Thursday, 26 February 2015
Nick Drew used the term Rolling Barrage to describe the latest political moves.
Its a quality metaphor.
Politics is only the continuation of war by other means.
Our UK politics is still very much fought in the way of wars of old. Not so much the modern battlefield's high tech kit. Powerful communications. Great flexibly in multi-role operations. Cost effective units..High tech, low manpower..highly trained professionals.
No. Our politics is a titanic struggle of Might and Money. Mobilisation and National Will. Depots and railheads and fixed timetable battle-plans during the campaign season.
Citizen volunteers led by a mix of old regulars. Fresh faced amateurs. Public Schoolboys and keen as mustard university students. Each side containing far greater numbers of journeymen generals than first class leaders. Each with more incompetent or raw officers than veteran field commanders.
Each side proclaiming a great victory for every mile of useless mud gained. Each refusing to accept a defeat. Instead calling it a "rearwards advance" or a "change of base."
Two huge, opposing, power blocks. Separated only by a very narrow ideological strip of no-man's land. Yet fighting to the death to control that thin marginal seat ground.
Our political leaders scour the battlefield. They send out Political Spad XIII scouts to search out the moral high ground, from where the Heavy Artillery Politicians can dominate the battlefield. Bellowing out their thunder day and night. New fangled 'Fokkos Gruppen" report on the movements behind the enemies lines. Seeking out concentrations of troops and the buildup of supplies. Also attempting to find what weakness the enemy has camouflaged under those rear area nets.
Certain sections of the trench line may be very weakly defended. Salients ripe for lopping off.
Other sections are so heavily entrenched, like the NHS, ring-fenced with miles and miles of barbed wire, and well sited union bunkers, that to assault it head on would invite ruin.
Some trench sections led by unflappable Liberal Democrat Captains, have the potential to stand fast, even though the lines either side of them are wiped out.
And the thump of a shell sploshing into the mud. Followed by a dreaded hiss as it releases its toxic topic of "Immigration..Immigration" can have even first line troops of the major parties fleeing to the rear in panic.
Certain sections may be in a safe zone. Weakly defended with second line troops. These could suddenly fall victim to new allies joining the war. The Scots nation and The UKIP opening up like the Turkish and Italian fronts.
The basic battle plan remains the same for both sides.
Find either a strength on your side or a weakness on theirs. Mass forces. Set up a timetable. Brief everyone concerned, making sure their is no deviation from the plan, whatever happens. Then set up a tremendous barrage. Days and days of relentless prattling. Followed by a creeping barrage of sudden explosions and a mixture of Statistics Piercing Shells. Highly Explosive Revelations..Tons of smoke-shells to disguise own mistakes..And the never ending chatter of machine tweets, as the poor bloody infantry try and get their flyers read before they hit the recycling bin.
Once the offensive begins its too late for fine tactics. Simply hammer the opponent and hope to break his front line, so allowing penetrations and flank attacks and try and force him back to his second or third lines.
The chances of a knockout blow are slim to say the least. More often its just attritional, positional warfare , where each side attempts to overwhelm the other with sheer numbers.
Costs are not considered. The war chest has already been amassed and there is no point saving any for the next battle. So every gun that can is brought to bear. And the winner is often the one that made the fewest mistakes.
Our politicians are very old fashioned. They are impressed by something as ancient as a database that might or might not show them where their supporters are. This startling lack of hard reconnaissance means they fire off millions of leaflets, carpet bombing rather than strategic strikes.
They know the marginals are the key to victory. So they bombard them the hardest. But again, just using weight of shells to try and counter battery their opponent into silence.
Communications, the key to the modern era, is not quick enough. MPs rely on a pre-mission briefings and what appears to be field telephone. So they sometimes go over the top into a hail of fire that could easily have been avoided by being forewarned.
Can't help feeling that the first party to master the Westminster equivalent of radio-telephone. Coded messages. Combined arms. Close air support. Mechanised transportation and self-propelled artillery is going to waltz through the political landscape and cause an almighty upset.
I think that's taken that metaphor as far as it could possibly travel.
But for the historians amongst us..
The British Empire - Conservatives
Ill prepared. Too parsimonious and too active on too many fronts prolonged the conflict and prevented gathering of forces for a decisive campaign. The Empire takes a long, long time to become effective.
The French Empire - Democratic Unionist Party
Always up for an offensive. But after sustaining terrible casualties their morale declines. Prefer to remain on the defensive within their own sphere.
Czarist Russian Empire - Liberal Democrats
The least prepared, financed and equipped of the great powers. Poor leadership causes severe losses, Even being propped up by the British Tory Empire can't prevent capitulation then revolution.
Serbia - UKIP
Impossibly small. Friend of neither the Allied nor Central Powers. Somehow, despite attacks from all sides, remain in play. And even mounting offensives.
Imperial Germany - Labour
Once the dominant power. But the war machine was no longer the power force of the 1870s. Outspent by the Entente and lacking allies and with weak leadership, they struggle to find a way to win.
Austro-Hungary - SNP
Allied by virtue of a common ideology to Imperial Labour. But wish to rule as a nation in their own right. They lose almost every battle, yet remain a powerful player in the war to the very end.
Ottoman Empire - Plaid Cmyru/ Respect
Dragged into the conflict through economic dependency on Imperial Labour. Proved ill prepared and ill financed. Charismatic Caliphate leader keeps them going much longer than expected. But eventually defeated and destroyed.
The Kingdom of Bulgaria - The Greens
Originally both the central and allied powers wanted the Green agenda on their side. Eventually the Central Socialist powers proved more able to deliver Green desires. After limited initial success the Kingdom failed in its offensives.. Poor health of troops and lack of money and supplies led to catastrophe. The blame was placed on the idiocy of their leader, who abdicated.
Posted by Bill Quango MP