Defending our nation

The world has been mercifully short of wars for NATO in the last few years. Mr Trump’s decision to disengage from hot war in the Middle East has made a difference to the demands on our armed forces, after years of war in  Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and the wider Middle East. This does not mean the world has suddenly got less hostile, or we can afford to relax our guard and save our money on defence.

At the end of the Cold War the UK and other allies did cut budgets substantially because the threat of a possible major conflict in Europe against the USSR (Russia) reduced. Today we do not seek or anticipate conflict against Russia or China,  but have to acknowledge that both those relationships can be testing. Needs may arise that require the West to show resolve to defend itself and its allies were the peace of the world to be threatened somewhere by some nation.

There are state and serious organised crime actors in today’s digital world regularly testing our ability to defend and secure our systems, with challenges to data and phone networks and utility networks coming from afar. We need to spend enough to stay ahead in the cyber world, capable of defending our position and probing hostile systems.

As a believer in free trade and a leading member of the WTO the UK needs to make her contribution to keeping the shipping and air lanes of the globe free for legal commerce. There are pirates and terrorist forces to tackle and possible hostile state actors to impress with our intent and ability to keep international waters and airspace free. The U.K. also needs to understand other countries in the world may seek to exploit our belief in free trade and democracy for their own advancement. We should not be naive or one sided free traders.

As a maritime country with an important fishery we need vessels and aircraft  to police and protect our fishing grounds and to prevent smuggling and people trafficking through our waters.

We do need to spend enough on our own protection. I will be developing how in future blogs.

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247 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    All very well and good but ! If you cannot prevent an invasion by unarmed, mostly male illegal immigrants sneaking in via rubber dingy in your own waters, then talking about the above does seem a little over premature wouldn’t you say ?. 😉

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:35 am | Permalink

      Absolutely spot on Mark B- – The Defence budget is being diverted to pay for the free housing, NHS, schooling of their kids, translators and ( if you are like a named person ed ) – over £2000 a month from the system – for getting here. When 200 can get here in one day – and add on their soon-to-arrive relatives, it is one massive – – and ever increasing – bill for us.

      And remember – the Channel is (supposed to be) one of the most dangerous waters to cross on the whole planet – -clearly not when ( the taxpayer funded ) Border Farce go to meet them.

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        The ungrateful moaning about staying in a £75 per night hotel with meals for free gets to me. The majority of us have totally had enough of it now, you’re taking us for fools.

        You see decent working people coming here, finding houses together to share their resources, taking on any work they can, building little businesses, not claiming from the State and sadly too many coming to take the Mikey in London and then claiming they are mistreated.

        How many of the homeless men and women in London were kicked out of single parent households when they turn 18 and the benefits for the parent stop and thrust on the charity of the State with no work expected? Why aren’t they doing what students do and found ways to find bedroom lets and work. It isn’t unusual for other communities to look after their own little enclaves and find each other work, space to rent without recourse to the State and we need to enable others and stop the ridiculous levels of money for nothing get your cheques for free.

        • M Davis
          Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

          Yes, a-tracy but who in charge is listening? And if they are, why are they so reluctant to do anything about it? Is it a case of, “I’m all right Jack!”, or something a lot more involved and sinister? Makes you wonder! Answers on a postcard, please! I wouldn’t trust any Government as far as I could throw them!

      • czerwonadupa
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        Not so dangerous when they are escorted over by the French navy who then hand them over to the British to escort them safely into Dover.
        And it’s been going on all through our lockdown.
        Totally & utterly pathetic by Johnson’s government & by MSM who seem more occupied by the kneelers.

    • beresford
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      We need to withdraw from the UN Migration Compact, which Theresa May had no mandate to sign. The USA, Australia, and many other countries had the sense not to agree that mass migration is ‘necessary and desirable’.

      • glen cullen
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        100% agree

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Just what I was thinking Mark B. How are these people arriving on our shores after crossing such a busy body of water? They are being assisted at both ends. How much is this costing the councils who have the job of housing and looking after unaccompanied children who come across? If we have a patrol force are they just going to continue to bring them into the UK? Not much point really when that is what we are doing now. If this is the Conservative party getting tough on immigration then it’s not what we voted for.

      • Turneround
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        Yes – it may seem unkind in the short term, but our government must take overwhelmingly strong action against illegal immigration NOW. All boat-people must be arrested as soon as they enter British waters and, without processing, put on a plane back to their country of origin. All boats used for transporting people should be impounded and destroyed. Our government needs to rent spaces from foreign countries where camps may be set up, at UK expense, for processing those illegals who refuse to divulge their country of origin. The traffic will cease as soon as the traffickers realise they can’t succeed.

        This system should be set up NOW and include a plan to build up our Fisheries Protection Force so that we are able, from 1st January 2021, to arrest any boat fishing illegally in our waters. Only by taking FIRM action against transgressors of all kinds will we defeat them!

    • jerry
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      @Mark B; “All very well and good but… [another rant about migrants] …the above does seem a little over premature wouldn’t you say”

      Yawn …. no.

      • Graham Wheatley
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Yawn….. yes.

        • jerry
          Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

          @Graham Wheatley; Really, just because a few illegal migrant cross the channel it is pointless for the UK to have a nuclear deterrent, pointless to have a air force, pointless to keep a navy, the army?!

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 30, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

            The BBC reporter Simon Jones 22 Jul tweeted that the number of illegal migrants crossing the channel ‘during the lockdown’ numbers 3000 that is not ‘a few’ Jerry and our Navy, Border Force are pointless. There were only 6000 est to live in Calais, pretty soon they’ll all be here because numbers counted won’t be the true total figure.

          • jerry
            Posted July 30, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

            @a-tracy; Try some perspective…

            I was being sarcastic, indeed 3000 migrants is not a ‘few’ but it is when compared to our total population.

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

            Every one of those 3000 are taking resources and funding from our already depleted resources, we have enough people in poverty in the UK that need homes, many men who need rooms so they don’t have to sleep in cardboard boxes when they lose partners and can’t get on the housing lists. They should all be higher up the list.

            I know plenty of families living in high cost rented small housing with families because they keep getting passed over on the social housing lists for over five years.

            I know too many women that end up as single parents because they’re better of with the State as a partner and can get housed easier than they can with a partner in tow.

            It’s the lies I cant stand. If we’re programmed to take 6,000 – 10,000 economic migrants per year including those previously allowed to settle in the EU as a passport into the UK? I’m Not sure of the actual number I read once 20,000 Syrians alone were allocated to the UK. By the EU agreements. Then its time the government came clean with people, we pay millions and millions of pounds in aid to Jordan and other Countries to home Syrians in addition to providing houses here in the UK. I think the true position isn’t relative, it is understated and it is affecting our poorest communities because they are dealing with big cultural changes and newcomers lack of integration causing isolation and fear of rising knife crime.

    • Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Absolutely correct. The population are having to fight this ‘army’ one to one in daily life. No pay.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Quite so, no doubt the EU is very happy to see as many leave as possible.

      It is implausible that the supply of these ribs with powerful engines cannot be traced and stopped. I am sure President Trump would sort it overnight with repercussions.

      When one thousand people applied for a receptionist job in Manchester and with many businesses insolvent pre Covid clinging to life with taxpayer bailouts we can’t afford or need illegal immigrants, whatever the SNP say with their daft visa scheme.

      • Otto
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        I suppose those getting paid by immigrants and selling them boats and engines is not illegal otherwise many, and probably all, would be arrested by now. The only illegal thing is arriving on UK shores withour the proper legalities.
        It is legal for the UK to sell weapons to other countries as it was to sell opium to the Chinese – times have change for that – when will it be for the arms trade?

        • Edward2
          Posted July 30, 2020 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

          Classic strawman otto.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Excellent post. We are Importing potential enemies with government connivance.
      The Tories have history when it comes to decimating the military. Remember John Nott in the 80s. Cameron and Clegg taking an axe to all three branches.
      We are woefully under staffed and short of ships, tanks and planes because before Martin starts spouting his rubbish, you can’t protect your country with a keyboard.

    • Christine
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      This Government is dishonest. It promised the voters it would be tough on immigration. If Nigel Farage hadn’t done his exposé on how the Border Force is aiding and abetting people smuggling we would never have found out about this. We are sick of talk and empty words. Start towing these boats back to France.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      Mark B,

      I agree with this, but what should be done?

      • Mark B
        Posted July 30, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        We need to withdraw from a number of agreements that we have signed up to and seek to amend The convention on human rights to exclude economic migrants. We need to set up detention centres on Scottish islands and send them there. Once there they cannot abscond. You disincentive the whole thing. The Australians managed it and so too can we, it just lacks political will

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted July 30, 2020 at 12:16 am | Permalink

      Well said Mark

      Only when we have a Government that truly shares the same goal to stop illegal migrants at the point of ingress with tenacity, such as the successful model deployed by Australia, will it stop!

      This blog is a nice sounding board, thanks to our kind host, but from a truly practical application it is toothless, unless our kind host truly believes the goal and is leading Government to execute some alternative solution!

      Talking on here is cathartic, but it does not enable us to get real action from our Government. They prefer to waste their energies on pointless and self-indulgent costly projects. They are simply leading tactically day to day with sticking plasters, mostly on the latest false alarm, not strategically?

      Unfortunately, we are still some way from the the tipping point for resolute action of any kind!

      The question arises with increasing volume “what is the ultimate goal of this Government?”

  2. Peter Wood
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    Without doubt the biggest threat to our way of life, through our economy, is the Covid pandemic. Stop worrying about spending money you may not have. What is needed right now is a way to protect us, as far as possible, from the depression we’re about to experience as a result of lower economic activity and spending power.
    The strongest weapon is honesty.

    • Nigl
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      Indeed. jHB in an op ed in the DT summed it up. Contradictory measures showing the government making it up as they go along. In her words ‘we are being fed a diet of junk’

    • jerry
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      @Peter Woods; I believe our host has been honest throughout the Covid-19 epidemic.

      Local SOHO (or manufacturing) is the way to fight the virus, the problem over the last 40 or so years is we have all to often put all our eggs in one basket, all in the name of profit without any though to ‘what-ifs’ and thus resilience in an emergency, it is to physical office work or manufacture what a single data centre is to IT, who would store all their mission critical data on one hard-drive, in on location – I know, some still do just that!…

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      You left an ‘L’ out of pLandemic.

  3. DOMINIC
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    It’s President Trump

    • zorro
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      But he will never match the shining brilliance and consistency of our own Dear Leader Kim Jong Son!

      zorro

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    Indeed this is one of the rather few areas where the government should actually do rather better than individuals and the private sector. If you want peace prepare for war.

    Health and Education are not as we can see every day.

    • miami.mode
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      At least servicemen/women are prepared to do the jobs they are paid to do, but teachers and many GP practices are using the current situation to opt out.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Indeed much of the state sector too are doing even less than usual on full pay at home. NHS admin people too.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        Our friends children have had a meagre amount of school work set for them. I suppose the teachers have been enjoying their FULLY PAID holidays.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

          the holiday 6 weeks has only just started!

        • a-tracy
          Posted July 30, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

          During the total lockdown 20th March to 10th July sixteen weeks, there was three weeks school holiday. A majority of teachers claiming they were working 35 hours per week throughout – really!? I know some did, going into schools looking after key workers children, some making a once per week phone call.

          But do they really expect us to believe this claim, work couldn’t be set or collected in and marked for the vast part of this break and if it were true then everyone wouldn’t be so worried about the children at the bottom without adequate family support.

          People have been told for the last couple of years that if you take your child out of education to go on holiday for two weeks it is catastrophic to their learning! A Supreme Court ruling in April 2017 essentially confirmed what was already the case – parents CAN’T take children on term-time holidays without risking being fined.

          Scottish children already do one year less in School/College finishing at seventeen instead of eighteen, how do they fit everything in but English schools can’t? Education needs a really good shake up.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Although the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty expressly envisages a military and defence dimension to the project, the preference of the major members appears to be for at-will arrangements, between nations outside of that, and these have been effective in recent years.

      I am pleased to see that this government has indicated that the UK’s exit from the European Union should not adversely affect its contribution in future to such collaboration.

      The original, declared reason for NATO’s existence – the USSR – has disappeared, and rather than contriving reasons for its continuation, a rethink is probably overdue.

      • czerwonadupa
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        Especially when there are only 9 countries meeting their commitment 0f 2% of GDP & besides America, UK & Greece they are all east Europeans
        US 3.25%
        Bulgaria 3.25%
        Greece.2.8%
        UK 2.14%
        Estonia 2.14%
        Romania 2.04%
        Lithuania 2.03%
        And those not meeting their commitment & for whom NATO was set up – the West Europeans
        Germany 1.84%
        France 1.38%
        Belgium 0.93%
        Spain 0.92%
        & bringing up the rear at the bottom of the List?
        Surprise surprise your very own the recently retired President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker’s Luxembourg with a piddling 0.55%

        • czerwonadupa
          Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

          After lithuania are Latvia 2.01% & Poland 2.00%

        • a-tracy
          Posted July 30, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

          28 Dec 2019 – Military expenditure (% of GDP) in Ireland was 0.33 as of 2018

      • Edward2
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

        Yet many remainers refused to accept the EU would ever have its own military.
        Revisionism is such a cliche of you extreme lefties,

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 30, 2020 at 6:19 am | Permalink

          No, they correctly stated that the UK, while a member, would always veto such a development.

          It is in the Lisbon Treaty in black-and-white.

          If the gutter press conceal that fact – to make the whole thing appear to be a secret conspiracy – then that is another matter.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 30, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

            It was denied many times by remainers during the referendum campaign.
            Clegg even called someone a fantasist and a liar in one referendum debate.
            Yet now you say it has been their ambition all along.
            Hilarious revisionism by you.

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 30, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

            It wasn’t just the gutter press concealing facts though was it Martin on 10 Mar 2015 – Last year Nick Clegg said the idea of an EU Army was a “Dangerous Fantasy”

            fullfact.org June 2016 said The EU already runs military operations, based on armies working together… managed at EU level, the first beginning in 2003 in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia under control of the EU Political and Security Committee, other operations followed in the Congo, and Bosnia Herzegovina in 2004 still ongoing… The EU has six ongoing military operations in non-EU countries and another dozen civilian missions.

            Soldiers on EU missions wear EU badges on their regular uniforms.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 30, 2020 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

            It isn’t just the UK which said that they would likely veto such an arrangement.

            So as long as the UK was a member at least, the idea was a fantasy.

            It is now perfectly feasible, but the idea is less popular than the at-will arrangement to which the UK appears to envisage contributing.

  5. Adam
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Preventing causes of war is far superior to spurring conflict and burying or repairing broken pieces. A friendly nation cooperates to help others and does not attract enmity.

    Some may want to steal from us, exert power over our expertise or ability to trade, or cause harm for any other malevolent motive. We should maintain and develop strength & capability in the quest to be best and strongest in protecting high quality standards.

    Cyber defence capability and other strategic know-how can be as effective as conventional weaponry in achieving results. Peace is understanding.

    • Northern Monkey
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      “Cyber defence capability and other strategic know-how can be as effective as conventional weaponry in achieving results”

      The history of humans is littered with samples of civilisations that became too cultured to defend themselves and that believed that the “barbarians” would respect the rules of behaviour of their more civilised betters.

      They were all wrong. Those societies were all overthrown, with terrible loss of life, by opponents who viewed the rules as constraints upon others, not upon themselves.

      Cyber defence capability (I work in IT) and other strategic know-how (I used to be an army officer) are in NO sense an alternative to conventional weaponry, they are merely other aspects of countering threats to our way of life.

      Without meaningful conventional forces we are defenceless against any and every threat from enemies who are prepared to use force.

      • Adam
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        I agree with your views, Northern Monkey, and did suggest our strength should be increased.

        Individual risks or conflicts determine which of our powers can be most effective against them, according to prevailing circumstances. My intent is having our conventional weaponry upgraded to best, not replaced with weakness. Defence of the realm is the first duty of Govt, and I thank you for the part you performed in that.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 30, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        Just for interest’s sake, please name one of these societies, which became too “civilised” to survive?

    • Otto
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      ‘…..and does not attract enmity..’

      Yes, like Costa Rica which has no need of armed forces.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        USA and the UN stands by to protect Costa Rica.

  6. agricola
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Being strong and seen to be strong is probably the greatest disincentive to others to test our resolve. The Falklands was a good example of getting it wrong on our part.

    We need to get it right when protecting our fisheries. No pussy footing about with those anarchic french fishermen who would test us whatever agreement is reached. Revolution is in their DNA, and the french government take the knee to it.

    Protecting our borders at sea can be and is being achieved. The real question is what we do with them once caught. Though I would add that crossing the Channel in a rubber boat qualifies them as the sort of people we want , with a terrorist filter applied, rather than many of the home grown ones we already have.

    We also need to be less wooly headed in who we allow into our universities as intellectual trawlers. Do not leave the selection with the universities themseves. They are inherantly wooly headed with a very poor track record.

    All I can suggest on cyber crime is that any company with intellectual property to hide should keep it on systems with no outside access. Where it is necessary to transmit sensitive info, GCHQ to MI6. for instance, do it on secure dedicated land lines. Removing Huawei from our 5G system should not take the number of years government proposes. Recognition that this is the new battleground would be a good starting point.

  7. Sea Warrior
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    … we need vessels and aircraft to police and protect our fishing grounds and to prevent smuggling and people trafficking through our waters.’ We have a squadron to protect our fisheries and it’s right-sized. But you and other politicians need to stop thinking that the Royal Navy and Border Force can stop the invasion by cross-Channel dinghyists. They will keep coming until you change our laws so that:
    (1) The overwhelming majority of them go straight from the UK to their countries of origin.
    (2) Most of the rest get sent back to that place of safety/holiday destination, France.
    (3) The very, very small number granted asylum are given nothing but a National Insurance number, with which they can earn a living. Sounds harsh but they have given away their wealth to criminals. I don’t see why the tax-payer should then reimburse them with a lifetime of ‘welfare’.
    Until you, the political class, do these things, the Royal Navy cannot solve the problem for you. And this voter, in a South Coast constituency, will think your party, and the Home Secretary, are accomplices to the people-trafficking problem you purport to care about.
    Now, please change the law!
    P.S. My perspective on this problem is as a former commander of a Royal Navy OPV.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      Sea Warrior

      Agreed instead of putting up barriers we are putting out the welcome mat, complete with assisted transport.

      It must change !.

    • Andy
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      1) That is illegal under international law.
      2) That is illegal under international law.
      3) Asylum seekers get nothing but are banned from working while their cases are considered. Of course they would work if they were allowed to.

      • zorro
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        1) Wrong – not after due process
        2) Wrong again – Dublin 2
        3) Wrong again, asylum seekers get money, accommodation and free education

        zorro

      • Northern Monkey
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        No, you are wrong on 1) and 2).

        No person crossing the English channel can be said to be a refugee, as they are already in a safe county where they should claim asylum. Instead those migrants are expressing economic, cultural or language preferences for their choice of asylum host, which form no part of international law.

        • Andy
          Posted July 29, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

          Alas – this is a fiction peddled largely by Brexiteers. The House of Commons library has a very helpful guide which makes it clear that the ‘first safe country’ claim is untrue both in international law and in UK case law.

          • Fred H
            Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

            who decides safe?

      • Edward2
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        3) ” asylum seekers get nothing” wrong
        Did you forget the previous times you have been told?

        Go on GOV.UK Asylum Support and have read.

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        Which international law says you have to take in everyone that lands on your shore and provide them with accommodation and funding whilst processing their illegal entry claims? Why don’t the French have to do this and why do they just leave them in mud and chronic conditions on their coast without adequate means as we were regularly told about by C4 news?

        3) I agree asylum seekers should have to work on farms and in other lower skilled occupations that we currently provide to foreign workers with accomodation to earn their own keep and pay for their own lawyers whilst processing their application, we have a minimum wage, why not?

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        There is nothing in international law to say that refugees must claim asylum in the first country they reach. A European regulation allows a country such as the UK to return an adult asylum seeker to the first European country they reached. https://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/

        • Andy
          Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

          Indeed. But you left the EU.

          • beresford
            Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

            No this is wrong. International law allows us to return illegal entrants to the country they entered from (ie France) , but EU law says members can only return the illegals to the first EU country they entered, which of course the illegals refuse to divulge. An academic point since after we leave the EU France will defy international law and obstruct returns by any means possible.

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 30, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

            Net yet Andy so lets send them back NOW

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

          …Allows another member country of the European Union to return them, yes.

          The UK has left, however.

          Would you think that the UK should accept people, who have no right to be here, and who do not even want to be here, if another country – where they do want to be – suggested that it take them back?

          That’s what you seem to expect of France etc.

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 30, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

            We are still paying in Martin, we are in transition, still in not fully out so lets send them back this week.

            Or is that suddenly why they’re all put into boats in France because they think we can’t do anything.

            You keep telling us we have the power, we pay the French Billions they just dumped Calais on us.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 30, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

            I don’t keep telling you that at all.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        I think all three of your responses are wrong.

      • beresford
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        Of course deportation of a foreign citizen to his own country isn’t illegal under international law, how is it that other countries deport people here? What is illegal is making someone stateless, which is why we need the option of a willing third country to accept deported boat migrants.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        This international law of which you speak so assuredly, where can I see a list of the ‘international laws’? Which legislature wrote them? Which police force enforces them.

        And, I wonder if you would be kind enough to answer a few questions.

        1) How many asylum seekers do you think this heavily populated, globally insignificant (as you never tire of mentioning), small island should be allowed to come here and settle.

        2) When they come here and settle, should they accept our culture or should they bring theirs? If their culture involves practices we find unacceptable, should we just put up with them on a ‘hey-ho, anything goes’ basis.

        3) Given the shortage of accommodation in this country, how many will you be putting up until we get some more houses built?

        4) Given they have paid no taxes in this country, should they immediately be able to access all the things we have paid for – medical services, education etc.? If so, do you think it reasonable that some people might want their taxes spent on their needs?

        • Andy
          Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

          Our government and our Parliament have signed us up to these international laws – many of which are based on British values. It is odd that you object to them.

          1) Your question is based on the premise that most people in the world want to come here. In fact the contrary is true. We know from free movement that given the chance to move to the UK more than 99% of those eligible didn’t. Less than 10% of our country is built up – so there is plenty of room for more people.

          2) Culture is a matter of choice. I doubt your culture is my culture – and we were both born here. If their culture involves things that are illegal then they are breaking the law. Otherwise it is none of your business and if you find it unacceptable then the problem is with you.

          3) I don’t mind having people to stay. But the long term solution is to build more houses and to get people into the right kind of homes. We have way too many single pensioners rattling around in 4 bedroomed houses. Plus we can now convert lots of city centre offices into apartments and old people’s homes.

          4) They do pay taxes in this country. They pay VAT on the things they buy. They will pay income tax on what they earn. I pay more tax than you ever have or ever will and I don’t think you should be denied medical treatment just because you have contributed less than me.

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 30, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

            3) “If their culture involves things that are illegal then they are breaking the law. ”

            We are being told of the horrors of FGM in the UK how many have gone to prison over doing this to their child? Or had their child taken off them and put into protection?
            “A case of female genital mutilation (FGM) is reported in England every 109 minutes new figures show – however experts warn this could be the “tip of the iceburg”.” Independent.
            “The NHS is opening female genital mutilation support clinics across England that will allow survivors to access expert care and treatment earlier.

            More than 1,300 women are expected to benefit from the highly specialised FGM support being rolled out in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and five boroughs in London, according to NHS England.” Guardian
            We are paying for this illegal cultural activity. It makes me sick that this practice has been brought to the UK.

            3) Why should we just build houses for all incomers Andy, WHY? No one built a house for all of my children and nephews and nieces and just gave them to them.

            As for pensioners in big homes if they’re paying their own way, what is it to you? All those in large social housing having their housing benefits paid by the State the Labour party had a fit over the ‘bedroom tax’ trying to encourage people to compulsorily trade in large housing association houses for families to use and taken on retirement apartments – this has been successful where I live and must be repeated.

            4) But we’re told they buy nothing because they’re living on £5 per day and food and essentials are vat free.

      • Graham Wheatley
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        Nothing further to say Andy?
        I guess you just like pulling the pin on conversational hand-grenades and then retiring to a safe distance?

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      They will change the law when they’ve landed the last of the 3000 from Calais.

    • IanT
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Absolutely correct SW – a view most most reasonable people would support. We elect a government to govern and to make just laws. One aspect of this is immigration policy, our ability to decide who enters our country to live here by legal means.

      Illegal immigrants “escaping” from France should be simply returned – if only to discourage others from making what would normally be a very dangerous channel crossing. So change the law to stop this abuse of asylum and end legal aid in this area too. Too many lawyers are making a living off the back of people being dangerously trafficked in this way – all funded by the taxpayer. Clearly nonsensical.

    • BOF
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Good comment SW. In my view the whole Government from the PM down are complicit in their support of the evil people traffickers. This is also connected to modern slavery as many of these migrants will spend years paying the traffickers.

    • miami.mode
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Wishful thinking SW. Many will destroy any documents they have and will not divulge their true origin and why would France take them back?

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        In the 80s the Middle East country I worked in had an invasion of illegals. When they were rounded up one weekend if they wouldn’t say where they were from the police decided for them. They soon came clean.

      • Northern Monkey
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        France will take them back only when it is in their own interests.

        Suspend all French maritime traffic from entering UK waters unless using the Channel to transition north-east south-west.

        No fishing, no ferries, no freight. Let France decide where its interests lie.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        Then DNA test them and hold them in custody until their identities are established.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

          what and where are you going to compare they DNA to?

        • glen cullen
          Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

          Preferably in an off-shore establishment

      • beresford
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        In addition some countries refuse to accept their own deported citizens and the migrants are coached to claim that they come from those countries. Which is why I keep saying that we need our own Nauru, as can be achieved by a partnership with a Third World country. Every migrant picked up in the Channel who refuses to return to their country of origin should be on the transport to ‘Nauru’ within seven days. Australia has done this and the protesting immigrationists have proved to be paper tigers.

    • Northern Monkey
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      You omitted, Sea Warrior, that we should fingerprint and DNA test all illegal migrants, and their details should be used to exclude them permanently from the UK.

      • anon
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

        Those that dont share there id with the authorities , should be subject special measures.
        Including bounties made available to agencies able to identify and verify them. PLace a picture on a webpage with a reward, simple..A forceful conversation with the country concerned, should ensure a return organised by the country concerned.

    • dixie
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Agreed – destroy the business case to dissuade illegals from coming here then we won’t need to risk our people preventing illegal immigrants.

    • Turneround
      Posted July 30, 2020 at 2:49 am | Permalink

      Sea Warrior, I salute you! Our government needs to put the ‘Great’ back into Britain. We must first protect our land, seas and cyber space against all illegal or warlike activities against us. Defense of the realm is the first and most important duty of government and ours needs to be the toughest in the world. Look at little Iceland in the Cod Wars; Great Britain should be able to do at least as good as they did. The EU countries are queuing up to destroy our borders, steal our fish and delay our exports; and they will beat us unless we stop the spineless, lily-livered liberal thinking of our so-called elites who want the easy life of a slave state governed by foreign powers; while they sit back and count their bonuses and kick-backs, fly in their private jets and claim vast expenses for their second and third homes.

  8. Ross Towes
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    An honest and rational assessment of our place and role in the world is long overdue. Often we hear from the Government and the armed forces that we should always be prepared to act militarily in support of the current world order. This has led to the carriers, an army obsessed with being able to deploy a war-fighting division anywhere in the world, and an air force which demands the latest generation of combat aircraft. None of this is adequately resourced. If we want to act like this in the world, there is a significant bill to pay; doing these things on the cheap involves comprises to quality of equipment or mass which undermine the intended effect. We are already paper-thin in many areas and tout capabilities which one has to doubt we would ever expose to serious risk, because cheese-paring has made them irreplaceable. In such circumstances they lack credibility and deterrent effect – guaranteeing that even the insufficient sum spent is wasted.

    I think the Royal Navy should regain pre-eminence from the Army. More frigates patrolling the sea lanes, more offshore protection vessels protecting fisheries. The Army must be relieved of its current mission to deploy the full spectrum of a division and specialise at a smaller scale.

    • Will in Hampshire
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      I agree with this. It’s clear that the UK can’t afford to be world-class in every aspect of defence. Prioritisation is essential. I venture the following priorities for UK defence:
      1. Air defence of the UK, North Sea and Atlantic – RAF Typhoons; long-range missiles; radar; space.
      2. Dominance of the North Sea and Atlantic – ASW frigates; Maritime patrol aircraft; AAW destroyers; RM detachments & SBS special forces; carriers with f-35 aircraft; fishery protection & enforcement.
      3. Sustainment of the independent nuclear deterrent.
      4. Counter-terrorism – police & Army special forces.
      5. Army reinforcements for European NATO allies focused on long-range Fires rather than front-line armoured infantry – independent rocket artillery & electronic warfare formations capable of moving quickly from UK (less than 40tons per vehicle) to reinforce Allied formations with integral self-defence (infantry & air defence), logistics & engineers… …no more heavy tanks or short-range helicopters.
      6. Light-role Army support to distant friends/Allies – infantry; lightweight armour & artillery (including Brigade of Gurkhas).

      • MWB
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        We don’t need the nuclear deterrent.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

          famous last words?

        • glen cullen
          Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

          Ask who are we going to deploy it against, what enemy are we going to target to go nuclear

        • glen cullen
          Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

          Sorry just realised we need a nuclear weapon to remain a permanent member of the UN

      • Ian @Barkham
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        @Will
        carriers with f-35 aircraft

        Our carriers are not proper aircraft carriers in the traditional sense, they have to be up close and personal to do anything. Sort of glorified assault craft.

        The US purchased F35 we used is not used by the US Navy and for good reason, it lacks range, reach and capability. Our version is for a close support of ground forces in theatre.

        As @Anonymous. Special forces need a recruitment pool, that is diminishing and under constant threat from our Government. Although pitching the strength of around 700 up against a combat strength of millions is a big ask. Just as the expectations of the now reduced RM to around 7000

        Our governments have better things to think about, like giving stuff to those that cant be bothered in the hope they may vote for them.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        You spent the entire budget on point 1).

        Remove long-range missiles, space and dominance of the Atlantic and scrap HS2 – and you are on a winner.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      Agreed but in order to provide superlative special forces and commandos there needs to be a wide base of regulars to recruit from.

  9. Ian @Barkham
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    While agree with your summary the UK is a long way short of being in a position to police and support its line of communications.

    The Royal Navy has just 19 surface ships and 2 aircraft carriers. In normal times a third of those would be in for maintenance or in workup.

    The 2 aircraft carriers have limited capability, the configuration and the designated aircraft are of a short range capability. They need to be close to the action therefore vulnerable to have any effect in any sort of military operation. Then it is limited to 5 days at a time. To be on station the would also need about 50% of available surface ships in attendance as protection. They are not suitable for long range defense of communications and supply chains. Ill conceived and not thought through, an expensive vanity project.

    The policy of running down the armed forces to rock bottom does the men and women employed in them no service at all. Perspective the whole of the UK’s armed forces wouldn’t fill Wembley Stadium.

    The UK’s security is a 24/7 365 day endeavor and should not be a short term fix should the need arise. People just can’t day in day out work for 24hours every day without a break. Having a armed force that is capable in number terms and equipment terms for just one day a week is the Political Class kicking the brave men and women in the teeth.

    The numbers as well being poorly equipped for the job is a massive breach of the governments duty of care. How can you train, replace retirees, cover rotation when there are not enough people or equipment for a one off event.

    The conclusion would be it would be better to disband the UK armed forces and surrender to any threat, whether it be pirates, terrorists or an armed aggressor at least it would be honest. The UK having a defense capability as it stands is an illusion that’s why Putin likes to have a poke every so often, it gives him something to chuckle about.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:15 am | Permalink

      Correction – Perspective the whole of the UK’s frontline armed forces wouldn’t fill Wembley Stadium.

      There are a lot of needed non-combatants in support, but they are not exposed to danger

      • Northern Monkey
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        Even those in non-combat roles in the forces are in danger in wartime.

        It is far easier to make military forces operationally ineffective by destroying those resupply, repair and communications elements than by defeating a well armed, well trained and determined force intent on destroying you.

        Logistics determine outcomes in wartime.

    • Otto
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Putin can have a chuckle anytime by just watching any BBC News programme.

  10. Dave Andrews
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    For every £1 spent on defence, £1 is spent on national debt interest. With its voracious appetite for spending, government borrowing is set to rise. Once the government has lost control of public finances there will be no money spent on defence.

    • BOF
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      The crux of the matter, in a nutshell.

  11. Gordon
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that the people that have done most harm to the country and it’s people are a lot closer to home than foreign states and terrorists.

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      It seems too often that it is the children of people given safe haven here, housing, jobs and benefits, free schooling for those children up to and including higher education, who are raised to bite the hand that fed them.

    • Andy
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Indeed. Some of them are in Downing Street. Most of the rest in the ERG or whatever Farage’s latest party is. Mostly posh public schoolboys too.

      • agricola
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        How many hang ups and shoulder chips can a person have before it affects their balance.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        Your comments get more ridiculous every day Andy.

  12. MickN
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    There was a time when our “Border Force” was there to stop people illegally entering our country. When did they morph into a ferry service to land them here?
    Should be get our fisheries back we will need the Royal Navy to protect them too from illegal fishing.
    When did what is illegal and what is legal become so blurred?

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      If I worked in Border Force Kent I wouldn’t admit it to anyone. A complete failure, we should be told how much they cost and for the use of them get rid and get new.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        a-tracy – – – spell check your entry…
        I’m sure you meant Border Farce?

      • glen cullen
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

        But the Border Force isn’t a failure….they’re folloing the instructions of our government ? Their commanders will probably get a bonus at year end for a job well done

        • a-tracy
          Posted July 30, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

          “Who we are. Border Force is a law enforcement command within the Home Office. Border Force secures the border and promotes national prosperity by facilitating the legitimate movement of individuals and goods, whilst preventing those that would cause harm from entering the UK.” gov.uk

    • Andy
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Claiming asylum is not illegal.

      • zorro
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        He never said that. They are entering without passports/visa, therefore, ipso facto illegal entrants. That is the law. Have they claimed asylum in other EU countries? If not, why not? Try reading what people write and not what you think that they write, otherwise people might think that you are a bit dim…..

        zorro

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        “There is no such thing as an ‘illegal’ or ‘bogus’ asylum seeker. Under international law, anyone has the right to apply for asylum in any country that has signed the 1951 Convention and to remain there until the authorities have assessed their claim”

        However, crossing unchecked into British territory, people who could have weapons and bombs is just to be waved through because ‘it is not illegal’? I’m sure that wasn’t the intention of the asylum acts.

      • beresford
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        ‘Claiming asylum is not illegal’.

        True, but when the claim is bogus because you come from a safe area (the ‘marvellous’ EU) there should be no entitlement to a protracted legal process, a quick hearing before a judge in Dover should suffice.

        As far as genuine refugees go, I was quite happy with Cameron’s plan to take some families from the camps in Lebanon.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

        Is France dangerous?

        • Andy
          Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

          No. But it’s irrelevant. They can claim asylum where they like.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

            Oh that is nice for them.
            However….
            The original asylum act which state nearest place of safety seems to have been overlooked.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

          too bloody right if you want to wander around a number of residential areas around Paris.

      • matthu
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        Presumably claiming asylum relates to an action once you are already in the country?

        If so, what might be considered illegal is crossing international borders with no identification, no travel documents and no intention to arrive through an established border crossing.

        But perhaps you can advise me if I am mistaken.

        • Andy
          Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

          Since when has using a dinghy been illegal?

          You have no idea whether they have identification or not.

          If they claim asylum as soon as they arrive they can turn up where they like.

          They are only entering illegally if they fail to claim asylum.

          • Fred H
            Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

            it is when they enter our sea space. Our ‘protection’ vessels actually bring to our ports….

          • Edward2
            Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

            Escaping from the danger that is France.

          • matthu
            Posted July 30, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

            I suggest tens of thousands of illegal immigrants are currently housed in private or hotel accommodation in this country, at taxpayer expense, having arrived without any documentation or other evidence to prove that they are refugees.

            I further suggest that any that have been rejected for asylum have not been immediately deported, and instead have simply been allowed to melt into the slave market economy.

            If you have any evidence to counter the above, please put if forward.

          • matthu
            Posted July 30, 2020 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

            A major broadsheet today reports: “A group of five migrants have been pictured drying off on a bench on the Kent coast having dumped the stolen dinghy they used to cross The Channel. ”

            Sounds as if at least their crossing might have been illegal.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        A genuine asylum seeker would report to the authorities immediately on entry.

        These people often, perhaps usually, instead attempt to melt into the crowd, and to evade detection, by working for cash amongst the community of their fellows already here.

        Only if discovered do they then claim that they were seeking asylum. Many are not from the troubled countries that they claim, but from elsewhere too.

        They are simply clandestine immigrants.

        And they make life very much harder for the genuine claimants fleeing terrible oppression and violence.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

          So it seems you agree a measure of control is required.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 30, 2020 at 6:34 am | Permalink

            I have never claimed otherwise.

            However, the claim that these attempts are caused by Mrs. Merkel, rather than by the disastrous destabilisation of Middle Eastern countries is utter rubbish.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 30, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

            I have never said that Merkel caused the arrival of illegal migrants.

            PS When has the Middle East been stable?

    • Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      When they started talking of ‘guidelines’ ‘best practise’ ‘rules’. All we have to obey is the law!

    • IanT
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      When we started to confuse “Rights” with “Privileges”.

      It is a privilege to be able to come here and live. We are a small island and we can extend a welcome to only a limited number of those many who wish to join us. But should someone then abuse that privilege by their actions, then that privilege should be withdrawn.

      I decide who I invite into my home and if a guest misbehaves, I will ask them to leave. My hospitality naturally has limits and I decide what those limits are – not my guest.

      • Ian @Barkham
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        As the law is interpreted nowadays, a burglar has more right to enter your home and steel your property than you do.

        All you did was nurture, develop and fund it.

        You have the privilege of letting them do it, resist and you could find yourself in jail….

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          Nonsense.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      It was the ‘Global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration’ that May signed up to…quickly and quietly.
      It isn’t legally binding but I bet the UK is dotting all the “i”s and crossing all “t”s as per.
      100,000 signed a partition against it in the UK…to no avail.
      Worth looking at what we are signed up to.

  13. Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Agreed – It is vital we have a decent defence budget — The world is still a very dangerous place…. and we will not be able to trust our near neighbours not to steal our fish —- Fish stocks and borders must be protected.

    Russia is not the threat that some hype it up to be – The recent report on Russian interference was the biggest con ever, with totally no evidence provided, yet it sparks all sorts of retaliations and restrictions to be imposed on the content of social media — Talk about a stitch up. We need more than ships to protect us against the enemies within that push deceit.

    China is the real international threat that we have to face down — Much more capable than the Russians ever were to interfere or even invade our small land.

    • UKQanon
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      BH – Our Establishment seems to have a fixation with Russia. Remember the Salisbury debacle, f—e f–g plus others. We must remember the government/elected officials are the mouth piece of the Establishgment and will do/say as demanded. Our Establishment do not like Trump because he has upset the status quo. as you say China is the biggest threat to the world at present and the peoples need to take their head out of the sand. If Trump “somehow” loses the election then it is good-bye.

      • glen cullen
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

        China a direct threat (hot war) to the Far East region and an indirect threat (economic war) to the Western world

  14. Andy
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    No country is going to attack us militarily.

    We’re a small island country with negligible influence around the world which has voted to make itself even less irrelevant.

    We’re like Belgium – but without the influence.

    Putin doesn’t need missiles. Xi doesn’t need hackers. Iran doesn’t need bombs.

    Dominic Cummings and this Tory government have done more to damage the UK than any – or all of them ever could.

    • Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      @andy —- Good crystal balls really are in short supply – Time you got a new one that wasn’t so tinted in rose…

      The world is in a situation it has never been in before, an explosive incident could send leaders to their bunkers at the touch of a hat — The Chinese are preparing for war – their army is enormous and their navy most impressive — They are seeking to expand or take over in several different areas… So yes, they are a major threat, especially as they so red!
      Arab countries have also amassed great arms – we’d likely be a candidate for invasion after Israel when they feel they can get away with destroying us both.

      The UK may be small, but we still have a voice in the world – we can still make things better, as long as we don’t have a socialist government… So yes, we would most certainly be a military target for some country that hated us, if we get in the way of their desires in any way.

    • Northern Monkey
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      “No country is going to attack us militarily”

      Crystal ball gazing of the finest quality, whilst also being utterly wrong.

      All the reasons you give for the ridiculous hypothesis were also true of Tibet before it was invaded by China, Belgium and Holland before they were invaded by Nazi Germany, Poland before it was invaded by Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, and Zaire before it was invaded by Rwanda.

      Your last sentence is the true root of your opposition to UK defence, not any perceived lack of threat.

    • beresford
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      But Andy, if Dominic Cummings et al have made us safe from attack, haven’t they done us a favour?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Andy..
      Wooooo….I agree with you!!

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      which has voted to make itself even less irrelevant.

      Enough with the double negatives. Get a grip!

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      No country is going to attack us militarily.

      Oh yeah? What about France? They have form.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        Yes, reader. He is serious.

        • Everhopeful
          Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

          Whereas some, dear reader, just seek to criticise yet never commit themselves to any worthwhile opinion.

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted July 30, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

          Yes, reader. He is serious.

          Oh dear, oh dear. You must be a right laugh to live with. You think I was serious! Go the NHS as soon as this ‘crisis’ is over and your sense-of-humour-bypass reversed. And, for heavens sake, get a grip!

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 30, 2020 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

            Well, you did well to sneak that past John’s frivolity filter.

            I raise my hat.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

            Careful you don’t dislodge your facemask as you raise your hat.

    • Fred H
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Your last line tells me you have zero imagination. It wont be playground bullying – probably what you suffered from the older boys (or even girls).

    • acorn
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Andy, as to the UK being attacked. Nowadays wars tend to be by “Proxy”. For instance, the current proxy war in the Middle East between Saudi Arabia and Iran, creating what appears to westerners, as a civil war in Syria. That conflict has resulted, in addition to the Syrian Civil War, the rise of ISIL, the current civil war in Yemen, and the reemergence of the Taliban. Not to mention the current civil war the UK helped create in Libya.

      Outside of the EU, the UK could qualify as a proxy war arena, just like Yemen; Iraq and Syria. UK membership of NATO will count for little outside of the EU bloc. The EU has agreed its ACO (Allied Command Operations) resources could be used for the conduct of the EU’s CSDP missions (Common Security and Defence Policy).

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      You are Dominic Grieve and I claim my €39bn.

      • glen cullen
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

        now thats a classic line – hope you don’t mind if I use it

  15. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    It’s another area (added to health, education, care, transport, work patterns) where this virus and our island status presents an hidden opportunity to re-orientate priorities.

    It is the enemy within which is our greatest danger, yet the government spurns the opportunity to control immigration.

    As for the enemy without, it isn’t clear that this government either has the nous or experience to deal with that. Start with our island status and the advantage that gives us. Yet we can’t stop blow up boats nor people carrying the virus coming in, with wish washy non-decision making. Even Major hung on to some decisions for more than a couple of days.

  16. Nigl
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    B.A.E ‘big and expensive’ sums up our procurement strategy up. Two massive vulnerable carriers and no contracts out for their support vessels and the RAF buying planes that ‘cannot’ land on it.

    Trillions of pounds wasted over the years on expensive sometimes outdated kit, the RAF demanding planes instead of much of the way forward, drones, it only has a few, because without planes an airforce is nothing etc the military fighting internally to protect their fiefdom, there is still a pro tank lobby etc etc.

    Umpteen reviews and still not much changes. A few rich as Croesus companies’ screwing’ the tax payer.

    You have been a senior member of government for decades allowing this disgrace both in terms of cost to the taxpayer and our operational effectiveness. As ever I will look forward to your thoughts but on the basis of track record to date forgive me if I take them with a pinch of salt.

    Dominic Cummings is the latest person to try and sort this mess out. I wish him well.

  17. Javelin
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    John,

    war is fundamentally about protecting resources. Traditionally land is the main resource that is protected. Since the industrial revolution we have also needed to protect intellectual ideas and production of goods. These resources used to be able to be protected by protecting or the threat of seizing land. The could war was merciful because though we could seize land the communist economy was not capable of stealing ideas or production.

    However in today’s globalist world where “land wars” are almost not viable then we face different problems. Namely actors who steal ideas, production and jobs. In otherwords it is possible to steal a countries assets without stealing their land. Land is after all related to wealth through production of old fashioned primary resources such as oil and agricultural product as well as small strategic military bases.

    The Government therefore need to bring in tougher sanctions for stealing ideas and production by blocking their sale. The Government also need to stop jobs being outsourced which may be difficult, but services as well as goods can be sanctioned. The Government must also protect jobs in the UK by having a visa system that ensures migrants not only benefit the country but also do not steal people’s jobs.

    I can set up a realistic scenario where free trade robs a country of a majority of its wealth. Free trade can be a form of war. Wars come on many fronts. Not just land, but ideas, production and jobs.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Agreed.

      Free Trade is a phrase misplaced but exploited at the same time. The concept of Free Trade has at its heart the movement of wealth from one society to another.

      The effect it has is to remove the ability to service the health and wealth of a Nation. So the funding of education, infrastructure and health no longer exists – that is a bizarre notion for Governments to permit.

      All that is needed is Friction Free Trade, the removal of the ‘artificial barriers’ of rules and standards that are work arounds to stay compliant with the WTO. There is an International Standards Organization that is recognized throughout the world by all but those that seek trade protection

      Any Entity/Country/Company wishing to trade with another society should feel comfortable in also contributing to that society on an equal basis as the indigenous operations do. Unless of course the whole idea was to weaponize trade. Wealth doesn’t happen by accident it is a mutual effort

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Of course.
      UK has set itself up as a model of how to lose its resources and wealth the past 75 years.
      Resources- Mining/extraction, farming, fishing, intellectual.
      The first three we know are victims to EU green policies where we buy power produced by German coal rather than produce it ourselves from hydrocarbons, give away sovereign fishing and farming rights.
      The intellectual is more subtle but the net result is the same, because we see how the jet engine, transistor, world wide web have changed the world but we let the IP slip through our fingers. Let’s see what happens with microfluidics, biotech and vaccine research. Let’s see what happens when our Universities enrich themselves temporarily on Chinese students who then go back and expand that knowledge at home.

  18. margaret howard
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    The best start would be to stop interfering in other countries’ affairs or following the US into yet more illegal wars a la Iraq to bolster their own ‘world’s last super power’ status. Let’s spend our money on our citizens not so that generals/admirals/air chief marshals can put yet more medals on their chests.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Yes, lets let any tin pot crack pot entity just be able and take what is yours with out resistance. Iraq may have been Labour under Tony Blair’s ideal of throwing other peoples weight around, but don’t loose sight the UK as one of the smallest least capable armed forces was marginalized to let others get on with it. Even France turned up with double the UK capability.

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      margaret, Aren’t we asked to take in thousands of asylum seekers from Countries such as Afganistan and Syria because of the atrocities taking place there? In 2018, the most common countries of nationality of main asylum applicants were Iran (3,320), Iraq (2,700), Eritrea (2,151), Pakistan (2,033), and Albania (2,005).

      Do you think Donald Trump is correct then to withdraw American and Nato troops?

      • Otto
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        If the UK and the US had kept out of Iran and Iraq, at least, perhaps there wild be no asylum seekers from those countries. I don’t know about the others.

        • a-tracy
          Posted July 30, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

          “If the UK and the US had kept out of Iran and Iraq..there wild be no asylum seekers from those countries”

          The UK have been taking in asylum seekers/refugees from Iraq and Iran for many, many years before 1980 ?

      • margaret howard
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

        a-tracy

        President Trump should concentrate on sorting out the troubles in his own country. Clearing out the racist elements in his police forces would be a long overdue start.

        Most of their so-called police actions since WW2 have been a complete shambles.

        • a-tracy
          Posted July 30, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

          Trump has only been President for four years before that he wasn’t in a position to deal with ‘so-called police actions’ unlike Biden who was “The former vice-president has staked his campaign partly on his legacy as Mr Obama’s second-in-command.” Of all things said about Trump he doesn’t seem soft on law and order.

          You didn’t answer my question though Margaret, “Do you think Donald Trump is correct then to withdraw American and Nato troops?”

    • Edward2
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      President Trump has made a start on this.
      Unlike his predecessors such as Obama and Clinton

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget the war on terrr.

  19. Lifelogic
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    The decision to allow hospital patients in England to be discharged to care homes without Covid-19 tests at the start of the pandemic has been described as “reckless” by MPs. I read today.

    Well no it was clearly idiotic grossly negligent and killed tens of thousands before their time.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Ah..but they had to “Save the NHS” ( cc) from the very people who had paid for its nonsense, by force, all their working lives.

    • JohnE
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      This was just a part of the true cost to peoples health and wellbeing of “Protecting the NHS”.
      Forgive me if I don’t clap – the medics that I know are even more vehement in their views.

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      25,000 hospital patients in one month (mid-March to mid-April) were discharged into care homes, I’m not sure if this was just in England or the whole of the UK, that is quite a high number of poorly people in hospital beds. I wonder how many of those initial 25,000 patients sent into care homes died? There were care homes that did really well and others that did appallingly, this is the matter that requires thorough investigation. Let’s not tar all care homes with the same brush.

      Also if they’d have stayed in the hospital beds do you think they’d all have survived? There are 1257 hospitals in the UK – so about 20 patients per hospital but this is more likely to have been about 50 per hospital because some of those hospitals were private. When they were released into care homes they were advised to isolate the patients for at least two weeks, should a care home without adequate resources to do this have taken them?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Government has neither nous nor experience. You need it to know what is likely to happen next from what happened before. Listen to them in interviews, really no idea how the world works. Get somebody with 30 years or more experience in real work.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      From the outside it looks like decisions were made either (i) under an (incorrect) assumption of existential threat or (ii) based on political appearance.

      A full inquiry is needed now and should not be delayed.

  20. Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    We are out of the EU out of which I have personally seen criminals entering this country and practising their dark arts (People trafficking, prostitution).

    We Westerners are also being treated by China like we treated the world in the 19th century. First (East India Coy) economic dominance and stealing know-how (porcelain, silk, tea) then building cities (Hong Kong and Shanghai) finally political dominance (by the Japanese, then Russia).

    USA under Trump is a loose cannon.

    And we stand there worrying about racism and the vulnerable! Fingers out chaps!

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Mike, I thought we traded/bought will silver and gold to re-sell porcelain, silk and tea? Who did we ‘steal’ it from? How much aid have the Chinese received back from the UK is this tied to ‘theft’ you allege took place?

      I’ve wondered about the UK building ‘Hong Kong’ didn’t we lease the land – did we pay for it? “The ailing Qing Dynasty leased the New Territories to Britain for 99 years, starting 1 July 1898.” It was a barren island at that time so didn’t we just shoot ourselves in the foot by building up such a fabulous place then having to walk away?

      • margaret howard
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

        a-tracy

        Never heard of the Opium wars? The Treaty of Nanking?

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Nanking

        • a-tracy
          Posted July 30, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

          From the British Library “English and Chinese sea merchants had first met at the markets in Bantam – a long way from either country. The Company wanted to trade directly with China, but it was not until 1699 that the Chinese allowed the Company to trade at Canton.

          From China, the Company bought tea, silk and porcelain. The Chinese wanted silver in return. Over the next 100 years tea became a very popular drink in England, and there was a fear that too much silver was leaving the country to pay for it. To stop this happening, the Company became involved in a triangular trade by smuggling opium (a highly addictive and illegal drug) from India into China.”

          Fascinating I subject I will add to my learning list, I try not to use too much Wiki.

  21. Alan Jutson
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Just look at the ratio JR 100,000 armed forces personnel to protect a 65,000,000 population seems somewhat out of proportion and rather too few.

    Yes fully aware of modern technology, but when you only have 19 combative surface ships at maximum, the spread is very thin indeed especially when most of them will be used to protect our two carriers, likewise our air capacity is also very limited.

    I would be more than happy to double our defence spending providing that spending was made with sensible choices, and on sensible reliable equipment.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Of that 19 some are extremely sophisticated and immensely capable. That would a help if their foreign supplied power units didn’t keep breaking down forcing them to stay in port.

      Expensive, powerful and capable sounds good, but pales in terms of reality when it is numbers and increased presents that could actually do the job required.

  22. jerry
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Defence is MAD, to deign it is even madder…

    As far as is reasonably possible the UK needs to be self sufficient in our equipment and supplies, and by extension our own manufacturing and transportation capacity. When we can not supply our own needs we need to choose our procurement partners carefully. Being a part of NATO is good but with the majority of NATO member counties now shifting their political alliances towards the east and certain countries of the far east that might not always be the case. I was not surprised by the line taken by the current White House with regards their possible ongoing commitment to NATO.

    I will look forward to reading how this might be financed along with those seemingly non-negotiable green blob projects, so favoured by the current PM – he’s got to go, he’s now acting like a reformed smoker put in charge of the tobacconist kiosk, thinking if only matches were banned from sale everyone would have to give up smoking!

    • DavidJ
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      He should get rid of all “Green Blob” expenditure and transfer it to defence.

      • jerry
        Posted July 30, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

        @DavidJ; Yes and by transferring the Green Blob expenditure to defence he will revitalise UK manufacturing, much of it no doubt in the North, thus achieving the PM’s aim of ‘levelling up’.

  23. Nigl
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Off topic but relates to an earlier blog subject. Vodafone in Germany is updating its fibre to allow downstream speeds of up to 10 gigs and upstream to 6. Catering for increased working from home is one of they key benefits.

    If the Tory government had not allowed BT to use its pension fund deficit as a lever to protect its monopoly infrastructure, it would have been broken up years ago and/or it’s network opened up to competitors.

    Finally the Regulator forced them, under threat of a break up, to spin off BroadReach, only years too late and everyone is scrambling to catch up.

    UK business can only look at Germany’s digital infrastructure and weep.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Vodafone in Germany is updating its fibre to allow downstream speeds of up to 10 gigs and upstream to 6. Catering for increased working from home is one of they key benefits.

      Most people working from home merely need to be able to access their company’s servers to use the applications on them. I’ve been working remotely for 20 years. Back in the day on a 2mb connection. More recently on 35mb. Never any issues with speed. What on earth would you want to get up and down the line on a 10 gig connection?

    • Fred H
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      nonsense broadband speeds. It is about full employment and ‘mine is bigger than yours’ boasting.

  24. majorfrustration
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Having saved the NHS lets save the armed forces

  25. Nivek
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    The successful defence of our nation requires political parties that are committed to rejecting Anglophobia.

  26. Anonymous
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    The Royal Navy isn’t preventing people smuggling. It appears to be abetting it. For the first time I’d rather we didn’t have a navy.

    Quite clearly – in terms of warfare – the new battlefields are cyberspace and biology. Our two super carriers present massive targets, not just for missiles but bio and cyber weaponry and are as white and elephantine as HS2.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      The Royal Navy is no where near that part of the World. They neither have the man power or the ships for the task

    • beresford
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      …… and there it is, the prize for dragging HS2 into every discussion here is won by ‘Anonymous’.

      ‘HS2 must be destroyed!’.

      • UKQanon
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        But it is true. HS2 must be destroyed any way possible. The cost/time saving benefit for a miniscule number of persons is ridiculous. A stupid political decision once again.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        Yes. HS2 is the only surviving reasonable Govt policy, but sadly the Govt seems incapable of delivering even this in a well managed way.

      • dixie
        Posted July 30, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        The US is sending yet another probe to Mars and even India is getting in on the act. These endeavours generate many valuable spin-offs and energise people, especially the young.

        Meanwhile in the UK the ambition of our politicians and civil servants is limited to playing around with train sets.

  27. Nigl
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Ps sorry ‘OpenReach’

  28. Nigl
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    A lot is made of our arms industry but for instance in some missiles there is so much US technology that we need their approval to fire them.

    We should acknowledge when buying off the shelf is cheaper than vast development costs with no certainty of downstream success.

  29. agricola
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Oliver Dowden is on TV at present justifying the restrictions on UK-Spain-UK travel while at this very moment planes are coming in from China. Has the risk of Covid 19 from China ceased. Government seem to be dithering on inbound airport testing and the necessary follow up testing for imported Covid 19.

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      If people arrive with a temperature and the virus test reveals they have it what do we do with them? Who checks up on them, do we put them straight back on a plane?

  30. ukretired123
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    We are seen as soft and decadent by totalitarian regimes who are our determined opposition.

    • Fred H
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      but we ARE soft and decadent.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        Yes, the refusal to wear a little bit of cloth on the face, for a small part of the time, by so many proves that.

  31. Ian @Barkham
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    It could easily be reasoned that what every the out come of trade negotiations with the EU. The EU’s stance of being able to pillage and rape the diminishing fish stocks in UK territorial waters, just have they have done in their own waters will continue – we do not have the means or capability to stop them. They(the EU) out fish us 5 to 1 in our own territory, the Governments response – surrender.

    Daily we see people risking their life in dinghies to escape the EU, we have no means to stop them or send them back.

    Our trade routes are long and un-protected, the UK Governments response – keep our fingers crossed.

    Even if the UK was to step up to the plate on the responsibility and job they are paid for they would fail. Our home grown manufacturing is zilch and what little there is held hostage to the same volatile foreign powers that are telling us what they want and what we cant do.

    In stead of the endless constant give a ways that become part of a bidding war to buy votes at elections, we need a Government that is focused on keeping us secure, safe and remove the red tape and nannying that is holding the country back. Governments keep meddling in things they don’t have the ability to solve while neglecting the things they have a duty to perform on. Its all about votes, look at me love me and didn’t we do well, rather than anything that quietly makes a massive difference.

    Bikes on the NHS – why. HS2 – why. You are all to fat but people don’t have enough money to buy food – go figure. Ride a bike save CO2 – why. Smart Motorways with an inbuilt design to kill more people – why. Rules applied to the whole of the UK when it is just metro London that needs sorting. Catastrophe and miss-steps keep piling up. Virtual Signaling run riot lead by the agenda being set by the media and not the People.

    The Navy, Army and Airforce remain just imponent window dressing just incase someone asks to see it -never intended for use. Our infrastructure crumbles. Our energy supplies have us held hostage to the whims of unstable governments elsewhere.

    A Political Class that plays the Piano while the country burns.

  32. New Yorker
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    You Brits just left the biggest free trade bloc in history and yet you want to lecture the world about the importance of free trade? This is some kind of joke, right? British sense of humour.

    • Otto
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      It wasn’t FREE trade – cost a lot.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      New Yorker

      But it’s not free is it !!!!!

      Big mistake.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      You Brits just left the biggest free trade bloc in history and yet you want to lecture the world about the importance of free trade?

      Not at all. Are you in a ‘free’ trade block you have to pay about 15 billion dollars a YEAR to be in? And it’s a ‘free’ trade block that has plenty of barriers to countries from outside the ‘free’ trade block to protect industries inside the ‘free’ trade bloc so that the people inside the wonderful ‘free’ trade bloc have to pay higher prices.

      That’s why we left the wonderful ‘free’ trade bloc. What’s a customs form in comparison?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      I seem to have paid duties to import from New York.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        New York is not in the bloc to which the poster referred.

        You seem to be struggling with basics.

    • anon
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

      New Yorker?
      Surely the USA and or NAFTA would be bigger than the EU? Even if you were to count the UK as being in the EU?

  33. Kevin Caudwell
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    We need to be able to defend ourselves against biological weapons.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      We can’t even make a bit of PPE for the NHS – how are we going to make spacesuits for everyone?

  34. Alan Joyce
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    Should there be a ‘No-Deal’ come 1st January 2021, I look forward to watching the scenes develop in the Channel and the North Sea as the relevant authorities are forced to protect our grounds from the continental fishing fleet.

    I doubt that French or Dutch politicians, for example, would order their boats to keep out of UK waters. And if they did, would their fishermen take any notice?

    If there is a ‘No-Deal’ I think the majority of Brits would expect our seas to be governed well, patrolled rigorously, and offenders punished. Would our Border Force, backed up by the Navy perhaps, risk a diplomatic incident by seizing foreign vessels fishing in UK waters? Would our politicians have the courage to order them to? I doubt that they would.

    What a pretty sight it would be! Perhaps one of the reasons why the UK may eventually ‘concede’ on fishing.

  35. Everhopeful
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Not sure but I don’t think Mr Cummings wants trad forces any more.
    Drones and satellites are the future…fewer troops needed.
    Ooooh…hope it works as well as the Covid “science”!

  36. The Prangwizard
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    There is an urgency for the building, in England of many well armed coastal and fishery protection vessels.

    But they will be of no use if the weak ministers and PM we have now continue to prevent their being assertively used, for fear of upsetting someone. They are ‘yella’.

    We wouldn’t have a recruitment crisis if potential recruits had faith they could use their authority.

  37. Nigl
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Leading edge Type 42 destroyers breaking down in theatres like the gulf, literally leaving sailors in darkness, because the sophisticated turbine engines are unable to operate in any water warmer than at Portsmouth.

    Allegedly the contractors claim that no one told them that they would be expected to operate in the Persian Gulf. Emergency back up Diesel engines are being fitted.

    Is our navy the same world class as the NHS. Again our host has ‘presided’’ over its emasculation and suddenly finds we need more shops.

    • Will in Hampshire
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      It was a Type 45 but the point is well made.
      Personally I’d prefer to keep them as they are and to use them for what they were designed to do, which is to dominate the air and seas around the UK.

  38. Sakara Gold
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    In recent years the Army has been decimated. The Russians outgun us in artillery and have a modern tank with a bigger gun in their Armata. The army would be hard pressed to put a division in the field, much of their equipment is outdated and the Harriers have never been replaced in the close air support role.

    We live in troubled times and we do need to look to our defences. The army should be re-built into a credible war-fighting force, backed up in the amphibious support role by strong Royal Marine commando. The government has wasted millions on defective PPE purchases and Chinese plague virus test kits that either don’t work or give false results. We should divert some of our resources to supporting our brave army people and give them up-to-date British equipment, and plenty of it

    • UKQanon
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      SG – Do not worry the European Defence Force will come to our rescue!!!!!!! I think not.
      It is all a pipe dream of stupid officials we the people vote for. The majority are clueless, have never operated in the REAL world and are purely Career Politicians who love the sound of their very empty voices.

  39. DavidJ
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    A nation which cannot defend itself and its people on all fronts is not truly a nation.

  40. Newmania
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    If the UK is a believer in Free Trade John Redwood is badly out of step .A week rarely goes by without the joys of substituting home production for imports, being dragged form its gloomy crypt . He endlessly constructs daisy chains of pseudo- logic whereby making imports expensive is a good thing ,and as for being a leading member of the WTO ..what the heck is that ?
    The UK matters not a jot more than any other member ,and in any case the only voices that matter on global trade are the big three , China the US and the EU. Size matters .

    • Edward2
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Yet some of the richest nations per capita are small nations.

      Customers and suppliers.
      Demand and supply.

  41. Posted July 29, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    I believe our traitor government is currently signing us up to the EU defence force, without any fanfare of course and any reference to our membership of NATO. It is quite remarkable what the government will not talk about. The diminution of our armed forces will be determined by our informal membership of Pesco. It is urgent that the government be challenged on this matter.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      It’s not a European Union entity as I understand it, but an at-will association of nations outside of its treaties.

      It includes member and non-member nations.

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 30, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        Juncker in Welt am Sonntag interview called for an EU strategic civilian and military headquarters and, in the long run, European stand-by forces under Union command.

        Yet his home Country is one of the poorest funders of NATO and doesn’t comply – now he wants more control without his Country stumping up the resources. EU military operations are financed from a separate pot of money from the centralised EU budget –

        as you are so well up on your understanding, who pays into the separate post of money at what % gdp per nation?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 30, 2020 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

          The entity of which the UK envisages forming a part is not that called for by Juncker, but includes major European Union nations nonetheless.

          Prominent figures call for all manner of things. It does not by any means indicate that they will happen.

  42. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    So Macron’s throwing his dummy out of the pram over fishing. Stamping his feet and saying he won’t accept no fishing in UK waters. What are we going to do about it? Roll over?

    • Mark B
      Posted July 30, 2020 at 4:54 am | Permalink

      Well it wouldn’t be the first time 😉

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 30, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      He is heard, with rather more attention, in more countries, than is the UK PM.

  43. Ian @Barkham
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Big bold and sophisticated might look flash. But look at the Gulf with the Iranians in their little fast boats just creating havoc. In essence ten £1000 little boats get to take out a billion pound dream machine. Ask the US about the USS Cole, a 6,000 ton warship taken out by a couple of nutters.

    The Australian Navy is close on 3 times the size of the Royal Navy. It is effective in its operations and the bulk of the surface warships cost a fraction of what the UK spends. Its about being fast and nibble.

  44. Mike Wilson
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    On the other hand, if, instead of being obsessed with global trade – and pretending we are in any way globally significant, we became obsessed with making things ourselves, creating our own energy and growing our own food – then we wouldn’t really need to worry too much about the shipping lanes.

    The reason I think we have never had a government give a dirty bomb for a bunch of nutters to set off in London is that said governments know that, if we determined who was behind it, we have the capacity courtesy of the Trident subs to wipe their capital city off the face of the earth. Not nice. Not sane, really, But, there you are. We live in a global nuthouse. We need to protect ourselves.

  45. Mike Wilson
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Captain Mannering would do a better job of protecting our shores than your government, Mr. Redwood.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      If you think of it…Dad’s Army was one of the many progs the BBC/ govt used to turn public opinion against men/older men/the army/patriotism/ traditional values etc etc.
      And you are RIGHT Captain M would have made a much better job.
      But then…he WANTED to.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        It did no such thing, quite the reverse.

        And it was very funny.

        • Everhopeful
          Posted July 30, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

          Any sensible person would have seen the bear trap and found the prog highly UNfunny!

  46. glen cullen
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Without trying to sound too patronising, before you examine defence one must be realistic about future threats and identification of an enemy

  47. ChrisS
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Our defence needs are different from many other countries in Europe, although in many respects they are similar to France. We are a leading country in the trading world and a permanent member of the Security Council, both of which bring rights and responsibilities.

    As an island nation, we should be in a position to secure our own borders and that means having a significant maritime deterrent. Currently our armed forces are well below the numbers of personnel necessary and our equipment levels are woefully deficient, particularly in amphibious craft for the Royal Marines and Naval surface ships to defend our carriers.

  48. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Yes, we should spend more on defence but to defend these islands, not to fight foreign wars. I’m tempted to say ‘Britain First’ but unfortunately that slogan has been usurped by an extremist party.

    In the 1940s and 1950s, the American standard of living (income per capita) was 50% greater than that of any other nation. Not now. It is not even top dog and the reasons are (1) fighting foreign wars and (2) excessive immigration. Whatever else we think of him, the current president is addressing these issues.

    Russia’s fundamental foreign policy stance is independent of their internal system of governance. Russia is a vast country with many borders. They don’t want their immediate neighbours to be hostile; that’s perfectly understandable. Pace the new Russian constitution, Putin won’t last forever.

  49. Iain Moore
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    With (top management ed)turning our army into a woke organisation, with ambitions to make it as effective as our woke police force, I fear it will be swept aside at the first signs of hostilities, and we will be told that though we lost we can feel pride in having a diverse politically correct force.

    If you want an effective military , you first need to remove people at the top whose politics are a liability to any hope in putting up some sort of defense.

  50. Graham Wheatley
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    “As a maritime country with an important fishery we need vessels and aircraft to police and protect our fishing grounds and to prevent smuggling and people trafficking through our waters”.

    It would have been handy (at the least) for previous UK governments to have fully grasped that notion and prepared for the future instead of just having had an eye on the balance sheet and ‘cuts wherever possible’.

    Capable though (for example) the T-45s are, and however advanced their systems, they can only be in one place at a time. We needed and need, more vessels. And the personnel to crew them.

    On several occasions most of (and I think on a couple of occasions all of) the T45’s have been in port at the same time.

    On several occasions BOTH of our QE class Aircraft Carriers have not only been in port at the same time, but moored next to each other!!!! One lone attack aircraft could have wiped out 50% of our fleet & 100% of our Carrier capability in one run.

    Rear-ends and elbows, and the unfamiliarity therewith, springs to mind.

  51. Mike Wilson
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    We need the Home Guard.

  52. Ex-Tory
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    I totally agree, Sir John. But how on earth are you going to persuade a government which has already bankrupted itself by its commitment to Hs2, subsidising fast food and countless other lunacies?

    I look forward to your future blogs about how we can spend enough on ur own protection.

  53. David Brown
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    I think far too much emphasis is placed on WTO.
    Im not convinced that World Trade will continue in the future, both as a consequence of Covid and Environmentalists – climate change. That’s why question if Heathrow is now too big by 50% as it currently operates at 95% below capacity.
    Mr Trump has blown hot and cold over NATO and he may decide to pull the US out of NATO if he got re-elected.
    There is no way Britain can afford to sustain protecting coastal waters in the way that will prevent fishing, immigration, or smuggling the total coast line is simply too big. Legally there may be no way to stop EU vessels fishing in British waters.
    Actually with all the unemployment 2-3 years in the armed forces would provide a good apprenticeship for a range of activities back in civi street.
    Sadly all a bit negative today with my comments but its how I feel.

  54. steve
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Conservatives, talking about defending the nation when they don’t have the balls to take on the enemy within, hilarious.

  55. Iain Gill
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    We cannot even control the streets of Woolwich never mind project power abroad.

    Defence is a nonsense when we have people openly wanting to kill us walking our streets, and openly saying as much.

    MOD, retired and serving officer class, many hired as consultants or via the big consultancies are far too big in numbers, mostly completely inappropriate for the roles they are supposedly carrying out (as messed up project after messed up project demonstrates). Same in the forces themselves. Too much duplication at the top of the three services, just turn the RAF back into the army air corps and get rid of the duplicated head office roles. And far too few junior other ranks, infantry is far far too small for any likely eventuality.

    (c) the blommin obvious

  56. Caterpillar
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    ‘Defending our nation’

    Who are ‘our’? What is the ‘nation’?

  57. Yossarion
    Posted July 29, 2020 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Many served in BAOR, now too many are going on their knee to Marxist Ideology, this is more 1640s than 1940s.

  • About John Redwood


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

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