Great Britain: a disunited kingdom…

On January 24, the head of the British army, Patrick Sanders, warned the citizens of the United Kingdom that they must prepare for a war on the scale of the great conflicts of the 20th century, and that they themselves might need to mobilize. Insights from Philip Turle, British journalist, correspondent in Paris.

franceinfo: What do you think of this announcement from the head of the British army?

Philip Turle : In Britain there is a feeling that the military is not up to par, if ever there was a war declared in Europe, obviously everyone is looking at this what is happening in Ukraine, in Russia, there is a lot of concern. What would happen if we ever had to go there to fight Russia? There are quite a few articles in the press, particularly in the Guardianin the Times who ask the question.

And if, for example, in 2034, Britain was at war with Russia, what would we do? What would happen to the British? Conclusion: the army is not up to standard, not enough people, not enough equipment. So it’s a warning for the British, even if we are a nuclear country, like France, when it comes to going into battle, all that, that’s it. been a little neglected in recent times, and we must rebuild an army worthy of the name. HAS

But do the British really want to get involved?

No, they don’t want to anymore at all. And then I think there is a lot of ignorance about it. The problem for Britain on a daily basis, for example inflation which has started to fall anyway, but prices which are increasing, as for the war in Ukraine, the problems internationally are a bit put second in the minds of the British. HAS

And above all, is it an election year?

So we are in an election year, where Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister, would like to have a fifth mandate, for the Conservative Party in power since 2010. It’s off to a bad start, because in the polls, he is roughly 20 points behind the Labor Party, for the simple reason that there is fatigue in the Conservative Party, and a succession of five Prime Ministers since 2010, the most recent, Rishi Sunak, since fall 2022.

But we all remember the duration in the history of the United Kingdom, of Liz Truss, Prime Minister from September 6 to October 25, 2022. So the British are starting to be tired of the Conservative Party, and the Conservatives have a lot of work to do to win these elections, which will probably take place in October. HAS

We are not going to return to Brexit because the thing is understood, it is done. But today, what about the European Union?

So the Labor Party, which did not want to leave the European Union, cannot announce if they are elected this year that Great Britain will return. For the simple reason that many of their voters deserted the Labor Party during the 2019 elections, to vote for Boris Johnson. Boris Johnson, who was for Brexit, who promised the best of all worlds if Great Britain left the European Union.

So these voters will not come back, if we finally tell them today, we will return to the European Union. So the Labor Party is a little stuck, between its desire to renew closer ties with the European Union, but at the same time not to lose its voters. So the issue is not easy, but they are in a strong position with, as I said, a lead in the polls of 20%. HAS

Is the climate rather gloomy?

People are worried. I have been to Great Britain very often and I have found the country a little changed, certainly, since Brexit. Much concern about the health service which has lost 9 billion pounds in subsidies, that’s about 10 billion euros since 2010, with budget cuts everywhere, extremely severe austerity in Great Britain, introduced by David Cameron, the Conservative Prime Minister, elected in 2010. And therefore a lot of worry about the fact that if I am sick , where is-am I going to go see my doctor? Can I see him ? How many weeks to wait before seeing him?

If I can give you an illustration, you can’t even see your GP, at best, you can get him on the phone, but after two weeks, three weeks. But seeing it in person is downright impossible. So this concern that the health service is falling apart is really what is most important to a large proportion of Britons. Especially since we had promised them mountains and wonders with the departure of the European Union, this saving of 350 million pounds sterling per week, for health services, and everything That never happened.

Another big issue of concern is immigration, and this immigration that we were also promised would stop. And finally, there are as many, or even more today than before Brexit, 745,000 people came to Great Britain in 2022, when we were already outside the European Union enne. So this policy today of sending migrants to Rwanda does not hold water either. In any case, there will be no flights taking off for Rwanda, probably not before the elections in October.


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