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Monday, September 21, 2015

Fact is stranger than fiction

It is the 1982 story of how a Marxist leader assumes power as the Prime Minister of Great Britain only to find the establishment lining up against him, undermining him at every turn and ultimately staging a military coup against him.

A Very British Coup by former Foreign Office Minister, Chris Mullins, introduces Harry Perkins, a former Sheffield steelworker who sweeps to power on a radical manifesto of nuclear disarmament, withdrawal from Nato, public control over the nation’s finances, the break-up of all-powerful media monopolies and abolition of the House of Lords.

Shortly after the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the opposition, Chris Mullins tweeted that the book was being reprinted and now he is planning a sequel.  However, if the Independent is to be believed fiction could very well turn into fact.

The paper says that a serving army general has warned that Jeremy Corbyn could face “a mutiny” from the military if he became Prime Minister. The unnamed army commander is reported to have said that any attempt by Mr Corbyn to take Britain out of NATO, scrap Trident or cut the size of Britain’s forces would be fought by means “fair or foul".

The general added that a Labour victory under Mr Corbyn in 2020 would result in “mass resignations at all levels” and there would be the “very real prospect of an event which would effectively be a mutiny”:

The general, who is understood to have served in Northern Ireland in the 1980s, claimed that the armed forces would take “direct action” to prevent a Corbyn government from downgrading it and went on to say that his victory had been greeted with “wholesale dismay” even among Labour-supporting soldiers.

“There would be mass resignations at all levels and you would face the very real prospect of an event which would effectively be a mutiny,” the general said.

“Feelings are running very high within the armed forces. You would see a major break in convention with senior generals directly and publicly challenging Corbyn over vital, important policy decisions such as Trident, pulling out of Nato and any plans to emasculate and shrink the size of the armed forces.

“The Army just wouldn’t stand for it. The general staff would not allow a Prime Minister to jeopardise the security of this country and people would use whatever means possible, fair or foul, to prevent that. You can’t put a maverick in charge of a country’s security.”

The last time the British Army came close to mutiny was in 1912 in opposition to the then Liberal Government's plans to introduce Home Rule for Ireland. At that time Edward Carson formally established the Ulster Volunteer Force, a militia made up of 100,000 men who had signed the Ulster Covenant months earlier.

In Dublin, the Irish Volunteers were formed in response, while the British Army faced mutiny in its ranks as many refused to stand against the UVF and enforce Home Rule should the need arise.

It was a scandal then and it is now, such talk should not be tolerated amongst serving members of the armed forces. After all, as one source says, this is not Bolivia.
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