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British PM Boris Johnson and Now Liz Truss resigns

It's a good thing Tristan has a stand-alone service and is a tad outside the boundaries of Lancashire. The article about the lone copper was from 2010. According to this article he was still there in 2015 but managed to snag a secondment from Gibraltar.

And people think Cold Lake and Goose Bay are the ends of the earth.
This is a bit of a gift, the police look impartial, the PM humbly accepts his mistake and pays the fine, people in corrupt countries are in awe the the PM is held to the same standard as the typical Brit. The PM can use this as a showcase of responsibility and how the UK is a country you can count on to uphold the law. The party better give him some slack, as they need stability so they don't look like complete idiots.

I don't know. Boris got done for a piece of cake out of season.....
The Very British Coup continues

You always get these tensions but the backdrop is there has been a radical period in British politics and these are not peaceful times.”

“Simon is one of the few people remaining in No 10 from the Boris days and there are people who just want to clear out the Boris world from No 10.
“At the moment it’s just, ‘get Boris and get anyone around him.’ It’s almost that he is seen as a traitor by some people – ‘how could he work for and help Boris?’”
Mr Case also served under Liz Truss, and was blamed by some colleagues for failing to prevent Kwasi Kwarteng from sacking Sir Tom Scholar as permanent secretary to the Treasury during his brief stint as chancellor. Old scores are, it appears, there to be settled.

“There is a sense from some people that there is a right way of doing things and there is a certain set of things you have to do to get the top job, and there are people who are maybe 10 years older than him who think it should have been them in that role.
“But the idea that he is too young or too ambitious or he has somehow perverted the normal course of things by taking the route he did, is just nonsense.”

BoJo upset the applecart - and for that the Blob defenestrated him.

Simon Case is being scapegoated by anti-Boris coalition, sources claim​

The Cabinet Secretary is falling prey to an ‘orchestrated’ campaign alleged to be driven by split loyalties within Government itself

ByGordon Rayner, ASSOCIATE EDITOR3 February 2023 • 8:30pm

Simon Case

Simon Case is currently being linked to three separate controversies involving Boris Johnson, Nadhim Zahawi and Dominic Raab
If certain voices in Westminster are to be believed, Rishi Sunak could sweep away all of his current difficulties with a single swing of the axe: by sacking Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary.
In recent days various news outlets have suggested that the Prime Minister can reset his premiership by getting rid of his most senior adviser, as if Mr Case was to blame for everything from small boats to the cost of living crisis.
Mr Case, 44, has found himself at the centre of an “orchestrated” campaign to oust him, and it tells us plenty about the current state of politics that so much heat is currently being directed towards an unelected official, rather than the ministers who are failing to inspire the electorate.

At 44, Mr Case is the youngest person to have held the role of Cabinet Secretary CREDIT: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Mr Case is hardly a household name (he jokes to colleagues that fellow parents have no idea who he is at the school gates) and, at face value, it might seem that a civil servant battling to keep their job is of little interest to anyone who doesn’t work in SW1.
For the Conservative Party’s chances of re-election next year, it certainly does matter, because it speaks to a dysfunctionality at the heart of Government, and seasoned observers say it is this, rather than Mr Case himself, that Mr Sunak must eradicate if he is to have any hope of success.
Deflection, jealousy, backstabbing and score-settling are all at play in this murky saga that could yet end Mr Case’s time in Downing Street after three years and as many prime ministers.
His detractors say he has played a part in one too many scandals, and portray him as personally culpable in the Nadhim Zahawi vetting failure, Boris Johnson’s unconventional home loan, partygate and even wallpaper-gate. On Friday, yet more pressure was piled on Mr Case with a claim that he had been told about bullying claims against Dominic Raab last summer, the implication being that he failed to do anything about it.
Supporters of Mr Case, of whom there are plenty, argue that he is becoming a convenient scapegoat for all the Prime Minister’s ills. Moreover, they believe ambitious rivals have sensed an opportunity to unseat him and are aggressively briefing against him in the hope of creating a vacancy at the top of the civil service. Add to that a suspicion that MPs and officials alike are engaged in a purge of anyone involved in the Boris Johnson regime, and the breadth of the attack on Mr Case becomes clear.

Rishi Sunak is now the third Prime Minister to have worked with Simon Case (right) CREDIT: Simon Walker/No 10 Downing Street
Alex Thomas, who worked in Downing Street as principal private secretary to the late Jeremy Heywood, cabinet secretary to David Cameron and Theresa May, believes that Mr Case is the victim of a “phoney war” because it is the job of the Cabinet Office’s Propriety and Ethics Team (PET) to scrutinise ministerial appointments, not Mr Case himself.
He said: “It’s on the Prime Minister to make these appointments and they can ask for advice but in the end it comes down to the Prime Minister’s judgement.
“There isn’t a Cabinet Office investigation team standing ready to go into someone’s personal finances or anything else they have to declare.”
There are three principal accusations aimed at Mr Case. Firstly, that he either knew or should have known that Mr Zahawi was under investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) at the time Boris Johnson made him chancellor, but failed to raise the alarm. Secondly, that a formal complaint about Mr Raab’s alleged bullying was passed to him last year but he failed to act. And thirdly, that he failed to raise conflict of interest concerns about Mr Johnson entering into a loan guarantee agreement with Sam Blyth, a Canadian businessman, who had been introduced to the then prime minister by Richard Sharp, the man later chosen to be BBC chairman (Mr Case did, in fact, advise Mr Johnson to stop speaking to Mr Sharp about “personal financial matters”, a leaked memo has shown).
The home loan guarantee was arranged in 2020, while the events surrounding Mr Zahawi and Mr Raab took place last year. The fact that all of them are now being dredged up at the same time is no coincidence, according to those sympathetic to Mr Case.
“It does feel very orchestrated and that’s what bothers me,” says Lord Udny-Lister, who as Sir Eddie Lister worked alongside Mr Case as Mr Johnson’s Downing Street chief of staff.
“The suggestion that Simon Case should have gone to HMRC over the Nadhim Zahawi case is rubbish.
“It’s the job of the PET to vet people and check into their past. When there is a Cabinet reshuffle there will always be a PET person who does an interview straight after the new minister has been in to see the prime minister. A lot of it is based on trust because reshuffles are done in the space of 24 hours.”
Lord Udny-Lister describes Mr Case as “highly competent” and “the right person for the job”.
Having joined the civil service in 2006, moving to Downing Street as a private secretary to David Cameron and Theresa May, he left Whitehall to work as private secretary to Prince William in 2018, but in August 2020 he was back in Number 10 as Boris Johnson’s Cabinet Secretary, the youngest person to hold the post.
Mr Johnson and Dominic Cummings, his chief adviser, picked Mr Case because he believed in civil service reform (and still does), which made him unpopular with some civil service colleagues. There are also those who thought they deserved the job more.

Simon Case was appointed to the role of Cabinet Secretary during the Johnson administration CREDIT: Oli Scarff/Reuters
One former civil servant recalls: “When he was brought in, relationships had completely broken down, it was utterly dysfunctional, partly because of Cummings. There was a lack of clarity about who and how decisions were being made, and Simon had to restore trust and calm things down.
“Simon ran towards a fire rather than backed away. I truly believe he wasn’t seeking the Cabinet Secretary role but accepted it as a public service.
“There is a sense from some people that there is a right way of doing things and there is a certain set of things you have to do to get the top job, and there are people who are maybe 10 years older than him who think it should have been them in that role.
“But the idea that he is too young or too ambitious or he has somehow perverted the normal course of things by taking the route he did, is just nonsense.”
It will not have escaped Mr Case’s attention that the latest story about him claimed that he was told about Mr Raab’s behaviour by Antonia Romeo, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice. Ms Romeo, 48, is one of those whose names has in the past been linked to the most senior civil service roles in Downing Street and the Treasury, though there is no suggestion she is behind any of the briefings.
Others blame a separate faction for Mr Case’s current plight. One former minister in the Johnson government, who worked closely with Mr Case, said: “Simon is one of the few people remaining in No 10 from the Boris days and there are people who just want to clear out the Boris world from No 10.
“At the moment it’s just, ‘get Boris and get anyone around him.’ It’s almost that he is seen as a traitor by some people – ‘how could he work for and help Boris?’”
Mr Case also served under Liz Truss, and was blamed by some colleagues for failing to prevent Kwasi Kwarteng from sacking Sir Tom Scholar as permanent secretary to the Treasury during his brief stint as chancellor. Old scores are, it appears, there to be settled.
Separately, some MPs who are ultra-loyal to Mr Sunak may believe they are doing him a favour by trying to lay the blame for each new controversy at the door of Mr Case. Mr Thomas referred to it as “distraction activity”.
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Like all Cabinet Secretaries, Mr Case stands on the fault line where politics and officialdom meet, meaning there are inevitable conflicts in his role. He has two whiteboards in his office, one for the priorities of Government, and the other for civil service reform, and allies say he is passionate about both.
On Friday, Mr Case spent the day visiting the UK Space Agency at Harwell in Oxfordshire, on the sort of fact-finding mission that he conducts below the radar most weeks.
He was there as an envoy-cum-troubleshooter for the Prime Minister, one of the many facets of his sprawling role.
As well as being head of the civil service, making him the boss of 500,000 people, he is the Prime Minister’s chief adviser, and the man tasked with making sure government policy is being implemented by Whitehall departments.
After 100 days in power, Mr Sunak is not where he wants to be. His net approval rating of minus 18 is one of the worst in modern times, and current polling shows the Tories would retain just 67 seats if an election took place under present voter intention. The Bank of England this week predicted a recession lasting into 2024, and the war in Ukraine grinds on with no end in sight.
Mr Sunak appears to believe that none of these problems will be solved by sacking Mr Case, and those close to Mr Case say he has no intention of resigning.
A Downing Street spokesman said the Prime Minister had “full confidence” in Mr Case, and one Whitehall source said: “There is no evidence of Simon being edged out. The relationship between the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Secretary is just not a subject of discussion or debate. He is very much aligned with what the Prime Minister is trying to achieve. You always get these tensions but the backdrop is there has been a radical period in British politics and these are not peaceful times.”


The momentum of the Blob.​

Liz Truss exclusive: ‘I assumed upon entering Downing Street my mandate would be respected. How wrong I was’​

In her first intervention since she quit, former PM writes for The Telegraph about how she was brought down - and the lessons she learnt

ByLiz Truss4 February 2023 • 9:22pm

Liz Truss says: 'While I regret that I wasn’t able to implement my full programme, I am still optimistic for the future'

Liz Truss says: 'While I regret that I wasn’t able to implement my full programme, I am still optimistic for the future' CREDIT: Geoff Pugh for The Telegraph
One year ago this week, I went to Moscow as foreign secretary to warn my Russian counterpart of the grave consequences that would result from any invasion of Ukraine. Had anyone told me then that, 12 months later, I would be a backbench MP following a 49-day term as prime minister, I would not have believed it.
Since my departure from Downing Street just over 100 days ago, I’ve spent many hours reflecting on what happened during my time there, what went wrong and what I might have done differently. This soul-searching has not been easy.
Now I want to set out, from my perspective, what happened and what I have learned.
When Boris Johnson announced his resignation as prime minister on Thursday, July 7, I was in Bali attending a G20 foreign ministers’ meeting and I watched his speech live in my hotel room. It struck me as crazy to be deposing a leader who had secured an 80-seat Commons majority for the Conservative Party less than three years ago.
I had always assumed that Boris would fight the next general election in 2024. Standing for the leadership myself was a faraway prospect and, as a result, I didn’t have any kind of infrastructure in place for the contest on which the starting gun had just been fired.
All I had in that hotel room, nearly 8,000 miles from Westminster, was a series of messages urging me to return to London – including one from a fellow foreign minister that simply read: “Get back home woman and start hustling.”
That’s what I felt compelled to do.
Yet the mere act of replacing Boris as prime minister was never going to provide a quick and easy fix to the big issues facing the country. I feared the consequences of high energy prices, high taxes and a slowing global economy without bold action. What we really needed was a change in policy direction and mindset in order to kick-start a return to sustainable economic growth.

Ms Truss thought it was 'crazy to be deposing a leader who had secured an 80-seat Commons majority' CREDIT: Simon Dawson/No 10 Downing Street
As it was, the Government’s economic policy platform included raising National Insurance (imposing the so-called Health and Social Care Levy) and increasing corporation tax to the same level as France – positions which I had vigorously challenged around the Cabinet table. Meanwhile, I sensed increasing resistance within the Government to the essential proposals to diverge from EU rules.
I didn’t see anyone bidding for the leadership who would argue for a fundamentally new economic approach. So no matter how uncertain the outcome and how tough the prospect of leading a fractious party at a difficult time – and my husband warned me that it would be awful – I could not duck the challenge. I knew that if I didn’t step up, I would regret it.
As I started piecing together my nascent leadership campaign, I was struck – not for the last time – with a sense that there was a vast amount to do and very little time in which to do it.
By the time I arrived home on the Friday night, aides and supporters had already got things going and, over the next 48 hours, we stood up the campaign, shot a video and I was ready formally to announce my candidacy.
The leadership campaign turned out to be as brutal as my husband had feared. I was called everything from immoral to insane – and that was just some of the “friendly fire” I encountered.
But despite that, my message of a return to Conservative economics, to stop apologising for our beliefs and to be positive and optimistic about our country’s future resonated with our members and voters, particularly those outside London in the parts of the country where we had recently won former Labour seats in the Red Wall.
My party agreed that we needed to stop drifting in the direction of a higher-tax, higher-spend economy being choked by ever more regulation, which was causing sluggish growth, low productivity and a dampening of enterprise and innovation. My plan to get Britain back on the right trajectory was popular.
So it was that I won the leadership election with a clear mandate from my party in the country and, by the close of the ballot, the backing of the majority of MPs declaring a preference. I entered 10 Downing Street determined to deliver the bold action I had promised, with the economy and energy as my key priorities at the top of the in-tray.
Instinctively, I was determined to act with maximum speed. I knew this risked mistakes being made, but the normal pace of the Whitehall machine would be nowhere near sufficient to tackle the immediate emergencies we were facing, let alone to attempt to get the British economy onto a path to growth with barely two years left until the next election.

The former PM was 'determined to act with maximum speed' on entering No 10 CREDIT: Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street
As a matter of urgency, I dealt with the issue of energy bills, which were projected to rise as high as an annual £6,000 for British families as a consequence of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Designing a targeted scheme was impossible given the urgency of the situation, so it had to be universal. Families and businesses would not be able to cope for much longer without assistance. I was also working on ways of mitigating the costs, in particular by signing up to longer-term energy supply agreements as well as through enabling more North Sea production, fracking and renewable energy. We urgently needed to move away from the short-termist approach that had left the UK dependent on global energy prices and vulnerable to the actions of a hostile state with strategic energy interests.
The benefits to the economy of the package were clear: it was set to reduce peak inflation by five per cent and contribute to our primary economic objective of boosting trend growth to 2.5 per cent. It’s no exaggeration to say that there are firms which remain in business today only because of the action we took. This intervention prevented a major economic crisis. The markets welcomed my intervention, reducing the sky-high levels of uncertainty and anxiety.
Without the energy package, we would have seen businesses going bust over the winter and countless households plunged into poverty, unable to cope with the stratospheric rise in bills they would otherwise have faced.
Hours after I unveiled the energy package, the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was announced. It was an immense honour to lead the nation in mourning our monarch of more than 70 years, whose life of service stretched beyond most of our living memories.

Ms Truss meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral Castle when she was invited to become prime minister CREDIT: Jane Barlow/Getty Images
Politics as usual was of course put on hold during the period of national mourning that followed. But because of the expected size of the energy package (albeit dwarfed by the money spent on Covid-19 pandemic measures), it was going to be necessary for us to make a fiscal statement very soon.
The date of what inevitably became known as the mini-Budget was set for Sept 23. In hindsight, perhaps we could have delayed it for a few days. However, much longer than that would have meant not sticking to our commitments.
There were concerns in some quarters that the announcement would not be accompanied by forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). However, the OBR’s core purpose is to produce twice-yearly forecasts on whether the Government is on track to meet its fiscal targets. Commissioning a report at that juncture would not have been appropriate, given that the forecast would have been unable to take into consideration the future spending decisions we planned to outline in the Medium Term Fiscal Plan a few weeks later.
It’s also worth recalling that no OBR forecast has accompanied many other fiscal announcements, not least the Covid-19 furlough scheme, which cost £70 billion.
As I had spelled out during the leadership campaign, I wanted to go for growth by reversing the proposed rises to corporation tax and National Insurance and implementing a programme of economic reform in order to prevent recession and stagnation and put the UK on a positive path.
But this was not in line with the instinctive views of the Treasury or the wider orthodox economic ecosystem.
I saw first-hand during my two years as chief secretary to the Treasury that pessimism and scepticism about the growth potential of the British economy are sadly endemic at the Treasury: serious planning reform was dismissed as not politically deliverable; discussing monetary policy was a taboo; deregulation of financial services and other industries was viewed as undermining the prospects of a deal with the EU; and Brexit was seen as a damage-limitation exercise rather than a once-in-a-generation opportunity.
Instead, the focus from the Treasury was on micro, top-down tinkering such as productivity initiatives trying to encourage firms to become more efficient, along with government intervention.
Our Plan for Growth was a conscious break from this orthodoxy – focused instead on stimulating competition and economic freedom with incentives from the ground up. The plan comprised the energy package, reversing the tax rises, some additional tax simplification measures, and a package of economic reforms to help grow the economy and build long-term gains in its growth potential.
These supply-side reforms included the creation of investment zones where planning rules would be liberalised and taxes reduced to attract inward investment; a package of reforms to make childcare more affordable for working parents; fast-tracked infrastructure projects; deregulation of financial services; and the removal of unnecessary legacy EU laws from our statute books.
We agreed not to reopen the settlement of the most recent spending review, which would only have led to more demands for spending. Instead, we would look at specific measures that would bring down costs over time, such as raising the pension age and reforms to the benefits system. By increasing growth while restraining public spending, we would then get debt falling in the medium term.
The bulk of the fiscal cost of what we unveiled was the energy package. Reversing the tax rises was the other major cost according to the Treasury and OBR – although I disagree with this analysis. In particular for corporation tax, I strongly believed – and still believe – that raising the rate is counterproductive, hurting investment in the UK and people’s wages, all of which is taxable.
Moreover, global economic uncertainty and changes to US rules meant that it was the worst possible moment for the UK to break from a decades-long commitment to competitive taxes on business, particularly at a time of rising interest rates, making investment inherently more expensive for business.
Following the announcement on Sept 23, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research came out and forecast that our energy support guarantee, coupled with the tax cuts announced, would lead to positive GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2022, shortening the recession and raising annual GDP growth to around two per cent over 2023-24.
There were positive reactions from many quarters. Kitty Ussher, a Treasury minister in Gordon Brown’s government and now chief economist at the Institute of Directors, declared it “a good news day for British business”, adding that “in a time of low confidence and economic uncertainty, the new chancellor’s emphasis on going for growth will be very welcome to firms of all sizes across the UK”.
Tony Danker, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), hailed it as “a turning point for our economy” and “day one of a new UK growth approach”, recognising that “a simpler, smarter approach to tax can pay dividends”.
There were some concerns about the abolition of the 45p tax rate, a small measure and virtually the only one I had not trailed during the leadership campaign. We were simply returning to the top rate that was in place for the vast majority of the 1997-2010 Labour government, although clearly the political sands had shifted.
Nonetheless, as the chancellor and I travelled to Kent to visit a factory that afternoon, we were positive that we had done the right thing for the country and felt optimistic about the future.

Kwasi Kwarteng delivering his mini-Budget on Sept 23 CREDIT: Jessica Taylor/House of Commons
However, brewing in the background there was an issue relating to pension funds, which neither of us had been made aware of – a problem that would ultimately bring my premiership to an abrupt and premature end because of the panic it induced.
At no point during any of the preparations for the mini-Budget had any concerns about liability-driven investments (LDIs) and the risk they posed to bond markets been mentioned at all to me, the chancellor or any of our teams by officials at the Treasury. But then, late on the Sunday night, came the jitters from the Asian markets as they opened. I was alerted to this on the Monday morning, at which point the Bank of England governor was wanting to make a statement on LDIs.
Readers will not be surprised that, given their impact on events, since leaving office I have spent some time looking into LDIs. I was shocked by what I discovered.
In the early 2000s, pension funds were heavily underfunded. To increase their returns, they used LDIs – which use bond derivatives – freeing up cash for the pension funds to invest in other assets. This works when markets are calm but becomes problematic when the price of government bonds falls within a short timeframe. As LDIs entered the financial mainstream, with The Pensions Regulator seemingly encouraging their uptake, warnings started to be issued on the risks they could pose to financial markets – all unbeknownst to me at the time.
Astonishingly, it turns out that the value of total assets in LDI strategies is equivalent to around 60 per cent of the UK’s GDP.
The day before the mini-Budget, the Bank of England raised interest rates by 0.5 per cent, whereas the US Federal Reserve had just announced a third successive rate rise of 0.75 per cent. In addition, the Bank simultaneously confirmed plans for a bond-selling programme. Bond prices fell sharply, putting pension funds under pressure.
Dramatic movements in the bond market had already begun, meaning the mini-Budget faced a very difficult environment. Only now can I appreciate what a delicate tinderbox we were dealing with in respect of the LDIs.
It rapidly became a market stability issue and we had to act to stabilise the situation. While the Government was focused on investigating what had happened and taking action to remedy the situation, political and media commentators cast an immediate verdict blaming the mini-Budget. Regrettably, the Government became a useful scapegoat for problems that had been brewing over a number of months. Interest rates had been rising internationally and mortgage costs had been forecast to go up for some time.
I fully admit that our communication could have been better. As I said during the leadership campaign, I am not the slickest communicator. In addition, we did not have a system that was enthusiastic about communicating messages contrary to its orthodoxy and, so early in my premiership, I had not established the infrastructure inside No 10 to best explain all that we were doing.
In hindsight, maybe I should not have headed to New York after the late Queen’s funeral to attend the UN General Assembly and instead supervised the final preparation of our announcements more closely.
Knowing what I know now, undoubtedly I would have handled things differently. I underestimated the extent to which the market was on edge and, like many others, was not aware of how fragile our system had become.
But, frankly, we were also pushing water uphill. Large parts of the media and the wider public sphere had become unfamiliar with key arguments about tax and economic policy and over time sentiment had shifted Left-wards. This is partly because we Conservatives had failed to make these arguments enough since 2010 – instead triangulating with Labour policy. It was also clear that, internal disagreements within my own party aside, there was a broader consensus in favour of raising taxes.
I understand why the OBR was set up – to keep government forecasts honest, which is important. However, the unintended consequence of the Treasury losing its ability to develop policies alongside in-house forecasts has been effectively to make the OBR a driver of fiscal policy.
The process operates at arms-length, based on models which rely on a wide range of assumptions, including on the delivery of policies. In my view, this static modelling tends to undervalue the benefits of low taxes and supply-side reforms for economic growth, and overvalue the benefits of public spending. This inevitably puts pressure on a higher-tax and higher-spend outcome – hence the inexorable tax rises we are now seeing.
In the medium term, I believed my policies would have increased growth and therefore reduced debt.
Five-year forecasts are treated as accurate predictions and therefore filling the “gap” becomes the imperative of government policy. This leads to policies being adjusted to fit those forecasts, only for those forecasts to be revised with each new iteration of the figures, forcing further policy change down the line.
As a result, the Government is forced to make economically detrimental decisions, such as raising corporation tax, based on uncertain forecasts that may not come to fruition. For example, in September the energy package was set to cost £60 billion and by November it was forecast to be £43 billion, yet the latest projections are considerably lower.
This high-spend, high-tax policy view does not just prevail in the UK. We were also swimming against the international tide. There was a concerted effort by international actors to challenge our Plan for Growth. The IMF commented on distributional aspects rather than market stability which it is hard to conclude was anything but politically motivated.
Then there was the intervention from President Biden, who publicly voiced his disagreement with our economic policy, stating: “I wasn’t the only one that thought it was a mistake.”
These interventions were, sadly, in tune with growing efforts on the world stage to limit competition between G7 economies, as evidenced by the proposed global minimum tax rates.
Facing the headwinds we did, I could not allow the markets – backed by this economic consensus – to keep betting against the UK. Before long, I was given the starkest of warnings by senior officials that further market turmoil could leave the UK unable to fund its own debt. This is why I reluctantly concluded I had no option but to remove the chancellor and change the policy.
I was deeply disturbed by having to do this. Kwasi Kwarteng had put together a brave package that was genuinely transformative – he is an original thinker and a great advocate for Conservative ideas. But at this point, it was clear that the policy agenda could not survive and my priority had to be avoiding a serious meltdown for the UK. I still believe that seeking to deliver the original policy prescription on which I had fought the leadership election was the right thing to do, but the forces against it were too great.

Ms Truss says she was 'deeply disturbed' to have to remove Mr Kwarteng from his post as chancellor CREDIT: Stefan Rousseau/PA
I am very pleased that elements of it did survive – the reversal of the National Insurance rise and the cuts to stamp duty – and those measures have eased the burden a little on hard-working families and those buying their own home. But it was obviously going to be difficult to remain as prime minister after abandoning the thrust of the platform on which I had been elected, and it was already clear that elements of the parliamentary party were not prepared to allow me to stay.
I am not claiming to be blameless in what happened, but fundamentally I was not given a realistic chance to enact my policies by a very powerful economic establishment, coupled with a lack of political support.
I assumed upon entering Downing Street that my mandate would be respected and accepted. How wrong I was. While I anticipated resistance to my programme from the system, I underestimated the extent of it.
Similarly, I underestimated the resistance inside the Conservative parliamentary party to move to a lower-tax, less-regulated economy. The furore over the reduction of the top rate of income tax was testament to this. In the overall package of measures, it was – in fiscal terms – little more than a rounding error, equivalent to 0.2 per cent of government spending. Even though the measure was economically sound, I underestimated the political backlash I would face, which focused almost entirely on the “optics”.
I knew when I proceeded swiftly with my economic growth policy that there was a risk to my position. It would have been easier not to act.
But I believed that the biggest risk for the country would have been to do nothing. For me, the status quo was not an option.
I wanted to become prime minister to change things, not to manage decline or to preside over our country sliding into stagnation. I had made that clear during the leadership election, and believe that is why party members voted for me. And although there are many ways in which the policy could have been better communicated or tweaked to make it more acceptable, I struggle to see how that would have changed the fundamentals of what happened.

Ms Truss giving her farewell speech outside 10 Downing Street on Oct 25 2022 CREDIT: Frank Augstein
We have ended up in a situation as a country where fiscal policy is in a straitjacket. Moreover, there is a worrying economic consensus – both at a national and, increasingly, international level – that is preventing economic dynamism and growth.
Median incomes here in the UK are now well below those in the US, Switzerland or Norway and the average in developed countries. If we are to succeed in putting our country on a path to high growth, rising wages and becoming internationally more competitive, things need to change.
We have not done enough over the past decade to make the arguments for a lower-tax, more deregulated economy, which meant that the groundwork had not been laid for what I sought to do.
If we are unable to persuade the wider electorate that ever-higher taxes, an ever-more restrictive regulatory regime and historically high levels of state spending are the key underlying causes of poor economic performance, they are not going to be sympathetic to the sort of policy approach that I advocate.
If the general consensus is that Covid-19, Brexit and the Russian invasion of Ukraine are the only factors that have influenced our economy, then departure from the status quo is not politically feasible. More needs to be done to provide basic analysis of the root causes of our economic woes.
And while I saw the power of “the blob of vested interests” within many a Whitehall department during my more than 10 years in ministerial office, I seriously underestimated the strength of the economic orthodoxy and its influence on the market.
There’s no question that the experience of last autumn was bruising for me personally, but it taught me a lot and I will expand upon the lessons I have learnt in the coming weeks and months.
I have lost track of how many people have written to me or approached me since leaving Downing Street to say that they believe my diagnosis of the problems causing our country’s economic lethargy was correct and that they shared my enthusiasm for the solutions I was proposing.
While I regret that I wasn’t able to implement my full programme, I am still optimistic for the future, with the United Kingdom now able to steer its own course as a free nation. By being bold and entrepreneurial and giving people and businesses the freedom they need to succeed, I believe we can turn things around. There is hope for the future.

I think my feelings are well enough known not to require comment.

Brexit helped to save Ukraine from Vladimir Putin​

Ignore Guy Verhofstadt. In the face of EU vacillation, a sovereign UK gave Kyiv what it needed to drive Russia back
GWYTHIAN PRINS4 February 2023 • 9:00pm

A destroyed Russian tank

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Almost a year ago, the first echelons of Putin’s tank armies spearheaded pincer strikes on Ukraine. The plan was to join up with Russian airborne forces which would land at Hostomel airport, then storm into Kyiv, find and kill Zelensky, install a Putin-compliant puppet government and be home within the month. Instead, Ukrainian soldiers, using fresh, large supplies of British N-LAW anti-tank weapons, blew Putin’s tanks off the roads, shouting “God Save the Queen” as they fired them. The elite Russian airborne landings were a slaughter.
A year on, the first drafts of the history of the start of Putin’s war are being written; and of course they are heavily contested between Putin’s version and that of the free world. But they are also contested among Ukraine’s supporters. Right on cue, Michael Heseltine proclaims Brexit a disaster and Guy Verhofstadt blames Brexit for this war. The facts say the opposite.
With Ukrainians’ courage and Zelensky’s Churchillian leadership, Ukraine was saved from defeat by Day Six of the war by two men and one country. It was good fortune that Ben Wallace was himself a former combat-decorated Scots Guards captain with a hard-charging reputation. If they were to have a fighting chance, the Defence Secretary did not require advisers to tell him what the Ukrainians needed.
Double fortune for Ukraine was that Wallace’s PM was the most charismatic, if mercurial, politician of his generation and also a man with a deep and exotic hinterland outside politics. Wallace explained to Boris Johnson that what the Ukrainians required in the first instance were immediate supplies of man-portable “fire and forget” anti-tank weapons. Johnson gave his minister full backing to ride over the reservations of the securocrats who, left to their own devices and in the face of German opposition, with Macron’s grand-standing solo diplomacy at its back, would not have made the transfers at scale, at pace or at all.
As I explain in my new paper for the Centre for Brexit Policy, the UK exercised decisive sovereign will in this initial emergency sustainment. It simply could not have done so had it still been hamstrung by the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy. During those critical days when Biden was vacillating, Germany was actively obstructive and France was freelancing, the EU institutions were passive verging on catatonic. Therefore, the UK’s leadership of the increasingly robust response to Putin stands as one of the biggest gains of Brexit. The UK resumed its place on the world stage. By November, the UK had spent more on military assistance to Kyiv than all the EU institutions combined.
However, our residual problem is the infantilisation of the ruling London elite which, for 40 years, has reflexively taken its lead from across the Channel. This finally must end. The history of 2022 shows that nimble voluntary associations of independent states, such as Nato, led by key sovereign states, are better equipped to deal with tyrants like Putin than slow-moving supranational bodies such as the EU. Lessons from past conflicts insist that appeasement of bullying states never works; and those histories urge the West to double down now in its support of Ukraine and to resist calls for premature ceasefires and negotiations.
There would be great risks in a “bankers’ dash-board audit” – just as the chiefs of staff were obliged to push back against the Treasury in 1932-35. “Half-hearted efforts to make peace ... companioned by half-hearted attempts to make war” – Churchill’s phrase – would chart the most dangerous course for everyone.

Gwythian Prins is emeritus research professor at the LSE and a fellow of the Centre for Brexit Policy


I concur with every word.

Companies are getting fat and monopolistic; regulation is welcomed.
last week the IMF said British recovery would be limited by its tax rises. And that, you silly people, was Truss’s entire point.

Regulation keeps innovation and competition at bay.

Liz Truss is right – she lasted just 49 days because undemocratic forces prevailed​

In the face of a vast monolith of opposition, tax-cutting became not just hard but inconceivable
TIM STANLEY6 February 2023 • 6:00am
Tim Stanley

Sometimes, to get a sense of perspective on current events, I’ll pretend to write a history essay about them. Put yourself 30 years into the future and answer this question: “Why did Liz Truss only last 49 days?”
The standard answer is that reactionary Tory members elected her to impose a Right-wing philosophy that the country didn’t want and that didn’t work. Policies intended to unleash the markets threw them into a blind panic, forcing the grown-ups to step in and restore fiscal order. Truss definitively proved that you can’t buck social democracy – even the bankers want it! – and yet she had the nerve to pen a 4,000 word essay for The Sunday Telegraph in which she failed to display “a shred of regret or remorse” (to quote the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg).
A neat theory; it just doesn’t fit the facts. For a start, Truss was not elected on a far-Right prospectus. Rishi Sunak was unpopular with the members because he raised National Insurance – a tax on workers opposed by Truss, Labour and those notorious libertarians at the TUC.

Once in No 10, the largest part of her economic rescue package turned out not to be tax cuts but an energy price freeze that some feared could cost as much as £150 billion. As for the infamous fiscal statement, I did think the 45p cut was a big mistake (when it comes to economics, I’m wetter than Willie Whitelaw wrapped in wet wipes), but it only amounted to 0.2 per cent of government spending and returned us to the highest rate employed under Tony Blair. The mini-Budget wasn’t materially radical but signalled a new direction, and the economic analysis behind it was compelling.
Again, imagine it’s 30 years hence. Kent is under water; Sam Smith has come out as a man; globalisation has given way to protection, and, as China, India and Brazil dominate, Western nations bleed their diminishing tax-bases dry to bankroll the welfare state. In this context, Brexit could look mad. Why on earth did we make things harder by putting ourselves outside of the EU tariff wall?
Unless, of course, we had done what Truss wanted to do and laid the groundwork for a dynamic, free-trade economy: light regulation, light tax, high-tech. The fiscal statement was meant to indicate to future innovators and investors that, while the rest of the West will tax them to death, Britain will welcome their business (steal it, even).
What went wrong? Well, Truss does acknowledge that she was a terrible communicator who “perhaps” tried to do too much too soon. She was also unlucky.
Theresa May nearly lost an election and bungled Brexit, yet the Tories stuck with her for three years. In 2023, by contrast, we got through three PMs in one year. That’s because our economy and society were upended by a pandemic that stoked demands for more government while injecting wild anxiety into our political culture.
The death of Queen Elizabeth II further destabilised things (the new PM lost critical weeks of media time), and when Truss finally found space to unveil her supply-side programme, she discovered that pension funds were dangerously over-exposed to fluctuations in the bond market, forcing her into an about-turn that proved terminal.
A contrarian history student might argue that the market turmoil which destroyed the Truss administration actually proved its point about the need for structural reform. The world was weaning itself off cheap money. The rise in interest rates caused such a shock because they’d been artificially suppressed for too long. And the fact that so many capitalists were critical of supply-side reform, as they were Brexit, spoke to how all-encompassing the social democratic consensus had become.
Companies are getting fat and monopolistic; regulation is welcomed. Businesses voluntarily waste money on diversity and inclusion. Markets have been so distorted by years of state policy, and the corporatist politics that flows from it, that many market players no longer operate the way one would expect – to the detriment of the consumer. The same goes for universities that no longer teach, police who don’t nab criminals or conservative parties that don’t conserve wealth and freedom.
Truss is a civilisational libertarian. Implicit in her agenda is a critique of a culture that has lost sight of design and purpose.
She says she faced a vast monolith of opposition that made tax-cutting not just hard but inconceivable – a consensus baked into the system via the BBC, Civil Service groupthink and institutions such as the Office for Budget Responsibility (created by a Tory), which sets parameters for what a chancellor should or shouldn’t do. All of this is undemocratic. It undid Truss, but someday, if we got a Labour leader who was a genuine socialist, it could destroy a Left-wing agenda, too. And whatever you think of Truss’s philosophy, she did at least have some democratic mandate via the party vote. Sunak, who was airdropped in to replace her, has absolutely none at all.
We are now governed by the Treasury under the watchful eye of international institutions that apparently believe G7 countries must no longer compete but retire into genteel poverty. I note in the conclusion to this essay that last week the IMF said British recovery would be limited by its tax rises. And that, you silly people, was Truss’s entire point.
Free market champion destroyed by.. the free market.

Maybe she was just feckless? You can't fire your senior eonomist, ignore their advice and then be surprised when your lunatic plan doesn't work and the risks they warned you about came through.

The mini budget cost them $50B GBP in real money to stop the pound from spiralling down. 🤷‍♂️
Progress is achieved through political tribes and vested interests openly pushing against one another, one nanometer at the time, until a mutually tolerated power equilibrium is established. Fairness is achieved only when all groups receive a fair hearing.

a freer press guarantees a messy public conversation but also that both political and economic challenges are aired more rigorously.

Democratic vigour is nothing less than the key reason it has for a long time been a big win in the lottery of life to be born in the world’s most traditionally democratic countries — countries like the UK, the US, the Nordic Countries, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Ultimately the collective brain power of democratic nations is much superior to societies in which democracy has not been eroded. This is why the history of real grassroots democracy is also strongly correlated with innovation and entrepreneurship, more push-back against cartels and political vanity projects, a freer press as well as governments more responsive to public concerns than in countries dominated by the top-down mindset.

Meanwhile the Tory Civil War continues apace -

The only intelligent thing for people who disagree with an entrenched institution in power is to take over the institution.

The Tory party is Britain's most successful party.
The Progressive Conservative Party was Alberta's most successful party. Alison Redford moved left and lost her following.
The Liberal Party of Canada is Canada's most successful party. Laurier, St-Laurent and Trudeau Sr - trimmed and tacked but kept their following.


'Fascist' slur against Lee Anderson unmasks the real Tory civil war says DAVID MADDOX​

Since Boris Johnson was deposed there has been an inaccurate view that the civil war raging in the Conservative Party is between those who want him back at all costs and those who would die in a ditch to stop that happening.​

18:01, Sun, Feb 12, 2023 | UPDATED: 22:33, Sun, Feb 12, 2023

The truth is that there is a vicious struggle, but it runs much deeper than loyalty to an individual or somebody’s personal ambitions.
The appointment of Lee Anderson as deputy chairman has finally lifted a lid on what is going on with a series of crude briefings against him by Tory wets, particularly ministers.

This was summed up by an appalling slur on him and those politically and personally close to him carried in the choice destination of Tory liberals, the largely anti-conservative (with a small c) Times.

This weekend we had this gem in the Times Red Box from Patrick Maguire about Anderson: “Until [his] unexpected elevation this week [Anderson] had found a happy home among a group of midlands backbenchers, mostly elected in 2019, which some ministers have taken to calling ‘the thugs’ or ‘fascist corner’ on account of their outspoken style and unashamed authoritarianism on questions of law, order and borders.”

For those based in Westminster it does not require Sherlock Holmesian skills in investigation to know who is being referred to.

Four names of 2019 Midland MPs immediately spring to mind, ones which Express readers will know well and largely see as close to their world view.

Along with Lee Anderson we have his close friend Marco Longhi, the MP for Dudley North; then the two former teachers Brendan Clarke-Smith, MP for Bassetlaw; and Jonathan Gullis, MP for Stoke North.

All four are no-nonsense red blooded, patriotic, Brexiteer conservatives who want Britain to take back control of our borders and restore a semblance of law and order on our streets, and believe in hard work over benefits.

It is fair to say that they are on the protecting statues and not messing about with gender identification side of the culture wars and are not exactly thrilled by the net zero agenda.

They question why a foreign court based in Strasbourg (the European Court of Human Rights) can block laws made by democratically elected politicians in Britain.

And, as we found out this week, there is some support for capital punishment for the people responsible for the most heinous crimes.
They were also – perhaps not by coincidence – supporters of Boris Johnson if not all of his policies.

As one senior MP dryly noted to me, the “fascist corner” is particularly offensive to Mr Longhi who, as his name suggests, has strong Italian heritage and family.

The MP added: "Let’s be clear, Marco reveres the memory and represents the values of Churchill not Mussolini."
But these lazy insults, widely used by the Left, go along with “far right” and all the other demonising terms used now to dismiss anybody with actual conservative values rather than hold a serious debate.

What it does underline though is that after 18 years of having a candidate selection policy which largely blocked real conservatives from standing for traditionally safe Conservative seats, the party has a significant number of MPs who hold conservative values in disdain.
This is the real struggle going on in the party – it is between real conservatives and liberals.

But this pocket of Midlands 2019ers are certainly not the only ones to be targeted with this sort of slur.

There have been dreadful things said about Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Miriam Cates, known for her social conservatism and standing up for women’s safe spaces.

Or Natalie Elphicke, the Dover MP who has been on the front line against the small boats.

Or Tom Hunt, the Ipswich MP and former special advisor, who has battled on migration and the culture wars.

There are quite a few more.

The same ministers who targeted Lee Anderson are the ones who were also briefing against Home Secretary Suella Braverman, arguably the only member of the Cabinet to stand up for conservative principles unashamedly.

The reaction to the comments in the Times from MPs on the right was more of a sad resignation to where the party has gone.
One told me: “Sad to read and even sadder colleagues would buy into a leftwing narrative. I doubt these 'Ministers' have ever actually sat with any of us properly to listen to why we are concerned.”

Jonathan Gullis has spoken out against the ECHR (Image: GETTY)

Another noted: “I am downhearted. Not for how I know I'm labelled. But because of where we are and the reality of it all.”

Significantly, the MP added: “If we are truthful about it all, would it be different with others in charge? It does boil down to what you say. Too many MPs who say they are Conservative but aren't.”

Even if we look at this week’s polling for Express.co.uk by Techne UK, it looks like those making the cases made by the so-called “thugs” are on the side of the public or at the very least Conservative voters.

Most of them support low tax and backed Liz Truss’s vision of cutting them which 62 percent of 2019 Conservative voters supported according to the poll.

Meanwhile, 47 percent are in favour of a bigger army (which includes 58 percent of Conservatives) compared to 35 percent against.

Previous polls have shown public support for getting on with Brexit freedoms and controlling our borders against the small boats.

There is something that links Anderson and all these other MPs who are the subject of such spiteful briefings and it is that all those named above have been members of the Common Sense Group set up by former minister Sir John Hayes.

The group had the aim of providing a platform to fight the culture wars and tackle the problems of both illegal and legal immigration.
In fact, there are around 50 MPs in the group and some peers.

Ms Braverman, as Home Secretary is not a member, but is extremely close to Sir John as a problem with a misdirected email rather underlined.
They have had a remarkable amount of influence on policy and it has unnerved people on the liberal wet wing of the party.

Just recently it was the Common Sense Group which stiffened the government resolve in not capitulating to attempts by the Lords to water down the Higher Education Freedom of Speech Bill.

Ms Cates and Ms Elphicke were on the bill committee for the Online Harms Bill and helped ensure that was not watered down as well.
Sir John noted: “It is curious that some of the dim-witted and faint hearted have yet to realise that in a post global, post liberal age what we need is more conservatism not less.”

Mr Sunak’s decision to take a tough stance on the small boats and illegal immigration pushing for immediate deportations has been helped by the support he has received from the Common Sensers.

And, in fairness, Mr Sunak’s decision to appoint Mr Anderson was a sign that he understood that conservative side of the party needed a voice and a face in a senior campaigning role.

That may have also been born out of a desire to protect his own position with many on the right looking at possibly supporting a Boris Johnson return.

But Mr Anderson told Express.co.uk that he had been impressed by Sunak’s stance on a range of issues and had changed his mind about him having previously been “anybody but Rishi”.

It feels though that Mr Sunak is attempting to keep a lid on tensions which are threatening to boil over.

Perhaps the only question is whether the bloodletting which is to come will be before or after an election defeat.

So why am I inundating you with all this "inside the party" stuff from the UK?

1 It interests me

2 I think it has a bearing on the UK's foreign policy and its relations with Ukraine, Brexit, the EU, the US, the Five Eyes, the Commonwealth, Japan, Australia, the G7, the Indo-Pacific..... in short it matters

3 I believe the same battles are being fought in many countries and in particular within ABCANZUS ... and I believe they matter ... at least as much as shooting down weather balloons over Georgian Bay.
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Meanwhile the Tory Civil War continues apace -

The only intelligent thing for people who disagree with an entrenched institution in power is to take over the institution.

The Tory party is Britain's most successful party.
The Progressive Conservative Party was Alberta's most successful party. Alison Redford moved left and lost her following.
The Liberal Party of Canada is Canada's most successful party. Laurier, St-Laurent and Trudeau Sr - trimmed and tacked but kept their following.

So why am I inundating you with all this "inside the party" stuff from the UK?

1 It interests me

2 I think it has a bearing on the UK's foreign policy and its relations with Ukraine, Brexit, the EU, the US, the Five Eyes, the Commonwealth, Japan, Australia, the G7, the Indo-Pacific..... in short it matters

3 I believe the same battles are being fought in many countries and in particular within ABCANZUS ... and I believe they matter ... at least as much as shooting down weather balloons over Georgian Bay.
Internal battles in various camps was a feature of the British Empire, well displayed with the policy tug of war between the pro-Arab and pro-Zionist over the fate of the Middle East and the Palestinian Mandate.
Brexit and Northern Ireland are still an issue. The Europhile Crowd are playing to Berlin and Paris and arguing against Boris and Liz.....

Rishi Sunak has his problems in selling a Protocol deal to the DUP and his own backbenchers.

But the European Commission also has to square an agreement with EU capitals, which took a very dim view of British threats to renege on a treaty only signed in 2019.

Paris and Berlin have demanded a strong European response if the bill is approved by the House of Commons, let alone used.


The world is moving on.

Macron and Scholz are losing favour and taking Paris, Berlin and the EU with them.

Rishi is playing more to the Johnson/Truss side of the house now.

Labour is talking up NATO and JEF and ditching Corbyn

Poland is explicitly reaching out to the UK

Ben Wallace wants an extra 10 BUKP for defence and magically the Chancellor has found a spare 11 BUKP because energy prices aren't as bad as expected. Peculiarly Trussonomics are coming into vogue with politicians, bankers and business calling for taxes to be cut to promote growth.

Macron in trouble.

Macron knows he’s finished. He might just choose to resign​

The French president faces a three-and-a-half-year lame-duck long goodbye, or a flamboyant game of Russian roulette
ANNE-ELISABETH MOUTET20 February 2023 • 7:53pm

It’s the rumour that’s been doing the rounds in Paris for almost three months. Emmanuel Macron has been finding the lack of a majority in the National Assembly frustrating: it’s a climbdown from his first term, when the party of the self-minted “Jupiter” enjoyed a 35-seat majority. The president is said to be toying with the idea of calling an early presidential election.
It’s not that Macron believes he could win easily: this has become increasingly unlikely given the response to his botched pensions reform. The idea is that, like General de Gaulle in 1969, he would prefer to resign grandly rather than endure a “cohabitation” with an opposition prime minister, as François Mitterrand did in 1986-88 with Jacques Chirac, and Chirac himself had to between 1997 and 2002 with the Socialist Lionel Jospin.
According to the theory, Macron would walk away, leaving a successor (probably Marine Le Pen) to deal with a country polarised, overtaxed, smothered in debt, its infrastructure, school system and health service threadbare, incapable of slowing down unwanted immigration or to assimilate her newest citizens as her German neighbour does. Untouched by self-doubt, the president believes no one can do better than him in the next five years: aged only 50, he could then run again in 2028, his absence cancelling the constitutional limit of two consecutive terms.

Needless to say, the rumour has been denied: for one thing, the optimistic interpretation of constitutional law it rests on would need to be validated by France’s Conseil constitutionnel. For another, it assumes the country would be clamouring for more Macron after a Le Pen term. Some accounts say the president is sure of success; others point out that should a president Le Pen not do well, he would be chiefly remembered as the man who gave her the keys to the Élysée; and should she actually pull a Giorgia Meloni, she would in all likelihood be re-elected.
But against these dire readings of the runes is Macron’s existential ennui. From many accounts, he is no longer interested in domestic affairs. Last year, as he was running again, his dream was to make his mark on international affairs. Hence his visits to Vladimir Putin, and his grandiose plans for Europe, which he first laid out in a Fidel Castro-length speech at the Sorbonne in September 2017.
It set out three directions for the EU: namely establishing European economic, political and military sovereignty – in which he saw France as the prime mover. His dreams ranged large: various Élysée courtiers mentioned his hope of a Nobel Peace Prize; at other times there seemed to be an interest in the presidency of the EU; as for Europe’s military independence, Macron declared Nato brain dead.
As it turns out, Macron’s plan to create, top-down, “European tech unicorns” with fat, bureaucrat-adjudicated subsidies died in the same way as the still non-existent French Covid vaccine; EU political unity has been revived by the war in Ukraine, where leadership has come from northern, central and eastern Europe, not France; and Nato woke up from its alleged coma as the one defence body capable of punching its weight in a real war situation.
The question remains whether the Dreamer of the Élysée still wants to throw the electoral dice. His poll numbers are bad. Never elected to any other office in his life, he doesn’t have the parliamentary clout to force useful alliances. His choices are now a three-and-a-half-year lame-duck long goodbye, or a flamboyant game of Russian roulette. He probably has the stomach for neither.

Scholz in trouble

Airbus blames Germany for delaying exports of Eurofighter jets​

Defence giant unable to scale up production despite Nato push

ByChris Price and Howard Mustoe20 February 2023 • 4:16pm

Zelensky has called for more military might, such as Eurofighter Typhoon jets, from Europe CREDIT: REUTERS/Johanna Geron
Plans to ramp up production of Eurofighter jets have been held back by German foot-dragging on defence spending, the chief of Airbus has said.
The company has been unable to scale up production of the jets despite a push by Nato to pick up the pace as the Russian war in Ukraine approaches its first anniversary.
Airbus Defence and Space chief executive Michael Schoellhorn said Berlin's restrictive stance on arms exports outside Ukraine has played a role in delays.
Defence exports worth billions have been held up, he said.
Nato members have promised billions of pounds in extra defence spending since the outbreak of war in Europe, with Germany alone promising €100bn. However, orders for the most expensive hardware, such as ships and fighter jets, have so far been slow to materialise.
Germany has also received criticism for its lumbering approach to arms donations, which have blocked exports not just domestically but from other countries that own German equipment. Berlin eventually agreed last month to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine but only after months of pressure from its allies.

Mr Schoellhorn told Reuters that orders for several products, including the A400M military transport plane, were stuck with the government in Berlin. He declined to give details but said the deals were “worth several billions euros”.
He said at the Munich Security Conference: “Currently we don't have the orders to ramp up any further, we're waiting for orders to reconfirm that we can keep the lines running.
“Several countries are interested in the A400M. Unfortunately we are having difficulties getting the German export licences on time.”
German chancellor Olaf Scholz last year promised a Zeitenwende, or ‘sea change’, in the country’s approach to military spending, pledging to ramp up investment in offensive capabilities.
However, Mr Schoellhorn said: “Our problem is that we haven't received any contracts yet from the Zeitenwende and important exports are not being approved. This puts us in a very unsatisfactory situation.”
Airbus is instead focusing on ammunition and tank production for Ukraine as aircraft orders are held up.
Separately, a top investor in Airbus has accused the company of a “politically motivated bailout” of a fellow French company.
City of London hedge fund manager Chris Hohn demanded Airbus drop the purchase of a stake of just under 30pc of Evidian, the Financial Times reported.
French software group Atos is heavily indebted and in the process of spinning out Evidian, its online identity management business.
In a letter to Airbus, TCI suggested the deal was “politically motivated” rather than a good one for shareholders. TCI cited a press release from Atos that said the deal ensured “technological sovereignty in France.”
Evidian, which counts the French military as a customer, is a distraction, according to Mr Hohn’s TCI hedge fund, and Airbus should focus on making aircraft.
Airbus said the move helped its cybersecurity efforts.

Rishi getting advice from Johnson, Truss, Mordaunt and the Brexiteers.

And the Irish want to keep the Unionists happy and are asking Brussels to make the deal.

Brussels willing to compromise on DUP’s concerns over Brexit deal, suggests Irish deputy PM​

Micheal Martin says negotiators are aware of Unionists' calls for an end to the imposition of EU laws in Northern Ireland

As I say... the world is changing.
Interview with General Opata, Chief of the Czech General Staff

in January 2022 an extraordinary committee of the chiefs of the general staff (Edit - all of NATO) was convened, at which we had only one point of discussion - Ukraine.

The emergency meeting had not been called since the fall of the Soviet Union, so these were pretty strong indicators and strong information. Unfortunately, Europe has approached this as always. I wouldn't look for anything major in it. In short, this is how European leaders behave, they are not able to evaluate certain things sufficiently and make them clear.

Interviewer - Czech President Miloš Zeman, for example, described the warning as another "embarrassment of the American secret services". Do you think the skepticism and mistrust was a reflection of the "tarnished American reputation" because of Iraq, the chaos after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, or the continuous four-year hogging of the Alliance by the US President Donald Trump?

Gen Opata - I personally have no doubts about the US's military assessments of the situation. It is not just about news information that must be verified from several sources. Intelligence capabilities and technology today are completely different than they were at the time of the Iraq War. The way I look at it is that Europe has prioritized its interests over security.

We don't have to go far for such cases. Let's think back to 2014. The occupation of Crimea was a raised finger and a warning that Russia has changed its behavior and the pursuit of its interests. And how did Crimea turn out? The Russians annexed the peninsula, it was talked about for a while, a few negotiations took place, and finally it completely died down. We continued to take gas from Russia, certain measures were taken in the form of a very limited embargo, which did not even come close to today's sanctions. We were completely unprepared for Russia's behavior and European leaders played a significant part in it.

In retrospect, it can be said that the United States obtained literally extraordinary details about the Kremlin's secret plans for war, even though Moscow resolutely denied it. Time, place, method and operational strategy, everything fit.

I never doubted US intelligence at the military level. And in history, a whole lot of this information was quite essential. We worked together with the US in Afghanistan and in a whole range of other operations, and our mutual trust and within NATO has been building for many years. I would say even decades, so as a soldier I would see no problem in that assessment of the situation from the US point of view.

That problem was generated in the perception of Russia from the level of European leaders. Just a year ago, dependence on Russian gas and oil supported European prosperity and European economic development. It is quite obvious that the European leaders did not want to give it up just like that, and the situation forced them to do so.

I see it as paradoxical when I remember how President Macron talked with Putin, they sat in the office at a big table and discussed how the situation in Ukraine should be de-escalated. And this was precisely at the moment when Putin undoubtedly had to give orders to his troops to prepare for an attack on Ukraine long ago. So I think that was one of the other mistakes of the European security policy

The Ukrainian Chief of the General Staff regularly participated in the meetings of the NATO Military Committee, but also in the meetings of the V4 (Author's note: the Visegrad Four consists of the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary)

We were in very close contact at the military level and I think the needs of the Ukrainians were identified fairly well in advance. We had a comprehensive idea of what Ukraine needed to improve and build its defense capabilities. I think that the position of the Czech state was completely fundamental and clear. I am extremely happy that from the very beginning of the conflict the Czech Republic stood up to it the way it did

The entire article deserves reading.

Zdroj: Věřím, že Ukrajina získá zemi zpět, Rusko není supervelmoc, říká generál Opata - iDNES.cz

Zdroj: Věřím, že Ukrajina získá zemi zpět, Rusko není supervelmoc, říká generál Opata - iDNES.cz

Zdroj: Věřím, že Ukrajina získá zemi zpět, Rusko není supervelmoc, říká generál Opata - iDNES.cz

Zdroj: Věřím, že Ukrajina získá zemi zpět, Rusko není supervelmoc, říká generál Opata - iDNES.cz

Zdroj: Věřím, že Ukrajina získá zemi zpět, Rusko není supervelmoc, říká generál Opata - iDNES.cz

Zdroj: Věřím, že Ukrajina získá zemi zpět, Rusko není supervelmoc, říká generál Opata - iDNES.cz
Can't say this breaks my heart.

Nicola Sturgeon was not present when police arrived to seal off her property following the arrest of her husband Peter Murrell, eyewitnesses said.

It is understood the former First Minister left her home on Glasgow's outskirts in a black coloured Volvo shortly before officers erected an evidence tent in a front garden and taped off the detached property.

The property is one of a number of searches being carried out by police investigating the Scottish National Party's funding and finances.

Witnesses say six Police Scotland officers are standing guard at the couple's home during the search which has included bins in a back garden.

Mr Murrell remains in police custody.