviet agent, but he stuck to his guns and kept us out of it.
The Falklands Conflict was different because America had no strategic interest in a war between Britain and Argentina. President Ronald Reagan, who enjoyed a special relationship with Margaret Thatcher, was reputed to be 'instinctively' supportive of Britain but he did not intervene.
Britain followed America in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. There were massive demonstrations all over the country, particularly against the Iraq War, but Prime Minister Tony Blair was determined to find 'weapons of mass destruction' that never existed.
NATO is the military arm of American foreign policy in Europe. That's not a problem when British and American interests coincide, but we should be able to pursue our own objectives. For instance, Britain has no quarrel with Belarus or Iran but we are imposing economic sanctions against them just to please America. Until we can agree a common foreign policy with our neighbours, that takes account of British interests, we should mind our own business.
Security - Mark Webb
They have a security guard inside the former Camberwell Police Station and two others outside 24 hours a day. The outside guys have guard dogs. As private security companies go they are pretty typical, they cover night clubs, commercial properties, and football matches. The managers are well trained and experienced, but the vast majority of the staff are not. Large private security companies are providing everything from CCTV operators to door supervisors. Massive profits are being made but standards are poor.
From the 1970s until the 2010s there was a prolonged gang war in cities like London and Manchester over drugs, protection rackets, and door security. Doormen were shot at on a regular basis as the gangs fought to control the pub and club security trade. Running the doors was the key to getting drugs into the club scene. This led to the 'door wars' of the 90s with gangs from Salford closing clubs with violence, and the 1995 Rettendon murders. I was working the door at the 'Hope' club in Ilford the night that fellow door staff were shot and killed around the corner at the Lighthouse'. One of the worst nights of my life. The girlfriend of one of the murdered guys upon hearing the news tried to commit suicide by eating broken glass.
Post that era there was better legislation and a huge government push to get people trained in security ahead of the 2012 Olympics. G4S failed to fulfil its security contract and the government had to draft in the army at the very last second to cover the shortfall. Post 2012 a wave of 'cheap as chips' security companies have been hiring basically anyone to cover retail, corporate and other security. What's missing is oversight on the training and hiring. Another factor was a wave of Eastern European guys doing door work in Liverpool, Leeds, London etc. Lots of Poles, Slovaks and guys from the Baltic States who, at the first sign of trouble on the doors, would be extremely violent in response. They were always looking for a fight, and they drove down wages. Club door staff were getting £300 plus a night; that halved and has stayed low ever since. Many security companies try hard but the big corporations want cheap labour, especially in retail where they are expected to deter criminals, prevent theft, look after the shopping baskets, pick up litter and do a dozen things that arent really anything to do with security. Hence the rise of facilities management companies.
Outsourcing everything to FMCs has seen them take over cleaning, plumbing, heating, security, immigration centers, youth detention, social housing, Covid testing centers, cars, homes, nursing etc. They also buy up other service providers to form a monopoly.
The better security staff are leaving the profession which is taken over by old men, boys, people who can barely speak English, burned out former cops and prison officers. If you want proper professional security it doesn't come cheap. Residents in Chelsea, Mayfair and Knighsbridge pay a premium for reputable security firms that patrol these exclusive neighbouhoods around the clock and keep the crime levels low. They are replacing the Police because community safety has become a commodity that's bought and sold.
America has pulled out of Afghanistan leaving $85 billion worth of military hardware behind them. According to Republican Jim Banks who served in Afghanistan as a military sales officer, this includes; 75,000 vehicles, over 200 aeroplanes and helicopters, over 600,000 small arms and light weapons. We dont know where these weapons might turn up. The Taliban have a history of working with terrorist groups throughout the world and their potential customers are well-funded by the Gulf States, who are supposed to be our allies.
This is a windfall for the victorious Taliban and for the Big Five defence contractors; Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing, and Northrop Grumnan. They are what President Dwight D Eisenhower famously called the 'Military Industrial Complex'. He was not a crank or a conspiracy theorists, he was a brilliant military organiser and a statesman who knew exactly what he was talking about.
America's tragic involvement with Afghanistan started back in the 80s when they backed the Mujahideen who were fighting the Soviet occupation. They became the Taliban who turned Afghanistan into a brutal dictatorship that sheltered Osama Bin Laden. In response to the 9/11 attacks America invaded the country to oust the Taliban and install a compliant but totally corrupt regime. Now, twenty years later, the Americans and their NATO allies have retreated. They eventaully killed Osama Bin Laden, who was dying of kidney failure, in neighbouring Pakistan but their attempt to impose democracy on a tribal society was a bloody and costly failure.
The Tories used to be careful with our money but Boris Johnson is spending it like a drunken sailor. Events have conspired to empty our coffers. Brexit saved us our contribution to the EU but the loss of trade and Regional Fund payments costs a lot more. Then came Covid 19, an unexpected and unprecedented drain on our resources. And now we face another refugee crisis, this time from Afghanistan.
The Tories are reluctant to increase income tax because voters might not like it, and they are unlikely to increase corporation tax because most of them are shareholders, or directors, of the companies that would be penalised.
They could make savings on public spending but vital services such as Health, Education, and Policing are already underfunded. Defence is often proposed for budget cuts but our spending is in line with our neighbours and subject to NATO requirements. We could save a few billion pounds by scrapping Trident but we must have nuclear weapons to keep our seat on the United Nations Security Council.
In the old days we used to sell papers on street corners or door to door. That was hard and occasionally dangerous work but now, thanks to the Internet, I can reach my readers with a click of a mouse.
If you have trouble logging on, go to Nation Revisited and scroll down to the link for European Outlook. Ignore the warning notice from Google; there's nothing offensive about these blogs.