THE government was completely undone yesterday after the Secretary of Defence Des Browne firmly bolted the stable door well after all the military horses had bolted, when he forbade military personnel selling their stories to the media.
He had agreed to the practice earlier in a desperate attempt to fight the impact that the Iranian president made on the British people after his release of the 15 sailors who were captured by Iran.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Blair was, and is, keeping his mouth well and truly shut, as is his would-be successor Gordon Brown, to try and signal that all of this is nothing to do with them – they are just the leaders of the government.
In fact for the last 10 years they have been the patrons of the notion that everything has its price.
Now this principle has been extended to the military virtues, including the concepts of duty and loyalty, to the rage of sections of the leadership of the armed forces and the ruling class.
It was not so long ago that Blair was posing as the joint ruler of the world, alongside George Bush.
Now that situation has transformed into its opposite. The experiences of the Iraq war and the reverses suffered in the build up to war against Iran, have not only politically destroyed Blair, and greatly weakened Gordon Brown, they have far more seriously for British imperialism, weakened the authority of its officer class to the point where it is becoming the laughing stock of the world.
In previous days for the armed forces, and the government, consorting with the enemy was to be rewarded with the firing squad.
Today Admirals tell the world that this is the way to behave, and afterwards say that the way out is to expose the enemy by selling your story to the media and getting rich out of it. This is while British soldiers and officers, even friends of the heir to the heir of the throne are being killed in Basra.
This new military doctrine, blessed by the Blairite spin doctors, rubbishes all British military discipline throwing the concept of duty out of the window in their desperation to spin their way out of the propaganda victory won by the Iranians.
These fantasists proclaimed to the entire world just how horribly the 15 were treated by the nasty Iranians, when all of the world has spent the last week watching the reality TV show of them laughing, joking and feeding with the supposed enemy, after watching the Premiership on the TV.
That was bad enough for the generals and the ruling class, however there were additional shades of carry on up the Shatt al-Arab.
These emerged when it was said to the media that the reason why the patrols on the waterway were not taking place after the release of the 15, was that the British navy only had four of the required boats, and since the Iranians now had all of these boats in their possession, there could not be any more patrols until the wicked Iranians gave them their boats back!
No wonder all over the world British imperialism is being seen as a joke, and depicted as a world policeman without a truncheon.
Even hardened reactionaries such as the ex-US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton seem to have been severely shocked by the realisation of just how far their ‘strategic ally’, the British ruling class, has fallen.
However it must not be forgotten the price that has been paid for this weakening of British imperialism.
It has cost the lives of 650,000 Iraqis, and many tens of thousands of Palestinians, Lebanese and Afghans who have died resisting the drive of US–UK imperialism to reorder the planet in the last 10 years.
Before 2003, 1.5 million Iraqis lost their lives from 1990 onwards, due to the blockade of Iraq by UN sanctions imposed by the US and the UK, in order to weaken Iraq and prepare the way for an invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
British imperialism is down but it is not out. It will reorganise and its most determined sections will come to the fore. It has however been weakened. Now is therefore the time to concentrate on the building up of the revolutionary party in Britain to lead the British socialist revolution to its victory in the period ahead.