It’s official: that nice man Boris Johnson will be Britain’s next Prime Minister! He’ll be sworn in tomorrow at Buckingham Palace. He beat his opponent, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, by a margin of two to one, after a brilliant campaign run by my old friend Iain Duncan Smith MP, a hot tip to replace Hunt at the Foreign Office.
Changing the Chief Executive in Britain is not quite the same as in the United States, partly of course because our Head of Government is not the same as our Head of State. The British Head of State is Her Majesty the Queen, Who is above politics.
There will be a minimum of formality tomorrow. Boris will go to the Palace, where he will be treated with great courtesy, and invited to form a government. He will then go to Downing St. Theresa May will have left the building before he gets there.
The big question, which will largely determine whether or not the new government is a success, will be whether or not the supercilious Cabinet Secretary (no offense intended) ‘Ritter’ Mark ‘von’ Sedwill, goes with May. If he’s got any sense he’ll resign.
If he stays on he will probably try to undermine the new government from day one. He’s committed to May’s deal, or frustrating Brexit altogether, and is believed by some to be playing an active role in the efforts to form an anti-Brexit coalition government led by the notorious Europhile Sir Keir ‘von’ Starmer. Sedwill’s political views are beyond the pale, frankly. It wouldn’t be so bad if he were able to put his political opinions to one side when doing his job, but he just doesn’t seem capable of doing that.
Boris not only needs a new Cabinet Secretary, the role itself needs redefining. At the moment Cabinet Secretaries see themselves as quasi-dictators. The last one, Jeremy ‘von’ Heywood, controlled both the police and the Crown Prosecution Service, forcing them to undertake political prosecutions, such as those of me. Heywood had no belief in justice at all and was quite happy to blackmail judges and rig juries, although he was careful to keep his fingerprints off the blackmail of course. He could and should have been sent to prison for interfering with the course of justice.
Lord Heywood knew about the German sabotage of the Piper Alpha oil rig in 1988 and was quite content to cover it up, in other words he was prepared to go along with mass murder, as long as it was committed by German intelligence of course. No doubt he was opposed to mass murder in general.
Heywood controlled the intelligence services as well as the police and the CPS. He also had his spies in Buckingham Palace and his Private Office Group controlled access to Cabinet Ministers. He was immensely powerful, although he overplayed his hand in 2012 when he entered into the German Intelligence conspiracy to commit regicide and he was very properly taken out, ironically using bio-technology originally developed by Mengele at Dachau. Lord Heywood’s termination with extreme prejudice sent a strong signal to European capitals that Britain was no longer prepared to be a German client state. His death, which very frankly did not come a moment too soon, no offense intended, was a liberating moment, rather like the death of Mussolini was for Italy. (The parallel is not exact of course – if anything Heywood was more of a fascist than old Benito, and rather less charming.)
Boris will be up against the Forces of Evil from day one. He will need intelligence-literate members of the Cabinet to avoid the fate which befell my old friend Margaret Thatcher. Her government staggered from one incident of mass murder to another, without ever knowing who was organising them. Her closest advisers were taken out on German orders, laundered through the IRA. Planes were blown up, or caught fire, Tube stations were set alight, oil rigs blew up – you name it, it happened.
Germany will try to rain hammer blows on the Johnson government. It will need to be prepared and must be ready to hit back. If the new Cabinet consists solely of house-trained idiots like the last one, heaven help us!
Jeremy Hunt’s campaign was not helped by Iran’s illegal seizure of the British tanker MV Stena Impero (49,683 tons fully loaded displacement, call-sign MBPR5) in the Persian Gulf in the final week of the campaign. Not unfairly, Hunt was made to look useless. He even had to ask the German and French foreign ministers for help, poor man!
Paris and Berlin were falling about laughing of course. They offered a bit of meaningless diplomatic support (probably having cleared the seizure in advance) as long as we did nothing. This was pretty much what the Foreign Office were planning to do anyway.
There is no such thing as a humiliation so great that it will provoke the Foreign Office into action. They’re pussies, no offense intended. They make the State Department look pro-American.
Boris Johnson will need to stand up to Teheran. It’s tricky, since they’re holding hostages (and we all know how the Iranians like seizing hostages!). The first thing he could do would be to break off diplomatic and trade relations. The second thing would be to pull the UK out of the farcical nuclear deal, farcical because Iran already has nukes, with plutonium cores, using French plute. The third thing would be to send in the SAS against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen (Aden), swinging in behind the Saudis in the process. The fourth thing would be to reduce our dependence upon the Gulf by opening up the massive South Atlantic Oil Field.
Of course if we had a stronger navy we wouldn’t have allowed the Iranians to capture the Stena Impero in the first place. A convoy system should have been put in place weeks ago. We will need to commence an emergency naval building program, trebling defense expenditure in the process, paid for by the Brexit dividend, tax cuts (which will raise the tax take) and reclaiming the vast amounts of tax owed by banks and mortgage companies using offshore high-yield trading.
EU membership costs UK plc about £250 billion a year, much of it in additional regulatory costs, since we’re foolish enough to actually apply EU regulations, which are usually treated as a joke over in Europe and rightly so. There will indeed be a Brexit dividend, always assuming that ‘von’ Sedwill goes and the Cabinet Office is reformed.
The Twitter Storm
The President knew what he was doing when he created his Twitter storm. He’s painted the Democratic Party, not unfairly, as socialist and unelectable. As with President Obama, he’s also on solid grounds with his facts. Congresswoman Omar has a case to answer, it seems to me, in terms of her immigration history, both as a sponsor and the circumstances which led her parents to claim asylum. Somalia had long been notorious for fake asylum claims.
Although frequently referred to as an ‘American citizen’ by the MSM, the Congresswoman is probably a dual US/Somali national, with dual loyalties. She is close to the Islamo-fascist pressure group CAIR and has said or tweeted some dubious things about Jews and 9/11.
All four Congresswomen hold views which are either extreme or well to the left of center. The President with respect was quite right to have a go at them. Like it or not, they are the face of the modern Democratic Party, selected in sometimes hotly contested primaries.
There is a common theme with the Labour Party in Britain. Nasty and virulent anti-semitism is now a feature, sadly, of left-wing politics in both Britain and the USA.
Well done England!
Warmest congratulations to England on winning the Cricket World Cup for the first time. It was a thrilling finish at Lord’s – we were all cheering on England in the Pavilion. The win ended 44 years of pain for England in one-day competitions and was a huge boost for national morale. New Zealand first, the EU next, followed by Iran!
I’m not sure that Teheran were watching. Seizing a British tanker in the waters of a friendly state just after we had won the World Cup was not a smart move. The whole country is just waiting for the first cruise missiles to hit central Teheran. I wouldn’t want to be an Iranian tanker skipper trying to sneak a load of highly combustible crude out of the Gulf once our Astute class boat gets there. She should be able to get a nice fire going.
The crazy ayatollahs won’t be the first Bad Guys to have underestimated Britain. We’re not called ‘Great Britain’ for nothing. Admiral Canaris, one of the most evil men in history, no offense intended (even more evil than Lord Heywood) thought that he had us on the ropes in December 1939, with his men Chamberlain and Bridges in Number 10 and the Cabinet Office respectively.
Then, on a bright, still morning in the South Atlantic, Commodore Harold Harwood gloriously ordered his cruiser squadron to hoist their Battle Ensigns and open their ‘A’ arcs to fire the first ever broadsides at the Kriegsmarine, in the shape of the pocket battleship KMS Graf Spee. Captain Langsdorff, high up on Graf Spee’s fighting top (he left her bridge for a better view) could scarcely believe what he was seeing. Britain had stopped taking it and had started to dish it out to our community partner the Hun. We didn’t stop until the fall of Berlin.
General Galtieri made the same mistake. He no more expected to see a ruddy great fast carrier task force turn up off the Falkland Islands than Mrs Galtieri winning the Miss Argentina contest, no offense intended. (The last comment is intended to be gender neutral by the way and was written after careful consideration of the Bar Standards Board’s valuable diversity and equal opportunities guidelines.)
Back to the cricket. Everybody thought that the stodgy pitches the International Cricket Council are believed by some to have ordered would slow our lads down. Did they ever. With England in a worse position than in December 1939, at 86-4, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, whom I am hoping to see in action again tomorrow at Lord’s in the Ireland Test, put together a quite brilliant and highly intelligent century stand, which took us to the verge of victory. It was heroic stuff.
Having played a part in uncovering the sinister plot to throw Ben Stokes into jail on a trumped-up charge ordered by the Cabinet Office, it was particularly satisfying to see him smash a wonderful six (cricket’s equivalent of a home run) in the 50th over of England’s innings. A chance deflection off his bat when the Kiwis tried to run him out went to the boundary at third man, something I’ve never seen happen on a cricket field. Even more uproariously, the ICC umpires screwed the pooch and awarded England six runs instead of five! (They’ll probably come down with a touch of Legionnaire’s Disease in a Dubai hotel.)
The match was tied and went to a Super Over, another thing I’ve never seen on a cricket field or even watched on TV, and aged 13 I watched the first ever One Day International live on TV, from the Melbourne Cricket Ground, on January 5th, 1971. Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler again did the business – the first ever double tie! England won by virtue of having been more adventurous with the bat and having smashed more boundaries overall. It was a brave effort by the Kiwis, however, and I’m glad they won the netball.
Just over 10 years ago an Iranian death squad murdered the great BBC Test Match Special statistician Bill Frindall in Dubai, where he had been investigating an ICC umpiring scandal. Once that gets out every cricket-lover in England will be hoping that we knock Johnny Iranian for six. It’ll be dead Iranians everywhere. Don’t plan on vacationing in Teheran this year.
My Reading This Week
This has included Scottish Aviation Bulldog: Trainer for the World, by Tom Wenham (Air-Britain Publishing, 2019). I’m not sure you will find it in Barnes & Noble, but it should be available online.
I’ve read many aviation books over the years, but this is the first one I’ve ever read which features aircraft which I have actually flown. You always remember your first aircraft with affection, always assuming of course that you didn’t spin it in when trying to land it for the first time!
The Bulldog is hardly known in the States, although a number of ex-RAF examples have found their way to you. It was a lovely little military trainer, with an undercarriage which could take the worse that students could throw at it. (One chap in my squadron pulled 3G on landing, having stalled her in from 50’ – even I didn’t overstress the undercart that much!)
The Bulldog was in many ways an ideal primary trainer. It was tough, maneuverable and easy to fly, with superb all-round visibility and modern avionics. The fuel-injected Lycoming engine could give trouble however, and we were forbidden to fly on the carpet after Yorkshire University Air Squadron sadly lost one at low altitude. Others were lost whilst spinning.
If the Bulldog had a weakness it was in its unforgiving spin characteristics. Wenham suggests having at least 7,000’ AGL beneath you before entering a spin, although we were told 8 and students weren’t allowed to spin. Spinning was quite an experience, I can tell you! They spun nearly vertically, with a high rate of descent. If you didn’t execute a recovery quickly you had no guarantee of recovering at all – my instructor didn’t waste any time before recovering the aircraft on my mandatory spin demo.
However in its defense a properly flown Bulldog should never get into an unintended spin. The aircraft is wonderfully responsive to the controls and you get plenty of warning of an impending stall. There is nothing flabby about the controls at all – you can stall some light aircraft right into the ground. Even in a spin the aircraft responds promptly to the controls.
They’re lovely little kites and I’m pleased to see that a book has at long last been written about them, nearly fifty years after the Bulldog’s first flight. If you get a chance to aerobat one take it. You can really throw them around the sky. And no, whilst I wasn’t very good as a military pilot, not least as my eyesight had started to go, I didn’t crash on my first solo, much to the surprise, no doubt, of my instructors!
As all y’all may have gathered I’ve been a bit busy. Assembling my appeal to the Court of Appeal against Mrs Justice Jefford’s decision to dismiss my appeal against disbarment involved a lot of work. I’ve also been busy with my legal consultancy practice and have been playing a role behind the scenes on Brexit and the change of government. It was yours truly who worked out that the no confidence ballot in December wasn’t secret and that German intelligence were tapping Gavin Williamson’s phone. Each piece of analysis was crucial in forcing out Theresa May.
I’m hoping to resume writing regular weekly columns, always assuming, that is, that I’m not invited to join the government. That is entirely a matter for the incoming Prime Minister of course! I’m not expecting an offer, but I would be willing to serve in any capacity in which the Prime Minister thought I might be able to assist.
Michael Shrimpton was a barrister from his call to the Bar in London in 1983 until being disbarred in 2019 over a fraudulently obtained conviction. He is a specialist in National Security and Constitutional Law, Strategic Intelligence and Counter-terrorism. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies at the American Military University.