A country’s defence depends on industry as well as its armed services

There is substantial joint working between the defence industries, the Commanders of the armed forces  and the government. With technology playing an ever more important role problems are analysed and resolved by manufacturers of equipment and programmers of software. As we enter the era of cyber warfare more of the combatants are civilian computer experts, or service personnel with special training turning up at an office or command centre well away from the adversaries.

It was always the case that to win a war the country fighting it had to produce sufficient weaponry, make available plenty of supplies to fighting personnel, and innovate to outwit enemy weapons and defences. In the two world wars of the last century large amounts of the country’s production capacity had to be made over to war work to support the fighting personnel. The UK had to be much more self sufficient in food for home supplies, given the attempt of the Germans to sink inbound products coming by sea.

The UK in the second world war achieved amazing results at gearing the economy to war output.  At the peak the country was manufacturing over 26,000 planes a year, and replacing millions of tonnes of sunk shipping. The navy was expanded massively from its peacetime lows. It added 553 new ships to the 332 that started the war, including 58 new aircraft carriers.  There was a constant flow of innovations, from the world’s first code cracking computer through  jet planes to mobile harbours, bridges and an oil pipeline.

Today the UK needs to review its strategic capability to manufacture planes, ships and munitions. We trust there will not be another terrifying global scale war of the big powers, but even for interventions in lesser conflicts a country may not be able to pursue the course it wishes if it is dependent on imported weapons or components. Mr Trump is demanding that the USA keeps the ability to produce all the steel it needs for military and other domestic purposes as a strategic industry. He is also keen to protect US intellectual property and the security of US communications systems as the best protection against cyber attack. It is time the UK was more insistent that UK weapons, tanks and naval ships of all kinds are made in  the UK, and that we have the necessary capability to make the components for them.

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89 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    We need to be careful that we do not compare apples to oranges. The UK back in the day of wooden warships and latterday Dreadnaughts is gone. We simply do not have the economy of scale or the need for such things.

    Our economy has changed. It is one based on high welfare and services. Other countries have cheaper labour costs and better access to raw materials. We now have to import the coal to mix with the imported iron ore to make steel and our politicians are more pan-European than UK patriots. So we cannot both legally and morally support our steel industries as witnessed with Scunthorpe. The POTUS as head of an independent country can.

    As others here have stated. The plan is to weaken defence to the point we are interdependent on other countries and are forced to work together. Cynical or what ?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:52 am | Permalink

      MarkB
      Not cynical but absolutely correct.
      This far down the line of total, abject surrender we are a bit stuffed for independent defence.
      (Wind power is also a very good way of forcing inter country co operation).

    • agricola
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      We were interdependant in WW1&WW2 and little good it did us until the eventual arrival of the USA. The good that evolved from it was NATO which is deserving of our continued and wholehearted support. Politcal ineptitude led to WWI, and the same plus political neglect led to WW2.

      • Mitchel
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        NATO is one of the faces of the American empire,particularly as it assumed a global role.NATO increasingly insists on buying US kit to improve interoperability(you might get subcontract work to offset the decline of your domestic industry).They also control the software in the more sophisticated items which means they can only be used in approved situations.That is not being independent.Our host is absolutely correct we must have our own design and manufacturing capability.Once these are gone,they are hard to recover

    • Leaver
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      While I agree we need to defend ourselves, I won’t back protectionism and state subsidies.

      I think Trumps tariffs are socialist, protectionist nonsense. I’m a red-blooded capitalist, W.T.O, free trade man.

  2. margaret
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    The difference today , which is obviously obvious is that intelligence whips around the globe in nano seconds and the hacking abilities are no different, Claims of integrity , openness and honesty can be made by man( wrongly) but true logic will be shown by the computer which doesn’t have opinions ( unless opinions are set in pix celled sequences, as in AI) and still amounts to rubbish in : rubbish out.

    • agricola
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      Yes but you cannot hack into what is not connected. I am sure that establishments like GCHQ work on this principal. Like in manual spying activity you need cut outs.

  3. Ken Smith
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    “We will put the country on a war footing”. I dont remember that being promised by Leavers in 2016

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:31 am | Permalink

      And Remainiacs rubbished the idea of an EU army.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:37 am | Permalink

        The lies of the EUphile (such as the blatant one over the EU army proposals) were endless. The worst one is the misuse of the word “Europe” when they mean “EU”. We are not leaving Europe just the dire, suffocating, one size fits all, anti-democratic and socialist EU. The dreadful Ursula von der Leyen shows very clearly the EU direction of travel.

        At least we should be leaving – let us hope Boris can actually deliver. Anyone who (as I do) loves Europe should despise what the EU is doing to it.

        Also new health and safety rules to kill many of the lovely historic river boats it seems – some that even went to Dunkirk. Boris should say he will stop this red tape lunacy too. Freedom and choice please Boris – plus tax cuts, smaller government, Brexit and a bonfire of red tape all while avoiding Corbyn. Will Boris be allowed to deliver? Or will the dire traitors, the Grieve, Hammond and Bercow types destroy him?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:50 am | Permalink

          Ursula von der Leyen is a self-described supporter of a “United States of Europe”, including a European army. She wants to scrap remaining national vetoes in sensitive foreign policy decisions, as well as on energy and climate policy.

          Surely it should be clear to all that we must leave cleanly and leave now? Before the UK and its residual democracy is finally destroyed by the undemocratic EU. Just the one choice Ursula and even then she only just won the vote!

      • bigneil
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        True – And I see that the rubbish is at least being recycled. Should make some people very happy.

    • eeyore
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:54 am | Permalink

      That’s not what our host is saying. Even so, “He who desires peace must prepare for war.”

      He who desires a deal, by the way, must prepare for No Deal. We learn today that Mrs May never told M. Barnier she was willing to leave without one. I think she has some explaining to do, both to him and to us.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        Exactly not only should she have told him she should have made it very, very clear we were serious about doing so and well prepared – unless offered something rather better.

      • cynic
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        May didn’t tell Barnier that she was willing to leave without a deal! Perhaps one of the few times in this sorry saga that she did not lie.

    • agricola
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      Irrelevant pap.

  4. Dominic
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    What exactly are we defending ourselves against? I’d say the real threat to our freedoms and way of life is right here on our doorstep

    British politicians of all political colours have deliberately and gleefully undermined this nation and make its people malleable

    Yes, we can talk about the UK’s capacity for defence manufacture of important weaponry that both supplies domestic and foreign armed forces but we mustn’t be deceived into believing the threat is exclusively external

    There are those even in the British Parliament who are dangerous in their intent

    I believe the outgoing PM has deliberately, maliciously and wilfully eroded our personal freedoms on the altar of a form of politics that is deliberately anti-libertarian

    The nature of threat isn’t simply a military one. Threats come in various guises and shapes. The current crop of British politicians have done more to harm the British people that any foreign despot

    • Barbara Castle
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      A very good, if depressing, appraisal of our dire Parliament, Dominic. We’ve watched in amazement as “those who know best” have systematically emasculated our armed forces and military capabilities, whilst at the same time, poured billions into Trident, something they have absolutely no intention of ever using.

      Everything goes back to the quality of the management, and despite the fancy titles, this is all our parliamentarians are. Before they start fiddling with practical matters, we need someone to take a long, hard look at the qualifications and experience required of our glorious leaders.

      The change of guard at the very top to career politicians holding nothing but unshakeable self-belief, a qualification in politics and a clever line in empty rhetoric is simply not good enough. If they applied for a senior post on the board of any other large organisation without experience, qualifications or a proven track record of success at executive level, they’d be laughed at and swiftly shown the door. We deserve far better.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      Dominic

      Tend to agree with your comments .

      You only have to witness the stream of politicians, including ex Prime Ministers, ex cabinet Ministers, Party leaders, who have been travelling to Europe to encourage the EU to play hardball in negotiations with their/our own Country, feeding them constantly with information about how the EU position would be supported by them in any UK parliamentary vote.

    • agricola
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      Absolutely correct Dominic. There is a fifth column within politics that contains the ingredients of our demise as a nation and it is not just remoaners, though they have much to answer for. They are the enemy within in need of exposure and democratic political dessimation. They even conveniently surface in this diary.

    • Dominic
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      Wanted. A PM like President Trump that exposes the rabid, psychotic and utterly abhorrent left and all they stand for.

      We need less of Johnson’s pandering to liberal left activism and more politics that slowly draws out into the open that viciousness and destructive intent of the totalitarian left

      We’re going to need more than military weapons and cyber warfare strategies if we’re going to save ourselves from the despotic intent of the western left. Hiding away from this most important issue by attacking Trump is spineless virtue signalling

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        Churchill was half American and he led us to victory. Boris is half American and maybe just maybe he can do the same for Brexit.
        I think we need a bit of US cando rather than the pathetic it’s too difficult approach.

      • Leaver
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        I’m not sure I can agree with this. I far prefer Boris to Trump. was horrified by Trump’s ‘go back to the country you came from’ remarks.

        I never thought I would hear those words in a Western politician’s mouth, and fear the long-term consequences as my wife is brown-skinned.

        • Glenn Vaughan
          Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          I suspect your wife would have cause for concern if she was Jewish and living under a Corbyn government.

          • Leaver
            Posted July 18, 2019 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

            I couldn’t agree more.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      The current PM did indeed, thank goodness this appalling woman is finally about to go in total and utter ignominy.

      Some supporter say that history will treat her better than she is now regarded. Well perhaps – but only if history gets it totally wrong and rewrites it.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

        Hunt on BBC1 just now. He thinks it is much more likely that he wins than people think. What a depressing thought, Theresa Nightmare Continues Part II.

        Anyone supported by the appalling, fool John Major is clearly the last thing we need.

        • graham1946
          Posted July 18, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

          Norman Tebbit says the great PMs were known by their surnames, e.g Thatcher, Churhcill etc, whereas Boris? So were the duffers, May, Cameron, Major and they are far greater in number. Time for change, hopefully for the better, but then, we always hope for that and are invariably disappointed.

    • Fred H
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Dominic….correct. We have to look at the current state of members in both Houses, and examine the senior Civil Service, to note the undermining of the spirit of an independent UK. Looking back over many years you can see the gradual shift from news reporting BBC, to leftie PC lies propaganda machine. The mouthpiece of any minority action group.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Indeed. I think most people now recognise that we are in the throes of a Marxist take over.

      Any military will only be misused.

      Thank you, Sir John for saying “…given the attempt of the *Germans* to sink inbound products coming by sea.” instead of the BBC/Hollywood *Nazis*. This is a subtle rewriting of history, a super grade detergent for German laundry – at the same time the BBC/Hollywood will go about smearing the English for past misdeeds all the time.

      I do believe this to be why Britain faces breakup as Germany reunifies.

      Even the recent film about Dunkirk showed us in a poor light. The Left just cannot help themselves.

  5. Shirley
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    Trump is doing right by his country. Our Parliament (and individual politicians) constantly criticise him and never acknowledge his achievements. Have they never heard the phrase ‘People in glass houses …..’.

    Get rid of Bercow and Khan (and May will continue to damage UK/US relations). They live in the biggest glasshouses in existence and their hypocrisy is outstanding.

    I despair at the self-destruction of our country at the hands of our government and Parliament.

    • L Jones
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Shirley – you are spot on.
      I am sick of remarks beginning ”I’m no fan of Trump….” He’s not OUR choice. If he is doing well by his country then he is to be admired, not denigrated and personally abused at every opportunity by shameless people who don’t even live in the US, and who certainly don’t seem to have any idea of his achievements.

    • bigneil
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      ” I despair at the self-destruction of our country ” – you are far from alone. I despair at seeing ex-soldiers homeless and council services cut due to financial cuts. We also read about a NE Police area short of laptops and cameras. Just now on the radio, the lowest %age of crimes solved. All while hundreds of thousands of people who have never, and probably never will, contribute to the country they want to live in – – and sponge off, – – walk in and laugh their heads off as they get a free life. We don’t need an army to send abroad – the enemy of our nation is sat in Westmonster.

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    Indeed and cheap on demand energy is essential for this (and for the ability of the economy to compete) so cut out all the expensive green wash lunacy.

    What a moronic and bitter speech by the appalling Theresa May. She did briefly cheer me up by saying “this is my last speech”, but then spoiled this by adding “as Prime Minister”. Your attempted fraud against the voters of a Brexit in name only with your putrid W/A was an appalling con trick to attempt. Just go in total ignominy a period a silent reflection would be welcome, then a profuse apology and silence. You got virtually everything wrong you were never a conservative at all.

    At least the EU did not agree to a limit on the backstop. Had they done so May would have got her wretched £39 billion handcuff deal through.

    So the Dept of Transport want a curfew at night for young drivers. If they get one these drivers will presumably walk or cycle instead at night – both far more dangerous than driving. Or they will get someone to drop them off and pick them up (thus driving twice the distance so more dangerous again and wasting more fuel). What idiotic control freaks we have in government. Not exactly a vote winner for these young drivers either.

  7. bill brown
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    The best idea is of course to have the capability to make products domestically, but the cost these days of developments has made the development of the EURO-fighter and helicopters across European borders that much more successful.

    Otherwise we become too dependent on US technology, which they fortunately still wish to share.

    • L Jones
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      I’d rather our country were dependent on US technology than on the goodwill of the EU, which UNfortunately seems lacking.

      We should nurture our US allies, not continually criticise them and their leader.

      • bill brown
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        L Jones
        You have missed the point as usual the collaboration projects I talked about that have been successful, have got nothing to do with the EU.

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Allister Heath today is right:- Britain faces only two possible futures – Brexit with Boris or Corbyn as PM.

    It seems that Grieve, (tax to death and head of project fear) Hammond, May, B***** to Brexit Bercow and the rest of the traitors clearly want the latter. Let us hope Boris can actually deliver – despite all these dire people undermining him form within the party. Another attempt in parliament today it seems.

    • Mark
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      I doubt there is a majority for Corbyn as PM.

    • Daniel James
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      The Gaukeward squad are doing anything to inconvenience Boris. I’m not sure if they realise that that is increasing the likelihood of a Marxist, Corbyn led government.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        They are surely just anti-UK traitors pure and simple undermining the next governments negotiations and confidence in the economy. This before Boris has even taken office.

        They should all be deselected.

  9. Mrs Alison Houston
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    What has changed in the last few days? Nigel Farage finally used the proper term EU Defence Union in his first speech to the new parliament in Brussels, instead of the smoke and mirrors phrase EU Army. Now you are acknowledging the dangers of giving over procurement and defence manufacturing, including steel, entirely to joint EU projects.

    Could it be that the secrecy surrounding Britain’s commitment to Eu Defence Union is coming to an end as May leaves office? Are the government finally going to admit what has been going for the last few years with regard to the Kit Kat tapes and their guarantee to keep Britain firmly in the EU Defence Union despite Brexit?

    Are you going to go full David Ellis and finally let the cat out of the bag, now Mrs May is leaving Downing Street and hopefully taking the worst of the Cabinet Office with her? I hope so. You could startwithreveiwing Britains plans for joint defence initiatives with France since 1948 and the central role of the Franco British Council in the creation of an EU Defence Union . You could even talk about Dominic Greive having been dispatched by Downing Street to reassure the Franco British Council about ‘Britain’s’ commitment to EU Defence Union, after the wobbles over ‘Chequers’. You could go so far as to speculate as to why Greive is the most persistent Remainer of all, given his central role in working for May and Sedwill on Britain and EU Defence Union.

  10. Everhopeful
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    I also wonder if …assuming actual soldiers were needed…whether an army could be raised. How on earth after all the dilution, betrayals and liberalisation would there be many willing to fight for this country?
    Even the army adverts are anti trad British culture ( as in don’t waste your life being a butcher…go off and kill people!!!).
    We were able to fight wars only because of propaganda…Rule Britannia, Your Country Needs You etc. White feathers handed out by “woke” ladies.
    Well we have all got the new message now …Your Country Neither Wants Nor Needs You…except to foot the bill!

    • L Jones
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      I think you’re too cynical about people’s attitude to their country in the past, EH. People weren’t galvanised solely by propaganda – most really did have an innate belief that their country needed them and that there was an evil to be overcome, and worth fighting against.

      We might need the propaganda in these days of social media to get the message through, as people are losing their sense of national identity (just what the EU wants) but I think there are still plenty of right-thinking ones who would step up to the plate.

      • bill brown
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        L Jones

        The Eu supports both national, regional an local identity, so that has nothing to do with their general policy.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        L.Jones
        Nationalism wasn’t really discovered until circa 1700.
        Up until “Rule Britannia” and all that, men often had to be press ganged into military service.
        The powers that be taught people to be nationalists so they would happily go and die for their country.
        When they weren’t tilling the land, digging the mines, excavating the canals, toiling in the factories etc. that is…
        Today we see our rewards for all this compliance and of course they changed the rules re nationalism which is now more of a crime than a virtue.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      I would be more concerned (were I decent enough to do my bit and join an army in defence of this country) about the large number of nasty gangs in this country and who would be left behind to prey on my family while I was away.

      Britain is not the place it used to be.

  11. Newmania
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Presumably this is a gaseous justification for an expensive protectionist and outdated procurement Policy. Fortress Britain no less ….back to the good old days of rationing malnutrition and hating the rotten Hun.
    Have you thought that we might in the future earn a living as a theme Park ?

    • graham1946
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Doubtful, most of our strategic industries such as water, power, airports, steel and lots of old British manufacturers have been sold off to foreigners, mostly under the control of your beloved EU countries.
      Rationing, war, hating the Hun etc. was a result of the actions of Germany in wishing to take over Europe (which they are now achieving by other means, slow learners having twice tried it militarily), and the cowardice of other Europeans in not defending their own lands and requiring us to do it for them, for which we have never been forgiven.

      • bill brown
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Graham 1946

        I am not sure the freedom fighters and their families who lost their loved one’s during the war will agree with you , including my family. SO stop doing stupid generalisations about Europe

        • graham1946
          Posted July 18, 2019 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

          Bill Brown.

          Of course there were freedom fighters, as there always are in any conflict,but some of their governments were cowards collaborating and many were easily over run with little resistance. Not stupid generalisations about Europe, but fact. I suggest you try reading some history before blowing off and showing your ignorance.

          • bill brown
            Posted July 19, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

            Graham 1946

            Ignorance? Interesting coming from you ?

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      I don’t ever recall my Gramps or uncles using the phrase ‘Nazis’ but the left/BBC/Hollywood do it all the time – never *the Germans*.

      The *English*, however, is always used in the pejorative.

      Do you think this inconsistency in the treatment of nations by media organisation may be why you have been brainwashed into trusting the EU whilst your derision of fellow countrymen has become a compulsive disorder ?

      You were doing it before Brexit, admit it.

      I can direct you to some good books that can help you with that.

  12. Nigl
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    Yes. As you say hopefully there will never be another Falklands but keeping sea routes open for an island trading nation is imperative as is containing the terrorist hotspots that could ‘leak’ to affect us and of course supporting our allies so we can rely on their mutual support.

    Teresa May in her sell out document wanted to tie us to the EU procurement and subsidy rules. How was that leave means leave? This must be scrapped 31st October to give us the independence that you set out.

    Incidentally one of George Osborne’s ‘off shore’ tax schemes to attract inward investment has been deemed illegal state subsidy by the EU hammering some of our biggest companies.another example where we cannot set our own policy and a reason to get out.

    Ps Memo to TM and her speech writers for what was a dreadful 30 minutes or so. Nye Bevin said ‘if you walk down the middle of the road, you get run over’. Precisely.

  13. Yorkie
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Banning young drivers from driving in the dark will stop them working all shifts
    and make more vehicle bulbs available for our defence forces to see the enemy in a new light

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Yorkie
      I often wonder exactly WHAT “they” want to preserve us for?
      Oh no..actually I don’t since these ridiculous “laws” usually have some agenda linked purpose.
      This one is prob about the general move to get us all off the road.

  14. agricola
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    There are a number of factors that ensured our survival during WW2. Industrial production was put on a war footing almost from day one. The crass stupidity of Hitler declaring war on the USA ensured that we had the benefit of US war production. Hitlers insanity negated the technical advantages German individuals and industry created. Not only that but the idiot decided to fight the war on two separate fronts. We should thank Hitler in retrospect for his incompetence that eventually led to our victory and survival.

    The way forward is to be technically ahead of the game and for potential enemies to be aware of this. Since WW2 both Russian and US technical advance has been based upon German and British inventiveness that came out of WW2. The list is lengthy so I will leave you to work it out. I would just point out that the moon landing of 50 years ago was down to Werner von Braun’s know how and US industrial capability.

    We ensure our technical prowess by having an education system in the UK that is second to none. Not the political football politicians have played with since WW2. We need to kill off the guilt engendered by many politicians for being British and promoting British values. We need a much greater scientific and engineering awareness among our political representatives. A glut of lawyers is more likely to get us into wars than prevent them. We need to maintain amongst our enemies the fear that were they to take us on the outcome is far from certain. This has been the escence of NATO and we need to maintain and strengthen it.

    • agricola
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Your moderation is so arbritary that I wonder why I bother, perhaps that is your intension.

    • agricola
      Posted July 19, 2019 at 6:15 am | Permalink

      Must have been a good post to have been left in limbo for so long.

  15. Alan Jutson
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Because all out war is now so expensive in the form of equipment, Planes, Ships missiles etc, we now have cyber attacks, and low cost random terrorist attacks on an enemy’s home soil, as that can be more easily afforded and completed by the aggressor.
    You do not need to be a wealthy Country or possess a huge industrialised economy to wage terror or fear.

    • agricola
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      A sovereign nation would not allow the presence of anyone showing terrorist tendecies. They achieve much by tying up the resources of an MI5 tasked with watching them.

  16. Richard1
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Extraordinary hatchet job on Boris by channel 4 last night. A line-up of people who have always been clear they don’t like Boris, with the main speaker a journalist who has made a living out of anti-Boris writing. And not a single person prepared to defend anything he has done. Quite extraordinary. Privatise channel 4 – should raise £1bn or so.

  17. Richard1
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    So mr Timmermans the VP of the EU commission has described UK ministers as “idiots”. May we expect the same outrage and calls for an apology as greeted president trumps criticisms of Mrs May?

  18. Richard1
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    On the subject of defence it’s good to see the eco-communist group extinction rebellion properly described as anti-democratic extremists by a senior anti-terrorism expert. The reason they take to the streets and threaten violence is rational argument won’t work for them – because the evidence and logic isn’t on their side.

  19. Ian!
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    I couldn’t agree more

    At this moment in time we can barely protect our own commercial shipping from handfuls gangsters in speedboats and they know it

    We build aircraft carriers but are still getting around to having planes for them. In the mean time the skill base to make it work is lost.

    The situation goes deeper and unfortunately we now have a style of government that is about protecting their own egos above the people that elected them.

    Efforts on cyber security are laughable and it seems to arrived in that situation from the desire of government to controls its people. A government now more afraid of its people than external perpetrators so all forms of spying on them are encourage.

    We have a police force, just because they believe it makes life easy for them want to enact all forms of surveillance on the population.

    The dumb part of it all is that the real threats have gone deeper underground and it is only the every day person being surveyed.

    At the height of all this ban this, ban that desire being passed into law, Boris wrote an item and to paraphrase, that banning doesn’t solve anything it just hides it. He would rather it was out in the open and could be tackled with reason at one level and know who they are on the other.

    All threats are there and are different in every case. An effective military is needed and it needs to be able to project itself. Just as the threat from data collection, collation and distribution under minds the security of the UK. Is government that stupid not to realise it is possible to track our troop movements/deployments just from everyday data collection and collation.

  20. Alex
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    By far the most likely cause of a war for Britain is for our politicians to go along with the endless US provocations and coups. Stop sending our ships as bait to places where they wouldn’t last 5 minutes if a shooting war actually started. Stop sending soldiers to countries that do not and could not threaten the UK. Start using our defence forces to protect our own borders not interfere with other peoples.

  21. Shieldsman
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    The aim of France and Germany with the largest armed forces on the Continent is to corner the military equipment production for their own industries..
    Strangely with the appointment of the German Defence Minister to the command of the EU Commission stories of equipment failures are becoming known.
    That it is the Country that has been pressing hardest for an EU Army, does not bode well for its capabilities as a defence force.
    The German military is under-equipped to take on its upcoming role as leader of NATO’s Russian-aimed Very High Readiness Joint Task Force. The Bundeswehr is due to take over leadership of NATO’s multinational Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) at the start of next year, but doesn’t have enough tanks, a leaked Defence Ministry document said.
    The German air force is also struggling to cover its NATO duties, the document revealed. The Luftwaffe’s main forces — the Eurofighter and Tornado fighter jets and its CH-53 transport helicopters — are only available for use an average of four months a year — the rest of the time the aircraft are grounded for repairs and rearmament.

    • Mitchel
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Probably because Germany does not see Russia as an enemy(actual or potential)….and neither does France.

  22. GilesB
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    We are more likely to collapse due to internal fragmentation than to invasion by a foreign power.

    Alienation of the youth, conflicts between generations, cities vs. Rural, North vs. South etc etc

    What we need is moral rearmament. I don’t mean Mary Whitehouse concerns about promiscuity.

    We need to strengthen families, and communities, so everyone feels involved and committed with fellow citizens who they care for and who cares for them.

    Mono-culturalism is cohesive but less innovative. Unlimited multiculturalism is not sustainable. The pendulum needs to swing back towards less tolerance of divisiveness and more reinforcement of British culture.

  23. Trumpeteer
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    The video has been attacked by forces unknown. Will try to hear his words in full from some other recording. It’s hard with dopey EU State sponsored hackers and with a German Chancellor born in East Germany(GDR)

  24. jerry
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Crocodile tears?…

    Sorry Sir John but unless you prepared to accept the economic policies that you not only supported but actively encouraged in the 1980s were wrong you are not the person to now complain!

    • Edward2
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      So you are complaining that policies which brought about the economic revival of this nation are now the reason politicians have decided to reduce our defence spending.
      Odd logic.
      Or would you have carried on subsidising loss making industries for the last 40 years?

      • Mark B
        Posted July 19, 2019 at 4:28 am | Permalink

        Specialist steels for submarines and ammunition should be made in the UK. Defence and freedom does not come cheap. But I confess, the enemies we face are nearer to home and usually get the top jobs.

      • jerry
        Posted July 19, 2019 at 5:52 am | Permalink

        @Edward2; Other countries did not follow the same economic ideas as the UK did in the 1980s, choosing to support their (troubled) industries instead, these countries/industries now out preform the UK in many sectors whilst -to add additional insult- often own what you claim as “UK success stories” here in the UK!

        There is a difference between knowing the value and understanding the worth of something, a lesson you and many others on this site perhaps still need to learn?…

        • Edward2
          Posted July 19, 2019 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

          Did other nations really support their industries back in the 80s?
          Well maybe Germany and to a lesser extent France.
          But in Europe and America generally, manufacturing was offshored.

          It is now 2019 and we have to face intense world competition from China, India and many other nations who have much cheaper labour, much cheaper land, much cheaper energy costs and far lower tax and simpler regulatory framework.
          Start a manufacturing business then Jerry sink all your money into it and see how you get on.

          I note you refuse to answer my question.which is key.
          Would you have continued to subsidise our manufacturing industry for the last 40 years as a government policy?

          • jerry
            Posted July 19, 2019 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; “I note you refuse to answer my question”

            Oh dear, non so blind as those who choose not to see I guess. Sorry Eddie but I can not help if you fail to understand…

            VW, BMW, Renault, PSA, BASF etc, etc, do they contract out the manufacturing of their products to off-shore suppliers or do they own off-shore subsidises that make their products, a subtle but important difference, which I suspect you fail to grasp. Nor have any of them been subsidised [1] by their respective Govts for the last 40 years either, to the best of my knowledge!

            [1] yes I know that some States/Govts hold shares in some companies but that does not equal subsidises

          • Edward2
            Posted July 20, 2019 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

            Still no answer.

  25. Kevin
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    The defence of the realm, ultimately, depends on the will to do so. What are the
    observable signs that the Government possesses such a desire? What, one
    may ask, is the Government’s definition of “the United Kingdom”, that we can
    measure how well it is being defended? Having had a Tory premier for nine
    years, what changes, if any, have there been in defence policy?

  26. glen cullen
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Apart from armoured vehicles, missiles etc already mentioned

    We have a great many other military items, which aren’t made in UK

    We don’t lack the technology or know who we lack the will of our own government to support of manufacturing base

    Support ships made in Far-East
    Uniforms made in China
    Boots made in Europe
    Aircraft made in USA
    Training out sourced to USA
    Field ration pack meal made in Thailand

    The list goes on….

  27. BOF
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    In addition to steel and manufacturing capability, and as you say, with technology playing an increasingly important role, the UK can no longer afford to see our high tech companies being sold off to the highest bidder. Possibly into the hands of competitors or even adversaries.

  28. The PrangWizard
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    The country has never had a large standing army but it will always need a good sized navy, which we do not have at present. The idea that ‘today’ is somehow different from the past in this respect is a delusion. We are still an island and depend on ships for our survival but our leaders over many decades have run down both the fighting navy and the merchant marine and we are vulnerable. Nothing has changed in respect to our dependence on the seas and we may well have a hostile European continent to contend with in the near future. We must be ready. This will require close shore and fishing rights defence.

    The recent standoff in the gulf of Hormuz showed not our strength but our weakness; if more than the three small Iranian warships had been double that or more they could easily have forced a climb-down by us. Sir John is correct about numbers and our need not only for more ships but the capacity and desire to build them here. PM May gave a waffling answer at PM’s questions yesterday when she was asked about the need to build ships at home – she is clearly not in the least concerned that we are not self reliant. Let’s hope that the new PM has a different view.

    We also had a Chinese warship travelling through the English channel the other day. I gather it was a struggle to find one of ours to shadow it. To show our determination it ought to have been shadowed by two or three, not just one.

    We need more warships, and let’s abandon the idea that each one built must have all the latest gadgetry, numbers are important too; and we need more merchant vessels under out control. In the event of a big international dispute or an escalation of the trade wars we cannot rely on foreign owned vessels to come to our shores; they could easily come under pressure to avoid us, nor can we expect foreign navies to help us protect our sea routes.

    • jerry
      Posted July 19, 2019 at 6:25 am | Permalink

      @The PrangWizard; “We need more warships, [..//..] and we need more merchant vessels under out control.”

      We also need the ship building yards & dry docks etc. [1] to service such ships too – oh and we also need proper naval architects designing these ships, not committees of ministry mandarins…

      [1] plus the civil infrastructure to service those yards, such as good road and rail links, we also need to be largely self sufficient in electrical energy with an over supply of grid capacity

  29. Edwardm
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Totally agree

  30. Gareth Warren
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    I support whole heartedly a move to make the UK more self sufficient in arms production, I also believe it would be good for industry.

    One thing that has always been a weakness is semiconductor producton, here we likely always will rely on stockpiles for general purpose components, but producing radiation hardened chips is a specalisation that is only useful for military and space – here would be a useful industry to develop.

  31. Phil
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    We need container ships, bulk carriers, medium sized tankers, oil and gas storage facilities and much more warehousing including refrigerated warehousing located throughout. We need to bring back some of the old sea ports into use, update them for container traffic use, that’s the future- not naval ships and the armed services

  32. Chris
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    To expand your argument further, this article on The Conservative Tree House website, with video of interview with Peter Navarro, (Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy), is very helpful and gives a clear idea of P Trump’s doctrine. There are other important related interviews/articles on this website:

    Peter Navarro: “Economic Security is National Security” – China Challenges and U.S. Workforce Initiatives…
    Posted on October 5, 2018

    ” “U.S. Economic Security is U.S. National Security”; and by extension global security. Those words were first spoken by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to an international audience at Davos in 2017.

    In the almost two years since first proclaimed, President Trump and the economic team have been executing economic policy to hit on this key message. Trade deals, internal regulatory policy, tax policy, monetary policy, education policy and modern workforce initiatives are all inherently tied together to ensure U.S. National Security.

    In the big picture President Trump is earnestly focused on rebuilding the American middle-class because the blue-collar and white-collar middle-class jobs are the heart of the American economic security. All of these policies are connected to the middle class because it is the middle class that strengthens America.

    This is an important conversation. Learn it, teach it. Spread the importance of it…”

  33. Paul
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Times have changed since the 1940’s, have you ever seen the old black and white photos of the young people from that time, young people looked to be very lean, thin and fit. By comparison today’s young people are overweight, obese and mostly unfit, certainly not fit enough to enlist in the armed forces. So couch potatoes not fit to fight for their country- bùt might be ok for flying drone planes?

    • jerry
      Posted July 19, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Paul, we do not need to look back to the 1940s, and the food poverty of the era, just look at photos and films from the 1970s (and indeed early 1980s), the vast majority of people were fit and lean -whilst eating all the wrong foods (with, no doubts, lashings of salt and/or fried oils), and adults also often drinking to excess, never mind smoking like chimneys!…

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    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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