The three deadly sins of Philip Hammond

While I am told that Hammond is a very pleasant chap, I have to take issue with his political record, policies and the damage he has done to our nation. There are three areas where he should be held accountable, any one of which should end his political career.

Defence Policy

From Oct 2011 to July 2014, Hammond was the Minister of Defence and as such presided over the ongoing contraction of the nation’s defence capability. During that period, one would have thought that he has gained a basic grasp of the fundamental elements of a defence strategy, of which one is the recognition of three major ever-growing threats to the nation through:

Islamic fundamentalism (Al-Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban)

• Russia’s return to a cold war posture of aggression to the West (military expansion, funding of any organisation standing against Western interests, i.e. in Syria and in Afghanistan, the Taliban, and a generic systematic program of disinformation to undermine the West including control of WikiLeaks)

The rise of China as a global military power (North Korea being but one manifestation, others being the new Asian arms race and the Belt and Road strategy)

At the same time, Hammond should have gained a basic understanding of our armed forces’ needs and that, by taking them below critical thresholds, the nation’s defence becomes ineffective. Yet, today, we see pressure from Hammond’s treasury forcing all the armed forces to be considering the cutting of the last vestiges of essential defence capabilities. These include potential cuts in the following areas:

  • one of only two armoured brigades
  • the Army Air core
  • the two amphibious landing ships, essential to any intervention
  • C-130 fleet

Lastly and equally as terrifying, there is now a discussion about cutting funding to military museums that hold the legacy of our military heritage.

As such, if Hammond were a Russian spy, he would be a prime candidate for the order of Lenin (the highest civilian decoration bestowed by the Soviet Union) for services to Russia in the emasculation of Britain’s armed forces.

Austerity

The concept that austerity is a viable economic policy is absolutely misplaced; an economic concept that a first-year student in economics would recognise as flawed, as is the concept that a balanced budget should be the goal. I would remind readers that a balanced budget means that the nation can cover its interest payments, but never reduce the principal. For that to happen, one needs inflation to do the job. While fiscal responsibility is critical, the only way Britain can ever move forward is to create a radical economic plan to grow out of its debt burden. To expect a grey man like Hammon to back a radical economic reform plan is too much to expect. But that is what Britain needs today to survive and especially, as the next move of innovation through 3D printing could return manufacturing to the UK shores, the first wave of AI employment changes is now upon us. The opportunity to invest in British manufacturing, mainly in the defence industry which includes BAE systems continuing to manufacture the Hawks flown by the Red Arrows, is a critical one to grasp immediately across a wave of innovations that will fuel the future British economy. As such, I believe that Hammond has mishandled our economy and is entirely unsuited to the role of Chancellor during this rapid period of change and should be relieved of duty forthwith.

Brexit

As a remainer, Hammond has failed to accept the will of the people and has at every turn attempted to water down, delay and block the Brexit process. Any businessman knows that when going into a negotiation, the first thing one does is to make a plan for the situation that the negotiation could fail. He then works backwards from there to gain the best outcome, which usually takes place at the last moment in the process. There should be a hard Brexit fallback plan. However, instead, Hammond has to date weakened Britain’s hand in the negotiations where ever he could. In a time where the government needs to work together to deliver the will of the people, these acts are sabotaging our future. Such behaviour in the days of Henry VIII would have amounted to treason similar to the fate to Cromwell who received the chop from an inexperienced headsman chosen personally by Henry.

In conclusion, the faster Hammond is removed from office, the stronger Britain will be, but whoever follows him must quickly seek to rectify his predecessor’s failings to shore up the British nation.

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