Tom Tugendhat’s Feisty Exchange With Boisterous Ed Balls

Ed Balls attempted a bulldozing interview strategy on Good Morning Britain this morning, only to be left with egg on his face – clearly, he’s been taking lessons from predecessor Piers. The former Shadow Chancellor took Security Minister Tom Tugendhat to task for apparent hypocrisy over increased defence spending – or rather the lack of it. Using backbench Tom’s own words against him, Balls asked minister Tom:

“Are you naive? Have you been captured by Treasury orthodoxy? Or are you another politician who spoke out from the backbenches, and now you’ve got your feet behind the desk in the Foreign Office, you’ve forgotten what you used to stand for?”

It’s a fair question. Unfortunately for Ed, his execution was left lacking, and Tom was well-prepped to hit back:

“First of all, I’m not in the Foreign Office, I’m in the Home Office. Secondly, you can speak for yourself but not for me. Third, if you read the articles [Balls interrupts] it actually talks about defence and intelligence in the articles [Balls interrupts] Ed I’m delighted for you to interview yourself if you like, or you can listen to my answer…”

Tugendhat was smiling through gritted teeth as he returned fire. Guido leaves it to co-conspirators to decide who won this round…

mdi-timer 14 March 2023 @ 10:16 14 Mar 2023 @ 10:16 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Ministerial Bitch Fight of the Week: Wallace Versus Mercer

The man tasked with defending Britain is now engaged in open warfare with his own junior minister. This morning Ben Wallace returned fire on Veterans’ Affairs Minister Johnny Mercer after the latter accused him of posturing ahead of the budget. Speaking to LBC, Wallace reminded Nick Ferrari that Mercer is only a junior minister, and “luckily doesn’t have to run the budget“. For those wondering how two Ministers ended up fighting each other, here’s a brief recap:

At the end of January, Wallace told Sky NewsDefence has been hollowed out for years“, and “the British Army has fallen behind its peer group.” The next day, Guido revealed audio of Johnny Mercer saying Wallace had been “disingenuous” and his claims were “fundamentally not true” at an event for the Coalition for Global Prosperity. Comments he initially denied even making, until Guido published the audio…

Mercer then doubled down on his claim, telling LBC “it is obviously not credible to say that the money has been taken out of defence.” Now Wallace is pushing back with a department-measuring contest, pointing out he’s in charge of 224,000 staff, while Mercer only has “12 people in the office”. “He’s not the Secretary of State”…

Now a third soldier has entered the battle – Johnny’s wife Felicity Cornelius-Mercer:

It’s war…

mdi-timer 23 February 2023 @ 11:15 23 Feb 2023 @ 11:15 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Penny Advocates Strong Defence Spend and Is Confident Government Will Protect It mdi-timer 19 February 2023 @ 10:07 19 Feb 2023 @ 10:07 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments British Rival to Munich Security Conference Launched

For sixty years, the Munich Security Conference has traditionally been the forum for international decision-makers and experts to discuss security challenges. Whereas the World Economic Forum at Davos discusses climate change and diversity, the Munich Security Conference discusses nuclear security and global conflict hotspots. The focus is usually on German and European responses to global and regional challenges. German strategic policy is a mess; wrong about Russia for years, and slow on weapons. Yet next month the German elite will hold its famous conference attempting to tackle the big geopolitical questions with a straight face. With Scholz in a ridiculous foreign policy mess, Germany’s leadership is lost on foreign policy.

Scholz has been craven on Ukraine. Even today as Britain sends Challenger tanks he will only send Leopards if the US (which has done more than anyone) sends Abrams. While the organisers are not publicly calling it an antidote to the Munich Security Conference, the London Defence Conference clearly aims to be. An invitation-only two days in London at Bush House, King’s College London – for leaders, policymakers, boffins, military and media-types. The insurgent British alternative Conference launching today is being chaired by Lord Salisbury and run by Iain Martin. Britain is the biggest military power in Western Europe – an event of this kind makes sense.

mdi-timer 19 January 2023 @ 16:06 19 Jan 2023 @ 16:06 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Starmer’s Disarmer in Shadow Cabinet

Sir Keir used a Times interview this morning to try and rebrand Labour’s reputation on defence after the disastrous years of Jeremy Corbyn. He tells the paper that Corbyn was “wrong on NATO and emphatically wrong on the Salisbury poisonings”; on Ukraine he says it’s “very difficult to find a dividing point” between Labour and the government:

“I’m absolutely convinced that among the tools in the Russian armoury is divide, divide, divide. The more they sow division, either between us and our allies or within [the] country, then only Russia benefits from that.”

While Sir Keir has proved he’s able to talk the centrist talk, as on other issues he’s failing to walk the walk. While espousing bellicose views to the media, he continues to have an appointed “Shadow Minister for Disarmament” in his shadow cabinet, a role created by the white flag-waving member for Islington North in 2016 and a title held by the same man happy to serve as a defence minister under arch-abstentionist Corbyn, Fabian Hamilton.

The role of shadow minister for disarmament was created by CND supporting Corbyn to create a “change in attitude” in Labour’s foreign police approach; a change in attitude that will tonight see Corbyn speak at a ‘Stop the War’ meeting seeking to blame NATO for the crisis in Ukraine. 

If Sir Keir wants voters to take him seriously, perhaps he should ditch this Trotskyist shadow cabinet role and stick to the bread and butter defence policies the public want to see…

mdi-timer 10 February 2022 @ 13:24 10 Feb 2022 @ 13:24 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Boris Promises to “Restore Britain’s Position as the Foremost Naval Power in Europe”

Boris has appeared in the Commons this afternoon via Zoom to outline the details of the defence spending review in much of the press this morning. The £16.5 billion new spending over four years will fund: a new artificial intelligence agency; the creation of a national cyber force; and a new “space command,” which will be capable of launching a rocket in 2022.

Perhaps the element that will stir up the biggest wave of patriotism is Boris’s pledge to upgrade the Royal Navy and “restore Britain’s position as the foremost naval power in Europe”. Specifically by once again overtaking the French – one way to quell Thatcherite objections to big spending. Which is odd, because Britain is already the foremost naval power in Europe, ahead of France in almost every category. Let’s see the BBC try and scrap Rule, Britannia from next year’s Proms…

mdi-timer 19 November 2020 @ 13:00 19 Nov 2020 @ 13:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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