Defending the UK

The Defence Review answers some of the criticisms  bloggers on this site have made in recent years. The order for new fast stealth fighter jets has been increased, meaning the new aircraft carriers will have planes to fly from them. The maritime reconnaissance role will be served by  new planes, after a gap in UK capability. 8 new frigates will be ordered. The new carriers are well advanced in build. When they come into operation they will have frigate, destroyer and submarine protection.

The army will receive more new armoured vehicles, with a larger mobile force available to intervene, or support allies. Up to 10,000 troops will also be trained and available to reinforce the police at home should there be dangerous terrorist attacks requiring a forceful response.

I raised with the Prime Minister the issue of control of our borders. I welcome the  additional cash and personnel to strengthen our intelligence gathering. We can only keep safe if the authorities stay ahead of the threats to our way of life, and use the intelligence they have gained to good effect. I suggested that our borders be strengthened with specific links from the Intelligence services to the  border management, so that if for example terrorists are displaced from the Middle East by military action there they cannot gain entry to the UK, whatever their legal status, if their aim is harm or they are trained in terrorist ways. He accepted that more should be done to tighten border controls.

I also raised with Defence Ministers after the statement the need to continue to press for better value for money within the defence budget. In particular more can be done to release MOD land in places where it has substantial development value, and to provide new and better facilities elsewhere for our service personnel. I also relaunched my proposal for better assistance to service personnel in buying their own home. Everyone in the military should have a home base. They should be helped to buy a home of their own near the base in the normal way. Alternatively if they are using married quarters or other  service housing on a base they should be able to buy an interest in  it from the MOD for the duration of their time in the services, only to sell it back at a profit based on an agreed index of comparable freehold property prices when leaving the service. They would then have a deposit for a home of their own.






    November 24, 2015

    There is no indication whether the frigates are shallow-hulled enough to make their way in our inland rivers,- Ouse, Thames, Trent, Severn, Derwent , Wharfe, Aire, Ribble, Ure to aid the fight against ISIS. Dredging against flooding has been thought too expensive by Mr Cameron. I cannot see they would be useful anyway and could be easily disabled by terrorists firing automatic weapons from the river banks. The smart bombs , as with Al-Raqqah, shown yesterday on TV are not smart enough to take out less than two city blocks.

    So the “10000 troops will be trained and made available to reinforce the police..” So why was not this done 5 years ago? Of course they could not be used directly at all as no training outside urban areas would be transferable and certainly not in England where…well the idea is to take out terrorists alone and not knock every door down shooting at occupants.

    British people are in severe peril while Mr Cameron openly ignores ISIS base areas in England, making available extra bums on seats in GCHQ and their real locations presumably for the sons, daughters and other relatives and friends of MPs as in the case of such jobs in America if a certain American spy now in Russia is to be believed ( because the budget and their exorbitant salaries are top secret and not available for scrutiny ).
    It is not a a main requirement for a terrorist to be computer/internet literate. Obviously such ideas spring from adolescent minds and those used to sitting on useless and costly Local Authority committees.

    As I pointed out some time ago, the Government should not engage in fighting the likes of ISIS abroad and leave our population in England in real terms utterly undefended.

    What is the emergency hotline number for our population to call the captain of a frigate if faced with gunmen say in the centre of Leeds or Bradford? How many knots can he manage? Will he be too busy picking up migrants in the Mediterranean?

    Reply The frigates are designed to be ocean going and used at sea and overseas. We have a substantial police force for keeping internal order, and I am pleased to say we do not have a tradition of government firing on our own population.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 24, 2015

      We may indeed have a substantial police force but are they for keeping internal order. A great many of them are however engaged in deterring crime reporting, thinking up ways of fiddling the crime figure, chasing up geriatric alleged sex offenders, sending out victims of crime letters or working out how to mug motorists for doing 71 on a motorway (to fund their pensions and wages). Or even perhaps mug those doing 31 on a motorway/dual carriageway if they have suitably adjusted the speed limits up and down sufficiently to confuse people.

      1. Lifelogic
        November 24, 2015

        Or perhaps they are enforcing all the many new “thought crime” laws, thinking up reasons not to investigate many crimes (such as shop lifting, burglary, theft, vandalism, assault, credit card crime), thinking of other reasons to avoid charging people (to save time and money wherever possible).

        When they are not doing that they seem to be be on “PC education courses” trying to make the police force “representative” of the public in gender and race, on sick leave, bringing claims to the criminal injuries compensation board, bringing other compensation or discrimination claims, being told they are institutionally racist, suspended, or just on team building exercises.

        I am sure however there are many very good policemen and women trying to do their best within this absurdly PC structure. They have my sympathy, it must be very depressing for the those who are actually trying to offer a good service to the public.

        The Government, the legal framework and the senior police staff are mainly to blame. The sorts who think mugging motorists for doing 71 on a motorway is a good way of funding police pensions and wages!

      2. stred
        November 25, 2015

        They must be short on cash to pay the M25 Pfi bill. Coming to the big flasher past the services in Kent, the limit suddenly went to 50. I braked in time but some others doing about 55 were done. The reason given was ‘congestion’. There was no congestion as traffic was not heavy and there were no breakdowns. This morning we had congestion in the same spot because of ‘a broken down motor bike’, no doubt requiring 2 lane coned off. I wonder how much that one grossed.

    2. Anonymous
      November 24, 2015

      Reply to reply.

      We have a substantial but largely unarmed police force. And those that are armed would have great difficulty in dealing with a marauding band of gunmen armed with more powerful and faster firing weapons than their own.

      “We do not have a tradition of government firing on our own population”

      Times have changed, John.

      Britain has lots of new traditions now.

    3. Anonymous
      November 24, 2015


      You are absolutely right.

      David Cameron is no Winston Churchill. Churchill would not have waged air strikes thousands of miles away whilst pretending that the real threat wasn’t already here, within our shores.

      1. Jumeirah
        November 25, 2015

        Winston -bless him- led our young men into Galipoli where thousands died to no purpose whatsoever. We never learn do we?

    4. bluedog
      November 24, 2015

      HMS Belfast in the Pool of London has guns that can hit Heathrow, or most of Greater London. Start up her diesel generators, power the turrets and load. ISIS should be very afraid. Your concerns are misplaced, Mr Houston.

      But yes, it is remarkable that it is now necessary to form two rapid reaction strike brigades to protect the UK from its own citizens.

  2. Lifelogic
    November 24, 2015

    You make very sensible points, especially the control of borders and proper links to Intelligence.

    I am not so sure about selling staff a share of MOD property with a buy back, it sounds rather a messy solution. They should surely just be encouraged, in some way, to save funds in order to be able to buy a property later in life (0r perhaps to buy one now but let it out until needed).

    The problem is you do not always know what you future property needs are likely to be and with Osborne’s absurdly high stamp duty rates moving & buying again is absurdly expensive, due to all the dead money wasted on stamp duty, legal fees, agents fees, land registry fees, valuation fees and 20% vat on much of it too.

    1. Martyn G
      November 24, 2015

      I was going to comment below but your note re MoD property is relevant to what I was going to say. The fact us that the MoD does not actually own its married quarters, either on or off Service bases, because they were sold on to private contractor for peanuts decades ago.
      The maintenance is handled by the contractor – often with truly dire results for the occupants – and some of the more desirable married quarters outside of a Service base were sold off at profit. Because of that, I have in mind ‘outside the wire perimeter’ senior officer quarters at Naphill being sold, resulting in a few instances of senior officers being unable get the quarter to which they were entitled.
      I suppose in principle that John’s idea is good but I suspect it would be terribly difficult to manage, because the housing contractor would want to make a profit out of it.

    2. Leslie Singleton
      November 24, 2015

      Save funds? You mean like in a bank at negative interest??

    3. Bazman
      November 24, 2015

      The absurdly expansive stamp duty will be the portion above £1.5 million at 12% not the 0% on the first 125k or the 2% on the portion above 125k to 250k? The 12 % is a major headache for some first time buyers especially with the IHT rates being what they are and think of the amount of tax paid on a Bentley and hiring staff. Its a wonder how anyone can get by in London.

      1. Edward2
        November 24, 2015

        So as you say, the rich will pay much much more than the average purchaser.
        Isn’t that what you believe in Baz?

        However I agree with LL
        Stamp duty which used to be a very small fee for the conveyance of a transfer of ownership of a property from one person to another, is now £5,000 on a £300,000 house sale.

        1. Lifelogic
          November 25, 2015

          I might well cost £100,000 in total to move from a house worth £1M to another worth the same. So people do not move or they extend and adapt, rather than moving. SDLT is far too high, turnover taxes in general are very damaging to the economy especially at high levels.

          1. Bazman
            November 25, 2015

            The seller in reality fits the bill and is reflected in the price of the house. People buying million pound houses are not hard done by and where should the taxes come from? The lower end of the income scale?
            The argument that the buyers of these properties should pay more is very strong. The high end London housing market is booming despite your whining. Many of the buyers avoid tax in other areas and as we have seen high end London property is often just being used as a way of tax avoidance in itself and in some cases to launder money.
            They do not have to like paying just pay like the rest of us do.

  3. Lifelogic
    November 24, 2015

    So Prince Charles blames the Syria crisis on global warming. Can we assume he will cut his annual £1M + travel bill, sell his Aston Martin(s) and car and trade down a single home – a well insulated three bed terrace or flat perhaps?

    Or will it be more a case of “do as I say not as I do”? Why can the dopey man not just stay out of politics as his sensible parents do? Why alienate people by expressing such political opinions especially when they are clearly so stupid. Is he keen to move to a republic perhaps?

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 24, 2015

      Before Charles starts going on about a drought in Syria he should take a look at Syria’s population statistics.

      In 1945 the population of Syria was about 3 million while that of the UK was about 49 million. Now in the absence of recent mass emigration the population of Syria would be something like 24 million, eight times higher. If the UK population had increased by the same factor since 1945 then it would now be about 390 million, rather than the actual 60-odd million.

      How well would we in the UK have coped with that kind of population explosion?

      Not very well, I think, and we would have started from a better position than Syria did.

      There is little need to seek global explanations such as “global climate change” for the difficulties in Syria when that massive, core, problem of explosive population growth has been home grown.

      That is, unless one wants to look at the role of one of the major world religions in hindering the Syrians from limiting the excessive and unmanageable growth in their numbers.

    2. Bob
      November 24, 2015


      “Prince Charles blames the Syria crisis on global warming”

      Well he could hardly blame Barack Obama for prematurely pulling the troops out from Iraq and leaving a power vacuum, could he? Although I don’t know why he can’t just restrict himself to talking to his tomatoes.

      (On a different topic ed) I notice a slew of infomercials from the mental health charity “Mind” on commercial radio advertising their website. This must be a very expensive way of advertising for a “charity” that relies on taxpayer funding. Is it really the govts role to decide which charities receive our cash, surely that decision should remain with the people whose money is being spent.

      Upon hearing the news about the downed Russian jet I again wondered whose side Turkey are on in the conflict with IS.

      1. Lifelogic
        November 25, 2015

        Indeed government should only act in the very few areas where they can be more efficient. What possible justification can there be for taxing people using criminal sanctions then giving it away to charities (worse still charities that the government approves of). Let them give it to the charities themselves directly if they want to they will select far better and more efficient ones too I suspect.

      2. stred
        November 25, 2015

        These Mind ads puzzed me. They say it helps if friends and relations (presumablynot anyone listening) has a chat with the person who is having problems. The last time I had a word with someone I knew who was under the shrink, she told her and they decided I needed therapy too. I have kept well away since.

    3. formula57
      November 24, 2015

      Human geography has long recognized that climate has a major influence on how people behave, even a defining influence often times. Accordingly, making a link between the vicissitudes arising from climate change and subsequent political action even to the extent of fostering terrorism does not seem so fanciful.

      I do not know if Prince Charles or Charlotte Church or others are claiming the one is an inevitable outcome of the other but I presume not. I do not see how it is unhelpful to recognize a possible linkage, especially as some defence planners point to threatsof the like as those arising from a future shortage of drinking water in the face of population growth.

      1. Edward2
        November 24, 2015

        Strange how its just affected Syria and not Israel Iraq Egypt Jordan etc
        It can’t be anything due to the raging civil war in Syria obviously.

      2. Margaret
        November 25, 2015

        We are just playing the denial game until we all die. We are simply animals scrapping for our own survival. When the seas cover us and freeze and from thereon millions of years into the future, artefacts will be found from that selfish race who thought they knew it all but in reality could not face was right in front of them. It is just a power game where everybody wants their voice to be heard and want to denigrate or kill others in a pathetic attempt to demonstrate their own superiority. This is extreme Darwinism , but the elements don’t play to our game.They come out with waffle such as percentages and repetitive aspects of society which they call facts and confuse them with truths. They all repeat the same old few events or bits of information they have remembered and call themselves clever.

        We need thinkers not parrots.

    4. Bazman
      November 24, 2015

      That ……….. Mail reporting a story that you do not like and worse accurately doing it. As bias as the BBC!
      Not that stupid should global warming effect food security and water supplies on a much larger scale this could lead to mass migration war and civil unrest. You do not like this coming from any source especially Prince Charles, as you refuse point blank to believe that there could ever be a problem and if there was was not caused by global warming as it cannot exist because we can in no way effect the climate in a negative way or at least one that is out of our control.
      However science, Yeah! Science that old chestnut, and it church leaders ‘scientist’ say different and so does common sense.
      Harrumping and building a case around a belief is not logical lifelogic.
      Anything to sat about proposed cuts in housing benefits. That could hit landlords hard saving billions for the taxpayer by stopping absurd tax and spend to parasitical state paid for private services.

    5. Richard1
      November 24, 2015

      Correct phraseology is His Royal Highness has been poorly advised.

      1. Lifelogic
        November 24, 2015

        Sorry, quite right that is of course how I meant to put it.

        He was also rather “poorly advised” when he said:- less than 100 months to act to save the planet from irreversible damage due to climate change.

        About 6 years ago ( I think) so not very long left now yet no warming at all since 1998.

        Also in royal circles surely it should be “fewer than 100 months”.

      2. Denis Cooper
        November 25, 2015

        And those poor, or evil, advisers should be removed and punished, so that His Royal Highness may be better advised in the future.

  4. Mike Stallard
    November 24, 2015

    Well done! The army, navy and air force need our full support and encouragement.
    What about the bureaucratic inefficiency at the top though – far too many Generals and people? And what about the legal situation where soldiers can be put in court for shooting in a war zone?

    1. Vanessa
      November 24, 2015

      What army, navy or airforce?

      Cameron has slashed them all to skeleton size and now suddenly wants them to fight Daesh?? in Syria? The man is a complete nincompoop. How does he think they are going to defeat “this horror” with such depleted numbers of everything that matters? The men and women he wants to send into the line of “fire” will just fall like toy soldiers. Does he ever think anything through to its conclusion?

    2. Lifelogic
      November 24, 2015

      Indeed, far too many Generals & overpaid (and over pensioned) paper pushers. Rather like the NHS and most of the rest of government.

  5. Antisthenes
    November 24, 2015

    It is excellent that we are now paying attention to out armed forces and beefing them up as the first priority of government is the security of it’s citizens. It is an indictment of the left wing parties that they either neglect them or even want to abolish them altogether. Where do they get their thinking from it certainly is not from any rational place that is certain. Then that is true about almost all their thoughts and beliefs.

    The Conservatives are to be applauded for this defence review and for the fact they are going to act positively on it. However they need to also look at the calibre of those they put in charge the generals and the like. As from my point of view there are no Wellingtons or Montgomerys amongst them. We can do without having donkeys leading lions which appears very much to be the case at the moment.

    1. formula57
      November 24, 2015

      No Montgomerys is a real advantage, no? (especially as we might expect to have to foster co-operation with allies in any operation.)

      1. bluedog
        November 24, 2015

        A very sound point. The historian Anthony Beevor observes in his book on the Ardennes campaign that Eisenhower’s encounters with Monty in 1944 may have had lasting consequences. Beevor suggests that Eisenhower’s reaction to the Suez adventure in 1956 was in part revenge for Monty’s behaviour in the post D-day campaign. A long bow to draw, perhaps.

      2. Antisthenes
        November 25, 2015

        Indeed I thought using Montgomerie was probably a mistake because arguably he was not that good a general or a particularly nice person he infuriated Patton who was a brilliant general perhaps I should have said Marlborough instead. It must be noted that the Americans also have their problems in that area as they certainly do not have generals any more of the calibre of Patton.

  6. Vladimir Putin
    November 24, 2015

    Why the need for immensely expensive F35 type fighters?

    Surely – after recent experience – ground attack is at least as important, maybe even more necessary? So why use supersonic aircraft for that role?

    Get some A10’s into service pronto – something that can loiter over battlefields and put the fear of impending obliteration into the enemy, but at a fraction of the cost.

    Then use missile defence to ward off any fighter/air threat over UK airspace.

    Enough of the shiny expensive kit – get stuff that works in all weathers, has proven capability and get more for our money.

    1. Tad Davison
      November 24, 2015


      There’s a lot on YouTube that tells of the shortcomings of the F35. It’s supposed to be a jack of all trades, but effectively it is master of none, and it is very, very expensive for what it is and what it does.

      I have designed a great many very successful radio controlled aircraft in my time, and have a knowledge of aerodynamics. All aircraft, whether model or full-size, are governed by the same principles. Once a need has been recognised, a specification is then defined. Designs are then produced that will perform the intended roles. Each requirement will have different wing-loadings, carrying capacities, speed, endurance etc. As far as the F35 is concerned, it is impossible to have a ‘one-size fits all’ airframe without an inhibiting compromise, so your point about using cheaper A10s for ground attack is a valid one.

      We are being led up the garden path with our rush to buy the F 35. The politicians wish us to believe it is a panacea, and is far superior to everything else in the sky, yet its flight envelope is actually inferior to many aircraft of nearly 60 years ago. As for its stealth capabilities, old 1940s long-wave radar can detect it, as can conventional radar when it rains, and look-down satellites high above it.

      Let us not forget too that the F35 is a ‘manned’ aircraft, and that is also an inhibiting factor. Airframes can take a lot more stress than the human body, so turns in a manned aircraft are not as tight as a pilotless aircraft as G forces in turns have to be limited for the pilot’s sake. That means autonomous aircraft have a great advantage in manoeuvrability, acceleration, and deceleration, and please accept my assurances that the latter are far more advanced than the politicians let on.

      The F35 is a poor solution to a problem that existed 20 years ago. I don’t feel we should pay through the nose for sub-standard goods that are unlikely to stand the test of time or do the job intended.

      Tad Davison


      1. Chris S
        November 26, 2015

        Tad : as a fellow R/C aeromodeller ( of the kind that still builds his own planes ) I agree with everything you have said about the F35.

        The biggest mistake, in my view, was not to change course when the decision not to equip the carriers with catapults was revisited.

        They could then take much less expensive conventional aircraft which could have included a small/medium lift transport plane such as the CODs used by the American fleet.

        Without a catapult I doubt whether the carriers are going to have enough space to launch a fighter drone for fleet defense which will undoubtedly come available during the anticipated lifetime of the two ships. It will, of course, be prohibitively expensive to design and build a VTOL one, just for the carriers.

        We seem therefore to be stuck with the F35 with all its compromises and expense.

    2. ChrisS
      November 24, 2015

      While A10s are fantastically useful, they are obsolete and the ground attack role could easily be replaced by tactical drones armed with Gatling guns and cannon that place no pilots in harm’s way.

      Aerial Cameras are now better than the Mk1 human eyeball so there is very little advantage in having a manned plane flying over enemy territory with the pilot looking for targets of opportunity. Precision bombing is another matter entirely.

      I also wonder whether we really need the proposed maritime patrol aircraft ?
      By the time they come into service, a large drone equipped with cameras, sensors and weapons could be designed and built to perform the job at a fraction of the cost. It would be able to loiter over the ocean for 24 -48 hours without any problems over crew fatigue.

      Most submarine hunting is done by dropping sonar buoys and listening for an acoustic signature. This could surely be done by a drone with information gathered and then analysed back at base in real time.

      1. stred
        November 25, 2015

        The phrase is The Right Honourable Eural McCameron has been badly advised. Could JR put some questions to the PM based on the above info, hopefully before we sign up to but a pig in a poke from our Yankee cousins?

  7. Richard1
    November 24, 2015

    Lord Ashdown, in a customarily sanctimonious – but mostly quite sensible – contribution to the discussion on Syria on the Today Programme this am, made the extraordinary assertion that the reason Govt are not looking properly into the funding of jihadi propaganda in the UK is due to connections between rich Saudi Arabians and the Conservative Party! Certainly if this is true it must be investigated and exposed immediately. If on the other hand it is a load of unsubstantiated rubbish born of LibDem sour grapes following their trouncing at the election, Lord Ashdown should be required to make a public apology and requested to restrict his comments on foreign policy to constructive points, not to flinging domestic political insults.

    1. lojolondon
      November 24, 2015

      I agree – it seems fairly obvious that the UK and US governments and mainstream media almost always take the Saudi line in every conflict, and there is never any pressure put on Saudi for bad behaviour – eg 15 of the 19 911 terrorists were Saudis, ISIS / Daesh are almost exclusively funded by Saudi, etc. Obviously we will one day pay the price for cosying up to the bad people here.

    2. Tad Davison
      November 24, 2015

      Agreed, but will it happen?

      I have a very poor opinion of most politicians and remain a cynic.


  8. Bert Young
    November 24, 2015

    The post this morning makes a great deal of sense ; defence of the realm is of the utmost importance ; Osborne has to have this priority very much in his mind and not considerate ad hoc slicing away in his pathetic attempt to reach an austerity target .

    Equally Theresa May must not give in the to the edicts from Brussels concerning how we expedite criminals or , how we allow so-called British citizens returning to the country if they have taken part in the IS activities in Syria ( or elsewhere for that matter ). Those individuals who have assisted IS should automatically lose British citizenship .

    Keeping our borders watertight is also a matter of the utmost priority and we must not pussyfoot around with those illegals who manage to break through ; they should automatically be “exported” from whence they came and not be treated with the leniency of social hand-outs .

    Recent events have highlighted just what happens when sights are dropped on security ; criminal elements are rife and will seek out all the chinks that exist . Our tolerant society has gone too far and it is time for us to make our toughened condition aware to the world .

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 24, 2015

      “… individuals who have assisted IS should automatically lose British citizenship.”

      I believe that most should, but firstly it should not be automatically assumed that anybody who has gone to Syria recently has gone there to assist IS, and secondly there should be due process with the possibility of appeal.

      As JR has twice declined to publish a comment on this issue which I submitted on a previous thread there seems no point in simply re-submitting it here.

      I don’t know which idea he most strongly opposes: whether it is to people being tried for treason, or to such trials being held in absentia if necessary, or to them being deprived of British citizenship even if they hold no other official citizenship, or to those who intended to fight against IS not being treated in the same way as those who intended to fight for IS, or to young and/or delusional people being treated more leniently, or what.

    2. Mike Wilson
      November 24, 2015

      Bert Young … what on earth do you mean by Osborne having an ‘austerity target’. Is running the government without borrowing money your definition of ‘austerity’?

      We are already passing on a debt of one and a half million, million pounds to future generations. Isn’t that enough for you? Or do you want the government to borrow even more so there is no ‘austerity’?

      How do you define ‘austerity’?

  9. Ian wragg
    November 24, 2015

    Very disingenuous John. More stealth fighters for the carriers
    A totally useless piece of kit with about a quarter of its weight dedicated to a large horizontal fan for VTOL which is redundant in flight reducing its speed and range by about 20%.
    8 Type 26 Frigates which will only replace scrapped Type 23 ‘ s. Many of them Alongside due to lack of spares.
    Only 450 new recruits when at least 2000 are needed.
    No reduction in the ludicrous foreign aid budget and of course Dave is to get his own Bliarforce 0.5.
    Very Presidential.

    1. forthurst
      November 24, 2015

      “More stealth fighters for the carriers
      A totally useless piece of kit”

      No need to specify which as the comment applies to both. Carriers being the largest ever in the RN, one not capable of launching a plane so pointlessly large, powered by diesel so requiring huge fuel tanks for shorter cruise range than nuclear powered (R-R snub), sitting duck to anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBM) with longer range than F35, despite destroyer/frigate defence. Stealth aircraft which are not stealth against long wavelength radar, ludicrously expensive and no match for single purpose planes in whichever theatre they attempt to challenge.
      Gordon Brown/ CMD, MOD, Defence Manufacturers, not fit for purpose.

      1. bluedog
        November 24, 2015

        One very much hopes that the new HMS Prince of Wales will not find herself manoeuvring in order to deflect a Chinese invasion fleet heading towards Singapore from their South China Sea bases.

  10. Iain Moore
    November 24, 2015

    Cameron hasn’t even undone the damage he did to our armed forces in the last Parliament.

  11. Old Albion
    November 24, 2015

    I welcome the recognition of the need to reinforce our military capability. Though many mistakes have been made in allowing it to rundown so badly. We need a strong military now, not in 2025.
    However, none of this will assist in rooting out the thousands of Islamic terrorists/sympathisers that have been allowed to cross our borders thanks to the idiocy of the EU.

    1. Mike Wilson
      November 24, 2015

      … allowed to cross our borders thanks to the idiocy of the EU.

      I know which idiots I blame for our having open borders.

      1. stred
        November 25, 2015

        Closing borders is a bit more difficult than putting up customs posts on the main roads and railways. The French on their side of the Pyrenees use the A9 to buy giant bottles of whisky and other hootch from Spain. In the summer the local gendarmes and customs get together and confiscate much of this, causing a long queue. It is rumoured that they have a good Noel. We just turn off about 5 miles back, go past a village and over the top via a D road. Even if this were to be closed, anyone could get out and walk through the forest to meet another Hardi on the French side.

  12. Anonymous
    November 24, 2015

    Clearly home defence is the issue.

    It makes me laugh to hear Mr Cameron banging on about fighting IS abroad.

    The problem is already here – within our shores. And you could blow torch IS off the map but the fanatics would still be here, in Britain. A few years back it was Al Qaeda, now it’s IS. After it will be something else.

    As far as I have read the 10,000 extra troops is not 10,000 more troops but the same ones trained in different tactics. It is still no match for France’s 280,000 armed and ready police.

    10,000 troops deployed on global missions can’t be returned to Britain double quick to respond in good time to an English town under siege and its inhabitants being lined up and executed on YouTube.

    We now need armed officers and troops within 20 minutes deployment of any area with a sizeable population. (10,000 troops is not going to provide this.)

    This is the price of multiculturalism and the political class’s wilfull disobedience of those who voted for them.

    In 50 years we have gone from police that looked like Dixon of Dock Green to LAPD and Star Wars Storm Trooper.

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 24, 2015

      By your argument we should not be trying to assist with the eradication of ebola in west Africa, instead we should restrict ourselves to dealing effectively with any cases that present in this country. After all it’s not clear that we can do much to help with ebola, and anyway once it’s been eradicated some other disease will arise.

      1. Anonymous
        November 25, 2015

        Denis – There is little similarity with disease but seeing as you mention it we are also more at risk from it because of our open borders.

        IS is largely the result of bungled western interventions in that region. This does not bode well for the outcomes of further interventions. So actually doing nothing is sometimes the best option.

        The clear threat is terrorism here – much of it home grown. It is far easier to commit to long range bombing than it is to deal with the domestic situation.

        When are the politicians going to get serious about protecting our people from Paris style attacks ? I fail to see how bombing Syria prevents this. In fact I think it will make it inevitable.

    2. yosarion
      November 24, 2015

      We have a Scots Guards a Welsh Guards and an Irish Guards, is it not time to have an English Guards. Never understood why there is not one Regiment in the Army with the word English in the title.

      1. Old Albion
        November 24, 2015

        It’s because the (dis)UK government doesn’t recognise the existence of England. We’re the ‘regions’ apparently.

  13. oldtimer
    November 24, 2015

    On the face of it the announcements are welcome. Presumably they reflect the recent decision to increase the defence budget back to 2% of GDP. Nevertheless the armed forces appear to be in some difficulty recruiting the numbers and skills it needs to staff itself to current levels. Are we to conclude that the large reductions carried through in service manpower in the recent past were misguided and/or ill-timed?

    Let us hope that the next defence review is better than the last one.

  14. English Pensioner
    November 24, 2015

    In the past we have spent too much on the very latest high-tech equipment which has nearly always arrived late and never lived up to expectations.
    What our military need is the best equipment, which is not always the latest. The Kalashnikov is a case in point; it has been around for years, is effective in use and still probably one of the best general purpose assault rifles. Yet, I’ve no doubt somewhere the MoD has a contractor trying to produce something better and trying to re-invent the wheel. The same with military aircraft; do we really need the very latest, which, apart from cost, are likely to require far more maintenance and down time than earlier models?

    Whilst we have to maintain a position where we could defend ourselves against a major power such as Russia, one would hope that our nuclear submarines and Trident would provide the necessary deterrent, and any fighting in the foreseeable future is likely to be against terrorists and insurgency, low-tech enemies for which we don’t appear to have any real response capability. Knocking-out pick-up trucks with missiles costing upwards of £100K each hardly seems an effective way to deal with the situation in places like Syria, and we don’t seem to have a strategy for dealing with such enemies. One could almost believe that a Spitfire would be more effective at shooting-up such enemies!

    Whilst I applaud what the government is proposing, I believe that far more thought and effort needs to be directed towards deciding how we are going to deal with situations such as in Afghanistan and Libya where our interventions have, in my view, been a total failure. Let us hope that Syria doesn’t end in the same mess.

  15. Mactheknife
    November 24, 2015

    I have to admit that I was astounded during a TV news report yesterday to hear that the UK was having to borrow aircraft and crew from France and Canada to try and find a Russian submarine off the UK coast, as we no longer had the capabilities following the decision to scrap our own aircraft with this capability.

    I thought the first priority of any government was to keep its citizens safe ?

    I’d be interested to hear what Mr Cameron said about this situation John ?

  16. Original Richard
    November 24, 2015

    The US policy of regime change in the Middle East (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria) has been a complete disaster for the UK and Europe. The region has been de-stabilised and no matter how bad were the original regimes the chaos and continuing wars in all these countries is now making living in these countries far worse than before.

    Fighting wars in the Middle East which, as we have seen with Iraq and Afghanistan, is a complete waste of money and lives.

    We need to strengthen our local defence. The BBC R4 File on 4 programme dated 30/09/2014 (still available) highlighted how we have absolutely no maritime border control force around our shores. We are as undefended as Greece.

    “Intelligence gathering” is insufficient. We need military “boots on the ground” at our ports and our one land border with The Republic of Ireland to ensure that no illegal migrants pass through.

    The only way to stop the illegal migration, as has been shown by the Australians, is to refuse entry to Europe and return these migrants back to where they have come.

    Otherwise the flow will be endless (Mrs. Merkel still refuses to put any upper limit to the numbers of migrants Germany will accept) until the living conditions in Europe and the Middle East/Africa reach equilibrium.

  17. Pete
    November 24, 2015

    What a joke. Increasing the order for F35s, the aircraft that even the US forces can’t afford and doesn’t work even if you can afford it. Better off with some 40 year old Harriers. Scrapping them and the Nimrods was an enormous mistake as was ordering the aircraft carriers. The review also lists Russia as a threat, sheer stupidity. With people who can make decisions like this we don’t need imaginary Russian enemies.

    1. Iain Gill
      November 24, 2015

      Nimrod was a crap waste of money, harriers were good but went only cos they were largely navy and the raf preferred to keep their own stuff instead of navy.

  18. Tom William
    November 24, 2015

    Better late than never, but late means five to ten years with fingers crossed.

    The story of defence procurement over the last twenty or so years is a shameful mixture of delays, inappropriate equipment, wrong decisions and a belief that jobs in the British defence industry is more important than equivalent (or better) equipment bought abroad for less money. The scrapping of Nimrod, rather than mothballing, and the selling of Harriers to the US Marine Corps at a knockdown price was a disgrace. The use of Typhoons for ground attack is absurd and due to no alternatives.

  19. Bob
    November 24, 2015

    Mr Cameron scrapped 3 aircraft carriers over the last 5 years, sold off the Harriers and scrapped the Nimrods leaving us in the humiliating position of having French reconnaissance aircraft patrolling the seas around our Trident sub bases.

    This must surely raise questions about his suitability for office.

    How long before the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight are pressed back into service?

    “Up to 10,000 troops will also be trained and available to reinforce the police at home”

    I’m guessing this will be a military equivalient of PCSOs, which for modernity purposes will include under height overweight females and a variety of other people with “protected characteristics”.

  20. Peter Davies
    November 24, 2015

    Not wanting to bang on about the past and I know Labour left a huge hole in the Defence Budget but surely the new Carriers could have been temporarily adapted for the Harriers rather than giving them away to the Americans and scrapping the Nimrod replacement appears to have been a very unwise decision in the 2010 SDSR.

    There’s been a lot mentioned about the hugely expensive F35, I wonder if anyone has really looked at this and considered a cheaper alternative?

    Aside from all this, big projects work on long term cycles, some of these increases (Sea Patrol, Aircraft Carriers) are needed NOW so we are left with some huge gaps in capability.

  21. Ken Moore
    November 24, 2015

    About time we have had to go out with the begging bowl asking for French help in finding a Russian nuclear sub because of the decision to scrap the MRA4 Nimrod.
    We have already seen Russian subs docking in Scotland..allegedly to test the Navy’s ‘response time’ which was in excess of 24 hours withour air support. Idiots in charge as usual.
    4Bn pounds for zero planes….says a lot about the way our finances have been mismanaged by those we put our trust in at the ballot box

    1. Ken Moore
      November 24, 2015

      The decision to scrap Nimrod was based on a ‘naïve’ view by Mr Cameron’s government together with some distortion of the facts to suit the agenda of Dr Fox it would seem…

      1. Cheshire Girl
        November 25, 2015

        I know nothing about such things, so maybe I shouldnt comment, but after reading that report, it seems to me that, as in many things, the Government has ignored the advice given by those who are in the know. I dont know how they manage to get away with it, but it always seems to leave us in a muddle!

  22. lojolondon
    November 24, 2015

    I should have said – this was on Radio 5 Live –

  23. ian
    November 24, 2015

    My money on Russia & China to a wipe out the British arm forces in a day but I do not know where to spend the money because wont be lot left.

  24. Iain gill
    November 24, 2015

    I am staggered that the government is throwing good money after bad into the national failure aka the NHS. This is rewarding failure. More than anything we need proper reform and handing real buying power over to patients.
    Please stop taxing me for this crap when so often my family have to go private and pay again after total none performance of the NHS.

  25. formula57
    November 24, 2015

    So, per Bloomberg Mr Putin spoke after Turkey said two F-16 jets shot down a Russian warplane that violated its airspace: –“We understand that everyone has their own interests but we won’t allow such crimes to take place. We received a stab in the back from accomplices of terrorism.”

    Does your friend Mr Cameron have a similar statement prepared for if and when one or other of our “allies” shoots down an RAF warplane should we become imbroiled in the confused mess that is the many conflicts now taking place in Syria?

    Is he prepared to stand with Turkey against Russia in this matter, emeshed as the UK is by its putative obligations to our NATO partner?

    Clearer thinking than that demonstrated by the Strategic Defence Review might be needed now, it seems to me.

  26. agricola
    November 24, 2015

    Well defence seems more encouraging than it has been to date, but do not get carried away, we are going to have to wait for most of it beyond this Parliament.

    Chapter two of my brief return to the UK has been marked by an experience at my local post office. I had a parcel to post to my grandson who is about four months old. It was a present from my sister and a card. Now my sister is not a well known bomb maker and I am quite happy to accept that what she sends to my grandson is for his benefit. Because I did not know exactly what my sister had bought him the jobsworth at the local post office would not accept it, nor would her ………… supervisor.

    When will the Post Office start employing people with a modicum of intelligence. The parcel was not addressed to the GOC Afghanistan so are these idiot, self appointed security experts going to demand knowledge of all parcel contents prior to posting. If I had arrived in a burka I fear that they would not have made such demands for fear of being branded racist, rather than just stupid. When are the post office going to supply each outlet with explosive detecting equipment or are they happy to leave it to the discretion of idiots.

    After my experience on return from Dublin the above only confirms that the UK is a very unsafe place presided over by the incompetent.

  27. stred
    November 24, 2015

    Additional fighter jets have been ordered so that the aircraft carriers will have aircraft. This seems a little odd. Have the ministry not ordered the aircraft until now and had this expenditure not been included in the budget? Why are the aircraft carriers taking another 5? years to finish. How long do the Americans and French take to build them? How much delay was caused when the ministry changed the order from fixed wing take off to vertical, how much was saved and will these aircraft be able to take on the opposition? And are British aircraft manufacturers incapable of building an improved Harrier?

    Will the aircraft carriers, frigates and submarine spotting aircraft be able to protect the gas tankers and wood pellet freighters which we will depend on to keep the country running, or the undersea power links from offshore wind farms or Holland, Norway and possibly Iceland. Will the nuclear power stations and the ‘smart’grid be resistant to attack by cruise missile ?

    If not the UK could be paralysed within weeks if at war with any country with better weapons. The saving grace must be that there is no point in trying to invade a country which is overcrowded, heavily in debt, and probably much of industry and property is owned by foreigners, including those from the better armed countries.

    1. Iain Gill
      November 25, 2015

      Certainly we should not fear a Communist invasion, since so much of our own economy is command and control state rationed from housing to healthcare to so much more we are largely a public sector communist nirvana.

  28. Gary
    November 24, 2015

    The designer of the F-16, Pierre Sprey, called the jack of all trades , master of none F-35 , “useless”.

    At around $120 million each, that’s expensive ” useless ”

    That’s to equip aircraft carriers , which by any stretch of the imagination are not defense, but offense. Unless we are taking about the type of defense that starts in someone else’s country ?

    But we won’t let a good govt boondoggle go to waste.

  29. hefner
    November 24, 2015

    Is the question of the renewal of Trident not relevant when talking of “Defending the UK”?
    Is anybody serious thinking of Trident to defend us against terrorism?

  30. forthurst
    November 24, 2015

    JR has raised the issue of how retiring forces personnel could be enabled to purchase a property on retirement; possibly the answer could be to index the leaving lump sum (partially) to an amount based on the price of residential property rather that to that of general inflation etc.

    1. yosarion
      November 24, 2015

      So they will all won’t to live in London and then move back home when they sell up inflating the local property market out the reach of the locals, whoops thats been going on for the last twenty years.

    2. Iain Gill
      November 24, 2015

      Why should they get a better deal than civilians forced to move frequently for work and consequently live in rented accommodation?

    3. A different Simon
      November 25, 2015

      The problem is house prices are too expensive due to a restrictive planning system and failure to tax land properly .

      There is no future for the UK or it’s people with current land prices .

      Society doesn’t get enough back from landowners for the amount it spends on policing , roads and services which increase the value of the landowners assets .

      1) revise the planning system to make much more land attractive for development . Flood the market with it .

      2) tax land properly as Churchill and Lloyd George wanted with a location value tax .

      If someone with a vacant lot suddenly finds out they are paying as much in a new location value tax as the adjacent developed lot they will soon develop it or sell it to someone who will .

  31. Denis Cooper
    November 24, 2015

    Off this topic but apropos the earlier article about the negative interest rate on one year Portuguese bonds, the European Stability Mechanism has just sold a €1 billion tranche of FORTY YEAR bonds at only 1.86%:–issues-40-year-1-billion-bond–21458847/

    Presumably investors are not expecting eurozone inflation to rise any time soon.

    1. yosarion
      November 26, 2015

      Has nothing to do with net immigration on 3336000 in the last year alone.

  32. ian
    November 24, 2015

    Are leader with wet&mad already to fly in soon to save isil and the rebels from Russia.

  33. Gary
    November 24, 2015

    that looks spot on Mercia. Hundreds of isis oil tanker trucks destroyed by Russia, used to shipthe oil through Turkey. Now Turkey is hiding under NATO article 5. looks carefully calculated. America, if not NATO, should give Russia carte Blanche to deal with the terrorist enablers, Turkey.

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 25, 2015

      I believe that so far it’s only Article 4, urgent consultations with allies.

  34. A different Simon
    November 24, 2015

    Things have been allowed to go too far .

    We couldn’t muster a credible fighting force any longer .

    Heck the leader of HM Opposition is rooting for the other side !

    I don’t think there is authentic appetite to sustain the serious investment which would be required going forward . They are playing at it .

    What is the point of being able to raise an army be when we don’t even control our borders ?

  35. Ken Moore
    November 24, 2015

    Up to 10,000 troops will also be trained and available to reinforce the police at home should there be dangerous terrorist attacks requiring a forceful response.

    That is the official explanation although I suspect this could be a back up plan to deal with civil disorder if and when the next financial crash happens – empty cash machines won’t go down well. All it would take to bring the system down is a return to something like ‘normal’ interest rates – our economy is hanging by a thread.
    There will be no more bank bailouts and the pledge by government to secure £70,000 of all bank deposits is totally unfunded …

  36. The Prangwizard
    November 25, 2015

    Have any orders been placed for fast armed patrol boats, we will need them for coast and river defence.

  37. Martin
    November 25, 2015

    Relieved to hear that the UK is buying some maritime patrol aircraft.

    I still think the carriers are a waste of money.

    1. stred
      November 25, 2015

      The police need more powerful guns to deal with Paris style shootings. They could save money and remove some from the market by going over to the continent and buying some kalashnikovs for themselves. You can bet they go for the most expensive option though.

  38. Bazman
    November 26, 2015

    How are you all getting on with the difference between card, oddball and nutter. Not so well is suspect…That indeedy is part of the problem. We agree to disagree? No! You are wrong as there is a right and wrong and an elite earning vast amounts at the expense of the poor is wrong. Got that right wing liars and fantasists?

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