Some things in life are decided by the better-prepared and more pig-headed
|Droid Army: quite a spectacle|
Now many of us, myself included, much prefer the inventive flanking maneouvre, the pulling of a bold stroke, the deployment of a knock-down argument to score a point; but the fact remains that some great enterprises are won by just grinding away, frontal assault, wave upon wave, trench by trench, 'defeating in detail' the opposition, one at a time if necessary. "Hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle" as they say in the US Marine Corps.
It's OK, perhaps, when you have the numbers. The 'Indirect Approach' (© B Liddell Hart), by contrast, has particular appeal to those who can't take the casualties, who've sickened of attritional warfare, who like the sound of Sun Tzu's prescriptions for defeating the enemy even before battle has been joined. But if you have a preponderance of resources, there's always that siren argument: we can slog this out. And some people are born sloggers.
(A case-study I use when explaining different strategic approaches is the Ford Sierra: when first launched, as the successor to the all-conquering Cortina, it was greeted with universal derision - the "jelly-mould" would surely never sell. But did Ford change tack? Nope: they ploughed on, with redoubled commitment, ever more advertising, ever more dealer incentives, ever more fleet deals, ever more special offers & 0% finance packages - slogging it out until the Sierra was as ubiquitous as its predecessor.)
And thus we come to May's winter offensive. She's made the maximum use of tactical surprise (quite effectively, it must be said) but that's over now and she is carpet-bombing her way towards the Commons vote. No strokes, no subtlety. It's not difficult to predict abject failure and many do: it's a scenario we have entertained here.
|Salamanca: No slogger, Wellington. No Wellington, McDonnell|
In truth, his and all of the other opposing forces hope - at best- to defeat May's droid hordes in a ten-second miracle per the Star Wars script, by suddenly blowing up the communications satellite. With one neatly-placed missile they will triumph at a stroke, and the reins of government will fall into their hands. Deus ex machina.
Yeah, right. This is lazy-man strategy - a million miles from Wellington's perennial practice of "taking trouble".
May can lose: but can McDonnell win? Meanwhile the grid-script grinds on - with the Daily Mail onside! - and some of those scare stories really are commendably lurid ...