GSF opinion piece by General Sir Richard Barrons KCB CBE – ‘Is It Time For A Military Coup?’

We are delighted to publish the 13th in our series of expert comment and analysis by GSF’s regular commentator and Advisory Board member, General Sir Richard Barrons. As always, the views expressed are those of the author and not of GSF unless otherwise stated. The full version of Sir Richard’s article is now available to download: Is It Time For A Military Coup? 

One thought on “GSF opinion piece by General Sir Richard Barrons KCB CBE – ‘Is It Time For A Military Coup?’

  1. Yet another though provoking piece from Sir Richard.

    I took some time to think through how I might respond to the piece, (or even whether I should) which I interpret as a cry for help.

    When the Professor of Organisation Studies at Royal Holloway, Chris Grey, posts the following on his blog we can almost feel the despair at the collapse of UK’s international reputation for competence and good government. Ambassadors and FCO staff are voting with their feet.

    “A government of all the Talentless

    It’s this which makes the present political situation truly alarming. We’re not in sway to some set of manipulative geniuses pursuing a well-thought out, if malign, agenda, but the captives of a coterie of utterly deluded simpletons who have stumbled into power by a series of accidents. The plane hasn’t been hijacked by steely-eyed terrorists so much as it has fallen into the inadvertent hands of a group of smirking school bullies and debating society geeks, led by a priapic layabout and advised by those for whom the term Incel inadequates is not so much an insult as an unattainable aspiration. Thus as Rafael Behr writes, convincingly, “incompetence is a built-in feature, not a bug of Boris Johnson’s government”.

    This has its roots in Brexit, as I’ve argued before, but that doesn’t mean we have a government competent to deliver Brexit but not to do anything else. Rather, we have what might be called a government of all the talentless, incapable of competence in any domain and almost ludicrously inadequate to any challenge it is set or sets itself.”

    Sir Richard can live in hope that the Conservative Party will eventually exhibit the ruthlessness for which it is famed and clear out the dead wood before any more damage is done. I was once taught that “First Class leaders surround themselves with First Class people, Second Rate leaders surround themselves with Third Rate people”

    On the other hand, I recall how fifty one years ago I was with an Irish Army Territorial Battalion awaiting orders to take Newry and hold the road to Belfast. Given that we had no air cover, armour, logistics and my men were carrying Lee Enfield .303 bolt action rifles we would have been slaughtered. However we had no option but to come to the aid and assistance to the Catholics who were under attack from the Out of Control Police Reserve and the Protestant Mobs.

    I spent that summer working in an Army refugee camp taking in busloads of women and children who had been burnt out or terrorised in Belfast. The escorts on the buses would drop off their passengers and come over to the guard room and beg us “We have four hand guns in the Falls Road, for God’s sake give us guns so we can defend ourselves”

    We had considerable sympathy for the ministers who were later sacked for gunrunning, as any government by consent had broken down in Northern Ireland. John Locke’s writings on Tyranny were useful reading. We had all read General Kitson’s book on Low Intensity Operations and recognised the tactics in action.

    However, the statis, stiction and conservatism in London meant it took three more years and a televised atrocity in Derry, (Ballymurphy wasn’t televised) for the British Government to take action to remove the incompetents in Stormont. Lord Howell in his latest book describes the disdain with which Willie Whitelaw greeted the prospect of having to talk to Martin and Gerry to get the shooting to stop.

    Both Ireland and UK joining the EEC in 1973 brought the war to a stalemate and a maturity to the process, which has been needlessly destroyed by the talentless and their plans described by the FT Chief Economic Commentator Martin Wolf as “a course of action only to be contemplated by the insane or ideologues”.

    In forty years living in England I have met some very sensible and professional people indeed for whom I have considerable respect.

    We are now looking at four years to the next parliamentary election, as the earliest prospect of getting rid of the “government of all the talentless”. As we can’t allow any more of us to die needlessly or more damage to be done to the peace in Ireland and the standard of living among the ordinary people in UK cities, I wonder if anyone, like VI Lenin watching Kerensky in the Duma, is thinking of alternative methods of regime change?

    Michael Davitt MP, a contemporary of Parnell, and a major figure in the Land League in Ireland is reputed to have said “the British only do anything when confronted by violence or the threat of violence”

    Hobsbawm in his “Age of Revolution” describes how the ideals of the French Revolution continued to echo throughout Europe and kicked things off in 1830 and 1848. There are a considerable number of very unhappy members of the Labour Party who elected Jeremy as Leader, (the alternative candidates betrayed their lack of vision and simply bleated things they had read in the newspapers) and who have rejected the Second Coming of the Blairites and who are sorely aggrieved at the return to being a tame and feeble little loyal opposition. They remember it was the Poll Tax riots that got rid of Mrs Thatcher.

    Will there be anyone out there thinking to themselves “Is It Time for Civil Disobedience or even Armed Rebellion?”

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