The British army is ready for action – opportunity beckons

As you know, HMG in its wisdom is about to reduce the size of our army to 82,000. The claim is that this reduction will make the army more ‘flexible and agile’, which is to say more battle-worthy, which is to say better.

This new New Model army, or rather about 20 percent of it, is about to be put to an important test: protecting the Olympic Games from internal and external threat. The private contractor G4S originally undertook to provide a security force of 10,000 but has fallen 3,500 short, which deficit the British army will fill – in addition to the 13,500 soldiers it was going to deploy anyway.

For those of you who follow HMG’s history of reconciling estimated and actual numbers, a private contractor coming in under the estimate, as opposed to several times over it, must provide a refreshing change. For example, the original estimate of the overall cost for the Olympics was £2.5 billion. The actual cost already tips £11 billion, and it’s rising faster than you can say ‘incompetent spivs’.

But our government can redeem itself in my eyes and yours by taking advantage of a unique, if costly, opportunity to kill several birds with one stone. Let me outline the opportunity by following presentation techniques normally employed by successful salesmen. The first thing they do is sketch in front of the potential wide-eyed customer the dazzling prize he can win by buying what’s on offer.

So here’s my pitch. How would you, Ministers, like to achieve all these objectives in one fell swoop? First, you make Olympic security airtight. Second, you prove that its improved agility and flexibility have indeed made our army an even more formidable fighting force. Third, you improve the army’s morale no end. Fourth, you amortise the cost of the Channel Tunnel once and for all. Fifth, you settle, again once and for all, any problems that have arisen, or are ever likely to arise, between Britain and the EU. Sixth, you re-establish Great Britain as a world power. Six of the best for the price of one, what do you say? Sounds good, doesn’t it?

What, how it’s to be done? Glad you’ve asked that. So here it is, are you ready for it? First look at the situation. We are deploying a force of 17,000 highly trained, heavily armed soldiers in the London area, within striking distance – good phrase, isn’t it? striking distance, get it? – of the St Pancras International Terminal. In addition, we’ve also mobilised 7,500 private mercenaries provided by G4S – that’s 24,500 fighting men ready for action and backed up, among others, by its own missile force. And that’s not all: also available will be at least 30,000 policemen. Admittedly, not all of them have had weapons training – normally this isn’t needed for Britain is conspicuously lacking in violent criminals who can only be stopped with guns. But if they are all issued rifles and told how to slam a magazine in, release the safety, aim and pull the trigger, the policemen will instantly become a menace to any adversary.

Are you with me so far? We have, Ministers, a 54,500-strong force of fighters, bursting with testosterone and ready for anything within and without reason. Add to this as many or more reservists and TA enthusiasts, and we aren’t far short of the 119,000 strength of Wellington’s army at Waterloo. Do you get what I’m driving at? Are you excited? What, you want me to spell it out? Be happy to.

Once the Games are out of the way, with all those nasty terrorists thwarted in one way or another, we take this force to St Pancras, load them on Eurostar trains, add a few freight carriages full of tanks, cross the Channel, the English Channel, not their bloody La Manche, and take over France and Belgium first, the rest of the EU second. Given our new New Model’s army agility and flexibility, this will be a doddle, a walk in the park.

Just look again at our list of six objectives, Ministers, here it is. Which one of them wouldn’t be achieved if you were to act on this utterly sensible proposal? None of them, wouldn’t you say? Bet this is the best offer you’ve had for a long time. Three years short of two centuries, to be exact. What do you say? Where do we sign, is that not it? Here, let me countersign it. 

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