If it comes to it, Britain must be prepared to use military force

Leaving aside the legality, morality or the timing of the US assassination of Iranian general Qassim Soleimani, the UK government needs to be fully prepared for the consequences. The regime in Tehran cannot afford not to retaliate, or risk losing status in the eyes of its various proxies around the Middle East.

One obvious response that has been threatened in the past by Gen Soleimani himself is to close the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow opening to the Gulf through which one third of the world’s oil passes. Arguably the West’s failure to take tougher action after Iran attacked tankers last summer made them think they could get away with anything until President Trump drew the line.

Britain is…

A more dynamic and diverse civil service would halt HS2

If this Government is going to transform Britain then it must not only rewrite policy but redesign the way that policy is created and implemented. That is what is at the heart of Dominic Cummings’s radical recruitment drive: the PM’s special adviser has asked for scientists, engineers, “weirdos and misfits” and anyone who can add to the “cognitive diversity” of Whitehall. A key reason why the establishment got Brexit wrong, he argues, is because Britain draws from a pool that is too shallow in talent and ideology.

Unless Whitehall is properly rooted in the values of modern Britain and unless it is capable of innovation, then it will repeat the same old mistakes, almost regardless of who is in…

A letter to the Eurocrats: Britain’s quarrel is with you, not with Europe

Dear Frans Timmermans,


I appreciated what you called your “love letter to Britain”, published in Thursday’s Guardian. Few things are more touching than praise from an astute observer who sees us as we are, knows our faults, and likes us anyway. Thank you.

Let me begin by reciprocating. Like almost all Brits, I love the Dutch. In Tolkienian terms, you are our Nandor – our sundered kindred, those who declined the crossing. We generally feel more at home in the Netherlands than in any other Continental country, even Denmark.

I can assure you that, when we voted to leave the EU, we were not rejecting our ties to our European allies. We have always taken it for granted that we can be Francophiles,…

The diversity-obsessed BBC is now mortifyingly out of touch with modern Britain

Boris’s triumph shocked Britain because its main broadcaster no longer speaks for people outside of the M25

Why did the BBC fail to see a political earthquake coming in the former Labour heartlands? Partly because it spent the election shuddering with revolted pity at Brexit Britain.

Its vox pops with “victims of austerity” in foodbanks and with Leavers drinking in Wetherspoons on a Tuesday afternoon not only created a huge red herring hot-pokered with the word “victimhood” in an election where the political zeitgeist was hunger for action.

It also betrayed the BBC’s unconscious bias against the world beyond the metropolitan bubble. This, it seems to perceive as a chronically unwoke dystopia,…

‘Global Britain’ needs new approach to defence

The issue of national security turned out to be a surprise factor in deciding the outcome of the general election, which is why it makes sense for Boris Johnson’s new Government to pay serious attention to protecting Britain’s interests.

For their own very different reasons, neither of the main parties was keen to make defence a central part of their campaigns: Labour because even the most committed Corbynista realised it was not their leader’s strongest point, while the Tories did not want to remind voters of their desultory record on maintaining the strength of our Armed Forces.

Even so, it was an issue that was key to deciding the outcome, with the overwhelming majority of voters coming to…

Corbyn would threaten Nato, wreck the Special Relationship and diminish Britain’s place in the world

On December 12 voters will decide the future of Britain and Brexit in the most important general election since Margaret Thatcher was swept to power in 1979. Four decades ago, the UK emphatically rejected Socialism and embraced Conservatism, and paved the way for a revival of Britain’s standing in the world.

Now, Jeremy Corbyn threatens to take the country back to the high tax, heavy spending dark days of the 1970s when the UK had to go on its hands and knees to the IMF after running out of money. 

But Corbyn’s policies would not only bankrupt Britain. They would greatly diminish British power on the world stage, threaten Nato and the transatlantic alliance, and tear down the US-UK Special Relationship….

Letters: The threat to Britain’s global influence posed by a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn

SIR – Domestic policy and the very real threat, already acknowledged by the shadow chancellor John McDonnell, of a run on the pound aside, a government led by Jeremy Corbyn would have significant and far-reaching consequences for Britain’s security and global influence.

Mr Corbyn and his supporters have brought into the mainstream an anachronistic approach to Britain’s history and global role that threatens the continuity of our membership of international security alliances. Britain is a founding member of many of these, notably Nato.

Mr Corbyn has a public history of direct and indirect relationships with terrorist Islamist organisations, such as Hizbollah and Hamas, and the Labour Party as…

Labour has built up a world of alternative facts – but we can see Britain is no Dickensian slum

Deep down, we can’t really imagine it happening in Britain. We tell ourselves that extremism is something that afflicts more excitable people. A PM who took the Kremlin line during the Cold War? A grimly unfunny Citizen Smith bent on expropriating private pensions, private schools and private companies? A leader who has never backed his own country in a quarrel with others? We are surely a more level-headed nation than that. Aren’t we?

My friends, brace yourselves. The idea that It Can’t Happen Here has a major flaw, namely that it is already happening here. At the last election, in defiance of all the opinion polls, Jeremy Corbyn won 40 per cent of the vote and came within a whisker of power….

Letters: Britain cannot afford to elect a Labour leader ambivalent about Nato

SIR – Since the Second World War, Nato has proved an effective guarantor of peace for Britain. Jeremy Corbyn’s ambivalent attitude towards Nato risks squandering this valuable alliance in the pursuit of hard-Left ideology.

In 2012 he called for the organisation to be ended, and in 2014 he attributed Russian aggression to Nato’s expansion – an expansion due to vulnerable nations wanting Nato’s protection. If Mr Corbyn got into power, his reckless anti-war activism would have devastating consequences.

Ian Jenkin
Coventry, Warwickshire


SIR – I celebrate my joint birthday with Nato. As the alliance’s members gathered near London for the anniversary summit, I reflected on the security we have enjoyed…

The chilling truth is that Corbyn does not believe in defending the West

Nato is stronger and more resilient than many think, but it relies on Britain being a trustworthy ally

Whatever Nato’s leaders say to each other while gathered in Watford, their presence there is a reminder of the huge role Britain plays in the world’s most important military alliance. Among the 29 – soon to be 30 – countries, ours is particularly influential. As the second biggest contributor to it and the vital hinge between the US and European allies, we count for a lot. 

The role of Nato Secretary General has often been held by distinguished British politicians – Lords Carrington and Robertson. Today, the crucial roles of chair of its military committee and deputy commander in Europe are…