“There is something wrong with our ships” said Admiral Beatty as the line of battle-cruisers succumbed and sank at the Battle of Jutland. Perhaps, not the most encouraging remark to make in the heat of battle. Similarly, under some degree of pressure, last week, Admiral Lord West , a former First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, has been critical of the Tories being so obsessed with their leadership contest that important responsibilities in the Gulf have been neglected. It is not that something is wrong with our ships but that we simply don’t have enough ships any more. In any event one rather expects plain speaking from military men-from politicians you expect a more nuanced approach.
The fear of our national decline was revealed this morning when Iain Duncan Smith had a fascinating slip of the tongue revealing so much about his general mind-set, and I think of the general fears of Brexiteers when he described in an interview with Andrew Marr how he thinks we are seen in Europe. “They see us as a third world country” he stumbled and tried to cover up this remark. However, these words indicate a deep sense of shame and inferiority which is being felt by members of “the ruling class” so-called. Indeed, this kind of feeling lies behind the bravado which is the stock in trade of Farage and his acolytes-and indeed his financial supporters like the egregious Aaron Banks.
Most importantly, our obligations to Third World Countries are not just neglected -the Government encouragement of the Arms Trade has had disastrous consequences.