Rishi’s spending spree is certainly out of the blue | Frederick Forsyth | Columnists | Comment

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Out of the blue… Rishi Sunak (Image: GETTY)

You would think that all of these supposed treasury mega-brains would understand the basics of money management. Wealth can be inherited or created, that is, earned. Except by dictators and embezzlers who steal it.

Once obtained, it can be saved or spent. If it is not earned, it must be borrowed, which creates a debt. While it is due, it must be “maintained” with interest payments and then eventually repaid. And that’s about it.

The current government, in the style of the worst socialist regime imaginable, has used the Covid excuse to waste money until the country is in debt. Now he’s looking to claw it back from the taxpayers by raising taxes faster than a Sherpa climbing Mount Everest.

Mr. Sunak’s concessions are pathetic. Clever economic management is supposed to be the raison d’etre of conservatism. That’s why people vote for him, especially those who worked hard, lived frugally, and saved. If, in the next election, the government is removed from office, it will not be because it did not succeed, but because it did not even try to be conservative.

What really puts us in the doldrums is that Labour, Liberal Democrats and Greens are even barnier on the money front. Thanks to serial incompetence at the top, we’re all in the doodah – and it hasn’t started yet.

Modern warfare scores big hits, but Ukrainian fighters on the ground are vital to victory

Wars must teach lessons or they are more useless than even pacifists claim. There are at least two lessons coming out of Ukraine. The first is that the days of tank lordship of the battlefield are over.

There are now at least four weapons that can detect and destroy a tank and in Ukraine an army of skirmishers has reduced Putin’s vaunted tank army to a rusty wreck. His losses are unsustainable.

Previously, for an infantryman, destroying a tank was a suicide mission. But modern shoulder-borne missiles can take out a tank at 800 meters, and with guidance systems there is no shortage of them. Others come from the sky with the same effect.

Even with only its tracks broken, a tank just becomes a helpless turret that goes nowhere. The crew has no choice but to parachute in and try to save themselves on foot.

A second lesson is that the time of the drone has arrived. Without a pilot, there is no problem of crew casualties, and new inexpensive low-altitude drones allow “suicide” missions at point-blank range and without failure. The operator, safely seated miles away, can prowl until he finds his target, then destroy it.

Russian tanks blown to pieces by Ukrainian missile

Russian tanks blown to pieces by Ukrainian missile (Image: GETTY)

Before, they were high-tech and therefore expensive. Not anymore. If there’s a third, it’s a throwback to the 1939 Finland-Russia Winter War or the more recent Vietnam War.

It shows how completely devastating highly camouflaged guerrillas can be. While researching one of my novels, I investigated the Tunnel Rats, fearsomely brave but now neglected American soldiers who descended into the tunnels under Cu Chi and crawled mile after mile in the dark in search of the Viet Cong who was hiding there.

The VC would wait for daylight hours to emerge in the dark and conduct ambush after ambush in areas believed to have been cleared of them. The Ukrainians did not have time to dig and equip networks of tunnels but in forest country, small teams of guerrillas can devastate conventional forces.

The constant ambushes and hit-and-run sniper attacks completely demoralize the invading forces operating in countrysides they have never seen before. This is also a lesson from Ukraine.

Putin can destroy towns and villages to destroy and massacre civilians, but if the Ukrainians keep fighting from the forests, the Moscow thug cannot win. Because to win he must occupy a docile landscape.

Travolta’s Mosquito pilot has me buzzing

What amazing week on a personal level – a long trip down memory lane.

First, a call from Hollywood to say that slow progress is being made to complete a film based on the food relief airlift for dying children in Biafra in 1969.

At the time, the brutal ruling military junta in Nigeria, with the full support of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was blockading separatist Eastern Nigeria (Biafra) and children were dying like flies of hunger.

Churches around the world have assembled a variety of volunteer pilots to ferry emergency food from the Portuguese island off Sao Tome to a small hacked airstrip in the bush.

They flew at night without lights, stalked by the Nigerian night fighters piloted by mercenaries. Others of us were waiting on the airstrip to unload sacks of infant milk concentrate and take them to the Irish nuns whose missions were the nutrition centres.

It was called Joint Church Aid, but the pilots took the three initials to represent Jesus Christ Airlines. I hope now that the film is in production.

Churches around the world have assembled a variety of volunteer pilots to ferry emergency food from the Portuguese island off Sao Tome to a small hacked airstrip in the bush.

They flew at night without lights, stalked by the Nigerian night fighters piloted by mercenaries. Others of us were waiting on the airstrip to unload sacks of infant milk concentrate and take them to the Irish nuns whose missions were the nutrition centres.

It was called Joint Church Aid, but the pilots took the three initials to represent Jesus Christ Airlines. I hope now that the film is in production.

Then a denunciation that someone is making a film about the life of Marine Sergeant Al Blackman, whose conviction and life sentence for murder in Afghanistan was overturned and overturned by the Court of Appeal after a campaign national a few years ago.

He had been the victim of one of the most rigged trials in British military history. By using this column, I was able to bring his case to wider attention.

Since being freed by the Law Lords, he has been living in the countryside with his lovely wife, Claire.

In the meantime, a series of books are in the works on the various fighters our RAF has flown over the years and one is dedicated to the Vampire Boys.

I was able to write a contribution there because in 1958/59 I was one of the last to qualify for the “wings” standard on the De Havilland Vampire Mk. 9.

It is hoped that it will be published by Christmas. Finally, an email from John Travolta at his California home announces his intention to return and film at the former RAF base West Raynham, Norfolk, his role in The Shepherd, a short story I wrote at winter 1974.

All of his filming takes place at night, so hopefully he’ll be free for lunch at a nearby pub. Unlike some megastars, he’s a very modest guy and great company.

Most will remember him for that insanely sexy dance with Olivia Newton-John in Grease and 16 years later as chilling hitman Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction.

Now 68 years old, he still has the same charisma and plays the role of a Mosquito pilot from the Second World War. Hopefully the book and movies will be out by the end of the year.

City zoom can be done for free

It seems the Zoom conference where we can all sit at home and talk to each other, as if we’re in the same room, albeit a hundred miles away, is taking over. But that poses another problem.

The point of HS2 was for tycoons to travel from London to Birmingham at high speed in order to attend conferences and the rest of us would be happy to foot the £106bn bill.

But if they all go to Zoom concert, even the thick ones who control our government (electoral and bureaucratic) could finally admit that this very white elephant could be terminated and the lollipop used to relieve the misery of the elderly.

We could use the money and they could use the votes.

A terrible comeback

In its time, Midsomer Murders, with its corpse-strewn storylines, became a staple hit on television. And not just here. Fans were from all over the world. It has become an important source of foreign income.

Last Sunday night he came back – and it was awful. The plot didn’t make sense – lots of scarecrows came to life – it was nearly impossible to figure out who was who, and it had all the grip of a tired jellyfish.

Perusing the evening menu, as I do every sunset evening, I am always drawn to repeats of the thrillers of yesteryear – Morse, Lewis, Gently and the always excellent Rebus.

They all fit into the two hour slot and the denouement is always a sting in the tail.

Modern “drama” is too often hugely squashed, multi-episode stuff cluttered with boring subplots about detective marital troubles.

As a lookout, I want to see the murderer exposed and taken away in handcuffs – a real old-fashioned “necklace”. And in time for bed – not with a notice telling me that episodes two through six will start next week.

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