New policies increase English test ratings and introduce stricter scrutiny for international students' second visa applications
Britain’s two youthful leaders have launched a second Battle of Britain, the biggest political revolution since 1832 that aims to revive Britain’s battered economy and restore its debauched finances. They plan to slash government spending by 25 per cent over five years, shrink Britain’s bloated government, which consumes half national income, and fire large numbers of bureaucrats. Today, half of British workers are employed by the government.
No more “nanny” state. The era of savage austerity has dawned.
Under Blair and Brown, Britain’s debt exploded from $540 billion to $1.3 trillion, 90 per cent of GDP. ‘Borrow Britannia’ became the national anthem.
Britain’s vast expansion of government and its foreign wars were financed by borrowing, as the economy became addicted to debt. The Conservatives vow to halve Britain’s towering debt.
Last week, Cameron went to Washington to meet President Barack Obama and reaffirm the hallowed US-UK “Special Relationship.” Cameron made clear Britain remains a loyal American ally but it will no longer slavishly follow Washington’s lead, as did former PM Tony Blair.
Compare this British conservative revolution to Barack Obama’s borrow more/spend more policies that will keep the US mired in recession and debt.
Instead of austerity the US desperately needs to restore its finances, Americans will get more war in Afghanistan.
The “Washington Post’s” stunning investigation, “Top Secret America,” revealed last week that the US security/intelligence establishment doubled under President George Bush and is now largely out of control.
Britain’s former Labour government became highly intrusive over its 13-year rule, occasionally verging on a police state. One of Cameron’s first acts was to order tens of thousands of street cameras spying on Britons removed. The Tory-Liberal Dem alliance are to make the House of Lords an elected body.
Britain will begin withdrawing from Afghanistan, which Cameron and Clegg consider a failed war and waste of British lives.
In Washington, Cameron also had to dodge angry Republican accusations that Libyan, Ali Megrahi, convicted of bombing Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland in 1988, had been freed in a sleazy deal between British Petroleum and Libya.
In fact, strong suspicions remain the Libyan was framed. Britain’s outraged US critics never mentioned the Iranian civilian airliner shot down by the US cruiser “Vincennes” over the Gulf in 1988, killing 290. Its captain was given a medal.
The cost-conscious Cameron flew home from Washington on a commercial British Airways flight. This column has been urging for decades that all politicians fly commercial, just like taxpayers. Bravo Cameron!
Back in London, Baroness Manningham-Buller, former director of Britain’s internal security agency, MI5, made a damning indictment of the Blair and Bush governments in the 2003 Iraq War.
She told the official Chilcot inquiry that Britain’s involvement there and Afghanistan had ‘radicalised’ young people who saw “our involvement in Iraq, on top of our involvement in Afghanistan, as an attack on Islam.”
Britain’s former security chief also confirmed that Iraq had posed little threat to Britain or the rest of the world. There was no link between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein, she asserted, a falsehood spread by the Bush administration that was believed by 80 per cent of Americans in 2003.
MI5 ‘did not believe’ Iraq was working on nuclear weapons.
The Baroness flatly stated the Bush administration had manipulated and falsified intelligence to justify its invasion of Iraq. She stated invading Iraq was “unnecessary” and diverted attention from the real threat, Al Qaeda threat. There was no “substantial” reason for war.
Invading Iraq, Baroness Manningham-Buller told the commission, led to an “almost overwhelming” increase in homegrown terrorism. MI5 had to double its budget. ‘We gave Osama bin Laden his Iraqi jihad,’ she concluded.
Members of the Bush administration still try to justify invading Iraq by claiming other Western intelligence agencies also believed Iraq had nuclear weapons. The US routinely shares intelligence with its allies. False US reports about Iraq, many concocted by Israeli intelligence, were fed to other NATO members. The Bush administration then cited them as proof Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
Manningham-Buller’s testimony, and previous high-level commission witnesses, further exposed Bush and Blair’s lies, deceptions, and egregious violations of international law over Iraq. Hopefully, truth about Afghanistan will be next.
Eric Margolis is a veteran US journalist who reported from the Middle East and Asia for nearly two decades
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