News

Recognise the courage of those at forefront of battle against coronavirus

By Lord Ashcroft

First published in the Daily Mirror on 03 April 2020.

During the “Blitz”, the bombing campaign by Germany targeting mainland Britain during 1940-1, our monarch realised that we did not have a way of sufficiently rewarding the courage of our civilian bomb disposal teams.

This was because the Victoria Cross (VC) could only be awarded for gallantry in the face of the enemy.

George VI and his advisors were quick to respond, creating the George Cross (GC) in September 1940 for “most conspicuous courage in circumstance of extreme danger”. The GC, which became affectionately known as “the civilian VC”, will celebrate its 80th anniversary later this year. (more…)

See the April issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

By Lord Ashcroft

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has had his latest “hero of the month” article published in Britain at War, the country’s best-selling military history monthly magazine.

The April issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Major Peter Norton, who was decorated with the George Cross (GC) for outstanding bravery in Iraq. (more…)

Rich, liberal and barbaric

By Lord Ashcroft

First published in the Mail on Sunday on 29 March 2020.

Norway takes huge pride in its wealth and enlightened outlook. So why this week will it defy international outrage and embark on the brutal slaughter of hundreds of majestic minke whales?

On the quayside in the picturesque Norwegian village of Andenes, the crew have been preparing their ship for the start of the new season in three days’ time. The engines have been serviced, the wooden meat- cooling pallets have been lifted on to the deck and the deadly exploding harpoons have been loaded. This weekend the ship, named Uregutt, left its harbour on the tiny island of Andøya for the open seas – and soon the killing will begin.

Read more …

See the March issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

By Lord Ashcroft

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has had his latest “hero of the month” article published in Britain at War, the country’s best-selling military history monthly magazine.

The March issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Rear-Admiral Sir Anthony Cecil Capel Miers, who was decorated with the Victoria Cross (VC) for outstanding bravery as a submariner during the Second World War.

Miers was born in Birchwood, Inverness, in November 1906 and he was proud of his Scottish and military roots. He joined the Royal Navy as a special entry cadet in 1925 and soon received a series of promotions. He was a fine officer but his career suffered setbacks too because he was so controversial, short-tempered and outspoken. (more…)

Trump didn’t invent fake news – we used it to beat Hitler!

By Lord Ashcroft

First published in the Mail on Sunday on 01 March 2020.

Man-eating sharks on the prowl in the Channel… German sailors incinerated when we set the sea on fire… Propaganda radio station that wooed the Nazis with porn…

It was Sir Winston Churchill who said: ‘In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.’ For the last four years of the Second World War, the role of bodyguard was played – in part at least – by a highly secretive government department called the Political Warfare Executive.

While it was left to our Armed Forces to defeat Hitler on land, at sea and in the air, the least known of the UK’s nine wartime secret intelligence organisations conducted an unrelenting psychological campaign against the Nazis. (more…)

An open letter to Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the new International Development Secretary

By Lord Ashcroft

Dear Anne-Marie

Congratulations on your elevation to the Cabinet. I was delighted to see your appointment to the post of international development secretary given your unstinting efforts to stand up for British interests as an energetic Brexiteer. I must confess to slight bias, however, given that you retweeted an article of mine from 2013 calling for an end to ring fencing of the foreign aid budget. This gives me renewed hope that we might finally see reform of this money pit.

It was kind of you to say my article was ‘interesting’ on ‘the value (or otherwise) of the overseas aid budget.’ As I argued, it defies all logic to commit Britain to an arbitrary spending target that means we must dole out 0.7 per cent of national income. ‘In what other areas of government do we start not by asking what we want to achieve, but how much of our national income we want to dispense?’ I asked. That was true then and it is even truer today.

Read more …

If Trump’s opponents don’t learn from Corbyn’s catastrophe, The Donald’s guaranteed four more years

By Lord Ashcroft

This article first appeared in the Mail on Sunday on 16 February 2020.

“They take our votes for granted and think we were born yesterday.” So said a former Labour voter last month in the North East of England, reflecting on what had become of the party he once regarded as his own. While Labour had once been for “normal working people, who pay for their house, pay for their car,” it was now mostly for “young people and students, and the unemployed” – that or “middle-class radicals,” and “people in London who go on marches to get rid of Brexit.”

Such views, which emerged in the research for Diagnosis of Defeat, my new report on where Labour stands with the voters following its worst defeat since 1935, tell us even more about the party’s predicament than the election result itself.

Read more …

Labour are in a pickle, but the Tories must keep their heads down: lessons from my new polling report

By Lord Ashcroft

Many Conservatives reading Diagnosis of Defeat, my polling report on the Labour Party’s predicament, will probably have felt a flicker of schadenfreude. It is certainly true that Labour have very deep-rooted problems that go well beyond Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn, the proximate causes of their disastrous defeat. The belief among former Labour supporters that the party had ceased to represent them while taking their votes for granted had been growing for many years, as they explained in devastating detail in my post-election focus groups.

Worse still, the voters who deserted Labour see the party’s problems in a completely different light from that of many of the members who will decide its future. While Labour “defectors” said they did not want Corbyn to be Prime Minister, distrusted Labour’s policies and felt the party did not listen to them – not least because it had tried to stand in the way of Brexit – members were more likely to blame the media, Conservative lies, and the voters, as well as Brexit for dominating an election in which they felt they would otherwise have been on stronger ground.

Read more …

Diagnosis of Defeat: Labour’s Turn to Smell the Coffee

By Lord Ashcroft

After the Conservatives lost their third consecutive election in 2005, I published Smell the Coffee: A Wake-Up Call for the Conservative Party. I felt that the Tories had failed to grasp the reasons for their unpopularity and needed a serious reality check if they were ever to find their way back into government. With Labour now having been rejected by the voters four times in a row, I thought it was time to do the same for them.

No doubt some will be suspicious of my motives. I’m a Tory, after all – indeed, a former Deputy Chairman of the party. There are two answers to that. The first is that the country needs a strong opposition. Britain will be better governed if those doing the governing are kept on their toes. Moreover, at its best, the Labour Party has been a great force for decency, speaking up for people throughout the country and ensuring nobody is forgotten. We need it to reclaim that role.

Read more …

See the February issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

By Lord Ashcroft

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has had his latest “hero of the month” article published in Britain at War, the country’s best-selling military history monthly magazine.

The February issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Wing Commander Hugh Malcolm, who was decorated with the Victoria Cross (VC) for outstanding bravery in the skies during the Second World War.

Born in Broughty Ferry, Dundee, Malcolm was commissioned into the RAF in December 1937. In May 1939, shortly before the outbreak of war, he was so badly injured in a crash during a practice flight that he was told he would never fly again. (more…)