Carl Garner is spot on: Russia, Johnson and defence

Carl lives in Cornwall and his MP is Sheryll Murray, Conservative. He has cause to write to her frequently...

Dear Sheryll,

Now that Russia has finally decided to invade Ukraine, a sovereign state and friend, Boris Johnson has announced his humorous (to the Kremlin at least) threats of sanctions against Russian interests. I believe he promised a “barrage” of them – very militaristic language indeed.

I wonder, will he have a new military style jacket with his name embroidered onto it (in case he forgets, I assume), made to mark the occasion and for use in photo opportunities? It’s always good to keep the dressing-up box in vogue, I feel; ready for any occasion. Much more important to do photo shoots and promote your own brand than run the country after all. 

Thankfully for the nation it is a good job that metaphorical barrages are the only type of barrage that he needs to ask for, because the austerity-hit armed services are so short-staffed these days that our sole aircraft carrier had to siphon off personnel from other vessels to crew it fully. And didn’t it spring a leak around the drive shaft recently?

The 150,000 troops in Russian armour on the border of Ukraine must be quaking with fear in case we give them a jolly good ticking off. Decades of ideological cuts mean that if the UK actually needed to call on a military barrage any conflict would be over fairly quickly at great cost to our service personnel. I regularly go to Lincolnshire and even RAF Scampton, made famous in the dambuster raids, is having to close due to lack of funds, aircraft and personnel to run it. Even Trident (useless as that particular folly would be in a real life situation due to the fact that if we ever used it, those of us who survived the inevitable retaliation would have nothing better to do but end up fighting over the best sheltered spot in the smoking crater that was once the UK and await our own death from radiation poisoning) is outdated and at least one submarine is in dry dock at any one time, undergoing patch up repairs thanks to years of kicking the can down the road and deciding what to do with it.

On the subject of Trident,  you voted on its replacement so clearly you digested all of the necessary information and counter arguments before entering the division lobby. Is it correct that Trident’s ethereal and far-off successor will have to rely on “rented” warheads that cannot be used without their owners’ consent? Doesn’t seem very useful really, in a time of crisis, does it?

If Boris Johnson does deploy any of our underpaid, under-staffed, under-resourced armed forces to distract from the fact that he should already have resigned, then it will be a new low even for him. 

Apologies anyway, since I went off on a tangent with my questions. It seems I inexplicably have lots to be angry about since Mr Johnson took office. I can’t imagine why.

What I really want to ask you is fairly simple actually, so now in light of the “barrage” of sanctions. Will you call for all Conservative party donations as well as individual donations to MPs from Russian sources to be returned in order to show that Britain is actually serious about sanctions? After all, it could be seen as quite the conflict of interest to have what equates to enemy money sloshing around in the coffers whilst a friend and ally is being illegally invaded. 

I am by my own admission no expert on the geopolitical nuances, but I know enough to realise that if a person with a Russian connection “donated” money to either myself or my employer, then there is a high probability that particular “favours” that may not be in the national best interests may be asked for in future in return for their kind donation. I am also clued up enough to know that it is Kremlin policy to use soft power to try to destabilise those they perceive as enemies and by any means necessary, including handing out financial donations to those in power. 

For the last few years, those MPs who actually have the UK’s best interests at heart pushed to try to stop the slow national suicide that is Brexit, and when they were unable to do that they were pushing for closer cooperation with our actual allies: the EU, mainly so that our businesses can trade and we can retain some semblance of security. These MPs and individuals were unfairly and incorrectly branded as “unpatriotic” or as “having no faith in Britain”.

Surely now given recent events, the truly unpatriotic thing would be to happily keep and spend the money donated from nefarious sources given by a rogue state which wants to cause further instability instead of making a stand to show where politicians’ true loyalty lies. This loyalty should be to the UK and would be proved by giving back any money already received, as well as refusing any future offers of donations from Russia or indeed any foreign powers. 

Carl Garner