Spending more – what about defence?

The UK is a leading country in the world, with a seat at the Security Council of the United Nations. As such it has responsibilities to contribute to UN peace keeping and peace making missions, and to humanitarian interventions around the world. The UK is also a leading member of NATO, a crucial defensive alliance for the western democracies. The UK is the second largest spender on defence after the USA in the alliance, and agrees with President Trump that the non US partners need to make a larger contribution to their own defence than they have been doing. The UK has agreed to spend 2% of its GDP on defence, which means that each year as GDP rises defence receives a cash and a real increase in its spending levels.

The UK needs several important capabilities. It needs an expeditionary force, so that it can intervene decisively, usually with allies,  where there are events like the invasion of the Falklands or Kuwait that require a swift and effective military response. It needs a similar ability to project force over distance to assist with peace making interventions in regional wars as sometimes in the Middle East, and to have humanitarian capability to assist victims of flood or disease or other disasters. Above all the UK needs a strong defence to protect these islands, which includes the insurance of a nuclear missile shield to deter aggression.

The government has found the money for two large carrier ships and attendant planes. It is proceeding with the renewal of the submarines which contain the nuclear deterrent, which need to have a continuous at sea capability to be effective. It has reduced the size of the surface navy, the army and the airforce as it has sought to adjust to tighter budgets in the last twenty years.

Extra money would be welcome to expand the surface fleet needed to complete and protect the carrier groups, and to provide flexible task forces for humanitarian purpose and to provide home defence. It could  be used to relieve the pressures for a smaller army, which stretches UK ability to respond positively to the demands of allies and the UN to contribute to missions. It could add to the number of aircraft, as we resume a maritime reconnaissance ability and strengthen the heavy lift capability. To be a successful expeditionary power we need eyes in the sky and the ability to move  people and equipment rapidly to trouble spots.

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  1. Mark B
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Before we can build the defence forces we need, we must first identify our foreign policy requirements. And since such requirements come under the EU’s Foreign External Action Service, It there we must look.

    It has been clear for sometime that the UK and France have been collaborating very closely. This to better enable further integration. It will also be clear that those countries in the EU that border Russia will want more spending on a land army, something the UK tends not to have.

    I also foresee that until we get hold of what we want, which can’t thanks to the above, we will not be able to spend it on what we need. A prime example are those two white elephant’ s our kind host mentions.

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 6:24 am | Permalink

      We would also rather our capabilities were not under the political control of an undemocratic unaccountable and inept power seeking imperium, namely the EU, the arming of which is an act of collective insanity.

      • NickC
        Posted July 23, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        Peter D Gardner, Exactly. We do not want to encourage, or be part of, PESCO. We do not want to be subject to the EU’s CSDP. We do not want to sign a treaty with the EU on defence, security and diplomacy which Theresa May wants, presumably because she cannot imagine we can be independent.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        Exactly and that is essentially what we have been working towards under all the recent PMs.

        Perhaps the most irritating thing the failed and bitter ex PM and ERM enthusiast said, (among very many on Marr on Sunday) was his reference to extreme “anti-Europeans”. We are not “anti-Europe” at all. I for example have an Italian wife, houses in France and Italy and travel to Europe many times a year and usually holiday & ski there too. We are anti the damage the EUphiles, EU bureaucrats and the anti-democratic socialist EU is doing to Europe as indeed are most sensible Europeans in the other 27.

        Needless to say Marr asked very little of him. Marr being a pro EU lefty as are all nearly BBC people with the possible exception of A Neil who seems to be being sidelined more and more I notice.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

          I am in favour or more spending on defence, but we do not to ensure it is spent wisely. The MoD and recent Defence Ministers have proved to be absolutely appalling at this.

          • Dennis
            Posted July 23, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

            Spending more on defence? That’s just what Putin wants – he laughs more and more on the West wasting their money, effort, and resource use. He doesn’t need fake news to undermine the West.

      • L Jones
        Posted July 23, 2018 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        Well said, Mr Gardner. A nightmare scenario, if ever there was one.

        • L Jones
          Posted July 23, 2018 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

          PS Do you think this is why our own forces are being pared to the bone, because it had been envisioned that ours would be subsumed into an EU army?

    • Hope
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Defense? Your party has failed to protect us in this country by its insecure open borders where we had three attrocities last year! Crime through the roof with an unprecedented amount of murders from knife and gun crime! Are you in touch with current events in the UK?

      The ships were built with a joint vision to share with the EU to enhance its collective military might for its foreign policy while deceiving the British public it was for our country’s defense at our expense (dishonest KitKat policy), which is only partly true. Being deisel the ships require a lot more support than if they were nuclear, a stupid strategic mistake. Oh wait diesel! Supported by more diesel auxiliary ships!

      Highest tax take while imposing the worse taxation on us since Harold Wilson! Hammond slowing the economy for project fear, a complete disgrace. Murder, rape, knife crime and gun crime at its worse, prisoners let out early Tory ministers advocating mobiles for prisoners, to to go to prison for less than a year- your party is a complete disgrace on fiscal competence, crime, defense, public services all clearly linked to its dishonest KitKat mass immigration policy. No housing crisis, latest mass immigration figures show what needs to be done. Clue the opposite to what Hammond says! With an open goal of Corbyn in opposition it is incredulous how stark the incompetence of your govt is on All issues.the latest dishonesty and treachery over Brexit is a vote loser.

      • Bob
        Posted July 23, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        Agree with all you say here.
        It’s all officially detailed in Agenda 21, the precursor of which was announced by Polly Toynbee’s great great uncle Arnold.

        “we are at present working, discreetly but with all our might, to wrest this mysterious political force called sovereignty out of the clutches of the local national states of our world. And all the time we are denying with our lips what we are doing with our hands…”

      • NickC
        Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        Hope, The saga of the aircraft carriers is one of bungling and ineptitude on an almost magnificent scale. At the most fundamental level if we actually need aircraft carriers we should never have got rid of the Invincible class and their Harriers. Presumably our “soft power” hubristic civil service sent a letter to our enemies asking them pretty please not to make war until we had the Elizabeth class commissioned.

        You are right that it is a strategic error to power the new carriers with oil rather than nuclear. And frankly, for the size of our military, building the large Elizabeths is out of our reach. We should have developed the Invincibles at a fraction of the cost, concentrating on developing our original design for a supersonic Harrier. We should have used drones from the new carriers too. I am not convinced that the meagre stealth capability of the F35Bs is worth the cost.

        • Hope
          Posted July 23, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

          Harriers sold to the US for a pound each by Cameron when these ships were under construction, brand new uncompleted Nymrods broken up by diggers behind screens!

          May’s white paper as popular as her dementia tax where she lied to say nothing had changed! She now lies to say she as kept faith with the electorate! Welcome to oppposition if May stays in place you have until tomorrow.

          Interest at £1 billion a week, more than the police spending, taxed more than for 39 years, highest tax take and still May making unfunded spending sprees. We cannot afford the Tories in office. The deficit was promised to be balanced three years ago!

          JR must being having and day to fail to recollect his party’s failure over the last eight years. Perhaps he could address some of the many underhand dishonest polices headed by May? EAW without right to judicial process in the U.K., KitKat policy by civil servants to undermine Brexit, HMRC secret investigations and take money from your account without judicial process, MPs investigated in secret not to let the public know, secret white paper behind Dexu back where a civil servant negotiates directly to EU foreign powers, May showing her white paper to a Merkel before cabinet or parliament.

          Today Hunt undermining Brexit abroad in Germany, the man who wants to be in the single market and a second referendum!

          • Hope
            Posted July 23, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

            I was reminded of another underhand dishonest policy of May’s the Snooper charter to allow the search of our computers without judicial process. There appears no limit to how underhand her policies are. Come on JR, start blogging about a few of them

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        My thoughts almost exactly.

  2. Nig l
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Congratulations. Your government’s tax take is the highest for 30 odd years and that was a Labour Government. So with your loss of control over crime, the two key planks of any Conservative Government have gone.

    The MOD is notorious for having wasted umpteen billions over the past years and, in the main, remains unreformed so sort them out first before wasting more.

    In any event If we are to stay subservient/tied to the EU and all the signs are that we will be I see no reason to keep our global status.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      Yes it is interesting that despite taking more of a percentage of our wealth in taxes ( direct and stealth) than any previous government for 30 years there is still not enough money for health, education, policing or defence. More people contributing less each requires a greater percentage from all.

      Where could the money be going I wonder? Subsidies for business through housing benefits and tax credits? Public sector pensions?

      Mass immigration is supposed to enrich the whole population not just the few. If it does not then all it does is increase the market size by increasing demand. And that just puts prices up for the overtaxed middle.

      Any chance I can have my child benefit back or to even things out maybe you could stop others sending their’s abroad.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        Indeed not just child benefits stolen away but personal allowances, CGT indexation, Stamp duty up to 15%. Hammond is taxing the productive with an absurdly complex and idiotic tax system. This while delivering almost complete dross by way of public services. The police have given up, the NHS is appalling, education generally poor, road lack capacity and are full of pot holes …………….

        To be fair though the state sector are quite efficient on parking fines, speed & bus lane cameras, HMRC fines and the police are really quite innovative in thinking of all sorts of daft reasons as to why they can take no action over various crimes.

        • Bob
          Posted July 24, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

          The police are prioritising thought crime nowadays.

    • JoolsB
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      Apparently the tax take is the highest it’s been since Wilson’s Government and if May’s wasteful tax and spend Government get their way it will go up even more.

      The sooner we get rid of this socialist Government and get a true Conservative Government in the better.

      • NickC
        Posted July 23, 2018 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        JoolsB, Well, you won’t get a Conservative government if you vote UKIP. But at least you won’t get a socialist one!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 23, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        Indeed but hopefully get some real Conservative Government while avoiding a Corbyn/SNP.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Yes, the figures on tax are a stark reminder what an un-conservative government we have. They worry about police response to someone’s hurt feelings, sorry hate crime, and want the police to respond within the hour, yet get burgled and you are lucky to get a crime number. The Government obsessing about children self identify their gender, but not their education, and they incessantly bang on about Feminism . Its not a Conservative government, for they seek to conserve very little, in essence they are a full on Cultural Marxist one.

  3. Dave Andrews
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    A ship has an RN captain or perhaps a commander or even lieutenant commander as captain.
    Why then do we need more admirals than ships?

    • Tad Davison
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      It’s like the BBC Dave, they don’t get rid of useless people, they promote them, and that costs the rest of us a lot of money. I’ll let you into a little secret. I have a number of BBC broadcasters who are prepared to go before a House of Commons committee to testify to that effect via a friend and former minister (and I will gladly provide the name to JR for his verification if he so wishes). To keep this relevant to today’s post, I only wish I could do the same with our armed forces!


    • Nick
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      We don’t! Feel free to count up the number of admirals and then compare with the number of ships (1 x carrier, 2 x LPDs, 19 x FF/DDs, 4 x SSBNs, 7 x SSNs, all the patrol ships, survey ship,s MCMVs, RFA auxiliaries, etc, etc, etc).

  4. Richard1
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    So much govt spending is just wasted. Now we read that we taxpayers got cajoled into one of Labour’s rip-off PFI contracts and have paid Airbus £10.5bn fire transport aircraft we don’t need. Does anyone ever get fired in the public sector for this sort of negligence and incompetence?

    • Tad Davison
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      I often wonder about that too Richard. We in this part of Cambridgeshire have a building lying idle at the rate-payers huge expense, that was supposed to be a new state-of-the-art fire control centre, yet nobody gets hauled over the coals for the waste. And instances such as this are manifold. It’s almost as if we cannot do without incompetent unaccountable people.


    • NickC
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      Richard1, No they don’t get fired for incompetence, often the reverse, but plenty get chopped because of internal power politics. One of the funniest (actually horrifying) things I heard was that the MoD sent its officials in to sort out AWE – talk about the blind leading the blind.

  5. Peter D Gardner
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Hard to know where to start.
    1. Something simple. Protection of the UK’s EEZ post Brexit, for which, as far as I know, UK has no plans other than to rely on existing capabilities. Being ex-RN I can tell you these are woefully inadequate for the task. It is typical of this government that it has kicked the can down the road on fishing rights and UK’s obligations under UNCLOS. Has it woken up yet to the fact that UK has never in its entire history had to fulfil the obligations about to be imposed on it by the UNCLOS?
    2. A coherent defence strategy, that the government is prepared to fund, based on UK’s national interests.
    3. The 2% NATO target is a furphy. Members of NATO have been invited to meet it only because they fall woefully short. It is not and never has been a figure meaning that adequate capability will be achieved at this level. The basis of NATO is that each members’ requirements based on national considerations flow automatically into the broader NATO framework. For some that means a country should spend more and some less than the 2%.
    4. The expeditionary capability is a nightmare.
    a. It enables politicians who do not understand the role of the military in international affairs to abuse military capability rather than use it. This is damaging to the capability, damaging to international relations and often creates more problems than it solves. the problems lie with the political side – the men in suits – of the policy-strategic interface with the armed forces. It used not to be such a problem when politicians in general either had some experience themselves or who at least had a personal stake in military conflict through members of their families serving in the forces. there are two possible solutions, both of which require funding: a) proper training of relevant ministers in defence matters before taking up their appointments; b) a minimum of two years service in the armed forces mandated for candidates seeking ministerial positions. If they are not up to the required medical and physical fitness standards some alternative could be agreed.
    b. The second aspect of expeditionary warfare that is not widely understood is the enormous impact it has on equipment costs. The location of a deployment is unknown until it takes place. So equipment must be designed to withstand every environment and terrain from tropical jungle and to the frozen wastelands of Finland and the deserts of the middle east. A huge logistical tail is required. Access routes all over the world must be made open and suitable forces developed to protect them. The nature of warfare and the mix of capabilities required also very enormously depending on the terrain and environment. Equipments are procured at short notice for a particular operation and then, being ill-suited to anything else thrown away or rebuilt to meet other requirements often at greater expense than buying more versatile kit in the first place. It is not procured in the first place because unless there is an identifiable threat the purchase cannot be justified. The very nature of expeditionary policy is that the politicians don’t have to think of the military need until the crisis hits. hey see it as being flexible. And because the kit can’t be bought in advance because the requirement is either not known or unjustified expeditionary capability is thought by politicians to be cheap whereas it is in practice hugely expensive. And I haven’t even started on military doctrine, practices, tactics and procedures.
    5. Independence from all EU structures of political control of UK’s armed forces is essential. NATO, unlike the EU respects the sovereignty of its members. The EU removes their sovereignty unto itself. The basis of NATO is that political control of armed forces rests always with the respective nation state, not with NATO. Article 5 is greatly misunderstood to mean all members go to war if one is attacked. It does not. The EU, on the other hand, seeks a common unified defence policy, unified planning, command and control as a single structure with one political point of control centred on the EU itself as a putative Federal State of Europe.
    6. The EU seeks to give effect to its single unified armed forces structure with commensurate procurement rules and structures.
    7. The EU does not seek to support NATO but to remove the European elements and place them under its own control. It seeks to cut out or greatly reduce American influence.
    8. there are lunatics in the political elites and commentators who think that so long as UK has a nuclear deterrent it can cut back on on non-nuclear capabilities. UK requires capabilities that enable it to mount a graduated response to the situation as it develops. Otherwise the threshold at which nuclear weapons of last resort must be employed is dangerously low.

    Being independent costs money. So does freedom. It’s worth it and UK can afford it. Past experience suggest UK should be spending not 2% but 3-5% of GDP on defence, depending on what is counted as defence expenditure, the nuclear deterrent, pensions, overseas aid etc.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Parliament does not deserve the British army.




    Posted July 23, 2018 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    ‘We do need to spend a bit more’

    ‘Spending increases: the case for schools’

    ‘Spending more – what about defence?’

    The word reform is nowhere to be seen amongst John’s litany of spending demands. Why? It’s all very simple. Reform equals conflict with the State’s vested interests who feed off the taxpayer. Spending more helps to pacify the almost continuous whingeing of public sector employees and dilutes or removes negative headlines from the usual coterie of anti-Tory media. In many cases it is is simple Pork Barrel politics

    We have a Tory party that’s capitulated to the big state, leftist agenda. It’s easier for the Tories to sacrifice their principles rather than suffer at the hands of an electorate that’s been weaned onto state support. Labour’s client state politics has been embraced by Major onwards

    It’s all too sad for words.

    And as already been said above. Why does a vassal state of the German empire need two carriers anyway? Yes, it was Brown trying to prop up Labour support in Glasgow through pork-barrelling but these ships are not needed.

  8. Richard1
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Where’s all the money coming from for all these spending ideas – we still have a budget deficit of £30bn?!

    • Peter Wood
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      STILL a budget deficit and now 9 years into the expansionary cycle. The odds on a recession within 2 years us extremely high and we will be going into it with a deficit. The Tories have NO plan to balance the budget, much less start to repay our national debt, that costs about £55 billion this year to service; MORE than we will spend on defence.
      We have a socialist government masquerading as Conservatives. Our host must know this but still wishes to tax and spend more. Are we lost?

      • acorn
        Posted July 23, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        Remember that the government has swapped circa 25% of its Gilts savings bonds, back into the original cash that bought them. They called it Quantitative Easing.

        So, from your £54.4 billion of debt interest, you have to take away the £13.7 billion interest the government’s Treasury, is paying to itself, via its own Central Bank’s APF account.

        BTW. For those who understand private sector business accounting, have a long read of “Whole of Government Accounts: year ended 31 March 2017” . You will see that, by international private sector accounting standards (IFRS), the country, as a business, is insolvent and has been for decades. £4,324 billion of liabilities and only £1,903 billion of assets.

        How does it keep trading? On page 75 of WGA, you will get a clue. That being the difference between a fiat currency ISSUING government sector, and a currency USING non-government sector. 😉

        Trying to balance the budget or run a surplus to reduce the, so called, Nation Debt; and, at the same time, run a large trade deficit … is simply stupid.

  9. Original Richard
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    To remain an independent and sovereign nation we need to develop and maintain our own GPS system.

    To share such a system with the (27 soon to be 34+) nations of the EU, such as the Galileo project, would be a huge security risk and continually a danger that the EU could cut us off at any moment.

  10. Andy
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Actually – Brexit is good news for defence.

    As a result of Brexit we can completely scrap the military – all of it. Maybe keep a few soldiers in case of domestic emergencies but that’s all we need. No-one will want to attack the village idiot.

    And all because your Brexit has turned our country into an international laughing stock.

    The foreign press, rightly, derides the Tory pensioners in government as completely incompetent halfwits.

    NATO is on its way out anyway. President Trump will pull the plug soon enough.

    As for the UN Security Council – our seat was assured while we were a stable and sensible country in the EU. Now we are an international joke there is no justification for us to retain it. India, Japan, Germany, Brazil – and dozens more are all more worthy candidates.

    Plus of course we’ll be likely needing UN peacekeepers here before long in the forthcoming Second English Civil War between the angry pensioners and everyone else.

    • sm
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      I see the excessive heat continues to affect you, Andy.

      Perhaps you should stay indoors and sip cold water more frequently.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      “Plus of course we’ll be likely needing UN peacekeepers here before long in the forthcoming Second English Civil War between the angry pensioners and everyone else.”

      Virtually every soldier, every sailor, every policeman, every football fan and every thug will have supported Brexit.

      You use the word ‘pensioner’ to hint that the Brexit voters can be ignored because they are weak and feeble. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        I am proud to be a *little* Englander. I am heartily sick of my country messing in other people’s affairs.

      • Andy
        Posted July 23, 2018 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

        You are certainly right with the thug thing.

        • Anonymous
          Posted July 24, 2018 at 8:16 am | Permalink

          And you’re certainly wrong that it was only pensioners who voted Leave.

          I wouldn’t want the government to be under any misapprehensions here.

    • NickC
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Andy, We’re still waiting to hear from you why the UK cannot be independent of the EU. You position that we must be a vassal of the EU is plainly irrational, since most of the world is not in the EU. And as a matter of fact, using figures from the ONS and polling companies, there is likely to be under 5 million Tory pensioners to confront you angry wailing Remains. The other 12m – 13m Leave voters are spread between young and old, and in between, and are as likely to be Labour voters as Tory.

      • Andy
        Posted July 23, 2018 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

        Indeed – there are lots of angry hard-left pensioners too. There are not too many of them on this site though but I challenge them elsewhere.

        Honestly – leave your echo chamber. It’ll give you a broader perspective.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 24, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

          We hear lots like you on tv and radio and in the newspapers Andy.
          We come on here to get a rest from you liberal lefties who like you are neither liberal minded nor democrats.

          Nice to see you are now finally realising that many older people voted remain.
          Soon you will be telling us loads of youngsters voted to leave.
          Well those that could be bothered to get out of bed and vote.

        • Anonymous
          Posted July 24, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

          This is no echo chamber.

          There are at least half a dozen others who do opposition to Brexit better than you.

          Whereas they put the bejeesus up me – with facts and cogent opinion – you make me more convinced than anyone that I was right to vote Leave.

          What caused Brexit was the arrogance and insult from the pro EU side, not the EU itself.

        • libertarian
          Posted July 24, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink


          Leave your echo chamber indeed

          I was giving a talk to A level students the week before last I asked them who was for , against or didn’t care about Brexit

          Roughly 20% remain 20% Leave 60% Couldnt care less

          Being in or out of the EU has very little effect either way for people who dont run their own business or dont own a holiday home in Europe or who currently aren’t working.

        • NickC
          Posted July 24, 2018 at 8:37 am | Permalink

          Andy, It is actually very difficult to avoid Remain propaganda which pours out of the government, the EU, most MPs, the establishment, the civil service, the BBC, about 3/4 of the rest of the media, etc. Like you they use sound-bites, non-sequiteurs, fake stats, and so on, which are pretty easy to dismantle.

          In the end all your collective opinions are grounded on disguising certain facts. One of your fake grounds is that the UK cannot be independent. Step back from your obvious emotional fear of not having the big comfortable EU holding your hand, and realise your country is perfectly capable of looking after itself, like most of the rest of the world does.

    • Richard1
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      One wonders reading your posts how it is that there are countries around the world which are peaceful and prosperous yet not in the EU? Canada, Switzerland, Norway, the US, Singapore…how do they all do it without being in th e EU??

    • Edward2
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Gosh what a rant.
      You sound like some lefty student on a demo.

    • DaveM
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Funniest thing I’ve read for ages.

      UN SC seat since 1949. How does that follow?

      3 of the others permanent members not in the EU. China, however, exemplifies the way larger states can assume memberships by stealth. Or do you condone China’s occupation of little Taiwan against its will?

      Stop screeching little pussy cat.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 7:26 pm | Permalink


      When I read your entries (demented rants) the only thought that comes screaming to the fore is the position of your head with its relationship to all this beautiful sunshine.

      If the future of this country even the world for that matter is ever dependant on people like you all I can say is:- God help us all.

    • L Jones
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear, Andy. Oh dear dear dear.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted July 24, 2018 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        totally unnecessary rant grow up

  11. Cheshire Girl
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Why is it that, despite being one of the smallest countries, we seem to be looking after a large proportion of the world? The endless wars in the Middle East that never seem to cease. Pouring money into Africa over many, many years, which doesnt seem to solve their problems. Nor do we get any thanks for it.

    In my opinion, it is time we concentrated on looking after ourselves. Apart from a small emergency fund to assist others in natural disasters, we should keep our money and spend it here. I am fed up with the Politicians going on about our ‘moral responsibility ‘ to the rest of the world , all paid for by the the long suffering taxpayers .

    • Mitchel
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      With the news that the “White Helmets” are being evacuated from Syria (and a significant number relocated here) a further reminder of the truth of what Peter Oborne wrote a few weeks ago:

      “We’ve spent £200m in Syria-for nothing.It is now clear that British backing for the “rebels” in the Syrian Civil War was not just a mistake,it was a disaster.”

    • NickC
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Cheshire Girl, Well said. It’s time we looked after ourselves for a change, instead of pouring our wealth into the maw of ungrateful recipients like the EU. We should scrap DfID, split a small part of its funds to the FCO and the armed services to help out during natural disasters, and the rest can be tax cuts.

    • Andy
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      To put your foreign aid rant in perspective – someone on average salary of £28,000 contributes 68p a week of income tax to foreign aid. They pay 42p a week into the EU budget. So, in total, the EU ans foreign aid cost you £1.10 a week. This is for someone on average salary remember. Earn less and you pay less.

      Your generosity is worth a third of a latte and, where I live at least, about a quarter of a pint a week. That is all.

      On the contrary, welfare costs an average taxpayer £15 a week. Pensions costs nearly £13 a week and debt interests costs you £3.50 a week.

      Facts are awkward, eh?

      • Edward2
        Posted July 24, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink

        Yet you rant constantly about the £350 million more for the BHS

        The income tax is already spent on other things.
        We borrow to give money away to their nations.

        And your stats are dodgy because income tax is just one tax.
        There are dozens we pay.

        I’ve done you a few paragraphs to make it easy for you to understand.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 24, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        That 68p a week really matters to individuals where hernia operations are rationed “Because we have no money.” or there are no police to investigate burglary “Because we have no money.”

        Pensions were paid for by the recipient and private pensions were raided by government to pay for their continuing largesse and mismanagement. The pensions crisis is not actually the fault of the pensioners.

        As for latte ? I don’t even consider buying one unless it’s a sit-down.

        These chains campaign for open borders to staff their outlets to sell us overpriced hot water. They are subsidised in effect. “You can only buy our coffee if you agree to accept limitless numbers of people into your country.”

      • NickC
        Posted July 24, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        Andy, You really are a card! Certainly you are in need of remedial arithmetic classes. That, or don’t succumb to Remain propaganda so easily.

        The net direct cost of the EU varies but is currently about £12bn a year; there are 31m UK income tax payers. Therefore the average contribution = 12000/31 = £387-09 per year, or £7-44 per week per IT payer.

        Similarly, using UK GDP of £2trn, the rake off by DfID at 0.7% GDP, then the cost of foreign aid is £8-68 per week per IT payer.

        Of course the actual cost of the EU is much higher than the direct net cash we gift them. It could be as much as 11% of UK GDP (Congdon). Taking a mid point between the 0.6% GDP cash cost of the EU, and the 11% figure, we get a cost of 5.8% of GDP = £71-96 per week per IT payer.

        Facts are awkward, eh?

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted July 24, 2018 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

          NIck C

          this is all fake news in terms of cost and you know it

      • Pragmatist
        Posted July 28, 2018 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        My charity begins with me deciding who I give to and if. Anything else is theft.

  12. alan jutson
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    John, you mention disaster relief, surely the cost of such should come out of the Foreign Aid budget.

    I see from yesterdays copy of the Sunday mail (yes I know SM) That the Defence department are being charged a massive amount over and above any sensible rate agreed under another of Gordon Brown’s PFI arrangements to lease Voyager Aircraft.
    Just like the NHS and Schools PFI projects, these arrangements are like throwing money down the drain on more than just a grand Scale, can they be renegotiated to save some cash, or is that not possible.

    • L Jones
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Yes, disaster relief should come out of the Foreign Aid Budget. As should the cost of treatment given to foreign (health) visitors when they use our NHS.

      What part of the phrase ”foreign aid” doesn’t this government understand?

  13. Ian wragg
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    The bulk of cuts to the armed forces have been done by Tory governments.
    We have 2 Carriers which are all but useless not having catapulted or angled flight decks.
    The planes are a joke having a ruddy great fan for takeoff which is redundant in flight
    This slows it down and severely curtails the range.
    We don’t have enough ships to form a battle group.
    What a mess you have made of things.

    • Steve
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      @ Ian Wragg

      Yes its a sad joke isn’t it. I’d go further than saying they’ve made a mess – it’d be treason if I had my way.

    • NickC
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Ian Wragg, To be fair, most of the aircraft carrier mess was instigated by Labour. However what Theresa May is currently doing is aiming to subsume our military into the EU’s defence and security command. I think the intention is to be able to poke the Russian bear in the face. Well, good luck to that – Andy would approve anyway. That really is the Tory government’s fault.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted July 23, 2018 at 8:44 pm | Permalink


        What sort of proof have you got for this statement?

        • Edward2
          Posted July 24, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

          It’s all in the 5 Presidents report.
          Harmonised defence forces, their funding and a centralised defence strategy.
          I’m amazed how little pro EU people understand what the EU will be like in the near future.

        • NickC
          Posted July 24, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

          Hans, Which statement?

  14. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, in its last ever edition yesterday the BBC Sunday Politics programme conducted one of its admittedly unscientific polls in Aylesbury and found that a narrow majority of the passers-by thought that Theresa May is still supporting Remain. Perhaps that is why nobody in the Department for Exiting the EU, or indeed anywhere else in her government, ever makes any attempt to rebut the anti-Brexit propaganda which is being spewed out day after day, they have been ordered not to do so. The new Secretary Dominic Raab was on another TV programme in the morning and rather than contradicting the Remoaner nonsense he was simply evasive; so it seems that anybody who hoped he would make more effort to defend the official policy of the government than his predecessor will be disappointed. And it is for that kind of reason that later in the day all three people on the Sky press review were predicting disaster in a “no deal” scenario, and now we have the UK head of Amazon warning that it could degenerate into civil unrest within two weeks … so what is the government going to do about this? Oh, issue disaster warnings to the citizens at weekly intervals, just to reassure them and calm things down …

    • MPC
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      As if he wasn’t busy enough already, we need Mr Redwood and his colleagues to issue weekly bulletins which counter the weekly HMT propaganda about to begin which will say how terrible WTO will be for the UK

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 23, 2018 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        That seems to be the purpose, to terrify the population into demanding that we either adopt the Therolly plan or we ask for our Article 50 notice back.

    • Chris
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Also off topic, but connected to your post, Dominic Raab is reported as saying that a deal could be struck in October. Due to the time factor he must mean that this deal would be based on the Chequers Plan. The CP simply is not Brexit. This is not acceptable. What are the Tory Brexiters going to do about it? They cannot, in my mind, wait until October which is apparently what they are content to do. It would mean disaster for this country to have a vassal state agreement put in place (I actually think that the EU is playing a fast one and will accept the vassal state agreement with one or two more concessions wrung out of May) and it would also mean an electoral disaster for the Tories. I have got to the stage where I feel the Tories deserve everything coming to them.

      • Timaction
        Posted July 23, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        Agreed. Any Treaty like Chequers is not acceptable to the English people who made their views known in the referendum. It will be redrawn by the next election in every Brexiter seat. UKIP poster lorry in Soubery,s seat today. We still have some patriots in politics, just not many in the Westminster bubble!

    • Iain Moore
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      David Davis was supposed to have been in charge of our Brexit negotiations, but we found out that is was Olly Robbins in No10. With Raab, matters have only got worse, its reported the Brexit department has been gutted of staff, and he can’t even decide what Spad he wants. Raab is really no more than Olly Robbins assistant, he is a Ministerial front to hide what is going on in the background.

    • ian wragg
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      It’s all become crystal clear Denis. May called a snap election wanting to increase her majority. Wasn’t it Juncker who advised her to have the election. The idea being with an increased majority she could ram through her BRINO ideas.
      Luckily she lost the majority and now is a hostage to fortune with the ERG sat on her shoulder watching her every move.
      Maybe the election will ensure we get a proper Brexit as the EU have no intention of doing a deal.
      Hopefully saner heads will prevail and a Canada plus will eventually be agreed.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 23, 2018 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        “Wasn’t it Juncker who advised her to have the election.”

        So it was reported, although as I recall it was in the Observer.

      • RayK
        Posted July 23, 2018 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        You’re right ..the EU has no intention of doing a deal now..we heard Mr Raab out there yesterday threatening that unless there was a deal the 39 billion would not be paid. Today we heard Mrs May talking up about new trade deals with Oz and NZ, as if we were never there before? Then today Jeremy Hunt is saying that unless the EU moves in some way to facilitate UK demands there is the danger that we will slip into a no deal scenario ‘by accident’..with so much diplomacy going on about..I think it’s time for a dose of realism. Because of all of above there will be no deal..bottom line..junker does not want a deal Verhofstadt does not want a deal and Tusk is not convinced. Barnier is just following orders and will be his usual polite self to the last..up until ‘the accident’- We voted to leave and that is what we’re going to get

      • zorro
        Posted July 24, 2018 at 6:55 am | Permalink

        There is absolutely no doubt that if she had got an increased majority last year, she would have gone more directly for BRINO and not fear the ERG. The wisdom of the British people meant that they could vote for BREXIT options but not give her the leeway to betray the actual referendum vote, because I suspect that the British people had no doubt that ‘submarine May’ was a closet remainer.


    • Anonymous
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Brussels is now letting us know that Art 50 can be delayed with a second referendum.

      The whole thing is concerted from within and without.

    • NickC
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Denis, Yes, the performance of the government is so dire, it is difficult to believe it is just incompetence. Theresa May claims we will “step up” preparations for a WTO deal. Step up from what – nothing? Is the government talking to actual businesses, rather than waffling with political lobby groups like the CBI? What real practical work is being done? What new or extended systems are being put in place? Frankly until I see real evidence I am not likely to believe Mrs May’s statements. Eight months to go, and apparently nothing in place.

    • MickN
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      If he reckons there will be civil unrest if there is a no deal he won’t like what will happen if we don’t get the Leave that we voted for.
      I should imagine his main concern is the fear of a less cushy tax deal for Amazon than it gets now when we are an independent country once more.

  15. alan jutson
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    How about some fishery protection vessels, and while we are at it, boats that can detect illegal entry of people before they get into our territorial waters.

    The 100 year RAF fly past last week of 100 aircraft shows how far we have gone down the line of cuts, that’s about 60% of the total number of aircraft we have !!

    From reports read, it would seem we have about 19 combat ships.

    Yes we are in Nato, but is that really enough.

    What will happen when NATO is weakened when the EU Army/Navy/Airforce is formed, as it seems it inevitably will.
    Will we help them as well, Will they help us ?

    Defence cuts have gone too far, much more needs to be spent, but spent intelligently, not thrown away on expensive PFI type schemes to fund vanity projects.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      If you had gone to the Farnborough Air Show last Saturday, you would have thought the RAF consisted of the Spitfire and Lancaster.
      Thank you to the USAF for putting up a Fighting Falcon for aerial display in the RAFs absence.

      • Nig l
        Posted July 23, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        Yes it was pathetic compared with other years. For me not worth the money.

    • Chris
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Defence cuts have happened because they are line with what our government has already signed up to with the EU, as part of the EU defence policy. These cuts have happened as a result of deliberate planning and policy by our government to fit in with EU requirements even though our government apparently denied (as well as other key politicians from other Parties) that the EU was going to create its own army/capabilities. What duplicity.

    • Steve
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      @Alan Jutson
      …”How about some fishery protection vessels…”

      No point. Various governments allowed the EU to annihilate the British fishing fleet.

      You’ll find that traitor May has also capitulated our fishing waters to the EU (and kept quiet about it) much to the outrage of a lot of former tory voters.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      No thank you. Our navy is already a ferry boat service in the Med, we don’t need one in the English Channel too.

      Provide a ferry service and they will come.

    • Cis
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      Neat looking vessel intercepted that cocaine shipment last week. More of the same, please!

  16. Anonymous
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Our navy is part of the Med taxi service.

  17. John Plumb
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    After serving for some 37 years I make the following observations:
    1. Philip Hammond succeeded in doing something that eluded Napoleon and the Wermacht – he destroyed 20% of the British Army,
    2. On completing my technical training in 1967 we were using Land Rovers as maintenance support vehicles for Aviation. When I retired in 2001 we were still using the same type of vehicle. It was inadequte in both eras.

  18. backofanenvelope
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    I wonder how many voters want us to be a “successful expeditionary power”

  19. Sakara Gold
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Any increase in defense spending must be considered in the light of the potential threats that we face. These are currently multiplying alarmingly, from the continued terrorism dangers to Russia challenging our control of UK airspace, the Channel, the western approaches and threats further from these shores, such as our control of the Gibraltar narrows and the UK “sovereign” bases on Cyprus – less than 200 miles from the new Russian naval base in Tartus, Syria.

    The recent all-party Commons Defence Committee Report “Beyond 2 Per Cent” recommended a rise in GDP spending from 2 to 3%. The Committee advised that increased spending was the only solution at a time when the UK faced a renewed threat from Russia and increasing challenges from terrorism, extremism and cyber-warfare. It pointed out – worryingly – of serious deficiencies in the quantities of manpower, armour, armoured vehicles and artillery available to the British Army; we are outgunned by Russia.

    If we are going to spend more on the defence of the realm then we really must resolve the problem of the inefficiency of the MoD in spending taxpayers money. The most recent example of the Voyager A330 tanker aircraft cost overspend (a legacy Geoff Hoon issue) is merely the tip of the iceberg; many contributors here (including myself) have commented on the profligate waste of taxpayers money by the MoD and how little actual military hardware we get for what we spend.

    From what I hear, Gareth Williamson is a breath of fresh air in his department and is winning the respect of both the military and some of the civil servants in the MoD. Clearly, we need larger armed forces to face the challenges that we meet. The issue is really how to stop the endless series of cock-ups in defence procurement and get value for money spent. One hopes that Mr Williamson will be able to navigate this minefield successfully.

    • Mitchel
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      This obsession by the bloated,self-serving UK foreign and defence establishments with Russia is a throw back to the 19th century and the paranoia that Russia was going to take India off us.The Empire’s gone and isn’t coming back;Russia meanwhile continues to span most of two continents and 11 time zones.Just look at the map,comparisons are ridiculous.Our defence capabilities should be directed towards the security of our own land and waters.

  20. A.Sedgwick
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    The new aircraft carriers are gesture politics, the chance of their use in a real emergency without USA backup is effectively nil. Our priorities should be the security of the British Isles and coastal waters and British citizens, home and abroad. The reduction in the size of our military forces (and the police) is lamentable. The nuclear deterrent is vital for our protection along with delivery methods. As for the Falklands, their recapture was essential in 1982 but the time is coming when a better relationship with Argentina is in everyone’s interests.

  21. Adam
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    The MoD is reported as including expenses such as ex-servicemen’s pensions within the 2%. Critics say that that money cannot be used for fighting.

    Other members of NATO should contribute properly, rather than over-relying on the US to do so. As Pres Trump indicated, Germany gains from NATO but spends the US-contributed value it saves on paying for Russian gas, supporting an opponent’s economy. That might be both tantamount to assisting a possible enemy and becoming dependent on that enemy for essential supplies.

    • Mitchel
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Large,important interests within the EU see Russia as a partner rather than an opponent.It’s the globalists and the US neo-cons who see Russia as a threat capable of destroying their desired monopoly on power the prospects for which are daily slipping away.

  22. Tad Davison
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Perhaps before we start talking about spending a bit more, we should think about reducing waste and pay heed to the Tax-payers Alliance who write:

    ‘Defence secretary calls for tax cuts

    There was encouraging news for taxpayers this week as the defence secretary Gavin Williamson urged the prime minister to cut taxes in order to raise more revenue. The Times reports:

    “Mr Williamson was said to have praised Mr Lawson’s cut in the top rate of income tax from 60p to 40p in 1988, which caused the amount of tax paid by the top 1 per cent of earners to increase slightly over a decade”.

    The TPA recently published a research note on the US Tax Cuts & Jobs Act in which we highlighted that economic growth can be encouraged through reduced taxation. We hope that more politicians and policy makers will take note of the benefits that lower taxes can yield.’

    Tad Davison


    • zorro
      Posted July 24, 2018 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      He is playing to the crowd….


  23. Caterpillar
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    There is little left to defend.

    I think today’s and the previous two days’ posts are reasonable but do seem to be making an unstated assumption that overall the UK is not too bad but there are areas for improvement. I think, unfortunately, that the assumption is wrong. The continuing London centricity (political, financial and cultural centre) must be ceased to support rebalancing. Of the three shifting the political centre northwards is the obvious easiest start (rather than the expense of the parliament refit). (sentence left out ed) This is fine if there is set of overlapping decent values – living outside leafy suburbia, it is easy to see this is not the case. The grumpy old man’s list shows this to be the case – earbuds leaking noise in public with no consideration for others (beyond commonplace), thumping bass from cars or houses with no consideration (commonplace), dog excrement on footpaths (commonplace), eating and drinking whilst shopping (commonplace), kids right-adults wrong (commonplace and contributing to behavioural costs in education), littering and astronomical fly tipping (commonplace and dangerous), king hit-acid-knife-gun-dog attacks (commonplace), gender segregation (commonplace and accepted), uninsured driving (common place), shoplifting (commonplace and accepted), moped snatches etc.

    The endless list of grumpy moans might seem trivial to many, but that itself is an indication of the state of play. These moans are indicators of where the UK is. We need to improve behaviour to enable a culture of openness, freedom and inspiration.

    We need to improve behaviour to be a country worth defending.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      I am particulary dismayed by dog excrement left on the pavement (even in trees) having been bagged.

      Utter lunacy.

      Part of me wants Brexit to bring hardship. Soft times have clearly done us no good at all.

  24. Bill
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    We have the highest tax burden since Harold Wilson with government revenues at a their highest for three decades under a (notionally) conservative government.

    But all we hear is “more spending”, “new taxes”, even from the sensible right wing Tories like Mr Redwood.

    The cynical observer could be forgiven for wondering if Mr Corbyn had won.

    Reply I am arguing for lower tax rates!

  25. Steve
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    JR – “The government has found the money for two large carrier ships and attendant planes.”

    This country is now incapable of manufacturing it’s own aircraft. I can only imagine they must be intending to naval-ise the american F35, or might have already done so.

    Sadly the UK defence industry is in tatters compared to what it used it be.

    We only really have one major contractor, which actually never built an aircraft of it’s own design, any aircraft produced by that aerospace company wasn’t their design, they were all Hawker Siddely’s. Ok there was some Tornado work, but that’s a Panavia design and we didn’t make the whole aircraft.

    After BREXIT we will have to produce our own aircraft and get away from these multi national projects – unless May has locked us into Europe in that respect, conveniently keeping it quiet.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      The F35B is a marinised version with a VTOL fan made by Rolls Royce.

  26. Iago
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    What a litany of condemnation of this execrable government.

  27. Pragmatist
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    White Helmets , and their families,will be given refuge here. First they were received in Jordan ( are we evacuating all Jordanians and housing them here? NO ) Then transferred to Israel ( are we going to house all Israelis? NO) .
    They are all combat-fit straight out of an street battle zone they voluntarily stayed in. Some, were photographed using arms.,, not just by Russian journalists

    Does the government know as much about those individuals as they know about a British lad or lass applying for a role in our army?NODo they even know their alleged names which of course they will not be able to prove.NO Did the government ask anyone on these islands for permission? NO. What complete irresponsibility!!!!!. Defence. Fools!!!!

  28. formula57
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Having pulled others’ chestnuts out of the fire for so long now, have we earned no respite?

    If “…with a seat at the Security Council of the United Nations [and] as such it has responsibilities to contribute” then let us give up the seat. What good does it do for us, save supporting a corrosive sense of self-importance?

    “NATO, a crucial defensive alliance for the western democracies..” – not crucial to the UK and I for one will not fight to defend our EU enemies. As is well-rehearsed, NATO became redundant on the fall of the Soviet Empire and its main purpose now is to sustain wealth accumulation by the legislative-industrial-military complex in the USA.

    Defence materiel should be appropriate to contemporary threats, that come from cyber attacks, IP theft, news manipulation and terrorism and hone-grown quislings.

  29. Pragmatist
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Statements by our young inexperienced leftie-liberal Defence Minister does not command respect. Certainly not by our soldiers. Though largely they keep their mouths shut.

    The Establishment as stated by Corbyn believe “our service personnel are “demoralised” ”
    Remoaners, leftie-liberals in the Tory Party and Lib Dems if push came to shove would be arrested by our military.
    We really do need a very very good deal at the EU.

  30. Ed Mahony
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I agree.

    But how are we going to respond to the 3 year-old boy having acid thrown in his face by adult/s in Worcestershire recently. Like something from a Nazi concentration camp. This kind of act sends chills down people’s spines, especially, parents’, and seriously damages national morale.

    Although the 3-year-old boy acid attack by adult/s is a new low, violent crime on Britain’s streets is widespread (I experienced knife attack in Middle Class part of London recently but this kind of thing goes on all around the country).

    We need more police. But we seriously need to look at the collapse of family life in this country, the danger of drugs and so on.

  31. Prigger
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Our Defence arrangements are like polishing a village constable’s police baton

  32. M.W.Browne
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Why do we want to be a leading country in the world ? This only benefits politicians and their hangers on, who can then strut about on the world stage and look important.

    I would prefer us to be more like Denmark or The Netherlands.

    We should be increasing the state pension, so that we no longer have the lowesy state pension in the G20.

    Why are we letting in even more Syrians, as reported in the news ? Aren’t there enough here already ?

    Don’t forget the next election. Many people from what used to be the Conservative party, and from Labour, will be looking for a perty that will repesent their views.

    • hefner
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      To put things in context, 44% of present retirees only have their state pensions. Within the still active, 37% will have their state pension and personal savings lower than £5k.
      To reiterate what was written above, UK has the lowest state pension of the G20.

  33. DUNCAN
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Big State’s Tax Take Hits 49-Year High – Taxpayers Alliance report out today

    This is what happens when you have spineless Tory leaders spending our cash like a socialist idiot

    Mr Redwood should be ashamed of his calls for more spending. he knows such spending is pure waste and little more than political spending

    It’s time for John to decide if he’s a statist or a free-marketeer

    • Steve
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink


      ..”This is what happens when you have spineless Tory leaders spending our cash like a socialist idiot”

      That’s because, err….they are socialist idiots.

    • Derek Henry
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      The government budget deficit = the free market surplus.

      The government budget surplus = the free market deficit.

      be careful what you wish for.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 24, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

        The more the state overspends the wealthier we citizens get.
        You really think that Is true?

  34. Eh?
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    What I have relatively recently learned is that “extreme right-wingers” in our Parliament to which membership is attributed by Remoaners to Dr Redwood and Rees-Mogg are not.
    They are normal.

    Our parliamentary democracy is full of terms and definitions stretching back to the Civil War where the members sat on the Left and Right of the House.

    Perhaps, for I have no qualifications in political philosophy, there is a strong loosely termed strand of libertarianism in the so-called “Right-wing” which defies modern terminology.

    Hence it is “The “Extreme Right” and not liberals or socialists or even many conservatives who advocate Free Speech, yet are slurred with being “fascist”. But it is the rest who curtail freedom of expression in all its forms and have invented the term “Hate Speech” which they use to bash normal British expression.

    Their potpourri of politics is interactively self-supporting to the pragmatic end -result of utter confused thought and resolve. Eg. The SNP, Labour, and Greens remarkably find common cause “as a political compromise” in having our nuclear subs sailing away choc-a-bloc full of neutered missiles. Eh?

  35. David D
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    The UK is a leading country in the world and as such should set an example by reducing spending on killing machines, declaring it’s refusal to become embroiled in illegal and immoral NATO/ US wars, getting rid of the ridiculous aircraft carriers with no aircraft and ceasing ludicrous propaganda campaigns against whoever happens to be the enemy of the day.

  36. Rien Huizer
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Apparently no one has (at least publicly) benchmarked UK defense expenditure against external requirements (threats, NATO requirements). There is a quixotic element (Trident, nuclear attack subs, “carriers”), a mercantilist one: Typhoon, most armor, light firearms etc. And a widely regarded one: light infantry (incl marines and special forces). Why not follow the example of Australia (a country with a much more challenging mission set given its location and surface) and buy as much as possible off the shelf, and in the US mainly, except warships. The main role for US allies is to be as much as possible interoperable and to “buy American”, Allies contribute manpower, money and territory. Some technology but preferably not competition and rivalry. A pragmatic policy would depart from that reality.

    One of the problems confronting countries like The Netherlands and Belgium wrt defense spending, is that they have agreed to spend more (reach the two percent) but have no idea on what: a few more F35s that would be sitting in a hangar in the US? Buy new tanks for the ones that were sold off a few years ago? Meanwhile their manpower component (which they can only grow if procurement goes up) needs more money urgently, given all those new tasks around terrorism and cyber security.

    So there is no way for the public to assess if defense could absorb more, the same or less money, responsibly.

    • NickC
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Rien, Rather than just making things up as you normally do, you could try reading the SDSR.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted July 24, 2018 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        Nick C,

        I did, quite a while ago. Unfortunately that document is -and should be – not suitable for that purpose. My point is basically that the implied defense aspirations of the UK are very diverse and may lack focus and feasibility. It is nonsensical for a NATO member with a special relationship with the US (or so the UK believes) to have an autonomous expeditionary force of that size, for several reasons: the carriers are unlikely to meet with superior opposition on the high seas but will always be acting alone, with a small complement of aircraft that are themselves still a work in progress. Maybe another go at the Falklands? Defending Gibraltar? The former depends on US consent. The latter is simply impossible. Bombing a country like Syria from a carrier is possible but land based ones from Cyprus would be more economical, Etcetera.
        Incidentally, the problem I signal, ie that defense expenditure is by nature off-limits to scrutiny by the wider public, except where the long term objectives are beyond mere propaganda, is not unique to the UK. Try to design a defense function for Luxemburg or Iceland. I believe that a British role in NATO can be designed. An autonomous role for a British “expeditionary force” not as a proxy for the US but possibly without US consent, is completel;y contingent upon the type of opponent. And there are not that many plausible opponent that might be the target of the force envisaged (or rather implied) by the published documents.

    • Richard1
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      Good post. I’d rather see us focus on what we get for various public services, not the amount of money spent. Has anyone ever sat through a business presentation or board meeting and asked probing questions of a management team as to why they haven’t spent more, as opposed to focusing on what results their spending and investment has achieved?

  37. hans christian ivers
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    The UK government debt is close to 100% and it predicting to rise significantly over the next 20 years due to the NHS and the demographics of the country and less immigration.

    We cannot afford a lot of more expenditure with a government debt of nearly 90% of GDP and low interest rates only for the moment.

    Interest on UK debt is the third largest post on the government budget

    • NickC
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Hans, Defence is one of the primary responsibilities of the state. Of course we can afford to spend more on defence. The main concern is, will it be spent wisely. Savings can be made elsewhere, especially by closing DfID (0.7% UK GDP) and from the c11% GDP savings (per Prof Congdon) by leaving your corrupt sclerotic EU.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted July 24, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        MY EU you are getting carried away again and your sources of Prof. Congdon are as reliable as China turning into a democracy tomorrow , thank you Nick C

    • Derek Henry
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      Gold standard fixed exchnage rate tosh.

      Japan has a 250% debt to GDP ratio and on the other side of that blance sheet is private sector net wealth. You need to learn the accounting.

      There are two angles to this point.

      1. The idea that one type of expenditure has to squeeze out another type of public expenditure is only true if the government has some fiscal rule that necessitates that.

      Otherwise, given that the currency-issuing government is never revenue constrained such a compulsory substitution is clearly false.

      2. But, government spending of any type (so I am including interest payments here) add to net financial assets in the non-government sector and may add to the total spending stream.

      If the economy is already operating at full capacity (and that is a rare state for advanced economies over the last three to four decades), then rising interest payments will mean the government has to reduce spending elsewhere – either from its own fiscal program or by increasing taxes to squeeze the non-government spending capacity to purchase goods and services.

      Alternatively, it can opt to squeeze yields down to low levels via central bank action (buying up bonds) and control the government outlays in that way.

      Whichever option(s) is (are) chosen would come down to political choices but they would be taken at a time of buoyancy rather than recession or stagnation (high unemployment).

      In general, there is no threshold point beyond which public debt (absolutely or scaled against GDP) becomes a problem for a currency issuing government.

      The real question you should be asking is why should the monopoly issuer of the £ be borrowing £’s at all ?

      You do know what the word monopoly means don’t you.
      Reply there are 2 major constraints on issuing state debt and printing money. If the state issues foreign currency debts it can go bust, following a currency crisis ( e.g. various latam countries in the past).If it prints too much of its own money it can trigger an inflation, which can also trigger a collapse in the value of the currency printed.

  38. Tom Rogers
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    I completely disagree with Mr Redwood – not for the first time. He doesn’t ‘get it’. This is because he is a member of the elite and, ineluctably, his viewpoint reflects its preoccupations.

    Britain’s foreign policy should be based on the interests of the British people. That is not what Mr Redwood outlines nor what evidently believes in. He is proposing the opposite, that we prop up the existing international system, which is not true ‘internationalism’ at all.

    Britain’s defence policy and doctrines should be concerned ONLY with the territorial defence of the Home Islands and Britain’s overseas possessions, and perhaps Ireland and the British-heritage Commonwealth countries: Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Other than that, any assistance rendered to others beyond mundane quae pro quibus should be for consideration, and where possible, under the aegis of ut des agreements.

    If that means we give up our seat on the Security Council and we leave NATO, then good, all the better. This pretence, whether a substantive position or not, that we are a global policeman, does not enjoy public consent and it is the ordinary public who pay the price for it. We owe the rest of the world nothing. That is not to say we can’t be a great country again – we can, but we should do it in the proper way, by doing great things, not by being the junior partner of a superpower that is wants to fatuously impose liberal democracy and free market commerce on everybody else whether they like it or not.

    To be clear: that is not to say I think we can close in on ourselves and forget the rest of the world. I understand the need for engagement, but a lot of the world’s problems would be solved quite quickly if we stopped sticking our unwelcome noses in. African countries, for instance, should be permitted to govern their own affairs without our interference. The best way to help sub-Saharan Africa would be to trade with them, instead of thinking we know better than they do about how to run their own countries.

    Thus I say:

    Neither Washington nor Brussels!

    A foreign policy for Britain.

    A defence policy that defends Britain and its possession, not the entire world.

    Closer links between British-heritage countries: Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Britain itself.

    True internationalism – i.e. respect for national sovereignty and separate development.

    Development for Africa and the Third World through trade. No more lecturing to other countries about how they should run their own political and civic affairs. Traders and businesses choose who they want to deal with.

    • Mitchel
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Great post.I can’t disagree with any of that.

    • Pravda
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      “He ( Mr Redwood ) doesn’t ‘get it’. This is because he is a member of the elite and, ineluctably, his viewpoint reflects its preoccupations.”
      In that JR is a member of the elite as you put it, you may find references in marxist literature to “members of the elite” having the odd free brain cell.Marx Lenin and , Bukunin, didn’t have , even though they were as elite as could be…and remained so throughout their entire lives. None of them rest in paupers graves.

      • Mitchel
        Posted July 24, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        Rubbish!Lenin and Bakunin,although having aristocratic backgrounds(the Russian nobility was much more diffuse than Britain’s),wandered penniless across Europe for most of their lives;Lenin in particular was notoriously ascetic.As were later Soviet leaders like Andropov and Gorbachev.Marx enjoyed the high life in London,mostly courtesy of his friends.The fact they may have extravagant tombs reflects their historical significance not their lifestyles.

        • Pravda
          Posted July 24, 2018 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

          It was called “On England” by Engels but I read it under the title in a leftie pamphlet years ago.
          Its proper title is “The Condition of the Working Class in England”. Very detailed descriptions and accurate, an interesting read for all politicos of whatever hue.
          The fact we have got from there to here without Socialism shows his politics were Right then, kind of, but with time have proved to be wrong and Left. Confused? Keeping reading my friend 🙂

    • Kipling cake
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      “The best way to help sub-Saharan Africa would be to trade with them, instead of thinking we know better than they do about how to run their own countries.”
      Trade with them certainly.But only if they offer a good deal.

      Ideally, telling them we know better how to run their own countries is a no-no from get-go. But thinking we know better is not as arrogant as one might think… given their economic and political performances. Once the big bad colonialists were removed they suddenly found their disparate populaces had little in common and lacked an external enemy which focussed and united them, diplomatically and charitably speaking. 🙂

    • Kim
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      We left, as British, many countries in this world to their own devices. We had defensive wars to fight of our own. We did not have time to develop enough infrastructure, health resources, legal systems, and educational facilities, and good self-governing entities.
      We should have stayed a day or two longer.

    • NickC
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      Tom Rogers, You have many good points. However, we cannot defend ourselves, and all the other countries you list, with the armed forces we have now. So you are presumably advocating an increase in defence spending. Then without nuclear weapons we not only leave ourselves open to blackmail (Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, etc) but lose the UN Council seat which is immensely important to us. So what you say leads us back in all practical circumstances to what we do now but with increased defence spending.

      • Tom Rogers
        Posted July 24, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink


        You’re not seriously denying that membership of NATO and our ‘special relationship’ with the United States has increased defence spending unnecessarily? We need to leave NATO and give both the USA and the EU a wide berth, while maintaining ‘constructive relations’ with both.

        What on earth is wrong with being an independent country? Yes, it means we will be more modest on the world stage, but so what? The paradox here is that if we really truly want to do good, we need to start by stopping doing good. We need to stop sticking our noses is in other people’s business. A lot of problems will be solved thereby.

        Besides, we can have a perfectly competent deterrent national defence force on a modest budget, based perhaps on a combination of conscripted males for border defence; a modest professional infantry for defence of the Home Islands; Marine Corps and Paras for defence of overseas possessions, especially the Falklands, and ready for aggressive intervention elsewhere, if needed; as well as a small elite contingent of special forces. I would merge the Royal Navy and air force, and retain Trident, ensuring that our nuclear deterrent is independently actionable outside NATO. I would also make a point of conducting a public test of our nuclear deterrent, as a reminder to the rest of the world that we’ve still ‘got it’.

        If what I advocate implies increased defence spending, it is only on the principle of national territorial self-defence, not for the purpose of Britain serving as a global policeman. I agree that we probably would need to invest in defence anyway, even on the basis of a doctrine of national self-defence only, because we have possessions around the world, but what I don’t accept is that our military should be put in service of other countries and their problems.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      + 1000 !

  39. Nick
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    What there ISN’T a need for is for us to contemplate spending a mass of money on a national alternative to the EU’s Galileo satellite system. By all means try and make the EU see sense on the issue, and even contemplate court action if the contracts allow, but if Brussels persists in its silly stance, rescind permission for the EU to build ground stations on our overseas territories and then rely on Uncle Sam’s GPS – as we have for the past few decades!

  40. margaret howard
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    ” The UK has agreed to spend 2% of its GDP on defence”

    It should be pointed out that our 2% NATO budget includes the salaries and pensions of all its employees not just the arms.

    • Edward2
      Posted July 24, 2018 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Well yes, armed forces need soldiers, sailors and air personnel.

  41. libertarian
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    After eight years of Conservative government and supposed austerity, the tax burden this year is at a 49-year high, at 34% of GDP, with total government revenues this year at a 32-year high, at 37% of GDP. The 3% gap being the deficit. The government is spending a whopping £30,000 per household.

    The Conservative Socialist Party has been on a crusade to attack small business, supports remaining in the multinational business tax avoidance club the EU oh and wants to spunk £80 billion on a train went the UK which is a world leader in digital tech has just 4% ( yup FOUR) of households with ultrafast FTTP ( its 71% in Spain)

  42. charlesD
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    We need less taxes and less spending

    we need to spend more on merchant ships not naval ships. The roll-on roll off type ships we currently have on the channel will not be suitable for our new future trading pattern with countries far away. we need more bulkers and container ships under the UK flag

  43. HarveyG
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    We are spending far too much on defence as it is..we need to downsize our armed forces to more in line with our position and size in the world today. Let the US spend 4% of their GDP if they wish we do not have to follow suit. 1 per cent would be enough..we have too many generals and admirals all mostly retired

  44. Am
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Off topic but may and the new for sec not too subtly rubbished no deal. The lattet tweeted thsy only Putinwould be happy with no deal. Soon the official line will be any deal is better than no deal not no deal is better than a bad deal. So the intentions are obvious

  45. Adam
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Spending a reported £80bn on HS2 is probably very wasteful, & could be used more sensibly.

  46. Derek Henry
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    The government has found the money for two large carrier ships and attendant planes.

    Of course they did by using an index finger and typing the figure into a computer keyboard.

    We no longer have to dig up gold to spend you know this John you’ve worked in banking lon enough.

    Your dishonesty about this is losing me. How can I trust you on Brexit if you lie about money creation and what taxes actually do and it aint fund government spending.

    Don’t treat me like a fool John. I’ve studied the accounting for 7 years.

    • Edward2
      Posted July 24, 2018 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Our currency is traded on international markets.
      Printing money, creating money electronically and borrowing by issuing gilts is still recorded and noticed by these markets.
      Confidence in currencies can collapse.
      Your magic money tree does not exist.

      • acorn
        Posted July 25, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        Oh yes it does! It lives here;


        The National Loans Fund (NLF) has an unlimited capacity to lend its own currency (Units of Account: call it “money”). It creates it from thin air, otherwise known as the “magic money tree”. Taxation “money” is sent back into thin air, when it gets back to the NLF. Taxation does not, per-se, pay for anything.

        Read in Notes to the Accounts 1.iii: “Basis of presentation.” The Consolidated Fund (CF) is responsible for paying back the NLF. The CF gets its money mostly for taxation.

        Taxation comes from entities who spend or transfer money that attracts a tax claim. If those entities SAVE their money and don’t spend it, to tax it; the CF does not get all the NLF’s money back.

        Hence, the UK NLF, runs with a permanent deficit that matches to the penny the amount of the non-government private sector is SAVINGS.

        Where did the Taxpayers get the government’s “money” from originally? The only place you can get the governments “money”; The National Loans Fund at the government’s Treasury.

    • Mitchel
      Posted July 24, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      We are getting ever closer to the Soviet system where all transactions ,apart from workers wages, were non-cash book-keeping entries facilitating interactions in the economy in furtherance of a given Five Year plan.

  47. Cis
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    DfID and FCO should bear the costs when the armed forces are deployed on non-military, more social intervention missions. Especially DfID, which seems to have to hunt for projects to spend its GDP%ge budget on.

  48. Original Richard
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Nato has now become so large and diverse that its idea that an attack on one country is an attack on all is now defunct.

  49. Embarristering
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t the law in this country a mess. Now. But not in my youth.
    Two individuals are interviewed by the Press prior to any trial with the presumption they are guilty. This invalidates that any proper trial could be staged here. They are then sent to America with parliamentarians assuming their guilt and speaking about the kind of sentence they WILL face thus doubly invalidating they getting a proper trial here.
    Well at least in America they will get a proper trial to help us out with our bizarre legal system. But the American jury would have heard our guilty verdicts of the two on trial in our Law Makers Parliament..thus invalidating any trial.
    Perhaps China, in some outback region, could give assistance,with a trial by persons who do not know them or think they are guilty in advance?
    Then there our same Parliamentarians who spoke passionately of bombing from the air persons they did not know, some of whom may not have fired a winning shot at any person. Those two accused could have been among them.
    Our Parliament, some MPs and Legal System are not fit for purpose. But we knew this in the behaviour of our Supreme Court when we were starting to get out of the dictatorship of the EU

  50. Stephen O
    Posted July 24, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    It is NOT the 1990s when the West had an overwhelming advantage over any possible adversary for the foreseeable future. Then defense was about interventions to make the world a better safer place, which of course were poorly judged.

    Now the West is fading. Russia has greatly strengthened and is keen to test the will of European countries. China looks set to overtake the USA as the world’s largest economy in a few years and is rapidly expanding its military. While other non allied countries are also getting richer and militarily more capable.

    The UK needs to be fully capable of using hard power not just soft to influence events and to be a credible ally to the United states, Australia and other friendly countries a much less predictable world. It needs to realise the 1990s are over and defence needs to be considered a serious priority again.

    You can’t predict future events, friendly countries can turn hostile after revolutions or elections. And pretty much every war seems only the remotest possiblity more than a few years or even months before hand. The invasion of the Falklands was a surprise, so was Korea, Kuwait and Churchill was in a tiny minority when he predicted war with Germany was possible earlier in the 1930s.

    So it flies against the lessons of history to assume we won’t need credible defense forces in the next few decades.

  51. Martin
    Posted July 24, 2018 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    I see the MOD suspended the Type 31e frigate programme on 20 July.

  • 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.

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