Captain’s Log: Day Two of Operation Red Meat. The mission to save the Prime Minister’s backside continues to be met with some resistance.
It is more difficult than you think to negotiate with crew members. The stubborn resistance to attempts to reconcile more disobedient souls is a problem.
What’s more, senior ranks grow ever more restless. Sunak, Hunt and other officers are acting insubordinate.
Leadership must double down efforts if we are to avoid an irredeemable outburst of bloody in-fighting… Yes, the Conservative benches are in a sticky spot at the moment.
For all Number 10’s efforts to give them a jolt they hiss with all the verve of a deflated whoopee cushion.
Captain’s Log: Day Two of Operation Red Meat. The mission to save the Prime Minister’s backside continues to be met with some resistance
Not even Monday’s announcement about phasing out the BBC licence fee did much to energise them. As Spock might observe with a flap of his pointy ears: ‘Illogical, captain.’
Nor has the Government’s ploy to enlist the Navy to help out with illegal cross-Channel migrant crossings shifted them from their grumpiness.
Actually, the contrary. Yesterday, Tobias Ellwood (Con. Bournemouth E), was so unimpressed that he asked for an urgent question.
The proposal was rejected by Mr Ellwood who is a former Captain in the Royal Green Jackets.
Our brave servicemen and women were stretched enough as it is without involving them in Home Secretary Priti Patel’s domestic difficulties.
It was just as humiliating as asking Navy grunts for help to protect our beaches from inflatable dinghies.
James Heappey, junior defense minister, was asked to answer for the government. Heappey, who is also a veteran of two tours in Afghanistan, is Con, Wells.
Tobias Ellwood (Con. Bournemouth E), an ex-captain in the Royal Green Jackets, considered the proposal impulsive and unthoughtful.
You can tell he’s a soldier by the way he speaks, employing that clipped, precise language of the adjutant’s tent.
Also looks like a soldier: polished shoes, well-pressed trousers. His hair parted so well it looked like a zipper.
The move was intended to make it harder on migrants and turned out not to have been. Heappey stated that no naval vessel would be authorized to transport all the inflatable dinghies to France.
Nor would they be using ‘pushback’ measures. According to the Home Office, some beavers were eager to use sonic equipment that produces unpleasant noises enough to incite vomiting.
One could achieve similar results pumping out one of SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford’s ‘People of Scotland’ soliloquies through a tannoy except the courts would probably consider that a cruelty too far.
The Navy was going to take action. Well, by picking migrants up mid-crossing, the naval officers could stop them coming ashore on their ‘own terms’, said Heappey. It was likely that this involved giving the migrants another ride to the nearest processing centre once they had reached dry land. Why not throw in a few complimentary gin and tonics while they’re at it?
Conservative MPs weren’t impressed. Several pointed out that the Navy was being reduced to a ‘taxi service’ for refugees.
Downing Street’s greatest disappointment will be the many ex-servicemen that lined up to vote against the plans.
Ex-Territorial Sir Desmond Swayne (Con, New Forest W) said by picking boats up, the Navy’s presence would only exacerbate the problem.
A former TA, Mark Francois (Con Rayleigh, Wickford) hopped furiously, much like Rumpelstiltskin, on Red Bull.
Conservative MPs were less impressed. Several pointed out that the Navy was being reduced to a ‘taxi service’ for refugees
It was not even something the Tory greats were interested in. Sir Edward Leigh (Con, Gainsborough) labelled the idea ‘just an embarrassment’. He wanted to amend the Human Rights Act so that we could begin to put those who land illegally on beaches in jail.
‘Oh for heaven’s sake!’ wailed Joanna Cherry (SNP, Edinburgh SW). You asked for a human rights silk.
Andrew Murrison, Naval Reservist (Con, SW Wiltshire), took Heappey’s side. He understood he had been ‘bounced’ into the decision by Downing Street.
He was not apathetic. Philip Hollobone, Con, Kettering), was more sympathetic. ‘This isn’t Operation Red Meat,’ he declared. ‘This is Operation Dog’s Dinner!’
Labour’s benches? They just hollered for over an hour delighting in the sight of their rivals teetering on to the back foot.
Worryingly for the Government, they’ve been getting to do rather a lot of that lately.