The future of NATO

Mr Trump has always been sceptical of multi national bodies. His disagreement with Nato has been primarily the feeling that the USA makes a disproportionate financial and military contribution. He points out correctly that most of the European members fail to meet even the minimum 2% of GDP spend on their armed forces that NATO asks members to make. The UK does meet the obligation and agrees with the USA on this matter

There is also a disagreement with Turkey that is getting bigger. Turkey has bought a Russian anti missile system, which has led the USA to deny it US planes given the way Turkey is likely to release security information to Russia. Turkey wishes all of NATO to join its battle against Kurds, when NATO has been in alliance with Kurdish forces in Syria.

The UK as host to this week’s 70th anniversary meeting had important work to do. NATO is central to the defence of the West and to our own security. The UK needs to help secure proper financing of the defence capabilities we need from all our allies, and to work to get our allies in more agreement about the importance and aims of NATO. For the last 70 years acceptance of NATO as a central pillar of our defence has been common ground between the main political parties.

Today Labour is unreliable on defence and hostile to the USA which continues to provide the bulk of the military capability of this alliance. Mr Corbyn has in the past been sceptical of NATO, often expressing more support for groups and countries which oppose us. Above all now we need to form a common position on China, on the threats from Iran, and how to respond to the cyber attacks which are now a regular feature of our lives.

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119 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Indeed

    You say:- “Labour is unreliable on defence and hostile to the USA which continues to provide the bulk of the military capability of this alliance.”

    Rather an understatement! Labour would be a total disaster for UK defence, out nuclear defences and for NATO. He would also destroy the economy. This would also be a disaster for our defence, our health care, our public services, our debt levels, the Union and almost everything else in the country.

    • Bob
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      @lifelogic

      “Labour would be a total disaster”

      The mere fact that there are people who are prepared to vote for Labour brings into question the role of the state education system and the MSM in conditioning the minds of people to believe that communism is a desirable system of governance.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 4, 2019 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. The BBC discuss Labour proposed economic lunacy as if it were a sensible plan. Then again they discuss climate alarmist, Greta Thunberg, Prince Charles and Emma Thompson as if they had anything sensible to say on climate or energy systems. The school syllabus, the BBC and most teachers are full green crap and bogus science too.

        I see that Climate Realists are now called just “Climate Deniers” how can one deny climate? Not even “Climate Change Deniers”. The climate has of course always changed and always will, slightly warmer is better than colder and C02 is greening the planet very nicely indeed. Mankind clearly has some effect on the climate – but so do millions of other things many unknowable.

        I see it as a form of child abuse – rather like most other religions.

    • Hope
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Johnson has decided by his servitude plan he wants the UK to be a subservient part of EU defence and foreign policy project- providing all assets without any real voice. Agreeing not to act or impede the EU foreign policy interests. In the long term it will lead to a conflict whether to remain in NATO. The former increased by stealth as a competitor to safety through Anglosphere cooperation. Once the EU army is in full operation NATO will be of little use to the EU.

      Johnson’s servitude plan only restriction to full capitulation being military involved on a case by case basis not to participate. Rather than a definitive leave the EU defence and foreign policy. Shocking and disgraceful. Read articles by Professor Prynns or Lt Gen. Riley. JR does not include proper scrutiny in his blog what happens where there is conflict in the future between EU foreign policy and U.K. National interest. The UK will be prevented from taking action!

      Mayhab signed up the UK into the EU defence project and ancillary policies even though we had voted out. Sedwill in charge of security and cabinet should not have both jobs and if change is to happen at Whitehall needs to be removed with a leader from outside to bring radical change.

      Johnson has failed to leave the EU in any meaningful way. Copying and pasting Mayhab’s servitude plan. Johnson failed to bring about a new conservative vision, direction and purpose to his manifesto. A wet sit on the left of the fence boring document inspiring no one. Just causing more mistrust.

      Immigration- 71 percent of people still view it as a major issue. Johnson ignores the people for Westminster elite cabal. Expect more lies from the last nine years.

      Energy- copied and built upon “Red Ed” policies instead of scrapping Climate Change Act looking at fracking and new ways of creating energy to be ompetirive int he world. EU subservient level playing field terms means Johnson will not let U.K. be more competitive than EU.

      The same applies to all Tory left wing one nation wet policy issues. Tories need to stand down in the north for the Brexit Party or Corbyn will get elected.

    • Treacle
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      The main problem is that Corbyn is on record as saying that he would under no circumstances authorise the use of nuclear weapons. So, if he becomes Prime Minister, we will instantly have no nuclear deterrent, and will be in breach of our obligations to NATO. Corbyn wouldn’t use conventional forces either, but that is another matter.

      • Richard1
        Posted December 4, 2019 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

        Indeed that’s exactly the point. Given this, it is a wasteful nonsense for Labour to claim they are in favour of continuing Trident. They should have the moral and intellectual honesty to admit that were they in power it would be pointless.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    How on earth did Ofcom decide to rejects the Conservative Party’s complaint over the ice sculptures on Channel 4 climate debate? If they do not uphold that what would they act on?

    I just watched the programme again it was anti-scientific alarmist propaganda from beginning to end. Why on earth was Boris not allowed to send Gove if he chose to. The three female academic experts were all rather dire alarmists too chosen for that reason I assume. Channel four is even more appalling and biased than the BBC.

    Dorothy Byrne, Head of News and Current Affairs at Channel 4, is appallingly biased, bitter, dim and deluded. Listen to almost anything she ever says or writes.

    Newnght last night seems to think that sense on “climate” comes from actresses and self publicists like Jane Fonda! Once again no climate realist or sound scientist to point out what drivel she was pushing. How many crew members were flown around to organise St. Greta Thunbergs absurd sailing trip this time? It is surely appalling the way this deluded child is being used by the alarmist industry.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      At least it seems the public are not falling for all this incessant, alarmist religious nonsense. The Green Party will surely get 2% at best. Perhaps they should just concentrate on making the environment cleaner and more pleasant rather than on their climate Armageddon agenda. Not sure why Brighton is so pro Green Party, but I suppose anything is better than Labour the only other party with any chance.

    • Richard1
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      It is an outrage against democracy. I will complain to Ofcom after the election.

  3. Mark B
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    I would like to start by saying that I support President Trump and his position with regard to NATO and its other members.

    The UK 2% contribution is made up not only of conventional forces but, the nuclear deterrent and guard duties. Our real time capability has been steadily reduced by all governments of all hues.

    The future of NATO is in doubt. As soon as France and Germany can secure its Eastern Borders (Russia) and has created its Common Defence Union (CDU) it will abandon NATO. The UK is central to this plan. Our capabilities far outreach many of the other members of the EU and they would not be able to act as effectively without us.

    The EU’s CDU and its more adventurous foreign policy will undoubtedly lead it into conflict with other nations. Not necessarily the major players but middle to lower ranking states. The new EU Commission President has highlighted that Africa is her major foreign policy objective. She is keen to have military forces ready to act to project the EU’s foreign policy ambitions. The EU Empire that Mr.Verhofstadt proudly boasted of at the LibDem Conference is soon to become a reality. I want us to have no part in it. And should they, the EU, commit atrocities there, under the WA which the Conservative Party wish us to accept, we would be prohibited to even raise an eyebrow.

    The USA does not need NATO and would be better served in South East Asia, as would we. That is the future, not Little Europe !

    • Mark B
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Cone on Sir John, I know it is long but others today have had longer post than mine put through.

  4. Ian Wragg
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Macron sees himself as a latter day Napoleon. He is the biggest threat to NATO together with the EU commies.

    • Mitchel
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      His recent stance reminds me of the July 1807 meeting between Napoleon and Tsar Alexander I (the “Corsican upstart” and the “shifty Byzantine”)on a raft on the river Neman at Tilsit in occupied East Prussia,to discuss the future of Europe – whilst the King of Prussia was kept waiting in the rain to learn the fate of his kingdom.

      “…but,Sire,what is Europe if not you and I.”

      I wonder who the modern equivalent of the King of Prussia would be?!

      (That part of East Prussia is now Kaliningrad and Tilsit was renamed Sovietsk.)

    • IanT
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      More akin to De Gaulle I think with regards NATO

    • James1
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Presidential Macron is right about the Kurds. They stood with us against ISIS. We should be giving them the support that they deserve now.

  5. Shirley
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    I agree that NATO should be supported. Relying on EU countries for defence is a BIG mistake, as has been shown by many EU countries lack of support for NATO. It will be the same with any EU defence. Some countries (who could afford the 2%) are just leeches.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      The issue of who needs to ‘pay more’ is difficult. Paying more is in fact spending more to maintain your own defence capability, ie having a larger army/air force/navy. Now, do we really want Germany to re-arm?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      It is quite remarkable how the European Union countries and others have preserved peace between themselves.

      It is absolutely unprecedented in history.

      And, moreover, despite NATO’s best efforts.

      You might recall that it was Mrs. Merkel and François Hollande, who managed to get Putin to take a more measured approach in Ukraine, not NATO, the US, or the UK.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 4, 2019 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        No actually I don’t recall that.
        I do remember the pressure the UK and USA via NATO placed on President Putin though.

        • bill brown
          Posted December 5, 2019 at 10:49 am | Permalink

          Edward 2 and Martin

          Both of your versions are correct, however there wold not have been a Minsk agreement without Merkel and Hollande

      • margaret howard
        Posted December 4, 2019 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

        Martin

        “You might recall that it was Mrs. Merkel …who managed to get Putin to take a more measured approach in Ukraine, not NATO, the US, or the UK.”

        No doubt it helped that they speak each other’s language. She is a fluent Russian speaker and he learned to speak German during his many years living there during the communist era.

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Lots of the EU can’t even afford to pay their Nato 2% subs to defence forces, or just refuse to stump up like Germany. Why should Ireland get away with not contributing either, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have to stump up their 2% as part of the UK?

      It is surely time for the military to make the case for Trident as well when Labour and the SNP are making such a show of not thinking it is necessary and suggesting they can re-spend money from this pot.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 4, 2019 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        a-tracy…..
        ‘Why should Ireland get away with not contributing either, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have to stump up their 2% as part of the UK?’
        That is if they do contribute from UK GDP.

      • bill brown
        Posted December 5, 2019 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        a-tracey

        Ireland is not part of NATO

  6. Dominic
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    National defence and the UK’s membership of NATO are important and significant issues but for people on the doorstep it’s an issue that doesn’t affect them directly and therefore falls away in significance. It’s not an issue that will affect how people cast their vote in a week’s time

    Of more importance is the Tory party’s approach to this election. Deliberately timid, impersonal and almost fearful of rocking the boat. Johnson refusal to go for Corbyn’s and Labour’s jugular could end up delivering a UK hating government in two weeks time for which we will all pay a heavy price

    • Shirley
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      I disagree (in part). I really dislike political interviews where all the discussion is about how appalling the ‘other parties’ are. It tells us nothing about the party being interviewed. In any case, none of the LibLabCon can be trusted to put the country and the indigenous first. Promises are discarded once elected, with all of them, as the past 3 years have shown.

    • Lemass
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      I fully agree. Boris is the be all and end all of the Tory campaign (has Mr Rees Mogg been locked in a dungeon?!) yet he refuses to engage with tough interviewers on TV and keeps press conferences to minimum. Mrs May tried to play it safe and people just thought she was weak – exactly the same impression is now being formed about Boris

      • Treacle
        Posted December 4, 2019 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        JRM is never allowed to say anything in public ever again, because he has committed the unpardonable crime of saying that if he ever found himself trapped in a burning building, he would try to get out.

        • Simeon
          Posted December 4, 2019 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

          That’s a very kind interpretation of what JRM said. Given that the Tories have used social media especially to put out disinformation, usually quite controversially, that JRM has been sidelined speaks volumes. He cocked up spectacularly, and it was common sense for the Tories to drop him like a stone. A pity really. JRM making a prat of himself every other day of the campaign would have provided welcome comic relief.

    • Hope
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Dominic, read Con Woman and the lead article states what is clear to most, Johnson is underwhelming and has given in to the woke, wet one nation rot- to most this has no meaning other than March left.

      He watered down his language at the request of a meeting with Labour, abandoned Rees- Mogg, abandoned a Trump, abandoned sensible energy policy to uncontested trillions green crap zero carbon lobby, dropped any pretence to cut immigration despite 71 percent of people still seeing it as a main issue, very safe language at every interview looking towards advisors to make sure he is on script, copied and pasted a Mayhab EU Surrender plan, boring manifesto without vision clarity or purpose. In short sit on the fence leaning left hoping all things will be alright.

      Mark Sedwill still in place says it all really. So do not expect any conservatism vision or, moreover, leadership any time soon. On this,performance,he would,not have been elected mayor!

      • Fred H
        Posted December 4, 2019 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        Hope – – -oh dear, you’ve nicely summed up Boris, without touching on the contrived ‘straight out of a romp’ hair, and the fist pumping rhetoric making up for shortage of detail. As you might guess my support waning rather fast.

      • Simeon
        Posted December 4, 2019 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        Underwhelming is incredibly diplomatic language…

    • Everhopeful
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      The Tories have constantly bowed to the Left.
      They appear to have much more in common with the Left than with the Right.
      Maybe they truly do believe it is just “all just a game.” ?
      You are so correct though about the payment of a heavy price for such flippancy.

      It feels like that moment in “ Planet of the Apes” when Taylor fell on his knees near the destroyed and almost buried Statue of Liberty. He cried out “ You Fools.” ( or similar) because obviously mankind had ignored decades of warnings re nuclear war. ( How much more warning could we have had about communism?).

    • Simeon
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      You’re right. This NATO summit is a godsend for a party whose grand ambition is to simply hold on to a poll lead.

      I would suggest that, whatever happens on 12.12, we’ll end up with one sort of UK-hating government or another.

    • Qubus
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      It’s about time that the Conservatives went for the jugular. When are they going to stop being so weak. Why can’t they remind the public about the streets being blocked with rubbish due to strikes. Why can’t they tell the public about the none sense of secondary picketing. Why don’t they tell the story of Liam Byrne’s farewell letter left in the Treasury. I could go on. I just despair of the lot of them.

  7. Ian@Barkham
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    The concept of NATO undermines the extreme socialist views of Labour and The undemocratic Liberals. As neither share the views of a free people and real democracy.

    The UK while at times talking tough is a minnow, a mere shadow in its defence abilities, at best it can just lend ‘words’ of support to our NATO partners. There seems to be a slight of hand when the UK professes to meet the minimum spend required for membership. Even spending a ‘minimum’ is an insult, given a Government is supposed to ensure the security of it’s people. To insult us further we have a perspective bunch of numpties that have all found money to give away as blackmail to get elected – our own money. Yet have no money for the proper duties of government ‘to secure and protect’

    To gain perspective we dont have enough front line forces to fill the seating at Wembley Stadium. Meaning that with rotation we couldn’t defend anywhere for more than a matter of days.

    The UK armed forces have been treated with contempt by successive UK governments, including the Conservatives. It is this contempt that has become out and out disrespect for those that readily put their lives on the line. It is these attitudes that have ensured recruitment is dire and our commitments to NATO can’t be met.

    Someone else yesterday on these pages summed up today’s political dilemma in the UK. We have the extreme left radical anti democratic partnership between Labour and The LibDems under Swinson and Corbyn, or we New Labour under Boris. What hope is there for the UK going forward when these are the options given.

    All that we can be assured of today is The Grove will serve up another of their wonderful lunches

  8. Dominic
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Why is the BBC and other media organisations refusing to report on the Abbott arrest? This is what’s in store if Labour achieve power. The BBC and Labour are working in partnership

    Only the Telegraph has run with the story. If this was a son of a senior Tory candidate it would be headline

    Something is seriously wrong with how Labour has managed to infect our media

  9. Iain Gill
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Like the EU nowadays NATO is too big.

    Countries like Bulgaria should never have been admitted.

    In Bulgaria the native Bulgarians think we have been mad to let them in.

    I would not want our army sent to defend Bulgaria, they sure would not help defend the UK.

    Trump is correct that countries like Germany pay far too little for NATO.

    Only time NATO has been called into action was over 9/11 and Afghanistan, and a lot of NATO members were conspicuous by their absence.

    So we need a new smaller alliance, into which new Zealand, Australia and Japan are admitted too.

    And stop giving access to our secret defence bases to some of the more questionable members of NATO.

  10. Andy
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Labour is not hostile to the USA. It is hostile to Trump – which most Britons are. (Indeed most American voters at the 2016 election were hostile to him too.)

    And NATO is now a completely pointless waste of space. Who is it protecting us from? Not terrorists. They are mostly homegrown.

    Russia? Putin is attacking us but by waging a war of disinformation and by carrying out contract killings. What use is NATO against that? Particularly when our current prime minister is clearly collaborating with Vlad’s misinformation plan – either deliberately or through negligence. Hence his refusal to release what I expect to be a damaging report.

    So precisely who is NATO protecting us from?

    • Edward2
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

      Your logic seems to be that because NATO has kept us safe for decades we don’t need it anymore.
      Leave you front door open and the keys in the ignition of your car from now on Andy.
      See what happens.

    • dixie
      Posted December 5, 2019 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      Certainly the gobby left is hostile to Trump but where is your proof that most or even many Britons are?

      If you need an example of what happens when a country stops presenting a clear readiness and willingness to defend itself I suggest you consider the Falklands conflict.

  11. Johnny Dubb
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    As it’s usually a European Army we defend ourselves FROM, I’ll stick to NATO if that’s ok.

    Caught on camera today giggling about Trump, in a group led by Trudeau and Macron, the buffoon Johnson again does us no favours, especially given Trump’s support for him. Not even the sense to move away from them.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      I hope they weren’t laughing about his chances of re-election, for I imagine they will be toast before him.

  12. Richard1
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    A major threat to the NATO alliance, which has kept us safe for 70 years, is the possible election in the UK next Thursday of a group of left-wing political extremists, who have a long record of supporting enemies of the West, from the old communist dictatorships to contemporary Islamist terrorists organisations. I suppose it wouldn’t be PC for this to be on the agenda but it must surely be a the main issue.

  13. Alan Jutson
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    If the EU Countries cannot keep up with NATO expenditure, how are they also going to fund the EU armed forces at the same time.

    Or

    Are they planning to eventually drop NATO, that should be the big worry.

  14. GilesB
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    We must keep trade separate from security.

    Otherwise we can have neither a trade policy nor a foreign policy.

    If other parties insist on linking the two, and yes I’m looking at the EU, then we can have neither a trade nor a security agreement with them.

  15. Posted December 4, 2019 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    It is typical of the left to bite the hand that feeds it. The USA, in the person of Mr Trump, is a fine and loyal ally (look at the joke about the silver platter and the NHS) but Mr Corbyn treats him with the same contempt as he deems to treat Her Majesty the Queen and the armed services.
    Please god, next week will not see this dreadful man and his appalling team as our PM – later President (as he hopes).

  16. Kevin
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Mr. Farage makes a strong case for his being the only party that can challenge Labour in its traditional constituencies. Do the Conservatives really want to stop a “’70s throwback” Labour government, or is it more important for them to stop the make-up of Parliament from radically changing?

    • Simeon
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Farage isn’t stopping anything. The Brexit Party have been rendered a joke by the decision to stand down against the BRINO Tories. They are now in essence a rebadged Tory party that most voters will recognise as such. The dubious accuracy of polls notwithstanding, Brexit Party support has fallen off a cliff. They are no more than a protest party now.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 5, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        The only party protesting about NOT actually Leaving the EU.

  17. Dominic
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    It’s not the future of NATO we should be concerned about. It’s the future of the UK under a Marxist Labour government in coalition with the equally vile SNP.

    The CP can continue playing it safe but they’re endangering the UK by trying to keep the BP out of the Commons by not demonising Labour.

    A Marxist as PM and someone who despises NATO, colludes with our enemies both at home and abroad and whose stance will compromise the 5-eyes alliance

    Trying to understand Johnson’s approach is pointless. The guy is a paper tiger. A politician who can talk the talk but refuses to walk the walk. Just when we need a conviction politician we get Johnson. A fake

  18. Dominic
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    BBC silence on the Shadow Home Secretary it is completely unacceptable

  19. Richard1
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Quite a few stupid ideas coming out of the Conservative Party. Boris is to impose Macron’s dumb job and investment destroying digital services tax, which will, inter alia, damage the prospect of an FTA with the US. He wants to loosen state aid rules. The prohibition on govts shoring up zombie businesses and picking winners is one of the unalloyed benefits of EU membership. HS2 looks like it’s going ahead, largely wasting £100bn (probably more). Naturally obeisance is paid to the new green gods in all sorts of ways. Nothing on tax reform, nothing on planning reform to solve the (labour-vote generating) housing crisis. Even the absurd help to buy policy which has lined the pockets of house builders and their directors is to continue it seems!

    Perhaps this will be another 6 out 10 govt, where we just say we’ll at least it isn’t Corbyn and the Marxists. The trouble is, outside the EU, the UK needs to be super-competitive. Brexit will only offer benefits if the govt avoids these kind of leftist virtue signalling policies and focuses on freeing markets and trade.

    Perhaps it’s just for the election, let’s hope so.

    • Simeon
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      6/10??!! Oh that we were so blessed!

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      Why do you want a FTA with the States?

      What does the States sell that you want to buy – presumably cheaper than now. I can’t think of a single thing made in the States that I want to buy. American cars are crap. Consumer electronics are made in Asia. Food? No thanks – who knows what they spray on it. And of course GM crops are grown there.

      • steve
        Posted December 4, 2019 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

        Mike Wilson

        “I can’t think of a single thing made in the States that I want to buy. American cars are crap”

        Well I disagree. I regularly import from the US. Their cars are certainly not crap.

        Though I confess everything I import from the US is at least 50 years old and was built in America by Americans and with 100% American design and materials.

        I usually buy American,British Japanese, including food. I don’t buy anything produced in the EU, Scotland or RoI.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 4, 2019 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

        It is just choice.
        American goods are already available in the UK and have been for decades.
        Buy them if you want to, no one is forcing you.

      • Richard1
        Posted December 4, 2019 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

        Do you have an iPhone? Have you ever been proscribed prescription (or many generic) drugs? Do you have a Netflix or amazon account? Have you ever ridden in an aeroplane? Do you have a computer and does it have a processor? Do you ever use Google and do you have any other software packages?

        Yes that’s right the USA may be the richest and most powerful country in history, and may now account for 1/5 of global GDP with 5% of the population but they don’t produce anything anyone wants….

  20. Everhopeful
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Well…I don’t know About NATO or its value to us.
    NATO or not …we have terrorism on our streets.
    A huge breach in our defences surely?

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      A huge breach in our defences surely?

      How do you work that out? Any nutter can jump in a van and drive into people. How would increasing our defences stop that?

  21. agricola
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Historically NATO has ensured peace in Europe since WW2. The EU has only negated the internal threat of nation against nation. NATO works so don’t change it, just ensure it constantly updates as new threats evolve.

    That many members fail to pay their dues is inexcusable, so I have every sympathy with Donald Trump when he points this out. Some in the EU, notably France have ambitions to lead an EU military presumably with Napoleon Micro at it’s head. All pomp , piss and wind. Just to remind some, France had the largest army and air force in 1940. Due to political incompetence and military ineptitude they were put out of the game in a few weeks. The generals wept and the politicians left Paris for the south. If you think I exaggerate read the eminent historians on the subject. Dunkirk by Hugh Sebag- Montefiore would be a good starting point.

    If the EU persists in the go it alone idiocy then they are best left to get on with it. We should stick with NATO and the Anglosphere.

    Labour on defence are the rotten apple in the barrel. Both as a political movement and as individuals they are not fit for purpose. They prefer to side with the enemy and as such in 1939 they would have been on a few years out in the Isle of Man.

    • dixie
      Posted December 5, 2019 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      But the EU has not negated the internal threat of nation against nation. It may have curtailed the threat of military force but economics has clearly taken the place of tanks and troops.

  22. a-tracy
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    John “His disagreement with Nato has been primarily the feeling that the USA makes a disproportionate financial and military contribution.”

    It’s not just a feeling is it, it is the truth.

    Why shouldn’t Trump speak out about this and demand people step up and pay their fair share?

  23. Gareth Warren
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    I agree our membership of NATO is key to our defence, however I would make the point that it is only now America that makes this worthwhile.

    Other than the eastern european armies that are only locally useful there is not significant military fore in Europe now. In fact I would trade european alliances for help from Japan and Australia. The europeans see their militaries as mostly bureaucratic machines capable of local anti-terror policing – useless to us.

    We need to spend more on our armed forces, this is definitely something that can be used to give a much needed boost to our economy. And while an alliance with America is vital we should not neglect our logistics capabilities.

  24. Lifelogic
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    It seems that about 75 convicted terrorists similar to Usman Khan have been released into the community. Given that we have so far had 2 death and three stabbings (and he had only been out a couple of years plus it could very easily have far more people) what innocent death and injury attrition rate does our Home Office feel is acceptable per hundred such releases?

    One innocent death per 10 released perhaps? Based on the figures above it could well be far higher than this (over the rest to the lives of the released convicts). Yet they are released without even any such assessment. But can anyone really assess the risk of someone going back to their earlier religious inspired terrorism or being encouraged into it again by others? We have a similar issue with violent people with mental health issues and some very high innocent attrition rates there too.

    When will the UK justice and mental health systems get real and protect the public?

  25. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Off topic:

    https://euobserver.com/tickers/146807

    “Almost 90 percent of EU nationals resident in the UK who appealed negative decisions on being able to stay after Brexit won their challenge, The Public Law Project, a British NGO said Tuesday. Some 3.4m EU citizens need to get temporary or permanent permits to stay after 31 January. The abnormal appeals rate indicated that British “automated data checks and initial decision-makers are getting things wrong”, the NGO said.”

    Well, this doesn’t tell us how many or what fraction have had to appeal, but clearly they had not been given a sufficient benefit of the doubt in the original decision if 90% were successful with their subsequent appeals.

    There was absolutely no point in approaching it in such a harsh manner, but then Theresa May decided to take the despicable advice of Sir Ivan Rogers and use well-behaved people who been invited to settle here as Brexit “bargaining chips”.

    https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/08/revealed-bureaucrat-advised-theresa-may-use-eu-nationals-bargaining-chips/

    “The biggest puzzle of Theresa May’s premiership so far is why someone who pioneered laws against modern slavery and was so tough on stop-and-search should take such an extreme and heartless position on EU migrants. Her declaration – that she’d use them as bargaining chips in Brexit talks – struck many who would otherwise support her as bizarre and repugnant. The Times reveals today that this idea was drummed up, as you’d expect, by the Whitehall machine.”

  26. Mitchel
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Desperate stuff from our host-it sounds like he is just regurgitating a press release from the Atlantic Council.

    Turkey,having blocked NATO’s Baltic strategy,used some of it’s F16s for a dummy test of it’s S400 system last week,enraging the Americans;it has also confirmed it would like to buy further S400 batteries – and ever the “businessman”, Mr Trump apparently would still like to sell them the F35!

    The “maximum pressure” on Iran has pushed that country totally into the arms of Russia and China(to be fair it was already more than half way there)with the effect that those two countries have effective control of Iran’s energy resources.Europe was hoping that it might be able to develop Iran as a gas supplier as an alternative to Russia.But no,that gas is now going to flow east-China announced last week that it will be constructing a pipeline from Iran to Pakistan and on to China(as part of the China-Pakistan Economic corridor project-a key element of the BRI)-with Pakistan eschewing US pressure- and Russia has announced that it will be building a subsea pipeline from Iran across the Gulf of Oman to Gujurat in India,cementing the increasingly powerful Russia-India relationship(India has also been offered participation in Russia’s next Arctic project.)

    And,as for a “common position on China”-look what is happening in east-central Europe.The US may be able to hang onto lickspittles like Poland and Romania but many of the others are increasingly subject to the centripetal force of the Sino-Russian Greater Eurasia project.

  27. formula57
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Whilst true that “Today Labour is unreliable on defence…” it is less likely to have us pulling others’ chestnuts out of the fire than its competitor which has been signing the U.K up to who knows what military commitments with the Evil Empire.

    If NATO is now for the purposes of addressing ” …a common position on China, on the threats from Iran, and how to respond to the cyber attacks…” why is a form and structure devised to deal with the Soviet threat still appropriate? It has always been an instrument of U.S. foreign policy but in the Cold War that policy was defined, focused and obviously congruent with U.K. interests. Now, that is not so clear.

  28. James Neill
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Turkey under Erdogan cannot be trusted and Trumps Americans blow with the wind- so Europe needs to look out for itself, it needs a combined German Franco led strong central armed force with like minded countries to defend and protect EU and European interests and I don’t know where UK will fit into all of this? Macron is correct- NATO is brain dead

    • Hmm
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      ” a combined German Franco led strong central armed force” One is sure those nations would give that suggestion careful consideration

    • Fred H
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      James – – – ‘a combined German Franco led strong central armed force ‘

      Good luck with that.
      ‘ I don’t know where UK will fit into all of this?’

      I wouldn’t want to.

      • Posted December 4, 2019 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

        It’s been tried before…

        ”The combination of Germany and France, that eventuality dreaded and always frustrated by our forefathers, has produced, albeit under an expected guise, the outcome they foresaw…” (E Powell, 1979)

        • Mitchel
          Posted December 5, 2019 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

          Enoch Powell loathed the USA (“our terrible enemy” he called them -even before the end of WWII- according to a recent biography) and looked to Russia/USSR as the balancer against a would-be hegemon in west-central Europe.

  29. Dominic
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    BBC and SKY being silenced by Labour’s injunctions. Time for your party to expose the cover-up

    The superb Patel (who should be Tory leader not the paper tiger, Johnson) doing her best but reigned by a terrified Tory party still adhering to the rules set out by identity politics and Labour

    The ammunition your party is in possession to undermine Labour across all policy areas is beyond belief and still you can’t sink them.

    How big and dangerous does the threat have to be for your party to become brutal and truthful in its criticism of Marxist Labour?

    We’re gonna need NATO to protect us all from Labour if they get in

    • Dominic
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      ‘reined’

    • Simeon
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Not sure I would say Priti is superb. Anyone signed up to Boris Johnson’s leadership, never mind his Home Secretary, has very poor judgement. My opinion of her has been substantially revised since the full horror of BJ’s position has become clear.

  30. John P McDonald
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    The EU is undermining NATO by wanting to set up an EU army. I suspect this could influence their under-funding of NATO. When, and if, the UK leaves the EU, in some ways this may give more support to NATO, as still leaves the UK protecting European Democracy as it has done not so-long ago, and so has North America for that matter, and indeed the Commonwealth.

  31. glen cullen
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    didn’t really help us during the falklands war

    and its very top heavy, 6,000 staff at HQs and 20,000 solders deployed

  32. MickN
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    I see Guido has unearthed a lib dem front double spending in your constituency. I’m sure we would welcome your comments.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      MickN

      Yes got the 10th different Leaflet from them today, would appear JR is a target seat.

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 4, 2019 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        We’ve had about 9 Lib Dem communications too, some posted I’m wondering if they have my address because they are fielding an ex-Tory MP as Lib Dem.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      MickN – – -I and others have pointed out the likely rules infringement for some time….

      • Fred H
        Posted December 4, 2019 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        oh and nearly all delivered by the Royal Mail …..even the postman is fed up – I’ve asked!

    • DOMINIC
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Yes, ironic when you consider the Tory party’s been in power since 2010 and have patently failed to dismantle one of Labour’s allies the Electoral Commission who if they were ruthlessly independent would now be doing what they are meant to do, that is to ensure free and fair elections for all participants and investigation this blatant abuse of candidates like Sir John and D Raab

      The upper echelons of the Tory party who take important decisions when in government and have the legal power to purge Labour’s client state apparatus are buffoons of the highest order and their cowardice will eventually undermine this nation

      I actually feel sympathy for many Tory candidates like John Redwood and other backbenchers that they are continually exposed by idiots who run the party machine

      I can smell the presence of the EU as well working with the Illiberal Despots led by Swinson

      I pray that we see a large Tory majority with BP MPs to boot and to see total revenge taken the forces of Labour, LD and SNP and the dismantling and purging of the socialist Client state from top to bottom, taking no prisoners

      • steve
        Posted December 4, 2019 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        DOMINIC

        “I pray that we see a large Tory majority with BP MPs to boot and to see total revenge taken the forces of Labour, LD and SNP and the dismantling and purging of the socialist Client state from top to bottom, taking no prisoners”

        Yes I would agree there Dominic. However I don’t see it panning out quite that way unfortunately.

        Nigel Farage has again shown himself as not being the gladiator this country desperately needs. Personally I think he’s finished.

        Boris won’t get the labour die hard votes in areas where Farage stood down. It’s a gamble destined to backfire.

        Boris might get a majority but not as big as he seems to think.

        Right now for many the only reasons to vote tory is to stop marxist Corbyn and the rather unpleasant smelling SNP.

        I’ve seen about twenty general elections in my time, but never one as lousy as this to be honest.

        For sure I’ll be voting tory, but not out of hope they will deliver a better future for this country, more a case of doing so just to shaft Corbyn and Sturgeon.

  33. Ian @Barkham
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Sir John

    Off subject, your election leaflet has just arrived we us. It is refreshing to see that unlike the alternatives it has been concise to the point and avoids the name calling and in exactitudes by innuendo so common elsewhere.

    Integrity winning here 😉

    Thank you

    Reply I prefer to tell people what I want to do for them, not libels about my opponents as sone do about me.

  34. APL
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I see your leader has managed to offend the President of the United States.

    Well done. I suppose this was an attempt to court the Lib Dem vote.

  35. Jack Falstaff
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    I think that, with a General Election just a week away, we should be more concerned about cybersecurity and foreign attacks on our democracy from that corner, which is where it would really hurt at this juncture.
    Having said that, I still do not believe that the issue of postal voting and double-voting by students has been properly addressed yet.
    I have no doubt though, that if the Conservatives obtain a majority, there will be an ample dose of fake news concerning foreign interference put about by the losers whatever the reality might be.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      Jack

      Postal Voting will have a big effect in the results this election, and its growing, and so are the concerns about manipulated votes being cast in ever increasing numbers.

      I think at the very least you should have to apply, and re register for a postal vote each time you need one, this present system of apply once and its yours for years is utter madness.

      Postal Voting fraud is growing, the politicians know it, those organising know it, but as usual nothing is being done even try to stop it.

      • hefner
        Posted December 5, 2019 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        You might want to read ‘Analysis of cases of alleged electoral fraud in the UK in 2017’ on http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk

        As for the case of the Peterborough by-election, after the fuss that TBP made in June 2019, nothing was found to corroborate their allegations of large-scale electoral malpractice despite their petition under the Representation of the People Act 1983. To make a long story short, it seems that less than ten cases (5?) were actively pursued.

        But stirring up this type of fear is part of the Trumpian playbook and before that … well look at history books.

  36. margaret howard
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Threats from Iran? Similar to the threats from Iraq and the ‘weapons of mass destruction’? Instead we destroyed their country and destabilised the whole region.

    NATO has become an American racket. Let them pay for it.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      NATO has become an American racket. Let them pay for it.

      Oooh, not sure about that. America is perfectly capable of protecting themselves – armed to the teeth as they are and with the best weapons in the world. I am VERY happy to be in a club where they agree to defend us if we are attacked – and vice versa.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 4, 2019 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

        “We” were attacked in 1982, weren’t we?

        What did the US do to help?

        Not that much, as I recall.

        • steve
          Posted December 5, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          Provided logistical support and Sidewinder.

      • steve
        Posted December 4, 2019 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        Mike Wilson

        ” America is perfectly capable of protecting themselves – armed to the teeth as they are and with the best weapons in the world.”

        …..a seldom realised fact, Mike – the US has never won a war in which Britain was not involved.

        Similarly Britain might well not exist without the help the US gave during the last century.

        Who would I trust in another war ? The French led EU or the US ?…..America every time.

        • margaret howard
          Posted December 5, 2019 at 8:39 am | Permalink

          steve

          “Similarly Britain might well not exist without the help the US gave during the last century”

          What nonsense. Europe has existed for thousands of years, America is just a recent player in world affairs.

          • steve
            Posted December 5, 2019 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

            MH

            What has Europe got to do with it ? I said Britain, not Europe.

      • margaret howard
        Posted December 5, 2019 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        Mike Wilson

        “– armed to the teeth as they are and with the best weapons in the world”

        Didn’t do them much good in Vietnam.

        • Fred H
          Posted December 6, 2019 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

          MH – – but they got to test some new dreadful weapons on civilians, and found they were quite useless against vietcong in tunnels 30′ down.

    • steve
      Posted December 4, 2019 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      MH

      “Instead we destroyed their country and destabilised the whole region.”

      No Ms Howard, ‘WE’ did not. For that particular distinction look no further than Tony Blair, who took this country into armed conflict on the basis of falsehood.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 5, 2019 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        steve…..but he felt God on his side. – or was that Bush.

    • Posted December 4, 2019 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      What a VERY narrow view, Ms Howard.
      I daresay you believe that your EU masters are the ones we could turn to in extremis. If you believe that…..

  37. Ex-Tory
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    I really don’t think we should get complacent about the fact that we spend 2.13% of GDP on defence whereas France (for example) spends 1.84%, especially as a significant proportion of ours is for protecting the Falklands, which are not a major concern of Nato. Talking about a few fractions of a percent here and there does not alter the fact that our independent defence capabilities are so small that we are basking under American protection. I don’t claim to know the answer, and obviously Mr Corbyn doesn’t, but isn’t to be found in statistics.

    • hefner
      Posted December 5, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Interesting. But I think each NATO country declares what they want to the ‘NATO high office’. 2% is just the NATO agreed notional percentage of GDP to go into ‘defence spending’. The UK has moved service pensions from the social security budget to the defence budget to get over the 2% bar. So 2%, contrary to what some people might think, is not all about arms, field support and kit. In the UK it includes the pension of admirals (more than there are ships), brigadiers and wing commanders.
      According to SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute), France’s defence budget was $50.9bn in 2000, $57.4bn in 2016, the equivalent figures for the UK are $43.5bn in 2000, $48.1bn in 2016.

  38. Iain Gill
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Well my postal voting forms not arrived yet, when are they supposed to be here by?

    So I suppose I could always take a walk to the polling station on the day, see what mood I am in, eh.

  39. Polly
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    ”Free discourse is a necessary condition for intellectual and social progress. We can never be sure that a silenced opinion does not contain some element of the truth” John Stuart Mill.

    Polly

  40. DOMINIC
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Abbott, silence. Tories, silence. Why?

    • Prodigal
      Posted December 5, 2019 at 3:17 am | Permalink

      Abbott is still counting the pages of the Labour Manifesto Gift Catalogue and has so far counted up to page 666 titled “Fatted Calf”and feels uneasy

      • Mark B
        Posted December 6, 2019 at 7:25 am | Permalink

        Post of the day !

        🙂

      • Fred H
        Posted December 6, 2019 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        are you sure she can count that far?

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 5, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Labour MPs like McDonnell would be all over this slating the mother for the crimes of her child. I like to think Tories are above that sort of dirty politicking dragging people’s families into their parent’s job applications. What I can’t stand is the double-faced dealing of too many Labour MPs, where you are correct is why isn’t Channel 4 news all over this, any Tory MP’s adult child and this would be headlining every night.

  41. Mike Wilson
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    If it is true that Turkey has bought a Russian anti missile system – surely this is good news. We can have a look and find out how to beat it.

    Given NATO is a mutual defence society, what has Turkey’s treatment of the Kurds got to do with NATO? I think it is appalling – maybe they should simply be kicked out of NATO and the UN. Would that make any difference to anyone?

  42. Mike Wilson
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    On the subject of released terrorists …. why do we release them? Ask the man in the street – do you want someone convicted of terrorism released back into society to live in your town? – and I would suggest that 9 out of 10 people would answer ‘NO’. Given we are supposed to be some sort of democracy I would suggest we build a compound on Salisbury Plain – surrounded by high fences, razor wire etc. with security provided by the army. Inside build some accommodation. Provided electricity, water and food. Give them seeds and tools. And say to them ‘sorry but we cannot allow you back to mix in our society. You are going to stay in here for the rest of your life or, if you can find a country that will take you, you can move there.’

    Of course we would need some way of making sure they never move back here. Why don’t we already have biometric ID cards and why haven’t we introduced them and told employers they will be have their assets taken if they employ anyone without an ID card. Tell householders too that it will cost them a £20k fine if they employ someone without an ID card. It’s not rocket science to sort this out. But, and this seems to be the BIG but, our politicians are bloody useless.

    • tim
      Posted December 6, 2019 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      Mike Wilson- in Australia they have workers registration ID cards, you can not work with out one. It is not a problem, full checks. Medicare ID cards, no card no medical treatment. You can buy private medical if you wish.

  43. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 4, 2019 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    The days have gone when it serves any useful purpose for Turkey to be in NATO. Turkey is a regional power in the Middle East and now has to broker peace with Russia.

  44. Loser
    Posted December 5, 2019 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    I could probably meet or rather get reasonably close to Trump if I so wished one way or another.On can buy tickets to his rallies. I hear, if you wish to get at the front then it amounts to camping in a queue for two days. I can do that. Interesting people. It’s tempting just to meet different kinds of people.
    But no.
    I have odd effects on some people too, bigly. I’ve noticed. But not to the positive. Sometimes yes.
    So I’ll not go near him. Our vibes may conflict somehow beyond my ken 🙂
    He is extremely successful. I am the opposite. He could lose lose lose if I go too close to him. 🙂

    • Mark B
      Posted December 6, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      How the hell did this get past moderation ?

      • Fred H
        Posted December 6, 2019 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        I know, it is just weird….

  45. Lear’s Fool
    Posted December 5, 2019 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Turkey is not in a battle “against the Kurds”, any more than Britain was engaged in a battle “against Irish Catholics” during the Troubles. Turkey is engaged in a battle against the PKK, a group designated as terrorist under UK law.

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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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