The cold reality of what Britain is really facing

6th March 2022 / United Kingdom
The cold reality of what Britain is really facing

By Graham Vanbergen – TruePublica: Another home truth has been delivered to the divided citizens of Britain. In times of real strife, you need friends, family and as much support as you can find. This message came recently in the global pandemic. With Putin’s shock attack on Ukraine, another unexpected truth is conveyed.

Putin’s attack upon Ukraine, now escalating by the day as he indiscriminately kills thousands, strikes nuclear energy facilities and sends out mercenary assassination teams to target Ukraine’s leadership – is a sobering message for us all. This is a full-frontal attack, not just on a single country in Europe but on the West. Putin will not stop. He has no way back now and this crisis is going to get a lot worse quite quickly.

Our government, headed by Boris Johnson has inadvisedly spent the last few years finger-pointing and shouting at our allies and sacrificing important relationships built up over decades in a fictitious and vainglorious cause. In so doing, Johnson has willfully and irresponsibly fractured a highly effective security architecture for personal gain.

The growing scandal of Johnson’s efforts to protect his backers – Russian oligarchs and Putin’s puppets – is another truth being laid bare at the front door of No10 Downing Street. Right now – if you really want to boycott Russian oligarch-owned organisations, you can start with the Tory party.


Another Reset

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing yet another reset of thinking. First, there was Brexit and its euphemism entitled ‘Global-Britain’. Then there was the pandemic and motivational strap-line – ‘build-back-better’ and in the midst of that an environmental crisis – the ‘great-reset.’ Throughout all of this in Britain, we have the Tory grand plan of ‘levelling-up.’ None of these things means anything when war threatens everything we want to protect.

This latest reset has already caused Finland, Sweden, Georgia and Moldova – along with Ukraine to want to jump inside the safety blanket of the EU. It’s not that the EU is an awesome military force – it’s just that it proves that old adage that there is safety in numbers if we all stand together. By doing this we become stronger, not weaker.

On the European continent, only Belarus, Russia and Britain want to be outside of the EU. That fact alone says something. In a crisis predicted by many, Britain now stands outside of the circle of its friends and allies in the face of this Herculean challenge.

A reset called Brexit has already failed in every way imaginable – there are no upsides and it has cost the country dearly. Johnson’s attempt to show strength with his undeclared indo-pacific ’tilt’ at the behest of our American allies is another mistake. 150,000 deaths was a failure of basic decent governance at the start of the pandemic. And now, with the inevitable demand of heavily increased defence spending that is nothing less than a wake-up call – the ‘levelling-up’ reset – is already dead in the water. To think anything else is naive.

Brexit was always nothing more than a mirage, evidenced by its promises that never came good. And Ukraine is a reminder not just of our geopolitical responsibilities as a country and the values we hold, but more importantly – our geographical position. We are European – a fact we cannot escape. There is no doubt at all – for Western democracies and for freedom to survive, we need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those who want the same. Britain must equip itself for the challenge and realign itself with Europe. Our security depends on it – and so does theirs.

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For all of Boris Johnson’s failures – and he has too many to list, perhaps this is a moment when he could actually do the right thing for once – to stop thinking of himself and stand up for what is right.

Britain has a domestic and foreign intelligence service that is the envy of many. Its latest security review focused on the need to build up our cyber-warfare and hi-tech defence systems, especially so against the threat of Russia. Johnson needs to immediately refocus Britain’s defence architecture on European safety and withdraw his childish dream of becoming some sort of reborn maritime super-power on the other side of the world. That’s not where our battle is. Signing trade deals with the likes of Australia and New Zealand is not where the economic war will be won. And bolstering a largely fractured US relationship is not where the physical fight will take place.

Brexit is the brainchild of extreme groupthink – to win power and wave a flag. It instigated the false narrative of national disillusionment with the biggest trading bloc in the world and derided the greatest peace project in human history. A war on European soil kills that ideological fixation of the deluded and misinformed stone dead. If you really want to back Britain, then you need to start thinking that our real friends in this new global crisis are the Germans, the French, the Polish and all those flanking the borders of Russia irrespective of what club they might be in. It is they who will be in the trenches (metaphorically or not) if things go wrong. We will be there alongside them.

Britain also talked up its relationship with NATO whilst decrying the whole idea of an EU army. In so doing, the security arrangement that had been so strong with Britain inside the EU started to disintegrate. And we should not underestimate the damage that Brexit’s Northern Ireland protocol has done, not least because it demonstrates that Britain is no longer a trusted ally. Unbelievably, to this day, Brexit’s fundamentalists on the hard right – those who took money from Putin – still demand the disastrous trigger pulling of Article 16.

Britain’s intelligence services, unattached to the ideology of Brexit made the right calls when it came to Russia. Britain stood up early – supplied information, weapons, training and support and its diplomatic service came into its own again. And just as Britain started to flex and show the world what it really can do – up pops Brexit. Funded by Russian dirty money – Johnson was last off the blocks demonstrating to everyone just how mirky he and his circus of useful fools really are. This is a political crisis with cash-for-questions, for influence, for honours, peerages, patronage, votes and now for escaping justice – all wrapped up in one.


National Reboot

This renewed reset, forced upon us is going to challenge Britain once again – only this time we have an opportunity to get this right. We must not be divided. Putin and his cronies have paid for division and it worked – it’s time to realise that. Johnson and his cronies from the ERG and other factions within the Tory party sold out to Putin – and it’s time to realise that as well.

There’s a cold hard truth about Putin. He has nowhere to go but keep going forward and we have nowhere to go but to stop him. That’s it. Diplomacy doesn’t work with people like Putin, nor do Sanctions.

If we thought Brexit or the pandemic was going to change everything – this war overwhelmingly usurps them. If ever there was a time for the British spirit to emerge, just as it did in the Blitz and the harsh darkness of virus-induced lockdowns – it is now. You won’t hear it by any government now or in the future but austerity is coming to pay for this reset of realignment to reality.


Reality Check

Defence spending is costly. Getting rid of corruption within the corridors of power is as well. But if Britain, democracy, freedom and the principles it used to stand for are to survive – we need to do both and we need to do it now.

Years of cuts to military spending will now need to be reversed. China has just announced an increase to its huge military budget of 7.1 per cent. To match that Britain would need to increase spending from £44billion to something like £50 billion – blowing a hole in Sunak’s finely balanced post-pandemic spreadsheet.

There’s another problem. Not only does a new military budget need to be agreed upon without political division at home, but a new conversation with our real allies also needs to take place as well. Those allies, both NATO and the EU have competing ideas on what represents defence. The diplomatic obligation of the West and what it really stands for now needs urgent reshaping.

And for another reality check – do we really think the best that Britain can put forward for this badly needed bold change of direction is a narcissistic liar in the guise of Boris Johnson? Is Liz Truss – an inarticulate and uncomfortable orator the right person to represent Britain in such important negotiations? Is Rishi Sunak, a banker who helped crash the global economy – the man to manage long-term security finances? Team Britain needs better people than this.

As an example of reality checks, Germany has reversed decades of militaristic policy (as a direct result of their part in the last global catastrophe) in a matter of days. Alongside nuclear-armed France – they would be so much stronger if Britain stood in the centre of this powerful alliance against a new era of tyranny. And just as the USA is now taking Germany and France more seriously than it is Britain – it is time for us to step up to the plate and show unity, not undermine matters of national security for petty political gain as Johnson and his courtiers have spent so much energy doing.

Britain should not be some sort of sideshow as it currently is, either within Europe or further afield. The reality is that Europe is now facing a new form of fascist aggression from a real threat hellbent on throwing the resources of a malignant and dangerous superpower at the gates of everything our forefathers fought for – freedom. Democracy has never come cheap, it never has and never will.

Neither Brexit nor the pandemic was the real test of our resolve, of our strength or beliefs as a nation. This new threat is. And even if Putin backs down and crawls back into a bunker of cronies – that threat will always be simmering. History tells us that.

It was Churchill who said – “Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong — these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.” This is where we are in Britain right now – undecided.



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