UK membership of NATO

To me the Treaty we signed to help establish NATO is a model international agreement. It is short, straight forward, and preserves our freedom for independent action. Any party may leave the Treaty Agreement one year after giving notice. When NATO is considering taking action each member state can determine how and whether  it wishes to participate and what level of participation it offers.

During the Referendum campaign pro Remain spokespeople often asked   people like me how we could live with the supranational commitments under NATO but  not under the EU. I replied that NATO does not seek to lock us in to decisions and issues  against our will.  It does not have legal authority over us, our budgets, law codes and decisions. It is a very different kind of international collaboration from that of the strict legal requirements of the EU.

The opening statement of the NATO declaration is a pledge to promote peace and diplomatic solutions to problems.  It states  that each state agrees to “refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the UN”. It also says such independent NATO actions will cease once the UN is in charge.

The central pillar of the alliance which most latch on to is the tenet that “an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack upon them all”. (Article 5) It is collective defence security through strength in numbers.  It goes on to say, however, that a member state if challenged by an attack upon another member  shall “take such action as it deems necessary” which may include military action. It does not lay down that every member state has to go to war immediately, nor does it presume to say which forces a member state has to supply to the common cause.

Mr Corbyn is therefore entitled as someone who wishes to be Prime Minister both to call to leave NATO or to rule out certain types of military action whilst staying in NATO. Both courses of action would  be legal under the Treaty. The issue is does he undermine our safety by so doing? Collective defence through a voluntary agreement like the NATO one rests on any potential enemy believing there is a  credible threat of military response if they attack a NATO country. It weakens the UK’s defence and our collective defence if potential aggressors to parts of NATO come to  believe  that the UK, NATO’s second largest military contributor to the alliance, is not willing to go to the military aid of another member state should need arise. For the defence alliance to work properly   any aggressor has to think that in extreme circumstances the UK and other NATO members will use force to resist aggression.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

54 Comments

  1. Posted August 22, 2016 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The world is changing, and as such, so are the threats. Our once friends could be one day, both our rivals and enemies, and vice versa.

    Not too long ago the USA considered the Britain and her Empire a rival and potential enemy. Some here thought, at the time, that NAZI Germany could, at the very least, not be a threat to Great Britain and her Empire, as was the Empire of Japan. This is how the real world works.

    Today we see current members of NATO acting in a manner that is both harmful to the UK national interest and world peace. NATO seems to have, rather falsely and unwisely, emboldened them.

    Many of these members of NATO are part of the EU and, are working towards building and uniting their own forces to come under the EU umbrella of control. Given the above, and what has happened regarding EU foreign policy in Ukraine, I think it is important to maintain both our national deterrent and membership of NATO but, like the French before, I think it is time to have a much looser relationship and make it clear that for us, the whole point of NATO is one of defence against attack and not a means to gang up on other nations. For if the latter where to happen then I think we need to make it clear that we will not be in anyway involved and they will have to look to themselves and others to defend them this time.

    History has shown, both in the First and the Second World Wars, that the UK and her Commonwealth has suffered and lost much due to the petty squabbling’s of the continentals.

    I am no appeaser or ‘peacenik’, I believe in a strong, well maintained armed forces, capable of acting in our national self interest and, when required either through NATO or the UN (another orgainisation that can be used to justify military action), to carry out military action in full accordance with international law.

    That is part of a post-BREXIT role that I see the UK having and one I think that should be promoted.

  2. Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Indeed John. If the EU agreement was as simple as that of NATO or the Commonwealth, Remain would probably have got 80% of the vote.

  3. Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    It would perhaps have been instructive for Comrade Corbyn to have been one of those RAF pilots during the Cold War, sitting in a fighter jet at the end of a runway on a British airbase in West Germany, ready to scramble at a moment’s notice to intercept Russian MiGs approaching the border at high speeds.

    He would have had an idea what it felt like, knowing that the next scramble could be all-out war and that the nation depended on him to engage and destroy as many bombers and fighters as possible in a battle to the death.

    And for those who don’t know, attempted Russin incursions were a regular occurence.

    Sounds a bit dramatic I know. However this was the daily reality for a great number of RAF pilots as they performed their duty as part of the NATO defence role. The same was true for all the tank crews and infantry based in West Germany. I mention the forces based in continental Europe only because their warnings of possible attacks were measured in minutes, due to the proximity of the Soviet forces.

    To this day British servicemen and women are performing similar roles, including the necessary reactions to the Russian intimidation in Baltic countries and on the Polish border.

    Today we have Comrade Corbyn unwilling to defend our country at all and Citizen Owen Smith thinking he can negotiate with so-called ISIL.

    Fortunately the British public will never vote for either of them to lead the country because of their views on defence, never mind anything else.

  4. Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    The left wing terrorist sympathisers now at the top of the Labour Party would be a terrible threat to peace and to our liberties if they ever got near power. If moderate Labour MPs had any integrity and sense of patriotism they would get out of the current Labour Party and re-form it without the terrorist supporting left.

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Richard, The problem is – how would the various adherents of early 20th century socialist extremism then be excluded from the new Labour party? The answer is, they can’t unless an earlier problem is addressed.

      Our culture has been manipulated, particularly in education, to suppress patriotism in the mistaken belief that nationalism is always evil (a consequence of WW2). The result is the more gullible of our young people are either emotionally incontinent about issues such as the EU, or susceptible to hero-worship of, for example, the smooth talking plastic Trot, Corbyn.

      All we can do is plod on trying to instill some rationalism and scepticism into the mix, and pointing out that while democracy is a poor system, all the others are much much worse.

      • Posted August 22, 2016 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

        True, but the issue for Labour is the likes of Corbyn, McDonnell, Livingstone etc openly advocate ‘extra parliamentary’ action. Ie if democracy doesn’t bring what they want, then strikes, mob action etc will. It was the egregious McDonnell who wanted IRA victory etc ed I would refuse to be in a party with such a person, and I can’t understand why centre left believers in parliamentary democracy just put up with it.

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      Richard1

      If the moderate Labour PLP had any integrity, brains, spine or ability their party wouldn’t be in this state. They lurch from one crisis to another Brown, Miliband ( wrong one) Corbyn. They nominated Corbyn for the leadership trying to be seen as “inclusive” and it backfired in the most spectacular own goal. They U turn preach the same old guff The Peoples NHS whilst actually privatising it and then blaming Tories they make up nonsense like austerity whilst the government in reality continue to tax, borrow and spend like a drunken sailor. The PLP had a chance to oust Corbyn early on, they bottled it, not one of the so called big beasts, or future Labour PM’s had the balls to stand against him, they left it to the lesser of two Eagles and some oily smarm merchant that no one ever heard of. The Labour Party deserves to crash and burn. The whole of British politics need to be re invented. The centre left is now the Tory Party and 4 Lib Dems

  5. Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    I’m sure that J Corbyn does not want us to leave NATO. He is anti aggression and a committed nuclear disarmament man believing in world peace.The UK though, should be willing to help member states if the threat of violence is so great that a tyrant state sets its mind upon using aggression to rule .Similarly the UK would like allies in a threatened position.

    Avoidance of war and readiness to protect is a strategy which does not demonstrate a willingness to use these defences. It says rather that in the worst scenario, if threatened with annihilation, there is a counterargument.

    I wonder if J Corbyn with his gentle motives understands that his sentiments do not work all ways, but leads us into a situation where we could be martyred for a cause. We now understand how some countries could challenge the west and not be concerned about the consequences for those whose life does not seem to be as precious as their death.

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      He may be softly spoken but is Corbyn really so “gentle”? I think anyone such as he who gave clear support to IRA terrorists during their campaign of murder in the 1980s and 1990s, and who has described the terrorist organisations Hamas and Hizbollah as his “friends”, cannot be that gentle in his intentions, even if he himself doesn’t commit or directly incite acts of violence.

      • Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps we need to get to know him better.

  6. Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    You might have added that historically it has been, and continues to be a much more effective response to outside aggression than the illusion of a European military. From the possibilities of the latter there has never been a collective response to any disturbance within Europe or for that matter to anything that could be thought of as a threat to Europe from outside. Stick with NATO.

  7. Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    NATO has been cover for the dirtiest and most immoral wars of recent times. It has allowed western countries to wreck sovereign states for their own geopolitical ends whilst conjuring up mythical enemies and provoking a new cold war with Russia. NATO ceased to have any reason to exist with the fall of communism except that of serving the purposes of the elites. If we can’t end it’s existence we should leave it.

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      But Article 5 of the Washington Treaty has been invoked just once.

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      I agree with you.NATO is no longer a defensive alliance but an instrument of US hegemony.Why,for instance,is a NORTH ATLANTIC focussed alliance seeking to bring little Montenegro,which threatens no-one,nor is threatened by anyone,into it’s embrace.And why Georgia?

      I think we know why.At least some Europeans can see it for what it is,witness President Hollande’s comments at the recent NATO summit that NATO should have no role at all in determining Europe’s relationship with Russia which he sees as a partner and not a threat or adversary.

      He’s not entirely useless!

      • Posted August 22, 2016 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        USA sees Russia as a potential mineral resource for its multinationals to tap…..

        zorro

        • Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:10 am | Permalink

          The same as we did in 1917-18 when in between the Bolshevik coup and the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk,the British government secretly bought control of all the major Russian banks(which were not banks as we know them but financial holding companies,controlling the minerals and grain trade) which would have given us virtual control of the entire economy in the new Russia if the Bolsheviks could be ousted.We then intervened militarily,but unsuccessfully,in an attempt to achieve that outcome.

  8. Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Agreed that the NATO treaty is a good treaty which has served us well and we should remain committed to it. I do have reservations about admitting new members to assist the process of EU enlargement without very seriously thinking whether we would actually be prepared to be dragged into a (possibly nuclear) war with Russia in order to defend them.

  9. Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    John

    What if Russia invades eastern Ukraine while an American doormat administration remains in place until next January?

    Does NATO breathe a collective sigh of relief that Ukraine is not a member of NATO so is therefore not obliged to do anything in response? More sabre rattling and ineffective sanctions as we saw over Crimea perhaps?

    What would you anticipate happening in the event of such a plausible occurrence?

  10. Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    During the cold war when I was serving in nuclear subs it was only the UK and USA who made any real commitment to containing the Soviet Union and the expansion of communism in the Far East.
    We are now entering a similar phase and we don’t have the equipment or men to meet our obligations.
    Only this week the maintenance vessel used by the Royal Navy is being scrapped to save money.
    We can apparently find funds for HS2 but not to defend ourselves.
    Maybe Corbyn has a point.

  11. Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Voluntary, collective responsibility, in an organisation where the cost is the same percentage of GDP for all members, which allows each member to act in their own interests should they choose or need to do so.

    Sounds reasonable.

  12. Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Off topic.

    A magnificent result for team GB in the Olympics, 2nd in the World, although funnily enough we did not feature at all in the medals list produced by the “professional EU independent publications”, and their EU funded propaganda experts.

  13. Posted August 22, 2016 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    The NATO treaty may not oblige its members to take action, but there seems to be a political imperative that the UK does precisely what the USA decrees. In effect, NATO has become part of the military arm of US foreign policy.
    The purpose of NATO ceased with the end of the Cold War; it should now be dissolved as it is a solution in search of a problem. Unsurprisingly, it has found that problem as being responsible for policing the world…thereby preserving itself, and the salaries of its staff.
    Russia is no threat to Europe, and certainly not the UK; however NATO’s expansionism, at the US’s command, is extremely dangerous.

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Shouldn’t that read – however the EU’s expansionism…

      • Posted August 22, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        Both: NATO to provide military security for newly acquired EU territories, the EU to then provide them with their civil administration.

        • Posted August 22, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

          Sounds like cart before the horse, but I don’t know which is which 🙁

          • Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

            Military security must come first, to ensure a safe working environment for the bureaucrats. That is why the norm has been for new countries to join NATO before they join the EU rather than afterwards.

  14. Posted August 22, 2016 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    The UK cannot defend itself against any serious military threat, and neither can any other European country. Nor can Europe as a whole defend itself adequately We just don’t maintain, and have no intention of maintaining, the military capability that would make this possible. Only the USA is willing to do so and, since it is willing to extend this protection to other members of NATO, being a member of NATO is essential. In return we have to give some level of support to US foreign policy and some, usually fairly nominal, support to some of its military activities. In fact we could get away with doing less. It is a very good deal.

    Of course if the EU created an EU army it could defend itself or, more sensibly, make a far more powerful contribution to NATO. It is rich enough to do this if it were prepared to spend enough money on defence. Maybe one day it will. But we will not be a part. We will go on depending on others to defend us against any serious threat.

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      “We will go on depending on others to defend us against any serious threat.”

      How would that be different if we stayed in the EU and it achieved the ambition of creating federal armed forces, apart from no longer having any significant military forces under our own national control?

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      Being dragged into conflicts that are not in our national interest does not constitute “a very good deal”.

      And putting yourself under the protection of another state renders you a vassal- no matter how much you might like to delude yourself that it’s a special relationship.

  15. Posted August 22, 2016 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Indeed.

    Still finally some good news from Theresa’s Government. Osborne’s plan for super city mayors is killed off. Thanks goodness the last thing we need in the UK is yet more layers of government, expense and bureaucracy.

  16. Posted August 22, 2016 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Almost everything Osborne did needs undoing as rapidly as possible. Simple, low and fiscally neutral taxes are what is needed, and far less government, red tape and government waste everywhere.

  17. Posted August 22, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    I am surprised you have not mentioned the absurd funding formula NATO imposes which says we have to spend a fixed % of GDP on defence, this results in very wasteful and inefficient spending, and the provision of inappropriate equipment, with no incentive to optimise it, a totally socialist approach. Instead it should be agreed what troops and equipment we need to have available to contribute to NATO and then we provide those in the most cost-effective way. Foreign Aid is another area where this stupid fixed % applies and we all know how wasteful that is with a big rush to spend it on anything at all at the end of the accounting year.

    Reply IT is a recommendation, not mandatory. Many members fail to spend 2%

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      NATO is just a front for US global hegemonic power in Europe. The US neo-cons, and the US defence industry that sponsors them, were screwing $800 billion a year out of the federal budget. Obama has managed to scale it back to $660 billion. The USA spends 72% of NATO member’s aggregated defence budgets of $918 billion.

      The UK spends twice the NATO Europe average for defence, at $913 per capita. The USA spends four times the Europe average at $1,870 per capita. WHY for Christ’s sake!!!

      So, which prospective leader of gun crazy red-neck USA, is most likely to start WW3, Trump or Clinton?

      • Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        Not Trump

      • Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        That one is easy….Clinton because she would profit most.

  18. Posted August 22, 2016 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Here’s a nice little letter in the Telegraph today:

    “Relations with Russia

    SIR – Dr Marek Laskiewicz (Letters, August 18) says “Britain has suddenly sought better relations with Russia”.

    He ignores the fact that, as recently as 2010, British as well as Polish and even US troops were still taking part in the May Day parade in Moscow.

    It was only after the EU’s inept intervention in Ukraine in 2014 and claims about it expanding to the Urals that Russia reacted by invading Crimea and eastern Ukraine, and its relations with the West deteriorated.

    Subsequent concern about the security of Europe has had little to do with Brexit, as its defence is provided by Nato and not by the EU.

    Professor Richard Ogorkiewicz
    London SW14”

    The fact is that not yet having an EU army at their disposal EU leaders have been and still are using (or abusing) NATO to further their plans for territorial aggrandisement, with the full support of a US government which seems to want to restart the Cold War with Russia, in what could be described as an EU/NATO/US “troika”; and this is continuing not just for Ukraine but also Georgia, as shown by this statement dated July 8th:

    http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_133175.htm

    “Joint statement of the NATO-Georgia Commission at the level of Foreign Ministers”

    The question is, do we want to risk a nuclear exchange with Russia over Georgia?

    If not, if we would not be prepared to go to war to defend Georgia, then we should not pretend to make that commitment by admitting Georgia to NATO.

  19. Posted August 22, 2016 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    The part of NATO treaties that are most questionable are around tax, sell something to NATO and you are not allowed to charge them VAT as one example. The way NATO is funded and taxed could have been done a lot more equitably.

    Although the EU treaties on tax are even worse forcing us to, for instance, charge our own armed forces VAT for goods bought abroad when they bring them back into the UK, imposing massive bureaucracy for no real public good since taxing our armed forces is the ultimate in taking with one hand and giving with another, as both giver and receiver are HM government. Its just another example if a large bureaucracy being setup to deal with EU rules that anyone with any common sense could see is a complete waste of resources.

    Reply There is nothing in the NATO Treaty about tax, and VAT was not invented in Europe in the 1940s

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is exonerated from all taxes in application of Articles 9 and 10 of the Ottawa Agreement and conforming to the regulations of Ministerial Decision no. ET 580L/620 dated 22 February 1967, including VAT in application of CM No. 67/1970 § 13 (article 42, § 2, 2o of the Code). As a consequence, NATO has no VAT registration number.

  20. Posted August 22, 2016 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    NATO was created in a post war world to deal with the potential threat of Russia ; our membership was a seal of approval with the USA . When the cold war ended we all thought that Russia was no longer a threat , Europe could relax , our troops could return home and we could focus on brighter times ahead . Then along came Putin who sought to regain a strong place for his country resisting the dominance of America ; countries on its borders felt at risk and NATO was reignited as their knight in shining armour .

    At no time – to my knowledge , was any effort made to bring Russia into the world that we lived in ; hostility was the result and a stand-off exists today . I regret this because all the Russians I have met have been – or seemed to be , a jovial good natured lot – not at all hostile . The Ukraine produced a hiatus that should have been sorted out by democratic votes in its own territory ; it was not the business of the USA or the EU to interfere . We , and the USA have to learn to keep our noses out of things where we have no right to be ; the consequence is it now puts NATO into a very awkward position .

    NATO is far from being an unnecessary force ; its very existence can cause excitements to calm down and to bring potential problems to the negotiating table ; for this reason I believe our membership is vital as is the maintenance of our armed forces .Whoever is our Prime Minster has an obligation to maintain our safety at all times and , as things stand , NATO contributes to this and we should not water down our contribution .

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      The Soviet Union rather than Russia(which effectively ceased to exist from 1922 to 1991) but you are right no “effort was made to bring Russia into the world that we lived in”.As Steven Cohen (Emeritus Professor of Russian Studies at NYU and Princeton) pointed out in “Failed Crusade:America & the Tragedy of Post-Comunist Russia”the help offered was a wrecking ball to permanently diminish it’s economic capabilities and create a suitable environment for US corporations to operate and plunder the country’s resources.

  21. Posted August 22, 2016 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, there have been some favourable developments, with IDS urging that the Article 50 notice should be put in without further unnecessary delay, but before that and much more importantly with Merkel publicly stating that she considers our referendum decision to leave the EU to be “irrevocable”, even though that formal notice has not yet gone in, and with the other EU member state governments now embarking on serious discussions on the way ahead for the EU without the UK as a member.

    I wonder whether the judges trying the vexatious legal cases which have been brought by bad losers might notice this, and take it into account as part of the new political reality; so even if the diehard Remoaners were given what they want, and Parliament then voted to keep us in the EU notwithstanding the clear promise from the government that if we voted to leave then we would leave, by that point there would be 27 other governments in the EU who had been forced to devote time and effort to get their thinking adjusted for our departure, and they would not be best pleased if the UK government tried to turn round and say we would not be leaving after all.

    https://euobserver.com/political/134689

    “The leaders of Germany, France and Italy will meet on Monday (22 August) to discuss how to mend the European project after Britain’s decision to leave the EU.

    The meeting comes three weeks before a crunch informal summit of the 27 EU leaders, the first without the UK, in Bratislava on 16 September.”

    The EU treaties have no provision for the expulsion of a member state on any grounds whatsoever, but they could resort to what would be constructive dismissal in the context of employment law, or alternatively they could all agree to just up and leave the EU to us while they went off and set up a new organisation without us.

    Reply I don’t see Parliament voting to stay in !

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply, John with the majority of MPs and unelected Lords in favour of EU membership I doubt you could get a vote through Parliament.
      The point is, a vote shouldn’t be necessary as Denis Cooper succinctly points out, Cameron said the people would decide and the government would respect that decision.
      I see General Motors in Germany are laying off some workers as the demand for the Corsa has reduced., This brings into sharp perspective how Germany relies on a weak Euro to dominate exports.
      In a few days I shall receive my UK built new car which is my bit for post Brexit.

      Reply We need to win votes to repeal the 1972 Act. I think the Commons will vote to leave following the referendum.

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      It seems most of the next issue of Prospect Magazine is about just that …

      http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/blogs/jay-elwes/foreword-september-2016-time-for-a-new-plan

      “As the economic threat posed by Brexit grows ever more apparent, so the need for parliamentary intervention will increase. Britain needs a new plan – in the end, a decision by the Commons not to proceed with Brexit might turn out to be the best plan of all.”

      Only 158 MPs came out for Leave, compared to 479 who came out for Remain; but the vote having been taken nobody really knows how many MPs, especially among the 185 Tory MPs who supported Remain will now change their position.

      But at least MPs will face the wrath of the voters at the next election if they seek to defy the verdict of the people directly expressed in the referendum, the same is not true for the unelected legislators-for-life in the Lords:

      http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/opinions/a-rebellion-in-the-lords-brexit-article-50-referendum

      “The government position is that, through the exercise of the Royal prerogative – a wonderfully British constitutional nicety … ”

      This is from some so-called “baroness” who would not be in Parliament at all if it wasn’t for her enoblement through an exercise of the same Royal Prerogative, as she might have realised if she’d bothered to look at her letters patent:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letters_patent#Form_of_British_letters_patent_creating_peers

      “… the prime minister has the right to turn a referendum vote that was merely advisory into an action with huge ramifications. Pannick argues that there should be an Act of Parliament to activate Article 50.”

      “Steering a Bill through both Houses would be much harder. There are just 243 Conservative peers out of a total of 798 … With no constituents to fear and a conviction that remaining in the EU and helping it reform would be a much better option than plunging into the unknown, they would defy the whip, which cannot inflict the same pain as it does in the Commons. The Lords would be resoundingly “not content” and could remain a blockage to the legislation for up to one year.

      Much might change in that time. The EU might even concede that the UK was not the only country which needed to see some curbs on free movement and make changes. Then their lordships might argue that there was a good reason to call that second referendum and hope for a very different result.”

      Fortunately it seems that the EU has already decided that having voted to leave we will leave, and the other countries are making their plans accordingly.

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Had lunch at the weekend with my French friend. Apparently the chattering classes in France are now actively discussing whether they should have an in/out referendum.

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Dear Denis–Unlike you, I think the other 27 would be over the moon happy if “we” in some way (I agree unlikely and certainly don’t wish it) decided to stay in, if for no other reason than that is the best way they can hope to stop the wretched thing collapsing. In comparison a bit of wasted time and effort is as nothing, indeed there would be many who would see it all as a wake-up call which they, as they might dream, would regard as the cavalry coming over the hill for the EU.

      • Posted August 23, 2016 at 6:49 am | Permalink

        Well, of course I would very much prefer it if the Article 50 notice had been put in, as cast-iron Cameron said he would do, but in the meantime the other countries are behaving as though it has already gone in and I think it will be increasingly difficult to reverse that process.

  22. Posted August 22, 2016 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Security of it’s citizens is one of the few roles that we elect to have a government for. Most of the others they have are ones they should not be allowed to have but must have since the growth of the welfare state.

    As security is an important responsibility of government those who are in charge of government have also a responsibility to ensure that the best measures and policies that can be afforded and the best strategies developed over time from experience are put in place to to defend it’s citizens from harm. Idealism and dogma has no place in security planning or in it’s execution because as we have seen to our cost when they are battles may be won but wars will be lost. It can also mean people may be sacrificed to protect an ideal and/or promote an agenda denying security for all.

    Corbyn and a large sections of society fail to recognise that putting idealism above realism puts us all in jeopardy. Those with unilateral disarmament, appeasement and the supremacy of human rights for all ambitions can be as dangerous as those they would not use all means possible to resist if they presented a danger to us. Announcing because of morality doubts that we will not use all means necessary to resist those who would do us harm is tantamount to capitulation. Under those conditions influencing those who seek to do us harm will be encouraged and not deterred in doing so. It may work for some but the most evil and/or determined it will not.

  23. Posted August 22, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Remaining in NATO, an organization that lost its purpose with the end of the Cold War but that has been found a new one by the congressional-military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us against, is perhaps a bigger threat to our well-being and security than leaving. I for one would resist being conscripted to defend some beligerent former Soviet Empire member who thinks it can now tease Russia.

    The saving grace for us is that Michael Fallon is Defence minister and it is he most likely who would have to respond in the first instance to a NATO call for help. As we recall, he is communication-challenged, having failed to reply to your letter about energy policy in a disgraceful dereliction of duty that stands as one of the worst failures of the Coalition government. Let us hope though that he demonstrates a comparable failure if NATO calls.

  24. Posted August 22, 2016 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    “Remain spokespeople often asked….how we could live with the supranational commitments under NATO but not under the EU”

    Yes. I must admit I found the comparison laughable. The most cursory examination of the remit of NATO vs the remit of the EU, for example, indicated that the two organisations have nothing in common. Why any thinking person would try to draw a comparison, I don’t know.

    I would agree that in terms of the Treaty, NATO is a model international agreement, doing no more than it needs to do. And as an organisation, it reached its intended goals from day 1.

  25. Posted August 22, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Yes absolutely Mr. Redwood -well said.
    WHY? is it that the United Kingdom is the 2nd highest net contributor to almost everything when it comes to Europe or the EU?? It’s a disgrace and has to change! Mrs Thatcher ”got it wrong” in the end and de-railed herself and paid the price for it (quite rightly) HOWEVER nobody can challenge her stalwart and unequivable defence of our Country’s interests when it came to the EEC and NATO and NOBODY since her has had the balls to ‘Stand Up For Britain” in the way that she did and very successfully. I cannot for one minute imagine that she would have allowed the slow erosion of our Sovereignty but she was a Politician doing her duty for her Country whereas those who came after were “”grey men”‘, doughnuts totally in the wrong job (but very good in the right one), spin Doctors whose primary purpose would appear to be “‘what can I get out of it afterwards”‘ and finally Del Boy & Son flying by the seat of their pants hoping the ball would bounce the right way. Hopefully we now have someone in charge whom it would appear aims to do the right thing and serve the interest of the people of this Country first before her own .

  26. Posted August 22, 2016 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    I would encourage our new PM to embrace Russia and President Putin.
    He seems keen to develop treaty type friendships with other nations and with Turkey and the Middle East presenting as it does, I think keeping Russia close and friendly towards the UK may prove valuable.
    Certainly the current USA policy towards Russia has no positive outcomes.

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

      I think that this would be a very sensible idea in the long run. The USA will only respect you if you stand up for yourself and be self interested (a bit like them)…..

      zorro

  27. Posted August 22, 2016 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    Completely off topic. I am watching BBC1 where they are talking about austerity cuts in the council budgets in Selby, Yorkshire. When you see what is happening and what is probably happening in every other town in the UK why are we still giving over 12 billion in foreign aid each year?

    The effects on the disabled, both mental and physical are plain to see, as are the effects on the elderly. It is a disgrace in what is supposed to be a civilised country. There are more volunteers doing very important jobs but who probably don’t have the training needed for some positions. Essential services are being cut – ESSENTIAL being the operative word. Our elderly and disadvantaged people should not have to put up with what is being cut. Behind the scenes we are turning into a third world country who cannot look after its people the way they deserve.

    • Posted August 23, 2016 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      And we are still in the EU and sending £350m a week (whatever it is) whilst still taking Directives, regulations and freedom of movement.

      If we are meant to be leaving why is this still happening ?

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page