Defence

There are too many wars. Wars happen when diplomacy fails. When wars end talking has to resume. A victor in war can lose the peace.

Wars are necessary when a bully state seeks to damage or occupy others. Such a rogue state has to be confronted and defeated if talking does not change their mind. Democracies do not usually covet the land and people of another. The great democracies of North America and Europe  have no imperial ambitions to conquer territory or use force to take over the  government of foreign lands.

The paradox is that if you want peace you do often have to arm for war. The West keeps up its military capability but rightly calls it Defence. NATO is a defensive alliance. Each member pledges to come to the aid of any member who is attacked, though each member state retains control over their individual contribution to any planned NATO action.

The West has fought in  many regional and local wars since 1945. Some would say we have intervened too often. Toppling dictators in the Middle East who were a threat to some of their own citizens and to their neighbours was not always a  good idea, as establishing a better government with local democratic consent afterwards proved difficult. Many of the conflicts followed from the dreadful attack on the USA called 9/11. The USA understandably wanted to retaliate,but got dragged into a series of wars where the forces on the ground were complex.

The UK needs to have sufficient military strength to offer protection to these islands. It does so through the power of our own independent armed forces and through our membership of NATO which  makes allied support likely in the event of a military threat. The UK also needs to be able to participate in NATO and UN approved actions with an expeditionary capability to project power anywhere in the world. Cutting defence spending or undermining the independent deterrent would reduce our capacity to see off a potential enemy, and could reduce our ability to  help our allies and make our necessary contributions as a member of the UN Security Council. The UK is right to retain control over the use of our own armed forces, with a veto over whether to join or to decline any EU military activity. The UK also needs to ensure it has sufficient control over the technology and capability to produce weapons and fighting machines in the UK.

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146 Comments

  1. Pominoz
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    100% agree with your summary.

    Which is why any surrender of control to the EU, stated, implied or tacitly hinted at within Boris’s WA and the PD must be specifically and unquestionably excluded before being is approved by Parliament.

    • Simeon
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      BJ’s deal is ‘oven ready’. But will there be sufficient time for it to be properly scrutinised in Parliament, in the event BJ is returned with a majority? Or will it be ratified on trust?

      Speaking of scrutiny, is there any reason why there is no scrutiny of the deal in the MSM? Or why the Tory party are not extolling the virtues of this great, amazing deal? Or why the opposition parties are not attempting to expose flaws in it? The Brexit Party are intending to produce literature that details their concerns, but when is this going to appear, and is anyone going to care what they say by the time it does? Is this cock up or conspiracy?

      • Mark B
        Posted November 19, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        The answer to most of your questions is, they are all in on it. The day the ‘deal’ / surrender treaty was announced, ALL the media, except one online independent, praised the ‘deal’ / surrender treaty.

        The Final Betrayal of our nation is almost at hand and, Alexander (Brutus) Johnson stands ready, behind the British people, with dagger in hand.

        • Simeon
          Posted November 20, 2019 at 7:00 am | Permalink

          Yes. It seems there are now just two paths to real Brexit. Either at some point in the future the UK will renege on an international treaty, or, after a referendum in which we elect to revoke A50, at some later point, the country elects to pursue a real Brexit. I would suggest the Tory party blocks both paths. Little cause gor optimism.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Well, if the Tories get the thumping majority which some here predict, then Johnson will not need the support of the ERG or the DUP.

      The economies of scale of European Union-wide co-operation need to be reasonably considered on their merits, and such a government would be in a position to do that.

      After all can you cite a so-called British value, which is not also shared by every modern, free, enlightened, democratic nation?

      • GilesB
        Posted November 19, 2019 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        A fundamental British value which is central to our common law is that ‘Everything is permitted unless it is explicitly prohibited’. The Napoleonic code is based on ‘Nothing is permitted unless it is explicitly authorised’. The EU Commission and even more significantly interpret this as ‘Nothing is permitted unless it is compulsory’.

        • GilesB
          Posted November 19, 2019 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

          Even more significantly the ECJ

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted November 20, 2019 at 8:34 am | Permalink

          That’s a caricature.

          There is no European Union requirement for harmonisation of legal systems anyway.

          All that is required is for its regulations to be coded into the member state’s own.

          The UK already has more that one – the English and Scottish jurisdictions for instance.

          So you fail.

    • Hope
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Good grief JR, so many flaws in what you say it hard to know where to begin. Johnson’s servitude plan needs to be read in relation to EU foreign policy and interests. The UK cannot act against it. Tell us what a Mayhab signed the UK up to in June 2017 and November 2018 in the knowledge we voted to leave?

      How about Cameron wanting to expand the EU to the Urals? Lybia no business of the EU to bring about regime change, did France and U.K. seek regime change independently or the behest of EU foreign policy? You still fail to answer who authorised the recent seizing of the Iranian tanker and its release? Was it UK unilaterally or EU foreign policy because Iran broke EU sanctions?

      Cameron wanted to intervene in Syria and Hague was sponsoring rebels, who they were and what side they were on no one knows!

      It is not just about joining EU military operations is it? How about intelligence, security, foreign policy, procurement of military equipment, ship building, aircraft etc.?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted November 20, 2019 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      The European Union has no military institution of control.

      Were the UK to be still a member, then it could veto its ever having one too.

  2. Mark B
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Sorry, off topic.

    I would like to ask our kind host if he has been in touch with his old friend Ann Widdecombe recently ?

    . . . Europe have no imperial ambitions to conquer territory or use force to take over the government of foreign lands.

    The French and the German’s, the two former rivals for power on the continent, have now joined forces to use the EU to achieve that which they could not militarily. And once again, we stand alone.

    The UK needs to have sufficient military strength to offer protection to these islands.

    He, he, he ! That made me chuckle. In 1939-40 Britain stood, once again, alone facing an imminent German invasion. In 2019-20 Britain cannot even prevent a criminals from illegally entering the country by rubber dinghy.

    The UK is right to retain control over the use of our own armed forces, with a veto over whether to join or to decline any EU military activity.

    And like so many veto’s it will be surrendered.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 6:25 am | Permalink

      Have you mentioned this to Boris.

      • Hope
        Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        Do not forget at the last election conservative staff were convicted for over spending to prevent a Farage getting elected.

        Widdecombe very honest person, Johnson lies.

      • Mark B
        Posted November 19, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        Do you have his contact details ?

        😉

    • Peter Wood
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 6:34 am | Permalink

      Mark B,

      Your analysis suggests that you don’t think BJ will keep his promise to take us out of the EU. Given his history of broken promises, I think you are probably correct.

      Our only hope is that there is sufficient desire in the new PCP, plus, 20 or so TBP seats, to force BJ to get us out. If there isn’t then your dire predictions will, I fear, be the outcome.

      • Simeon
        Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:36 am | Permalink

        I think the prospect of there being a sufficient desire amongst Tory ranks to rebel against BJ and his deal is actually less likely than there being 20 or so Brexit Party seats. And I suspect they’ll be lucky to win one. So it is a rather forlorn hope that we have, at least in that direction. The best way to avoid weakening our position vis a vis the EU is to return a government that revokes A50. At least then we’d be back where we started, as appalling a prospect as that is.

        Out of interest, does anyone know at what point the UK would be unable to revoke A50? This would of course be the point where we surrendered our sovereignty entirely.

      • Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

        His latest U turn on corporation tax is an example. Obviously the spin is to support the NHS but my guess is that in order to get this so called new WDA he privately told the EU he would not compete with them by making us a low tax ‘aircraft carrier’ off their shores. We are seeing the same dissembling on regulation with Raab on Marr pulling all sorts of contortions to avoid the subject.

        Reply I do not believe the PM was persuaded by the EU to drop the tax cut!

        • Hope
          Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink

          Level playing field is very clear in Johnson’s servitude plan to keep the UK in lockstep with the EU. It includes taxation does it not JR?

        • Sir Joe Soap
          Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

          Where does this latest plan leave the NI corporation tax rate? Let’s all incorporate in NI!

        • Bob
          Posted November 19, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink

          Sajid Javid has renounced the Laffer Curve and is more interested in competing with the Labour Party to punish aspiration and success, than to raising revenue and living standards.

          Tories embracing socialism, Venezuela here we come!

        • Posted November 19, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

          Thank you. That’s reassurance enough for me

        • Stred
          Posted November 19, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

          They didn’t need to. After paying £39bn+ there’s no money left for tax cuts unless HS2 is cancelled and that’s an EU project and so it won’t be.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      Mark B.

      Off topic too.

      I have been a fan of Anne Widdecombe for many years. This Lady has no truck with political correctness, and has always been known for her plain speaking.
      If she says she has been offered ‘inducements’ to stand down, then she has been.
      I am sad to say, I would take her word over Boris’s any day of the week. We all know that much wheeling and dealing takes place in the run up to a General Election.

      • Shirley
        Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:29 am | Permalink

        Agreed, Cheshire Girl. Politics is now a truly dirty business, with bribes from who knows where and fictional manifestos that will never be honoured. We can trust no-one in Parliament. Individuals and parties lie to the electorate with impunity, just to gain votes. The only honesty in this campaign is that some parties are worse than others, but all the main parties are dishonest and deserve no trust at all. Unfortunately, with FPTP this is unlikely to change, and the main parties don’t want it to change. They are happy to have power, no matter how dishonestly it was obtained.

        • Bob
          Posted November 19, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

          Our local Tory Councillor was canvassing on Saturday, and his message was “if you don’t vote for us you’ll get Labour!”
          The usual threat which politicians aided and abetted by the MSM use to cow people into compliance.

          The way to change this is for the voters to refuse to vote tactically. If we cast our votes for the PPC who best represents our opinions we could consign the old Establishment parties into the dustbin of history where they belong.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 19, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

          It always was a dirty business.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        I too believe her. She was one a tiny handful of sensible MPs who did not vote for the Miliband’s moronic, hugely damaging and job destroying Climate Change Act despite having no science training. She even remained rational after doing an Oxford PPE degree (after her Latin at Birmingham).

      • Sharon Jagger
        Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        That’s the thing isn’t it, no-one seems to trust the Conservatives to do the right thing.

        Any forum where there is a discussion about the current situation we are in, whether it be written or spoken…..no-one trusts the Conservatives!

        However, the LibDems and Labour are 50 times worse! What a rabble we have in the HoC….

        …Which is why we need to drain the swamp and replace the vast majority of MPs with fresh blood, and the Brexit Party offers this much needed change. I pray they get some MPs in to keep Boris’ feet to the fire or there’s a risk that once “Brexit is over the line” it will all go quiet…and either this awful deal is ratified with all that entails, or we’ll be quietly signed up to so much we’ll not have left….there’s too much that could go wrong quietly behind our backs. Old habits die hard, and sadly our EU agents in London have been doing that for too long!

        • steve
          Posted November 19, 2019 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

          Sharon Jagger

          “drain the swamp and replace the vast majority of MPs with fresh blood, and the Brexit Party offers this much needed change.”

          I used to hold similar view but since Farage dropped a lot of people flat on their faces again, I wouldn’t never vote for him. The only thing he seems to do is agitate other parties, give people false hope, and then run away.

          I shall be voting for Corbyn…..just to stick it to con man Boris.

  3. agricola
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Our modus operandi during the Cold War was to be seen ,along with our NATO allies, to to be strong or too dangerous to mess with. It worked and led to a reduced escalation.

    Warfare and potential warfare is continually changing. For instance Blair made a classic mistake of inviting the world at large to take up residence in the UK. Within that group was the Trojan Horse of terrorism. Any politician in denial of this is either naive or in a small number of cases complicit through their actions or utterances. Combined with our membership of the EU and parts of the legal profession in a feeding frenzy, it has been difficult to rid ourselves of what has now become a home grown problem for our security services.

    The importation of vast quantities of narcotics by criminal elements and quite possibly those around the world who are hostile to us is yet another way of conducting modern warfare. It is so rife I have witnessed it in supermarket car parks. Add to this trade a large portion of political and legal thinking for de-criminalisation and we have our own inbuilt fifth column to aid and abet the process.

    Lastly there is the cyber attack designed to steal intellectual property, undermine the financial system, and render useless our defence systems. Beyond this you would need to talk to GCHQ to know what is happening and the extent of it. I just hope we are disrupting and sowing the seeds of failure among our potential enemies in return.

    The adage that the next war is only fought on the experience of the last war for the first 24 hours should drive our thinking.

    • agricola
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Yet another area of lotential weaknes is to be found in our universities. Commercialised and encouraging students from all over the world maybe good for the salaries chancellors pay themselves, but what potentia harm is it to our security.

      The thought of masses of chinese hoovering up sensitive research I find worrying, and then going on to work in sesitive parts of the defense economy is potentially dangerous. Is their presence monitored or restricted.

      Politicians themselves can be a danger to national security way beyond Labours current direction. May our very own conservative PM was willing to let the Chinese provide our next generation communication system and part of our power generating system, an unbelievable act of stupidity among a catalogue of many.

      In conclusion these are dangerous times. When our politicians fail to keep illegals in rubber yacht tenders from our shores I doubt their ability or willingness to deal with more serious threats.

    • agricola
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Long overdue for moderation.

      • Mark B
        Posted November 20, 2019 at 6:28 am | Permalink

        That is because you spoke the inconvenient truth.

  4. GilesB
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    The nature of war is always changing.

    Boots on the ground are as necessary now as always.

    War in cyberspace such as social media also needs fingers on keyboards. We risk losing the culture wars by only equipping ourselves for yesterday’s battles.

    British traditions need defending just as much as British soil. There is no point out bodies being free if our minds are trapped, our character effaced.

    • steve
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      Giles

      “British traditions need defending”

      Oooh no, defend those and you get branded a ‘phobe’ of some sort or other.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted November 19, 2019 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        Oh, I don’t think that anyone’s threatening your right to clean your car all day on a Sunday, or to queue up for the petrol pump facing your filler, even though the hoses on the vacant ones are long enough, or to yell at football on the TV in the pub at the top of your voice, even though you’re the only one watching it.

        Cheer up.

        • Edward2
          Posted November 20, 2019 at 5:23 am | Permalink

          Your cynicism misses the real point.
          But really you know that, don’t you Martin.

          • steve
            Posted November 20, 2019 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

            You’d think he’d be happy, I’m voting for his party after all.

  5. Iain Gill
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    The enemy is not just states, but also terror organisations.

    Sure we need to control our own armed forces.

    But we do not need to waste vast sums on the mod civil service, and the vast numbers hired via consultancies on the old boy network, given jobs no matter how unsuitable just because they are ex forces. The mod could do with a radical dose of real world.

    A lot of what the mod does would be better outsourced anyway.

    Get rid of the RAF, make it the army air corps, and get rid of the need for a third of the overhead.

    The mod makes the NHS look efficient, we have got to stop wasting money on crap inefficient nonsense like their admin layers.

    You could sack the whole of the defence logistics organisation and only improve things for our front line troops.

    • agricola
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      The civil service in the MOD do not come out well but you do our serving military a great disservice.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted November 20, 2019 at 4:35 am | Permalink

        I have worked close up with our military officer class repeatedly, and like the NHS the hype far exceeds the reality. They are lacklustre and mediocre. Absolutely dire in fact.

        USA officer’s, for example, are multiples better.

  6. Shirley
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Like those who have commented already, Parliament will surrender everything to the EU, including our military. ‘Buy’ the politicians and the people with influence, ie. the CBI, and you effectively ‘buy’ the country. That’s how the EU operates, and they use our money to achieve it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      Indeed they clearly have the CBI, BBC most of Parliament, most of the Legal Profession, academia and the Lords on side too. The Boris treaty is not BREXIT it is a very expensive delay/defer strategy.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted November 19, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        Good sense usually has sensible people on its side, yes.

        • Edward2
          Posted November 20, 2019 at 5:23 am | Permalink

          Usually yes.
          But not always.

    • Turboterrier
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Shirley

      Totally correct

  7. Stred
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Clause 103 on in the political declaration requires the exchange of intelligence information with regard to terrorism and cyber security. Information given to Brussels will be made to available right across Europe including new entrants with ex-commumist and possibly corrupt politicians and staff. The five eyes intelligence system works on the principle of complete trust in the countries confidentiality. The UK will no longer be trusted if it routinely passes information to the EU.

    Reply It is most important the UK remains a member of 5 eyes, which will mean our agreement with the EU over intelligence sharing will need to be compatible with that membership as our current arrangements are

    • DaveK
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply:

      Sir John,

      Why do I read that “Britain is signing up to be involved with the European Defence Agency, the European Defence Fund, the European Defence Industrial Development Programme and PESCO.” as part of the WA & PD? Are we meant to have forgot the KitKat tapes?

    • ed2
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

      Reply It is most important the UK remains a member of 5 eyes,

      ……….

      Five Eyes is totally unacceptable. It is a dishonest way for Australians and New Zealanders to spy on harmless English ‘conspiracy theorists’ on Youtube without the UK govt embarrassing itself by doing so directly.

      • Fred H
        Posted November 20, 2019 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        It might become 5Grit in the eyes.

  8. bookend
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    What you’re trying to say here is that the western powers were always the ‘goodie two shoes’ whilst these modern day ‘upstarts’ Putin’s Russians, the Chinese and other ‘johnnie come lately’s’ eg. Erdogan’s Turks have it coming to them if they try to repeat the imperial grandstanding of the self righteous British and self righteous Europeans in the 19th century- it didn’t all start in 1945

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Russia and China were great powers before England/UK;they always regarded us as the upstarts!If you read the diplomatic communiques from tsarist Russia and their”insolence”as Palmerston put it(I think Mrs May used the same word over the Skripal affair) you will see that even at the height of our prestige and power we were considered inferior to the Third(and,as the prophesy has it, final) Rome.And Qing China wouldn’t even recognize us until forced to do so by force.

    • Kevin Stanley
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Well said Comrade! Long live the revolution!!!!

  9. Lifelogic
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Indeed but can we have some sensible people controlling how the money on defence is spent. A huge proportion of it has been wasted on insane and misguided projects, high wages for duff senior management and some very foolish ideas and pointless wars too. Rather like most of the rest of government expenditure in fact.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Doubtless, given the current fashion for the green crap religion the forces will be told to go zero carbon, go back to sailing and rowing boats, not to fly and to make explosives from bio fuels sawdust & sugar perhaps. This should go well. Plus more absurd woke recruitment adverts for staff!

      • Everhopeful
        Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        Ah now…I can help you there Lifelogic!
        Apparently FIREWORKS do not count as pollutants ( despite all scientific evidence to the contrary) so they can dispense with the sawdust recipe and use a few of the industrial sized rockets that are let off round here.
        Those metal cased explosives would see off any enemy and probably lay waste their entire land!
        I think you may be right about the boats!

    • Fred H
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Have we come to terms yet with the changing components of the Joint Services? Historically each (RAF, NAVY, ARMY) presented the case for budget to suit their capability/perceived role. Now roles and capabilities cross over. Cyber capability role joins the former trio, Aircraft carriers can launch the best attack aircraft we have, land/sea/air launch of cruise or unguided missiles. Land vehicles have to reach the location of threat, which may be the first incursion.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      Some dope “Conservative” I think on radio 4 saying cutting taxes has perhaps gone far enough. What cutting of taxes would that be Sir we have not had any? Major, Clark Brown, Darling, Osborne and Hammond have given us the highest taxes for 40+ years. They have not even started any tax cuts. We are hugely over taxed and it is very damaging to the economy, investment and productivity (absurd & complex taxation too), over regulated and forced to buy expensive energy too. Over 40% of GDP is being spend by the state sector producing with very of any value at all. Much is spent inconveniencing the productive. They we have the private sector litigation culture yet another tax on the productive.

      This while public services decline further and further. Even public loos and libraries see to vanish or only be open half the week. The NHS a joke. Police who have given up on most crimes.

      The only “cutting” of taxes we get is announcements they will do it in the distant future (or promises before elections) but they never deliver. Increases always start the same day or are even retrospective. Still ratting on the £1M IHT threshold each promised about 8 years back by the dire Osborne.

  10. steve
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Good morning JR

    An interesting and potentially pertinent topic.

    “A victor in war can lose the peace” you say. Well in my experience a victor can also find itself dictated to by the ungrateful country(s) it liberates.

    “Toppling dictators in the Middle East who were a threat to some of their own citizens and to their neighbours was not always a good idea” – couldn’t agree more. Is nothing to do with us and we should have kept out.

    ” – reduce our ability to help our allies ” – What allies ? we don’t really have any. If the big toys come out then see how many allies you have.

    “Many of the conflicts followed from the dreadful attack on the USA called 9/11.” – did you know a great many Americans these days believe it was a false flag job ?

    “…produce weapons and fighting machines in the UK” – Mr Redwood, I and much of my family are ex employees of the defence industry. Hawker Siddeley to be exact. And yes, we are very resentful at the betrayal of our industry.

    You must surely be joking when you suggest we produce our own aircraft etc. This country deserves to be laughed at quite frankly. Thanks to foreign serving politicians and short sighted namby pamby’s over the decades we don’t produce a single complete fighting aircraft, only a few bits we’re told we can build by our now tiny industry’s European masters which include – Messerschmitt Bolkow Blohm, Airbus Industrie et al.

    Quite fitting that the country which built the finest aircraft in the world, kept the soviets at bay, and saw off the Luftwaffe should have it’s aircraft industry reduced to status of lackey for German companies who’s achievements include the Messerschmitt Bf109, and the Bismarck.

    In any case, many good people were thrown onto the scrap heap after lifetimes of hard graft and devotion for this country, so as far as we’re concerned don’t even ask for our skills, sorry but we don’t know one end of a spanner from the other and therefore can’t help.

    Try asking Messerschmitt instead.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      The infamous Duncan Sandys 1957 White Paper on Defence. And he was a Conservative. I’ll say no more.

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    A very irritating interview on Newsnight last night by Emily Maitlis with BBC favourite “Conservative” and ex minister.

    Maitless asked can you still “look me in the eye and say yes we are still the home of parliamentary democracy, we don’t lie to our Queen, we don’t prorogue Parliament, we don’t play around with the rule of law or question the Supreme Court judges” ……. not much doubt about where Maitlis stands politically. She would not work for the Newsnight without such views I suspect.

    Being pro EU is being against democracy, can she/they not see this? The EU is profoundly anti-democratic in it’s structures and is intentionally so.

    If we remain in the EU we clearly will no longer be a democracy. we will be mere regions of the anti-democratic. essentially socialist and economically declining EU. Parliament will be irrelevant. Yes we should indeed question the judgement of the Supreme Court when they invent new laws, take clearly political positions and suffer from misguided, clearly political, pro EU misguided judges group think.

  12. MickN
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I am sure I saw a tweet from Jacob Rees-Mogg stating that ALL Conservative candidates are now backing Boris’s deal. Was he speaking for you too Sir?

    Reply I speak for myself and have set out my views here on this issue.

    • Simeon
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      So JRM is a liar? After his Grenfell gaffe he finally pops his head above the parapet and tells a ginormous fib? I’d never have believed it!

      Sir John, I believe you. What I’m struggling to understand is why you continue to associate with these (insert insult as appropriate). I can accept that you felt dutybound to stand up for your party’s manifesto on which you were elected in 2017. It seems most likely you’ll need a different justification for remaining in your party when the 2019 Tory manifesto sees the light of day.

    • MickN
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      That is what I thought. Was Jacob being a little economical with the truth then?
      That would be a shame as he was a Tory MP that I admired.

    • Chris
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      MickN, up to 100 Cons MPs have apparently also signed up to the Stand up for Brexit Pledge that if we do not get the Boris deal passed by 31 January 2020, they will opt for No Deal. List and the commitment/pledge on the website.

      They all seem to be keeping very quiet on this.

    • Dennis
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      ‘Reply I speak for myself and have set out my views here on this issue’.

      Where the link then to your views for the benefit of newbies on this blog or you want to keep them unknown?

      Reply use search

  13. acorn
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Post brexit it will be interesting to see if Brasil goes after the UK seat on the Security Council. France will become the defacto permanent member for the EU until the latter takes over.

    “Democracies do not usually covet the land and people of another”. You forget the finest hours of the British Empire and the East India Company. Alas the colonies wised up and got fed up with giving the British a cheap living and we had to join the EEC as a substitute

    Reply The UK was not a one person one vote democracy until the twentieth century

    • Iain Gill
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      a lot of the people voting in the UK are not British, which rather slants our supposed democracy.

      as does the way all the main parties select candidates from the same old small circles.

    • a-tracy
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      acorn, you say “Alas the colonies wised up and got fed up with giving the British a cheap living” ‘the British’ is a bit of a wide brush, isn’t it? In the 1900s 25% of the population were living in abject poverty. Things only improved for many of the reduced numbers of ‘the British’ after the First World War.

    • Old person
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      Most of the twentieth century maybe.

      Under the Representation of the People Act 1918, 67% of women over 30 were given the vote.

      Not until the Representation of the People Act 1928 was everyone in the British Isles over 21 given the vote.

      Unbelievably, not until the Electoral Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1968, removing property franchise requirements, gave all the people over 18 in the whole of the United Kingdom voting rights.

    • Posted November 19, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Acorn – let’s hope that your comment is meant to add a little levity to the discussion. ”.. got fed up with giving the British a cheap living….. the EEC as a substitute”. Either that, or you seriously need to go and read some quality history books.

    • Dennis
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      ‘Reply The UK was not a one person one vote democracy until the twentieth century’

      But the USA was from 1945 and look what they have done since in many countries particularly economically.

      It seems we need all this defence as we are a target. Why are we a target? We have brought it on ourselves. Am I right in thinking we were not a target even in 1939 – we declared war on Germany – not saying it wasn’t the right thing to do but…

      • Dennis
        Posted November 19, 2019 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        Should have been – But the USA was and from 1945 look what they have done….

        In case on confusion.

  14. Fred H
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t rely on the UN to achieve anything. Stand and watch they can do.

    • DaveK
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      They are attempting a One World Government via Climate Change scams though.

  15. oldtimer
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    You omit mention of claims of attempted regime change, a charge that can clearly be directed at the USA, to produce governments more amenable to UK interests. These can have disastrous consequences as recent experience in Libya and Syria demonstrate.

    It seems to me that the UK government has strayed/ventured beyond the criteria you have defined for military intervention in the years since Blair became PM.

  16. George Brooks
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    As I have said in several comments during the past year or so we are getting into the same position that we were in, in September 1939, with Germany and this time supported by France attempting to gain complete control of the UK.

    Pominoz is absolutely right that any reference to control by the EU over these Islands has to be removed before the WA and the PD goes before Parliament. It would betray the ‘Leave Vote’ for anything less.

    Mark B’s comment about criminals and rubber dinghies is grossly unfair blaming our Boarder Control, but it does illustrates the control the EU has over us at present. When we regain our independence we will be able catch 100% of these small craft and deliver them back from whence they came. At present we cannot.

    Boris has to get back with a clear Conservative majority if he is not to be enveloped by the Westminster Spell. A huge task but possible

    • Mark B
      Posted November 20, 2019 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      I did not blame the Border Patrol so please do not put words into my mouth. Those few that do arrive here illegally, even fewer are returned. So once we gain full control, which we won’t with this so called ‘deal’, we will not be returning any. The EU will make sure of that ! They even made us take some of Germany’s ‘children’ economic migrants.

  17. RAF
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    The UK also needs to ensure it has sufficient control over the technology and capability to produce weapons and fighting machines in the UK.

    Strange use of the word ‘sufficient’ in the context of producing our own weapons. Understandable that total control will not be available when we buy in a system such as Trident or the F35 aircraft but our own production? I do hope that this is not a tacit recognition that Johnson’s ‘deal’ could have a detrimental impact on our arms industry.
    If we are, as seems likely at the moment, being prepared to be reduced to a vassal state it is the usual practice for the vassal to have to pay tribute. Our arms industry would be a great capture, reducing at a stroke our ability to stand up for ourselves in addition to reducing our international reach and earning capacity. What’s not to like from the EU’s standpoint?
    Fanciful? Who imagined that May would agree to the WA document she brought to Parliament and attempted to force on us three times?

    Reply It means we need to control the technology and have the capacity to increase domestic output if supplies from abroad get interrupted.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      Reliant on US technology but reliant on EU permission to use it. What could possibly go wrong?

    • Iain Moore
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      ” It means we need to control the technology and have the capacity to increase domestic output if supplies from abroad get interrupted.”

      Meanwhile we are allowing our steel industry to be sold off to the Chinese , amongst which I understand is included the specialist steels division which is somewhat important to our military.

    • steve
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      JR

      “…… if supplies from abroad get interrupted.”

      Which they invariably do. Remember when Mrs Thatcher had to turn the thumb screws on the US to get AAM’s during the falklands conflict?

      Remember also when a Labour government blocked export of Buccaneer spares to South Africa?

      Imagine the scale of problems if the US blocked spares for the highly complex F35.

      The defence industry in this country has gone to the dogs. We’re dependent on foreign powers for just about every weapon. In contrast to the US where every weapon must be capable of being manufactured in the US. They’re not daft.

      • Mark B
        Posted November 20, 2019 at 6:42 am | Permalink

        And when Belgium refused to sell us ammunition during the Gulf War 2.0

    • forthurst
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Reply. Former Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon supports Advent’s, a private equity partnership, takeover of Cobham, a Dorset-based Defence manufacturer and Andrea Leadsom is ‘minded’ (yep, she’s got one of those, allegedly) to accept Advent’s solemn and binding promises not to do what they as a private equity operation would be minded to do to maximise their profit before and when they dispose of their intended acquisition. Sir Michael Cobham does not support this deal; does JR?

  18. Iain Moore
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I am very suspicious of what commitments the Government has been giving the EU over defense. I strongly suspect they have made us subordinate to the EU’s military ambitions, and despite the electorate voting to break from the EU, under May, we have had Sir Alan Duncan flying off to sign us up to stuff . The British establishment cannot be trusted over our sovereignty , and no matter what area of national policy , from fishing to defense, we find them backsliding over our wish to be independent. What is it with our establishment that makes them so untrustworthy?

    • Posted November 19, 2019 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      ”What is it with our establishment that makes them so untrustworthy?”
      A desire for power, Mr Moore?
      ”Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority…”

    • steve
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Iain Moore.

      Well said Iain.

      “from fishing to defense, we find them backsliding over our wish to be independent. What is it with our establishment that makes them so untrustworthy?”

      Firstly fishing and defence are closely related issues…..because we’re an Island.

      Secondly. the establishment cannot be trusted especially with defence because they’re a bunch of lying traitors who wish to see this country dumbed down to the point where it couldn’t knock the skin off a rice pudding, and guess what…..they’ve succeeded.

    • margaret howard
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Iain Moore

      “The British establishment cannot be trusted over our sovereignty…”

      But it’s not over loss of sovereignty to the EU that you have to worry about but them following the US into illegal wars like Iraq just to be in their good books.

      • Edward2
        Posted November 20, 2019 at 5:28 am | Permalink

        If you feel the war was illegal then bring a private prosecution.
        Parliament voted to go to war.
        Therefore it was not illegal.
        Bad decision…well with hindsight yes.
        But illegal…no.

        • margaret howard
          Posted November 20, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

          Edward2

          “If you feel the war was illegal then bring a private prosecution.”

          “The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated in September 2004 that: “I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view and the UN Charter point of view, it [the war] was illegal”, explicitly declaring that the US-led war on Iraq was illegal”

          That’s good enough for me.

          But I agree with what you write further down this page:

          Edward2

          “Very silly comment Andy.”

          • Edward2
            Posted November 20, 2019 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

            One person’s opinion is irrelevant.
            The view of the UN quangocrat might count more than you or me but neither the USA nor the UK broke any laws in their own countries in declaring war on Iraq.

  19. Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    The Germans, quite rightly, feel very guilty about their History. So do the Chinese. And the Russians too. Lots of smaller nations – Italy, Greece and Spain do too (the Spanish Civil War is unmentionable still). They therefore all deny their past.
    In the case of the Germans, Italians and Spanish it also means dropping their army.
    Trendy people here pretend to feel guilty about our magnificent and civilising Empire too and they have the same ambition: anti defence, anti our best ally – USA.
    Our 18th century Empire was founded on trade and to keep the French out. It was a surprising achievement.
    Our 19th century Empire was completely different. Unlike everyone else – Americans, Portuguese, Spanish, Muslims especially – we did abolish our slave trade. And then we went round stamping slavery out in Africa and the world too. It was a moral crusade.
    We should be very proud, not embarrassed.
    There is today a lot of policing which needs doing too. We need to step up the plate because nobody else is going to.

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 20, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      “And the Russians too”

      I’ve never encountered that-the Russians seem intensely proud of their extraordinary history with all its tumult and (apparent)contradictions.

  20. Everhopeful
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    How very confusing!
    So why have we been determinedly running down our defences/army etc.?
    And why are we ( covertly) sniffing around CSDP…well having quite a lot of influence therein it is said…” shaping policy”…well!
    And our role in this EU defence stuff after Brexit..not really known aka not admitted to?

    Reply We are not running down our armed forces. We are commissioning two new aircraft carriers with fast jets and boosting spending on defence generally.

    • Wil Pretty
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      A warship is only as good as its rules of engagement.
      Better not send them anywhere near Iran or China, else they will be captured.

    • Fred H
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      reply to reply ….How is that going to have any positive result against a land threat against any of the NATO members?

    • Hope
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      Rubbish JR, your govt was more responsible than any other in running down our armed services. Cameron had brand new nymrods chopped up behind screens! He cancelled pilots qualifying in the last stages of their qualification! Armed forces reduce in number more by your govt than any other. At least be credible in what you write. You should be apologising for your govt actions. Cameron arrogantly told senior military he would do the talking and they should do the fighting. He said this knowing they were not properly equipped to fight! He then sidelined them from meetings!

      • Hope
        Posted November 19, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        The aircraft carriers were commissioned before your govt came to office and Cameron was considering scrapping or mothballing them!

      • Mark B
        Posted November 20, 2019 at 6:47 am | Permalink

        And do not forget the Harriers ? Perfectly good aircraft sold to the Americans for a song to save a few million. Could have been used on the new Aircraft Carriers. Terrible !

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      Unfortunately Sir John, these aircraft carriers as you call them suffered the same cutbacks as the rest of the armed forces. The specification of the end result has led to two white elephants – with a very limited capability, limited operating range using a aircraft that in this instance has limited scope.

      They are not what was needed to be able to project and protect. If they are not operating close to support from land based defense and supply they are vulnerable. The limited range of this version of the F35 makes it only suitable for close range action.

      2 nice looking ornaments in place 0f the real thing.

      • Stred
        Posted November 20, 2019 at 6:18 am | Permalink

        The PM who ordered them was Scottish and his head of the MoD was called Jock. The white elephants were built in Scotland.

      • Fred H
        Posted November 20, 2019 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        military bling.

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply.

      This week’s Economist has a feature article on the place of aircraft carriers in modern warfare scenarios.When you read it you won’t be pleased that we have committed so much of our defence budget to these white elephants.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      American jets by the way! Another example of all of our leaders’ failure to take a long term view. We invented the vtol then sold it off. Then we buy a less effective system from the US at vast cost. Much more than it would have cost to have kept our technology and developed it.

      Short term policies have ruined our independence and self reliance.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      Relieved to hear it!
      Hope I’ve got it wrong!
      Most articles seem to suggest that we are down in numbers since, say, The Falklands.
      We have about 19 aircraft carriers now as compared to 50 odd then?
      Post Brexit let’s get building ( no leaks)!!

    • DaveK
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply:

      Sir John,

      Anyone with an iota of common sense can see that the only reason we built those carriers was as our contribution to the joint EU defence forces. There were no planes, no pilots, no sailors to crew them and no support vessels to create a carrier group. When commissioned they had to draw in personnel from far and wide to pretend there was a crew. They even attempted to get submariners to wear different cap tallies for the TV and PR pics, but they refused.

    • steve
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Everhopeful.

      “So why have we been determinedly running down our defences/army etc.?

      Because it pleases other countries, especially the ones we rescued during 1944 – 45 basically.

      • APL
        Posted November 21, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        “Because it pleases other countries, ”

        Disagree. It’s because we don’t need 2m men under arms, but politicians including John Redwood, want to buy reelection at the expense of the Armed Services by increasing spending on the Welfare State.

    • Dennis
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      ‘Reply We are not running down our armed forces. We are commissioning two new aircraft carriers with fast jets and boosting spending on defence generally.’

      I haven’t heard Costa Rica doing any of that – I wonder why. And it’s not ‘cos they haven’t the money. No enemies probably.

  21. Andy
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    One of the few positives about Brexit is that it will enable us to slash defence spending to close to zero.

    We should keep a small force to help in disasters but we don’t need aircraft-less aircraft carriers or nuclear missiles anymore.

    Nobody will want to attack a small irrelevant island. We are as much a target as Iceland.

    We will, of course, have to leave NATO too. But then it is run by ghastly foreigners and we all know what Brexiteers think of them.

    • Edward2
      Posted November 20, 2019 at 5:29 am | Permalink

      Very silly comment Andy.

  22. Wen ar woz a Man
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Our locations for making fighting machines in the UK can easily be taken out by even badly equipped external forces.
    Internally? What can one say?

  23. Dave Andrews
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    It used to be the case that members of the armed forces were treated with respect, but since the involvement in doubtful wars in the Middle East, they are now considered by some as a target for abuse. The advice is not to appear in public wearing their uniform.
    British armed forces are their to defend their country, and they will gain respect for doing that. Unfortunately, politicians have been turning them into some kind of mercenary force, employed in their vanity projects.

  24. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I was hoping you would address the corporation tax issue today. Seems to be a shot in your own party’s foot, admitting that tax cuts cost money rather than raising it.

  25. Cliff. Wokingham
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    When one drives down Western Road in Bracknell and remembers the highly specialised defence companies such as, Raval, Ferranti and Sperry Gyroscopes which used to be there, one wonders where our defence industry is now and what those highly skilled workers are doing now.

    • Cliff. Wokingham
      Posted November 19, 2019 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Racal Communications. Bloody predictive text.

    • Fred H
      Posted November 20, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Cliff….but it is the road to the tip (waste management). Symbolic, or what?

  26. Kevin
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    You write that the “UK is right to retain…a veto over whether to join or to decline any EU military activity”. The use of the word, “veto”, suggests that we will be more tightly bound to the EU in this area than ought to be the case for a nation that voted to leave the EU. (Does Canada need such a veto?) I read this in Article 129(6) of the Withdrawal Agreement: “Following a [foreign policy] decision of the Council…, the United Kingdom may make a formal declaration…indicating that, for vital and stated reasons of national policy,…it will not apply the decision. In a spirit of mutual solidarity, the United Kingdom shall refrain from any action likely to conflict with or impede Union action based on that decision”. I have inserted the words in square brackets based on commentary in a Brexit Party video. I am confused about the period for which this obligation on the UK would endure, but the Brexit Party commentary seems to suggest that Art. 129(6) could make other countries question the worth of our permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. Can the Conservative Party comment on this?

  27. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Defence? . . . We can’t even prevent artics or rubber dinghies full of freeloaders getting into our ( soon to be theirs with the number getting here ) country. 39 known ( probably more unaccounted for ) got ferried in for their UK taxpayer freebie lives, last weekend. Bet they were fed and put into a dry warm room and beds. Unlike the people around Doncaster area who have been flooded out of their houses, many now being told their insurance doesn’t cover them. Whose vote will your party be hoping for? The ones who have been taxed and ignored – – or the illegals who are looked after?

    • Fred H
      Posted November 21, 2019 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      We musn’t allow illegals here to suffer self-inflicted for a moment, but our own can fend for themselves when tragic events unfold.

  28. Dominic
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    The enemy isn’t abroad, he’s right here on our doorstep and your party have spent the last 30 years shuffling backwards to appease him culminating in where we are today

    We need a defence against the British political class who have decided that our freedoms and liberties will be curtailed and our democracy weakened

  29. Peter
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    We have a state of the art and hugely expensive new aircraft carrier. It looked magnificent sailing into Pompey for the first time last week.

    However, it still has no planes and you cannot help wondering if the money might have been better employed on other aspects of defence.

  30. Alec
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    If the defence of these islands are the priority for British armed forces why are they sailing ships to China and the Gulf provoking conflict? Why are our special forces involved in coups, civil wars and regime change ops across the world? Why do we supply weapons to evil regimes like Saudia Arabia? Why do we have two hugely expensive aircraft carriers that are only of use to project power at a distance- they are not defensive weapons. If defence was what you wanted none of these things would be a good idea and our armed forces would look very different.

  31. Posted November 19, 2019 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    ”The UK also needs to ensure it has sufficient control over the technology and capability to produce weapons and fighting machines in the UK.”

    Yes, indeed. Again, in the succinct words of Mr Powell in 1989:

    ”The immediate occasion for alarm is the government’s announcement that British contractors for supplying armaments to our armed forces must in future share the work with what are called ‘European firms’, meaning factories situated on the mainland of the European continent…..
    What would have been the fate of Britain in 1940 if production of the Hurricane and the Spitfire had been dependent upon the output of factories in France?
    Talk at Bruges or Luxembourg about not surrendering our national sovereignty is all very well. It means less than nothing when the keys to our national defence are being handed over: an island nation which no longer commands the essential means of defending itself by air and sea is no longer sovereign…
    …to depend on the continent of Europe for our arms is suicide.”

  32. BillM
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    President Trump is right to complain at those nations in the NATO alliance not paying their way. It is ridiculous that indebted Greece is one Nation who does comply and ultra Rich Germany one who does not.
    There are just the 5 Nations who “pay their way” (2% of GDP) while the remaining 24 Nations are there for a free ride.
    It is sickening that now those with shallow pockets for NATO, now propose to form a new EU Army.
    The mind boggles just how they expect to finance it if their policy in short changing NATO is anything to go by.
    On that subject, it is claimed that Mrs May while PM, agreed to support an EU Army with British Troops and equipment. Is there any truth in this outrage? I cannot comprehend our professional Armed Services being controlled by the unelected and unaccountable oligarchy based in Brussels.

    • margaret howard
      Posted November 21, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Bill

      NATO has become a US controlled racket. The quicker Europe looks after its own security the better.

      • BillM
        Posted November 21, 2019 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        Being by far the largest contributor and providing the most military might to NATO, the USA rightly speaks with some authority.
        How you can call NATO a ‘racket’ is ludicrous and so biased coming from a person who believes the EU is run by democratic and trustworthy people.
        Since when is it a racket the the USA to commit $6.85 Trillion of State money and put the lives of their own armed forces on the line in Europe? Where is the ‘racket’ there?
        You forget, conveniently, as always, that NATO, formed long before the EU, has maintained the peace in Europe since WW2 and was essential in stopping the slaughter in Bosnia and bringing the war criminals to court.
        LOL Just 5 nations in the EU pay their way in NATO today neither Germany, France nor Italy contribute enough, so where will they get the cash from to play for the new German controlled army in Europe? Can you not see the obvious danger there? What will Russia think with an EU army on their doorstep especially after the attempted EU coup in the Ukraine?
        http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/nato-spending-by-country/

        • Mitchel
          Posted November 22, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

          I believe Russia is supportive of the concept of an EU army.

  33. Hugh Rose
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Another important principle if wars are to be avoided is that territorial aggressors must not be seen to benefit from wars they start.

    It is therefore extremely unwise of USA to recognize the Israeli settlements in the territory occupied after the wars in Six Day and Yom Kippur wars as legitimate.

  34. zorro
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I think that any keen student of 20th/21st century history would be raising their eyebrows at the statement below….

    ‘The great democracies of North America and Europe have no imperial ambitions to conquer territory or use force to take over the government of foreign lands.’

    I assume that you are taking a very narrow view and considering that the USA is a constitutional federal republic rather than a democracy, or as John Adams said ‘a government of laws and not of people’…

    Because let’s face it, the USA was, is, and will continue to be knee-deep in ‘facilitating’ regime change in order to get hold of assets and control the governments of other countries.

    zorro

  35. Well?
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    If Defence is the top priority then why does a our government permit our media to regularly undermine our connection with our greatest ally? It cannot be on the basis of free speech.. Only the media has that.

  36. steve
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    JR

    “We are commissioning two new aircraft carriers with fast jets and boosting spending on defence generally.”

    By contracting foreign yards and fitting out the vessels with foreign weapons.

    “We are not running down our armed forces.”

    ……just prosecuting them for carrying out Blair’s orders.

    Sorry JR, but some things are a hot potato with some of us. Though at least by your graciousness we have a means to express our sentiments, which is much appreciated.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 20, 2019 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      Agreed.

  37. Dennis
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    If only a small number of criticisms here of the present state of the UK are right then the UK is in dire trouble with no one in charge capable of doing anything right. What a fiasco!

    • Mark B
      Posted November 20, 2019 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      This is what happens when you handover responsibility to others. No one ends up caring.

  38. formula57
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    The ineffective and mis-directed “War on Terror” has cost the USA some $6 trillion (six million million) and seen directly some 800,000 killed (c. 40 per cent. civilians) and indirectly (from associated famine, disease etc.) some 3.2 million, so says Brown University’s recent “Costs of War” report. What if such huge sums had been spent to do good?

    As for the UK, only if attacked first will it be entering new wars for any manoeuvre otherwise and I shall be off to the Court of Session for an injunction.

    I agree with Iain Moore (08.36 above) that ” The British establishment cannot be trusted over our sovereignty…” and echo concerns about Ian Duncan’s unexplained activities on behalf of the May regime.

  39. Gareth Warren
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    While I do not support our previous regime change efforts, the problem is that if we are serious about improving thse countries then we should impose our values just like the Victorians did. However, our “values” are so toxic to so many regimes then such an attempt would be a bloodbath, that and we do not have that level of self belief anymore.

    I am dissapointed by our low levels of defence spending, especially the navy which fields only 6 destroyers and an armed forces that imploys today 1 in a 1000.

    A little more defence spending would make war less likely, improve our technology and with the reintroduction of events like the royal tournament. I hope with brexit delivered and a closer relationship with USA this can be done since I fear we may be pcked upon by China in the years to come as it flexes its muscles and seeks to distract from economic problems.

  40. John Hatfield
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Has the EU been made aware of the UK’s need for independent armed forces?

  41. Anonymous
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    To defend our way of life ?

  42. mickc
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    The USA is most definitely an empire, having expanded from the thirteen original colonies to encompassing most of North America. It did so by purchase, dispossessing the original inhabitants, and war upon a neighbouring state. It retains imperial ambitions, for example the seizure of Syrian oilfields, and fomenting the overthrow of elected governments to install pro USA puppets.

    The EU is quite simply the Fourth German Empire, which is achieving hegemony over Continental Europe, and particularly Eastern Europe.

  43. agricola
    Posted November 19, 2019 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    In the recent TV debate I was struck by what an unedifying shouting match it became. On the question of Brexit, Boris insists that all 635 conservative candidates have signed up to WA2. I assume you have not, as every indication you bave given suggests you do not like it and prefer the WTO, FTA, Art 24 of GATT route as being much better. Should we get a majority conservative government it is not clear what sort of Brexit we will end up with. I smell division and conflict from day one.

    The rest just emphasised a philosophical unbridgable divide. Corbyn’s hailed from an earlier time but lacked the delight of Art Deco. Boris evoked a positive future once out of the EU. I am all for it and can sense the possibilities, but please don’t let it fall on the altar of a WA2 Brexit.

    Generally this ITV programme was a horrible experience.

  44. Posted November 19, 2019 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    How are you going to pay for it ?

    What no tax increases ?

    🙂

    Two can play at this game John.

    Just tell the truth and keep ideology out of it. It will only work against you in the end.

  45. Mark B
    Posted November 20, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Agreed.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 20, 2019 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      I do not know what happened here but the above should have gone elsewhere. My previous comments stand.

  46. glen cullen
    Posted November 20, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    We don’t have a defence policy we’ve a ministry of defence that has continued a strategy of cost cutting

    We do have another strategic policy and that is to remain a permanent member of the UN and to qualify we must maintain our nuclear weapons…at any cost

    This is madness

  47. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 21, 2019 at 2:49 am | Permalink

    The truth is that each of the world’s big federations – America, Russia, India, China – are to a certain degree unstable. Each is polyglot (but only collectively) and multi-cultural and we all know that multi-culturalism doesn’t work. The signs of it not working are ‘communities’, separate residential areas and potentially ‘no go’ areas, and civil strife.

    In order to disguise this lack of internal cohesion, these SuperStates are liable to bully their neighbours.

    And the powers that be in Europe are Hell bent on creating another of these monstrosities.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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