Independent countries do not keep best friends by giving in to them

All my adult life I have witnessed the political and civil service establishment urging bad ideas on our country in order to avoid the UK being “isolated”. There is a passion to make the UK dependent on allies and trading partners, and to force the UK to do what our allies and trading partners want for fear of upsetting them. There was a long concerted effort to realign us from  the USA as “best friend” to the EU as “best friend”. The whole Remain campaign , just like our long period of membership was based on the theory that you had to go along with whatever the EU wanted to show “you had influence”and to avoid this famous isolation.   In practice both the very pro EU large faction and the smaller pro USA faction accepted the need to try to be good friends with both. Both shared the same naivety that you keep a best friend by always doing what they want and never adding your own unique contribution or sometimes saying you wish to do something different on your own. It is very difficult to get respect or a good deal if all the time you are giving in.

Anyone who has read some English and UK history will know that quite often the UK has been estranged from the main powers of the world. Indeed, if anything characterises our foreign policy over the years prior to 1972  it is that we have been one of the principal sources of resistance to any leading European power that would become the hegemon or dominant country. Along with  the Dutch we stood up to the might of Spanish dominance in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. With an alliance of smaller states under threat of invasion  we stood up to  Napoleon’s attempts to enforce European Union by conquest. In  the twentieth century we led the resistance to German aggression. These positions often entailed being isolated from the main powers and tides of opinion.

Today some are worried about a cooling of our relationship with the USA. They need not  be. Our relationship with the USA has been troubled and at times distant over the two and a half centuries since the birth of the USA as a separate power. We began by trying to put down their rebellion, when the USA rightly stood up for the excellent principle of no taxation without representation and used it to craft their own great democracy. We deserved to lose and should have accommodated their legitimate wishes  They joined the Napoleonic wars on the wrong side and we had to defeat the alliance they had joined. Relations improved in the twentieth century though the USA never liked our Empire and was reluctant to be drawn into what they thought of as European wars. Between 1939 and 1941 the UK did stand with the Commonwealth against the might of Germany, fighting a cause which should have been America’s as well. Only once the Japanese hit the USA hard at Pearl Harbour and Germany declared war on the USA did we become working allies and did the USA then come to assume part of the huge burden of the war in Europe and to dominate the war in Asia. History  tells us that we now often have interests in common with the USA and work closely with her through Nato. That is likely to stay true but we do not have to debase or efface ourselves to make it happen.

The UK is best when we do what we think is right and construct alliances and support groups accordingly. The Prime Minister is right that we should  not seek reassurance from every new President of the USA that we have a special relationship. We have close working relationships in  many areas and some clear defined common views and goals that can lead us to collaborate but we do not need to fawn as these will only happen if they are real and in our mutual interest. The EU was never our best friend and has revealed since we left just how much it still wants to control us in its interests and those of its two leading powerful members, France and Germany.

Indeed, countries do not normally have best friends. Nations have interests and join alliances of likeminded nations for stated purposes or on a case by case basis.

243 Comments

  1. Sea_Warrior
    August 23, 2021

    Well said – and yet the PM and much of Whitehall will, in the wake of the Kabul debacle, continue to stress that Pakistan is a friend. It isn’t; time for sanctions, Sir John.

    1. MiC
      August 23, 2021

      Here’s something that my late father – an Arnhem survivor – said to me:

      “You can never have too many friends – but you definitely can have one too many enemies.”

      It seems that either no one gave this advice to the brexit Tories, or if they did then they were ignored.

      Incidentally, here’s a headline from today: “UK food firms beg ministers to let them use prisoners to ease labour shortages”

      Do you want your food processed by criminals?

      You can add that to the list of things for which you claim to have voted in 2016, can’t you?

      1. Sea_Warrior
        August 23, 2021

        Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn!

      2. NickC
        August 23, 2021

        That’s pretty pathetic even by your standards, Martin. The whole point of JR’s post is that being independent is better than being the lapdog of this country’s friends. And the EU is not even our friend, and never has been. We decided that being ruled by bureaucrats from Brussels was not for us. I know you’re afraid of change, but you must learn to catch up.

        1. Nota#
          August 23, 2021

          @NickC – So true, amazed some still don’t get the difference between being able to create, amend and repeal, laws, rules and regulations by democratic means and being ruled by a committee with no elected responsibility or accountability

          1. Gary Megson
            August 23, 2021

            An inexplicable comment. EU rules are set by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament – every single one is elected, every single one is accountable. More than 5 years on from the referendum, you Brexiters STILL don’t understand the first thing about the EU

          2. Peter2
            August 23, 2021

            Greg
            Check how many times new laws, rules, regulations and directives created by the Commission are ever blocked by the Council or the Parliament.
            It seems some remainers STILL don’t understand the first thing about the EU.

          3. MiC
            August 24, 2021

            The consensual method by which laws are made in the European Union is completely different from the adversarial system in party political legislatures.

            The laws are nor presented for approval until after comprehensive consultation and appropriate adjustments have been made.

            If, during that, it becomes clear that the project is a non-starter, then it is abandoned.

            Not only that but such laws are only within the limited remit of the Treaties anyway, and those were drafted to exclude almost everything which might prove controversial – not that it satisfied the absolutist curtain-twitchers of the Leave vote here of course.

            Gary is correct – you haven’t even grasped the basics.

          4. Nota#
            August 24, 2021

            @Gary Megson – To answer you assertion and to paraphrase Daniel Hannan previously the MEP for South East England when writing in the media during the Euro Elections ‘People often ask why I am not campaigning in the elections – I don’t have to, I have been appointed as your MEP’

            MEP’s cannot reject, amend or repeal rules, regulations and laws passed to them by the Appointed EU Commission

            Never mind how weak, despicable even, the electorate cannot remove an individual MEP a version of democracy as usually found in dictatorships

          5. MiC
            August 24, 2021

            NotA grain of sense or fact there.

          6. NickC
            August 24, 2021

            Gary and Martin, I happen to be a friend of a civil servant who has actually negotiated outcomes in the so-called “Council of Ministers”. The reality is civil servants from the member states stitch up a deal with each other all subject to EU Commission bureaucrats’ wishes. The hapless Ministers sign on the dotted line. And it is nodded through by the EU’s fig-leaf parliament.

          7. Peter2
            August 24, 2021

            MiC
            You are wrong again on how EU law develops.
            You have dodged the key question.
            How many rules regulations directives and laws invented by the Commission has the EU parliament ever refused to pass?

        2. Ed M
          August 23, 2021

          @Nick,
          You’re exaggerating when you say EU was no friend. It was a friend to a degree (especially in decades after war up to about 1980’s) when Europe was in turmoil in so many ways because of WW2). The EEC (although flawed) provided some important stability.
          Can everyone on both sides stop exaggerating.
          Yes, in theory the UK is better out of the EU than inside it. A country should always aim to be sovereign. And in practise, Brexiters won the debate. We are a democratic country. And Remainers must respect the decision – more – unite behind Brexit.
          But don’t exaggerate about the negatives of the EU either (that just aggravates Remainers – you want to win over Remainers heart and spirit, right, as opposed to taunt them and keep the country divided?) Especially as we want to have as strong relations as possible with Europe (not the EU) OUTSIDE the EU / Single Market. As close relations as possible in Trade, Culture and Security (without being in the EU / Single Market).

      3. No Longer Anonymous
        August 23, 2021

        Time to scrap useless degrees and get young people working for a living.

      4. ukretired123
        August 23, 2021

        @MiC
        With friends like EU who needs enemies?

      5. jon livesey
        August 23, 2021

        It’s refreshing to see Andy admit that the EU are our enemies. It makes a change from the usual “They love us so much and are just sad that we are so ungrateful”.

        But, by the way, exactly *why* are the EU our enemies? All we did was to exercise Article 50, which is part of the EU Constitution, and which *they* boasted proved that EU membership is voluntary.

        Is EU membership voluntary or not? If it is, then where does the “enemies” bit come from?

        1. MiC
          August 23, 2021

          From your fevered imagination, apparently.

          1. NickC
            August 24, 2021

            By boasting they had made the UK into an EU colony, perhaps, Martin? Is that what friends do?

      6. Fedupsoutherner
        August 23, 2021

        It’s the EU not being friendly MIC. Going on about Brexit again. I second Sea Warrior. Yaaaaaaawn.

      7. Micky Taking
        August 23, 2021

        and to add another quote ‘your dog probably adores you and offers unquestioning love, but don’t try taking his food bowl away when he wants to eat the contents’. Love only goes so far.

      8. Mary M.
        August 24, 2021

        Dear MiC,
        We salute your late father for risking his life at Arnhem.

        “UK food firms beg ministers to let them use prisoners to ease labour shortages”.

        Excellent idea. So often people who have ‘done time’ leave prison with no skills and no sense of purpose. Contributing to putting the country back on its feet in this way could give them a sense of purpose, and on leaving prison they might hold their heads a little higher.

        Mary M.

      9. MiC
        August 24, 2021

        I see that the big burger chain has run out of milkshakes, owing to the lorry driver dearth.

        Heavens, it only remains for Netto etc. to run out of Cheese Strings and the Leave voters will be well and truly panic-stricken, won’t they?

    2. glen cullen
      August 23, 2021

      We’ve tried the carrot for 30 years perhaps we should start using the stick ie sanctions on trade, visas and aid

      1. Micky Taking
        August 23, 2021

        or even just ignore.

  2. Peter
    August 23, 2021

    “Indeed, countries do not normally have best friends. ”

    True, but when you allow vast swathes of your country’s assets to be sold to other nations you can find yourself beholden to those nations whether you like it or not.

    1. The Prangwizard
      August 23, 2021

      Our desperation for foreign currency taking a short-term easy option and our subjugation is a modern-day disaster. Another example of weak leadership and the trashing of our sovereignty.

      1. NickC
        August 23, 2021

        Just so, Prangwizard.

      2. graham1946
        August 23, 2021

        It’s a case of a quick buck to the already rich, nothing more. Same old, same old. Companies should stop issuing shareholdings to ‘directors’ who are no more than managers who will sell the firm out at the first opportunity of big money coming to them personally. It happens every time. The shareholders are no better, they are mugs persuaded by short term gains, even the so-called professionals in the pensions industry, who rely on such buyouts to cover their own deplorable trading records. It is often said that a pin stuck in the FT will perform better, and certainly index trackers do.

        1. Sakara Gold
          August 23, 2021

          Absolute rubbish. You clearly have no idea of how real money is made in the City. Tried your hand at trading and lost a packet did you? Best to shut up and let the professionals look after your money then. If you have any left.

          1. Mike Wilson
            August 23, 2021

            Let the professionals look after your money?!

            Like Neil Woodford?

            Can you name any fund that has consistently beaten the index it most closely relates to over a 10 year period? They are snake oil salesmen – all of them.

            I’d like to know of one fund manager who takes their fee from the profits they make you. No profit, no fee. Big profit, big fee.

      3. JPM
        August 23, 2021

        When companies or individuals from outside the UK buy assets in the UK they need Sterling to do so. Their buying of this Sterling increases the value of our currency.

        No desperation required.

    2. MFD
      August 23, 2021

      Sir John,
      I agree with every word of your diary entry today , but also Peters sentiment about the sale of our countries assets, mainly to asset strippers who destroy the industry and leave with the gold.

      The world market does not work as one always has to deal with the greedy, and how did we get to the point where we allow China to build atomic reactors and we have to pay exorbitant prices( Mrs May was so silly).
      My father was right all those years ago when he said “ self first”.
      Your colleagues need to wake up and smell the roses we could be enjoying!

      1. JPM
        August 23, 2021

        When foreign companies or individuals buy assets in the UK they cannot “leave with the gold” as they have exchanged their gold for Sterling, and then used this Sterling to buy assets. The only way they can “leave with the gold” is if they subsequently sell their assets, perhaps accruing a profit if their stewardship has been wise.

        In this case they might also accrue an income stream, in Sterling, while at they hold those assets.

        Those economies which resist foreign ownership of assets, typically those from developing economies, are usually countries with poor regulatory standards, poorly developed economies, and low standards of living.

        We should welcome investors from abroad, they make our economy stronger.

        1. dixie
          August 23, 2021

          The likes of the vampire kangaroo and similar suggests you are incorrect about them “leaving with the gold” only by selling the assets.
          There are investors and there are vampires and there are asset strippers.

    3. Nota#
      August 23, 2021

      @Peter – The aim by successive UK Governments is to ensure that the UK cannot be Governed by Democratic means.

    4. Mockbeggar
      August 23, 2021

      Britain shouldn’t have ‘friends’, it should have interests.

      1. Jumeirah
        August 24, 2021

        Quite right! We have NEVER “had friends” we only have INTERESTS but down the years our political ‘gnomes’ have never acknowledge that and one very CLEAR example of that is our ‘special relationship’ with America. British Politicians have always (and still do) trumped and flag waved our Special Relationship but THAT has never been the objective of the ‘other side’ in this Special Relationship(?). Americans are great ‘users’ of people to further their own interests and why not and those being ‘used’ should remember that! There is no ‘Special Relationship’ between the United States and ourselves and I don’t believe that they have ever said that there was to give them their due! This has come out quite clearly in the disgraceful debacle in Afghanistan where America (in control as usual) ” the side ” down. NEVER AGAIN must we enter into a foreign conflict with America’ as ‘allies’ where they call the shots for whatever reason including the fictious raison d’etre that some place in the world might or will become a centre of terrorism against the West. Stiffen up and protect our own borders we have the Intel to do this. Spend the money to do this not lose the precious lives of our Armed Forces on unwinnable conflicts overseas- we have absolutely ‘no interest’ in doing that nor do we have a Special Relationship. ALSO with American Base here curtail their power in control these -no longer is it acceptable for us to ‘put in’ a British Wing Commander rubber stamping orders and ceding overall control of the Station to an American Officer and if you do not believe that that is the ACTUAL situation then Bull…. baffles Brains. Take away their control in these Bases and they will LEAVE almost immediately. Ah but NATO! We can still be a major part of that because lets be honest the Europeans are not up to it.

  3. Leggat
    August 23, 2021

    Your misunderstanding of British history is total. From Elizabeth the first to Elizabeth the second our one single aim is not to have the powers of continental Europe united against us. Your crazed Brexit has achieved exactly that. We are not independent, we are economically subservient to the EU and militarily to the US. No one in the world cares what the UK thinks any more, as Afghanistan has just shown. Brexit, a project of fools, and a disaster

    1. Sea_Warrior
      August 23, 2021

      I disagree – totally. We have far more independence of action now that we are free of the Evil Empire. I hope that a ‘Conservative’ government, with a healthy majority, will start using it.

      1. Andy
        August 23, 2021

        We are free to not be able to sell sausages to ourselves.

        1. Mike Wilson
          August 23, 2021

          Some vicious sod is stopping us from selling sausages to ourselves. They must be very nasty.

          1. Fedupsoutherner
            August 23, 2021

            Mike the vicious sod is called the EU. Best tell Mic that. He seems to think they are lovely guys.

        2. Micky Taking
          August 23, 2021

          The Germans would be livid …what no sausages!!

        3. NickC
          August 24, 2021

          Everything wrong with BINO invilves the EU, Andy.

    2. Cheshire Girl
      August 23, 2021

      Well, if no one in the World cares what the UK thinks, they wont need our Aid and assistance will they. We can spend that money here, for the benefit of the British people – and not before time!

      1. Everhopeful
        August 23, 2021

        Hear hear!!

      2. Enrico
        August 23, 2021

        If only Cheshire Girl.

      3. Micky Taking
        August 23, 2021

        If we haven’t realised the begging bowl wins us smiles and thanks only while they need it. Otherwise we are ignored.

    3. SM
      August 23, 2021

      And just when have ‘the powers of continental Europe’ actually been united?

      Yes, it’s very good for everyone that under the Common Market/EU they have not, for the first time in history, actually been at war with each other since 1945, and I sincerely hope that peace continues.

      What I cannot understand is why such ‘powers’ should be united against the UK, especially since commentators of your ilk consider it to be so pathetic?

    4. Mark B
      August 23, 2021

      Go on to YouTube and type in the Search Box – sir humphrey explains brexit

      Then go and look at the mess that the EU is, especially the Club Med States. Then come back and lecture us on BREXIT.

      If BREXIT is a mess, it is because you REMAINERS made it so.

      1. Andy
        August 23, 2021

        Brexit is a mess. And as a rejoiner I find it funny that you clowns blame people like me for it.

        Grow a pair and own the mess you have made. We’ll undo it soon enough anyway and will make sure there are plenty of cells for the perpetrators.

        1. None of the Above
          August 23, 2021

          No Andy, remainers made a mess of Brexit and, for good measure, brought Parliament into disrepute.

        2. Denis Cooper
          August 23, 2021

          There are not enough cells in the Tower of London where some of your chums rightly belong.

      2. Gary Megson
        August 23, 2021

        Brexit is a mess because of those of us who said it would be a mess and voted against it? Utter nonsense, sir. Kindly behave like an adult, and accept responsibility for the immense harm you have unleashed on our nation

        1. bill brown
          August 23, 2021

          Gary

          Argue and prove it instead of emotional reactions which have no purpose

          1. MiC
            August 24, 2021

            Bill you’re almost asking Gary to prove that water is wet or that rocks are hard.

            The recent shortages of lorry drivers, food processors, crop harvesters, hospitality and care workers alone are enough, but then there’s the huge damage to the UK’s standing – such as it ever was – for trustworthiness, good sense and honour.

            This has been noted, in the restrained language of dignified international figures.

          2. NickC
            August 24, 2021

            So our independence offends “dignified international figures”, Martin? Well, colour me grief stricken!

        2. Mike Wilson
          August 23, 2021

          Will you accept responsibility for 50% youth unemployment in Southern Europe? Thought not.

          Funny, really. The EU is so fundamentally undemocratic yet people like you think it isn’t. Even Macron said a while ago that he thought the French people would vote to leave – GIVEN the chance. Of course he, like all Eurocrats, does not hold with democracy.

          1. MiC
            August 24, 2021

            All twenty-seven member countries have written constitutions incorporating their membership.

            In none of them would a 52:48 referendum – especially one which excluded other taxpaying Europeans living there from voting – give authority to change those constitutions.

            Since Macron – who is a national not a European Union figure – made his misreported remark polls show that support for the project has increased anyway.

            Cinque Stelle in Italy are now an expressly pro-European party for instance.

            Looking at the shambles here that is hardly surprising, is it?

          2. Peter2
            August 24, 2021

            Yet narrow results of referenda in Wales and in Europe were used to create acceptance of Treaties and devolution.

        3. NickC
          August 24, 2021

          But the part of Brexit where we have actually left the EU is not a mess, Gary. It’s only the part where the EU still controls us (Northern Ireland, Fishing, etc) which is a mess. Learn from that.

      3. Enrico
        August 23, 2021

        Well said Mark B.

      4. DavidJ
        August 23, 2021

        Indeed.

      5. DavidJ
        August 23, 2021

        +1

      6. Fedupsoutherner
        August 23, 2021

        +1

    5. Peter Wood
      August 23, 2021

      You are correct in your first line, but mistaken in thinking the the EU represents a ‘united europe’. The EU is dishonest in its machinations to effect a ‘united states of Europe’, look at the various referenda around Europe that have been ignored, backdoor deals done. But most important is the battle to come for supremacy between Germany and France, again! Germany pays for the EU and France thinks the EU is there to give it life support. The EU will be torn apart by these two.

      1. Andy
        August 23, 2021

        No referenda have been ignored. But, as usual, Brexitists choose to lie because they are too arrogant and ignorant to educate themselves.

        So let me help.

        France and the Netherlands voted against a proposed EU constitution. Guess what? There is no EU constitution precisely because it was rejected. It never happened.

        Ireland voted against the Lisbon Treaty. The EU and Irish government worked together to fix Ireland’s specific objections to the treaty – it was literally changed to address Ireland’s concerns- and the revised offering was then approved.

        This is how the grow up world works. Perhaps a difficult concept for you Brexit toddlers.

        1. graham1946
          August 23, 2021

          No EU Constitution? You prove yet again that you know nothing about the EU you cherish. Do some research and stop inventing your own ‘facts’.

        2. Peter2
          August 23, 2021

          Lisbon and Mastricht are effectively the EUs constitution.

          1. hefner
            August 23, 2021

            What about letting people who might know a bit more than you do, P2 and G46, decide:
            ‘The Lisbon Treaty: A constitutional document, not a constitution – A British perspective’
            http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/50047
            Also as ASLR, 1, 83-95, ISSN 2045-7340.

            And the last sentence ‘…despite its highly significant institutional and constitutional reforms, the Lisbon Treaty ranks as just another constitutional document, not a formal constitution’.

            And in that it is not so different from what the UK has …

          2. bill brown
            August 23, 2021

            they are additions to the Rome-treaty , so no you are wrong

          3. Peter2
            August 23, 2021

            Oh hello again hef.
            Sussex Uni…is that your unbiased academic paper refence.
            Maybe a quote from a well known remain group as well to bolster your argument.

          4. Peter2
            August 23, 2021

            Yes bill I know they add to the original treaty of Rome.
            But the effect of adding Mastricht and especially Lisbon treaties is very significant.

        3. Sea_Warrior
          August 23, 2021

          The Lisbon Treaty is pretty much what the EU Constitution would have been. Lisbon was a rebranding exercise.

        4. Denis Cooper
          August 23, 2021

          “Ireland voted against the Lisbon Treaty. The EU and Irish government worked together to fix Ireland’s specific objections to the treaty – it was literally changed to address Ireland’s concerns – and the revised offering was then approved.”

          The same old lie:

          https://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2019/02/09/the-irish-border-2/#comment-994574

          “That’s strange, I distinctly remember the Irish opponents of the Lisbon Treaty saying that people were being made to vote again on the same treaty.

          Let’s have a look in the files … what about this?

          https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/worthless-guarantees-fail-to-win-over-treaty-opponents-26499045.html?r=RSS

          “Despite the decision to allow the State to retain its EU commissioner, Sinn Fein, Libertas, the Socialist Party and others maintain that the content of the Lisbon Treaty remains unchanged.”

          “Former Green Party MEP Patricia McKenna also said that she was planning to lead the campaign to get her party on the ‘No’ side in the forthcoming referendum.

          “The treaty still remains the same, not one comma has been moved out of it”

          1. MiC
            August 24, 2021

            So what happened then?

            Were the Irish marched to the booths at gunpoint and stood over, while they voted to approve or to reject the modifications?

            In the upside-down world of the brexitist, it appears that more, refined democracy, is less.

          2. Denis Cooper
            August 24, 2021

            There were no modifications for them to approve or reject, that is the point.

        5. Mike Wilson
          August 23, 2021

          Strange. That’s not what people who actually know what they are talking about said.

          https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2008/dec/13/eu-ireland-lisbon-treaty

          Sorry, but if you are going to rewrite history, don’t be surprised if someone fact checks you.

          Here is a little extract, in case reading the whole article makes you crawl away with embarrassment.

          according to Valery Giscard d’Estaing, the current Lisbon treaty is the “same as the constitution”

          1. MiC
            August 24, 2021

            In wording it may well be very similar, but it does not have generally-understood CONSTITUTIONAL STATUS.

            Which means that it may be amended like any other treaty.

            That is the world of difference.

          2. NickC
            August 24, 2021

            There is no difference, Martin. The EU has a constitution, currently largely based on the Lisbon treaty. Previously the EU’s constitution wasn’t based on Lisbon. The EU’s constitution can be amended, as Lisbon showed. Lisbon is near identical to the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe (ie, a treaty), apart from re-numbered articles.

        6. Know-Dice
          August 24, 2021

          At least the people of the ROI got a vote on Lisbon, and were thrown some bread crumbs and told to vote again and get it right this time…

        7. NickC
          August 24, 2021

          Andy, The 2016 Referendum has been ignored – we got BINO not Leave (Northern Ireland, Fishing, etc). France and the Netherlands voted against the EU Constitution but the Lisbon Treaty (almost word for word, article for article, identical to the EU Constitution) was imposed upon them. Everything the EU touches is corrupted. And that especially applies to what democracy is left in the EU empire.

      2. bill brown
        August 23, 2021

        Peter,

        Can we please have some facts how this is going to happen and when?

        1. Peter2
          August 23, 2021

          Why don’t you provide some counter arguments and facts bill?

          1. NickC
            August 24, 2021

            He can’t, he’s lost in the bushes like Biden.

          2. hefner
            August 28, 2021

            P2, When I see the type of counter arguments regarding the Sussex University document I had quoted (and you likely did not read) I am just inclined to consider you as not worth a further comment.

    6. formula57
      August 23, 2021

      @ Leggat – Your misunderstanding of British history is total. From Elizabeth the first to Elizabeth the second amongst our principal aims was to oppose the chief power in continental Europe. Our redeeming Brexit has made that explicit once again.

    7. Peter2
      August 23, 2021

      Leggat
      Give us examples of exactly how the UK has the powers of the 27 EU member nations united against us.
      And it isnt correct that we are economically subservient to the EU.
      Our relationship was one where we paid 12 billion a year for membership, were one of the top contributing members and had a trading deficit with the EU of 85 billion a year.
      Trade continues between us and Europe since Brexit which is another remainer Project Fear claim destroyed.
      And Biden totally ignored the EU when he made his ruinous decisions on Afghanistan.

      1. bill brown
        August 23, 2021

        Peter 2

        the EU has nothing to do with teh NATO operation in Afghanistan , he shhould have consulted NATO not the EU, but it does not seem to make any difference to you when it comes to real facts

        1. JPM
          August 23, 2021

          It was a “real fact”, Bill.

          The US didn’t consult the EU, or indeed NATO, when it decided to withdraw from Afghanistan like a thief in the night.

          1. Micky Taking
            August 23, 2021

            A military ‘moonlight flit’.
            Creep out in the dead of night without paying the debts and leaving the place in a mess – thats what the Biden presidency has done.

          2. Peter2
            August 23, 2021

            Thank you JPM
            I agree with all you have said.

        2. Peter2
          August 23, 2021

          Rubbish bill.
          The claim is that Biden didn’t involve the UK due to Brexit.
          But Biden didn’t talk to the EU.
          Do you understand the point?
          Do try and keep up.

        3. Mike Wilson
          August 23, 2021

          Make your mind up. I thought you thought the EU was responsible for peace in Europe. Whereas, normal people know that the occupation of Germany after WW2 and NATO is what has kept the peace.

      2. hefner
        August 23, 2021

        First P2 you will have to bring to the fore the proof that ‘the EU 27 member nations (are) united against us’.

        It might please you to think that the UK is (again) alone against the whole EU (ah, 39-41, such a brilliant time). After all that is the type of arguments that a lot of past demagogues have used to impose their will on their populations, the besieged fortress and all that sort of things. Do you think our PM would dare use such a vile device?

        Second, looking at a few things presently going on in some of the EU27 countries I doubt very much that there is a EU ‘unified front’ against anything, even less against the UK whose future appears to have completely disappeared from most prominent continental newspapers. There’s the anti-pass sanitaire tumult and some ongoing wildfire in France, wildfire in Greece, crazy high temperatures in southern Italy and Spain, the coming September election in Germany, …

        But you must have your dedicated sources …

        1. Peter2
          August 23, 2021

          Oh hello again hef.
          No reply to my question.
          I am disappointed in you.
          I asked for some examples of a bold statement made by Leggat and neither you or bill have provided me with a single thing.

          1. hefner
            August 24, 2021

            P2, you take yourself too seriously. Why should I answer your dumb question, given that its premise does not appear particularly valid: ‘the powers of the 27 EU member nations united against us’.
            Give me a proof of the validity of your statement, as you were the first with this argument.

        2. NickC
          August 24, 2021

          Hefner, Ever since the Roman Empire there have been attempts in Europe to recreate it. The EU is only the latest. We decided we didn’t want to be a mere colony (despite EU boasts), so the EU – always hostile to the “anglo-saxons” – continues its hostility to the ex-colony that refused to continue in subservience. The EU, and you, will have to learn to grow up and accept it.

        3. Peter2
          August 24, 2021

          I take myself too seriously…..dumb question you say hef.
          Very odd.
          Just a simple request for an example of the original claim.
          Surely Leggat and you and bill have at least one response to my challenge.
          Always running away after shouting personal abuse.

          1. hefner
            August 28, 2021

            P2, have you the skin so thin that you take everything opposing your often vacuous comments as ‘personal abuse’. As for your ‘challenge’, you must be kidding as 99% of the time there is nothing original in them.

            Have you recently registered to Deluded.101 at your favourite U.?

    8. Nota#
      August 23, 2021

      @Leggat. The most important element to the safety and security of any nation is Democracy. The right of the People to decided to create, amend, and repeal the laws, rules and regulations that affect their daily life. The EU does not permit that at any level. The EU Commission the rulers of the EU are not democratically elected, they are not democratically accountable – yet weald the same powers as the Taliban

      1. bill brown
        August 23, 2021

        The Taliban run and governm a country the EU is a multinational institution not a country so I am afraid you are wrong.

        1. Denis Cooper
          August 23, 2021

          https://www.independent.ie/business/brexit/meps-warn-uks-diplomatic-downgrade-will-hurt-relations-40024458.html

          “MEPs warn UK’s diplomatic downgrade will hurt relations”

          “The row over the UK’s intention to treat the EU’s embassy in London the same as international organisations – without full diplomatic privileges and immunities – blew up last week after a leak of letters to the BBC.”

        2. Peter2
          August 23, 2021

          Are you really trying to claim the Taliban are running and governing a country?
          A dreadful extremist misogynistic violent band of thugs that murder torture loot and abuse women and children who have invaded and taken over a country by force?
          Have you not seen the scenes on TV?
          My goodness bill a new low from you.

          1. Fedupsoutherner
            August 23, 2021

            +100

        3. Mike Wilson
          August 23, 2021

          No. The EU try to run 27 countries. Taliban plus.

        4. Nota#
          August 24, 2021

          @bill brown – the word democracy was chosen and yes the political elite interpret for their own benefit. To paraphrase Daniel Hannan previously the MEP for South East England when writing in the media during the Euro Elections ‘People often ask why I am not campaigning in the elections – I don’t have to, I have been appointed as your MEP’ MEP’s cannot reject, amend or repeal rules, regulations and laws passed to them by the Appointed EU Commission

          The Taliban have control of a Country in the same way the EU Commission believes it is a Country, and has control of it, with an Embassy in London, a seat at the G7. EU states might think the are Countries but that is not the thinking of the EU Commissions. For most of mainland Europe the legislator is the EU Commission, the Highest Court in the land is the EU Commissions own EU Court.

    9. Donna
      August 23, 2021

      The idea that the powers of continental Europe are united against us is risible. Only half of the countries in Europe are in the EU and they have major disagreements between the southern/northern members and the eastern/western ones.

    10. Andy
      August 23, 2021

      Indeed. The failure of Brexit is a stain on our country, albeit an entirely predictable and self inflicted one.

      1. NickC
        August 23, 2021

        Is there something especially incapable about the UK – compared to the rest of the world – that makes it necessary for us to be ruled by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, Andy?

        1. bill brown
          August 23, 2021

          NIckC

          the question is not relevant as it is no longer the case

          1. NickC
            August 24, 2021

            It is relevant, Bill, because Andy wants the UK to continue to be ruled by the EU.

      2. None of the Above
        August 23, 2021

        For once I agree with you Andy but that is the responsibility of the antidemocratic remainers.
        You do not see it that way because you clearly value a technocratic dictatorship over our Parliamentary Democracy.

    11. No Longer Anonymous
      August 23, 2021

      “No one in the world cares what the UK thinks any more, as Afghanistan has just shown. Brexit, a project of fools, and a disaster”

      Don’t you dare say that we must lead the world on climate change then.

      (Thank you for skewering our Andy so beautifully.)

    12. Mitchel
      August 23, 2021

      A member of the Russian delegation at the St Petersburg G8 in July 2006:”Britain is just a small island off the coast of Europe that no-one listens to anymore.”

      Russian foreign ministry after meeting Boris Johnson as foreign secretary for the first time :”He is not a serious person.”

      I’d say that is two out of two.

      1. Original Richard
        August 23, 2021

        Mitchel :

        I would like to repeat Cheshire Girl’s excellent comment above :

        “Well, if no one in the World cares what the UK thinks, they wont need our Aid and assistance will they. We can spend that money here, for the benefit of the British people – and not before time!”

        I would add that there is also no point then in attempting to lead the World in the reduction of CO2 emmissions and we can instead follow everyone else and prevent the economic and social catastrophe that will result from implementing a technically unachievable and King Canute type goal.

        1. Mitchel
          August 24, 2021

          I totally agree with you;can we please get rid of the entire British Establishment -a self-serving,self-regarding,immensely expensive imperial superstructure even bigger than when we actually had an empire.

      2. Micky Taking
        August 23, 2021

        Run by a Napolean like midget – Putin, and one day some power will PUT IN his place and it won’t be pretty.

    13. mongoose
      August 23, 2021

      In fact, Brexit has resulted in further stress upon the creaking structure of the EU and so can be said to be a continuation of the Elizabeth-to-Elizabeth policy you describe.

      1. MiC
        August 23, 2021

        And just how united is the “United” Kingdom since your brexit, then?

        1. Fedupsoutherner
          August 23, 2021

          MIC. It wasn’t united before Brexit. Did you miss the Scottish Independence Referendum?

    14. Sir Joe Soap
      August 23, 2021

      1. Brexit – so your idea would have been for Cameron and the UK electorate to have given in to Merkel on some fairly thin issues? Undoubtedly a Remain result would be now have us as part of the Euro, European Army, Schengen and goodness knows what else. Late players from across the sea with bit-parts to play. No thanks.

      2. Military – You’re confusing political imbeciles with actions on the ground – you’ll find respect on the ground between ours and US troops. Which other nations have you noticed that with? Just because we have a soppy wet President temporarily, don’t think that will be the case for the long term.

    15. NickC
      August 23, 2021

      Leggat, The whole point of the centuries old UK policy to “not to have the powers of continental Europe united against us” is so that the UK is not taken over by it. You advocate the opposite! Being absorbed by a single continental power (the EU, currently) is hardly the antidote to that power. It seems it is you that misreads history.

      1. bill brown
        August 23, 2021

        Nickc

        A single European power would be a country or an empire like th Roman empire, but I know you make no distinction even if it is wrong?

        1. NickC
          August 24, 2021

          Well, of course the EU is an empire. All you have to do is look up the definition of “empire” in an English dictionary to confirm it. And have you no notion of the symbolism of the Treaty of Rome that founded the EU empire? Evidently not.

      2. SM
        August 23, 2021

        +1

    16. JPM
      August 23, 2021

      Oh dear, so much so wrong in such a short comment.

      You apparently misunderstand British policy towards Europe on a centuries-long scale. The point of British policy was not to stop Europe uniting against us, but to stop any one country dominating Europe. In that aim the EU is the very embodiment of our policy failure, not the response to that failure.

  4. Len Peel
    August 23, 2021

    The UK certainly did not stand alone from 1939 to 1941. Shameful that you are ignorant of Canada, Australia, NZ, let alone brave Irish, Polish, Indian etc soldiers

    Reply 1939-41 saw the defeat of our continental allies, France,Belgium and Netherlands and left the UK taking the brunt of the hit which took the form of a major bombing campaign against the UK preparatory to invasion. Yes, some Commonwealth and Polish personnel helped us in the Battle of Britain and I have amended the text accordingly.

    1. Sea_Warrior
      August 23, 2021

      I’ll agree with some of the thrust of your argument but:
      – France deserves a mention, declaring war on Germany in 1939, for much the same reasons as us.
      – The immediate support by the dominions you mention, none of which faced danger of invasion by Germany, was of an order above that by any others.
      – India wasn’t independent, so didn’t have much choice in the matter. (Indian Army troops fought well with the 8th and 14th Armies but very badly in Malaya, with many subsequently serving the Japanese.)
      – The many Irish who signed up for the British armed forces brought glory to an Ireland that was otherwise shamed by its neutrality-preserving, Brit-hating government.
      – The ‘Free’ Poles fought with distinction, and cracked Enigma before us, but, had Germany attacked France and the UK in mid-1939, leaving Poland alone, I would guess that Poland wouldn’t have declared war against Germany to help us.
      Well that’s enough history. I’m off to YouTube to catch some more charging by the Aussie light cavalry at Beersheba in WW1. Splendid stuff! It reminds me who our true friends are in this world.

      1. Peter
        August 23, 2021

        Sea-Warrior,

        Britain was the Irish Free State’s equivalent of the EU – except that freedom took hundreds of years and much bloodshed rather than decades

        Britain then engaged in a trade war to try and maintain its stranglehold over the newly independent country.

        Neutrality was decided on as appropriate for a small country. Churchill subsequently admitted he was considering invading Ireland if this was thought helpful to Britain.

        So Ireland has nothing to apologise for – despite all the weasel words about world wars for small nations like Belgium.

    2. Julian Flood
      August 23, 2021

      273 members of 311 Czechoslovak Sqn died between 1940 and 1945 while operating from Honington and East Wretham. Truly a world war. I happened to photograph the tiny memorial plaque the other day.

      JF

      Reply Yes indeed, various brave individuals from occupied Europe joined the UK forces to fight Hitler. This article is about country alliances. All their countries had been annexed by force by Germany so did not ally with us.

    3. formula57
      August 23, 2021

      @ Reply – If amendments are in order (never-ending and increasingly abstruse) then it might be noted that the tax burden had largely been removed by the time of the Boston tea party and it was the large land-owners who were amongst those pushing for revolution, one of the largest being G. Washington, thereby showing once again that revolutions are typically just circulations of elites.

    4. Mitchel
      August 23, 2021

      And “with an alliance of smaller states……. we stood up to Napoleon’s attempt to enforce European union.”

      I’d hardly call the Habsburg empire or Tsarist Russia smaller states.The former did much of the heavy lifting in the early stages (and during the 1813/4 campaign it was the Austrian commander,Radetzy,immortalized in the famous march,who guided the army of the continental allies to a spectacular victory at the Battle of the Nations) and the latter which delivered the sucker punch that marked the beginning of the end.

      You should also credit Sweden (along with Holland)in the religious wars of the 16th century.They blunted the counter-reformation zeal of Jesuit-ridden Poland-Lithuania,the Pope’s other instrument along with the Spanish Habsburgs.Unfortunately for Sweden,they ,like Poland,fancied a bite out of Orthodox Russia and over the course of a century Russia destroyed them both,Poland first,Sweden later.

    5. NickC
      August 24, 2021

      Len Peel, Actually the UK did stand alone in Europe against a (north western) Continent entirely subjugated by Germany. The only other European country left standing was Soviet Russia with which Germany had a pact, so was not fighting (excepting countries where Germany respected their neutrality – Spain, Sweden, Eire).

  5. Roy Grainger
    August 23, 2021

    Under their current leadership both the EU and USA are unappealing and unreliable allies with isolationist mindsets. Far better to forge new links via initiatives like CPTPP.

    1. MFD
      August 23, 2021

      +1 Exactly!

    2. Andy
      August 23, 2021

      A Brexitist accusing everybody else of being isolationist. You really can’t make this stuff up.

      1. NickC
        August 23, 2021

        Well, Andy, you frequently make stuff up. Like 55,000 extra HMRC staff, medicine shortages, and using the savings from EU low power toasters to run battery cars. And better to be “isolated” and independent than a mere overlooked region of your EU empire.

      2. acorn
        August 23, 2021

        Brexit isn’t the first time the UK has left Europe, we did it in the 19th Century. A period called the “Splendid Isolation”. Trump and Johnson have both reprised the original script by Prime Minister Lord Salisbury. In those days, Imperial Britain was the centre of global trade, it had no need for friends and allies; nobody was strong enough to take on its Navy. Or so it thought then; apparently we still have some politicians who believe nothing has changed in the 21st Century. Good read at
        “Britain and Europe: From ’Splendid Isolation’ to ’Semi-Detachment’ [article]” (Google “”.)

        1. NickC
          August 24, 2021

          Acorn, The UK has never left Europe. We have now partly left a corrupt latter-day ersatz copy of the Roman Empire. It was a political decision about a political entity. It’s not about geography.

  6. Nig l
    August 23, 2021

    Spot on. Using Theresa May/Andrew Mitchell as examples their ‘best friends/loss of influence’ argument is merely an obvious cover to push their own political views which are contrary to most of the voters.

    And in other news having been subject to a blizzard of propaganda re heat pumps I thought I would speak to experts rather than accept HMGs B.S.

    All concentration and spin is on the cost of the pump. Nowhere do I read that because they will provide ‘ambient’ warmth nowhere near the output from traditional systems, they will heed to be running far longer, radiators will heed to be far bigger so £3/4 grand, new water tanks, what about people with combis, under floor heating, there goes every ones wooden floors etc, possibly new insulated water or existing pipes covered and higher levels of insulation, not a bit of loft lagging but triple glazed windows etc to create the ‘heat tight’ bubble that you see in colder climes on mainland Europe.

    Finally let’s not forget the instant demand for domestic hot water for people with families. If we go electric what will the cost be and where is the generating capacity?

    New builds, yes start with the standard needed, the rest of the housing stock, up to £40/50 grand a pop.

    Alok Sharma demonstrated an eye watering lack of knowledge or deliberate deceit. Once again a Boris throw away remark has been shown to be built on sand. Stop treating us like fools, you are the ones being foolish.

    1. Nig l
      August 23, 2021

      Apologies. It was Kwasi Kwarteng

  7. DaveM
    August 23, 2021

    Funny you should mention taxation without representation……how history repeats itself.

    1. Everhopeful
      August 23, 2021

      +1

  8. Lifelogic
    August 23, 2021

    Correct.

    So Kwasi Kwarteng admits:- Eco-friendly heat pumps do not work as well as gas boilers for warming up homes because the technology is ‘still in its infancy’. At least he has spotted this!

    Yes they do not work as well, they need larger more tepid radiators, retrofit systems cost about ten times more, cost more to run and maintain, disrupt the whole house and save no or no significant CO2. Sounds like a hard sell to me Kwasi! As to “still their infancy” we have had heat pumps for over 100 years. Rather a long infancy. So why do we have an energy sec and chair of CCC with so little understanding of science, energy, energy economics and energy engineering? Or indeed energy politics net zero will be a disaster at the ballot box once people realise the vast costs, impractical nature and the huge hassle.

    Plus we have no free zero carbon electricity to drive power them. Depressingly Kwasi is actually one of the better & brighter Ministers.

    1. NickC
      August 23, 2021

      With electricity costing about six times more than natural gas for household heating, any technology which relies on electricity (heat pumps, hydrogen production) is bound to be vastly more expensive. This is not only a blow for domestic energy users, it’s shocking for industry too, making the UK uncompetitive. So much for Boris Johnson’s “white heat of technological progress”. Or was that another politician running the country by mindless exhortation?

    2. Mark
      August 23, 2021

      I see the government are now planning to spend £160m on 38,000 Council homes in order to save “up to £170 a year” on their energy bills. Even if they all saved £170, that’s a 25 year payback. In practice savings will only be a fraction of the maximum.

      If they actually bothered to monitor the results it might I suppose tell them that the reality of insulation to net zero standards is a £2 trillion bill across the housing stock, and the lesson will seem cheap at the price. However I fear that they will learn nothing.

      1. Lifelogic
        August 23, 2021

        +1 with interest charges and depreciation there is clearly no payback at all. The vast investment in cladding of Grenville Tower made no sense either. If only the green loons at the council had not wasted their money on this.

  9. Dave Andrews
    August 23, 2021

    It was our friendship with the US that led us being strong-armed into the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
    I’ve just been reading about the waste of money that has been Afghanistan aid over the last 20 years. Vast amounts of western aid have been squandered and misappropriated. £170m per week was being shifted out of the country by drug-traffickers and corrupt officials.
    The latest £330m from the IMF has been cancelled – presumably because there’s no one left whose pockets they can stuff it into.
    The campaign should have been stopped long ago purely on the incompetence of those running it. It’s difficult to see how the Taliban could do a worse job of running the country. If help is being given to Afghanistan, it needs to be done by competent agencies, and that definitely doesn’t include western powers.

    1. NickC
      August 23, 2021

      Dave, That is very true. When our politicians stop having wheezes, stop showering our enemies with cash, and start putting this country first, we’ll know we’re headed for success.

      1. Dave Andrews
        August 23, 2021

        The chilling thought is the entire UK government spending is going to similar waste, not just that under the euphemism of “Foreign Aid”.

    2. Original Richard
      August 23, 2021

      Dave Andrews :

      “Vast amounts of western aid have been squandered and misappropriated. £170m per week was being shifted out of the country by drug-traffickers and corrupt officials.”

      Agreed.

      And worse still it is this Kleptocracy of fraudsters (electoral and financial), corrupt officials, drug dealers, smugglers, and robbers etc. who are now fleeing the Taliban and who our Government are desperate to bring over to the UK.

      Just because Afghans are fleeing from the Taliban does not mean that they are all benign, UK law abiding “asylum seekers” who will be eventually beneficial and friendly towards our country.

      But then we don’t have a Government who prioritises the well-being of its own people above the rest of the World.

  10. Mark B
    August 23, 2021

    Good morning

    . . . political and civil service establishment urging bad ideas on our country in order to avoid the UK being “isolated”.

    Sir John.

    That was an excuse they used to make Ministers do what ‘they’ wanted you to do. ‘They’ were the ones pushing for a lot of this stuff and the EU were willing to oblige. ‘They’ had power without responsibility, accountability and mandate from the people. ‘They’ loved the EU and still do for the reason you highlighted.

    . . . countries do not normally have best friends. Nations have interests . . .

    Which is exactly what I want ! I want us to define our interests (Globally) and act in pursuit of them. Bound to the EU we had to take the ‘Common Interest’ which was in fact a Franco-German one. In the post war and pre-EEC / EU we had to take the USA / Western Alliance interest. Today we should be looking, as I said above, st our own.

  11. alan jutson
    August 23, 2021

    Thank you for confirming my own view that our Civil Service, often puts the interest of others before our own, and has done now for decades past.

    1. bigneil - newer comp
      August 23, 2021

      Often?? – Never is more like it.

  12. Sakara Gold
    August 23, 2021

    In view of your accurate comments this morning, clearly we should immediately reverse Johnson’s rash defence cuts and look to our own security again – as suggested in yesterday’s Sunday Times.

    The Americans may have had a problem with the empire and Pax Britanicum, but according to the US Dept of Defence “Base Structure Report” for FY 2015, the Amercans have 587 overt military bases in 42 countries on all continents – paid for by the US taxpayer but with contributions from the host countries. Many of these are in the Commonwealth.

    There may be more. The US has ~95% of the world’s foreign military bases, with personnel reported in more than 160 countries. The Pentagon is rumoured to be leaving out hundreds of covert and “listening” outposts from the official reports.

  13. Narrow Shoulders
    August 23, 2021

    The main thrust of your argument today is correct Sir John but you write The UK is best when we do what we think is right

    Politicians, Civil servants and quangocrats who rule over us have lost sight of what is right and fixate on what looks good – the two are not the same. Protectionism and self interest is needed more, look after your own please and consider the consequences of proposed actions on the masses trying to better themselves here.

  14. The Prangwizard
    August 23, 2021

    For many years I have shuddered at the use of the phrase ‘special relationship’. I have family in the US so I do have some knowledge of it.

    I don’t really know why it has been used so much here and I do hope it is coming to an end. Is it because politians believe it or do they say it because they want us to believe it. It is often used to cover the truth.

    Until we stop using it we will always feel and behave weak and dependent. The media must get out the habit too.

    1. The Prangwizard
      August 23, 2021

      If I may now add; Armed Forces Minister James Heappey is reported by Sky News as saying we still have ‘the deepest and strongest of relationships’ with the US.

      Who got him to say this or did he think of it himself? If anyone in the States is interested which I doubt then he’s done the required grovelling, and to us here it is a message to all the little frightened people he thinks we are that we shouldn’t worry as the US will always help us out.

      Sickening, whichever way you look at it.

      And now Sky is reporting that ‘Boris’ is to ‘plead’ with Biden to extend his evacuation deadline for Kabul. If they viewed him and our nation as strong they would not use the word plead, but clearly he and our country is seen by them as weak and subservient.

      Will we ever be led by a strong person or will we remain slaves?

      1. Mitchel
        August 23, 2021

        He also referred to the leaders of the G7 as the seven most powerful leaders in the world.What?Justine Trudeau is too busy focussing on “trans” issues and I’m not sure who is running Italy this month.

      2. bigneil - newer comp
        August 23, 2021

        PW – – We already ARE slaves – we pay taxes – so the world can turn up in dinghies and get everything what we have to work for – for free. Housed, NHS, kids schooling,
        benefits, full infrastructure etc etc

  15. Oldtimer
    August 23, 2021

    I agree with your last paragraph about interests and alliances. To be effective a country needs a strong economy. The UK economy is weaker than it should or could be. That reflects the consequences of political decisions made since WW2 notably on taxation, spending priorities and attitudes to foreign ownership of UK assets. Most recently the obsession with CAGW, now relabelled man made climate change, is making the economy weaker. Observers of the weak basis on which such assertions rest will wonder what has become of what was once an influential country as it spirals down into irrelevance.

  16. Sharon
    August 23, 2021

    JR
    The last paragraph sums things up well… countries do not have ‘best friends’.

    Agreeing with everything a friend says is a sign of weakness and of being shallow. That’s not friendship at all. Standing up for and being true to one’s self will command a greater respect from any friend… or country.

  17. Mike Wilson
    August 23, 2021

    Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Britainistan.

    When enough people from Pakistan and Afghanistan live here, surely Mr. Redwood’s government could rename us Britainistan and form the Stan Union.

    1. Mitchel
      August 23, 2021

      With it’s capital Londongrad!

    2. Mitchel
      August 23, 2021

      You missed Turkmenistan!
      Easy to do-it’s something of a hermit state like North Korea but without the menaces.

    3. Original Richard
      August 23, 2021

      Mike Wilson :

      Agreed.

      And it’s not the geography of a country which determines its status as a civilised nation but its people.

  18. Alan Holmes
    August 23, 2021

    The reason Britain was resistant to any leading European power becoming a hegemon is that Britain was the hegemon. We had the largest empire on Earth so to describe us as some sort of resistance is laughable. We have meddled in and waged war with the vast majority of countries in the world throughout our history and we continue to do so. Most of the problems in the Middle East are caused by the arbitrary borders we imposed on them.
    A policy of non interference and minding our own business should be the one applied not only towards foreign affairs but also to the governments affairs here at home, particularly health, eco nonsense and economic meddling.

    Reply From C16 on we intervened to allow countries to be independent on the continent, not to occupy them

    1. Mitchel
      August 23, 2021

      We were the maritime hegemon with an ultimately dominant trading network based on sea power.Sea based trade power replaced land-based through two connected events -the disintegration of the Mongol empire(which had connected most of the Eurasian land mass -the Pax Mongolica-with the Italian maritime republics-Venice in particular, the greatest trading power of it’s day,though the Ottoman conquest of the Byzantine empire ultimately brought the curtain down on Venice ) and the “discovery” of the Americas and the spice route round India by the Portuguese and Spanish and then the Dutch.We were late starters-the first great discovery to the east claimed by the Tudors was the Russia of Ivan the Terrible,which had made a start in absorbing the splintering Mongol Khanates to it’s east,but we were never going to have any control over that trade.However just as we were achieving primacy at sea over the Dutch and French,the Russians,having reaching the Pacific in the 16th century then moved South,knocking lumps out of the Ottoman and Persian empires and from early in the 19th century taking the whole of the Caucasus,central asia and maritime Manchuria.This recreation of a competing bi-continent spanning trade route was the cause of the increasing friction that emerged between Russia and Britain after the Napoleonic wars,particularly as Russia began building railways,notably the Trans-Siberian at the end of the century.However,WWI,the revolution,”communism” and chaos in neighbouring China came along to prevent Russia exploiting this to any great extent.Until now.

      The Russian partnership with China (and Iran) has brought this back to life very forcefully and it’s very bad news for the UK and Holland who,not co-incidentally are the two most anti-Russian governments in the west aside from the US which took over Britain’s trade network after WWII.

    2. SM
      August 23, 2021

      The Sykes-Picot border definitions in the Middle East were devised by the British AND THE FRENCH.

      1. hefner
        August 23, 2021

        SM, you’re absolutely right, see J. Barr ‘A line in the sand: Britain, France and the struggle that shaped the Middle East’, 2012.
        Also highly relevant by the same author ‘Lords of the Desert: Britain’s struggle with America to dominate the Middle East’, 2019.

      2. Mitchel
        August 24, 2021

        Originally there was a set of agreements between Sykes,Picot and Sazanov,the then Russian foreign minister, which covered the apportionment of the Ottoman empire-in Russia’s case they covered Constantinople,the straits and western Armenia.

        Obviously tsarist Russia wasn’t around to collect it’s share when the war ended but Trotsky,on taking control of the foreign ministry, took great pleasure in publishing all these theretofore secret documents in the international press to expose capitalist hypocrisy and imperialism.

  19. Gary Megson
    August 23, 2021

    No one ever suggested the EU should be our “best friend”. Membership of the EU gave us guaranteed access to the markets of our biggest trading partners. Now we have blockages at our ports, shortages of workers in key industries like haulage, hospitality and agriculture, reduced inward investment, firms moving their headquarters out of the Uk to the EU, and we’ve lost Northern Ireland. No alliance will be ever be as helpful to us as the EU was. All lost to this desperate failed Brexit

    1. James1
      August 23, 2021

      Brexit hasn’t failed. It’s just getting started. Unfortunately delayed and somewhat disrupted due in due in part to the pandemic. I believe we will look back and be profoundly pleased that we ignored the project fear lies and opted for Brexit.

    2. Mike Wilson
      August 23, 2021

      @Gary Megson

      Deep twaddle. We had an £85 billion a year trade deficit with our ‘biggest trading partners’. Such a blessing and a benefit – TO THEM!

    3. NickC
      August 24, 2021

      Gary, The EU is not an “alliance” it’s an empire – because all member states are subject to all EU law, and all new EU law (see Lisbon Declaration 17). Every “failure” of “Brexit” is actually a failure of Remain – our fish remain subject to the EU; Northern Ireland remains subject to the EU. Oddly enough all our difficulties with “leaving” the EU are where we haven’t. Which rather proves the Leave case.

      1. MiC
        August 24, 2021

        Some empire, where you can leave by the mere sending of a letter, as the UK did.

  20. Mike Wilson
    August 23, 2021

    What does ‘Global Britain’ mean?

    1. Iago
      August 23, 2021

      It means an already overcrowded country without borders and with overwhelming or unlimited immigration, arranged by the government, of people who often have no liking for or affinity with the indigenous inhabitants whatsoever. It means a country, perhaps no longer a country, whose ministers follow the policies of outsiders such as the World Economic Forum or the Gates Foundation for reasons which are not made clear. It means a country where there is not free speech, this website is an example, and you can be imprisoned or lose your job if you express the wrong opinion.

    2. glen cullen
      August 23, 2021

      Its whatever Phileas Fogg aka Gove says it is

  21. Nota#
    August 23, 2021

    Sir John – indeed.

    The greatest upheaval other than being subjected to the undemocratic rule of the EU. Was the malicious destruction from within started by Blair/Brown, that has continued under those that followed.

    Having associations with the rest of the World, working with them is good. However the UK is no longer involved in this sort arrangement, the UK has by Government dictates become a puppet to others, controlled not by the UK Government or Parliament but by the Political Will of Foreign Powers.

    The energy that should drive our industry and keep us comfortable at home – is politically controlled in foreign domains and subject to their whims. Witness the threat by the French to cut power off in the UK if the UK didn’t obey their orders.

    The UK Military, shrunk to be an irrelevance, is now majority equipped by foreign owned entities. The UK Government sold the UK’s capability off, meaning all resupplies are controlled by the political will of foreign powers. Reminder, it is the UK Government that has sold UK PLC to others, therefore it is the UK Government that is undermining the safety and security of the UK – no one else!

    The list is endless of deliberate UK Government undermining the UK as a whole internationally, and for the last 20 odd years internally.

    The conclusion as it stands today is it is the UK Political Class/Elite that are the enemies of the State.

  22. Everhopeful
    August 23, 2021

    Political correctness has actually replaced politics in this country.
    Clear thinking and wise decisions are not enabled by the shutting down of free speech and thus free thought.
    The wise should have revolted instantly against this back in the 1970s.
    I expect thought that they wanted to be viewed as “progressive” and fun and unstuffy.
    That went well didn’t it?

    1. bigneil - newer comp
      August 23, 2021

      – spot on EverH – – and now the screamers shout about Rights for everthing. – and everyone – no matter how stupid.

      1. Everhopeful
        August 23, 2021

        +1

  23. Everhopeful
    August 23, 2021

    Haha! What chance of getting on with France? We’ll have to wait until the present incumbent goes.
    What if the next one is Le Pen? What will our liberal three headed monster make of that?

    1. MiC
      August 23, 2021

      LePen is economically far to the left of the British Labour Party.

      It is only on social, cultural, and security matters that she is reactionary.

  24. Everhopeful
    August 23, 2021

    Does Truden and Bitrum = they are both the same?
    But where is the “p”?

    1. Micky Taking
      August 24, 2021

      Somebody is taking the p.

  25. Nota#
    August 23, 2021

    The Afghanistan situation has highlighted the deliberate demeaning of the UK by successive Governments. We had brave profession Service Personnel on the ground there, but never enough to do anything constructive. We just don’t have that sort of capability.

    You can never under estimate the Pollical Pressure of Foreign Domains from their own people, so even the best alliances should never be relied on. What Afghanistan as reminded us and highlighted is that successive Governments have deliberately undermined the safety and security of the UK(they have neglected their first duty and priority). If our people cant operate as a self contained, self reliant unit they should never have been deployed.

    An illustration of how those that Government call friends see us. Paraphrasing, the MsM is reporting that the UK troops now on the ground in Afghanistan have been ordered by the US Forces to stay contained and keep out of their way. As they, the US along with their partners the French forces working in unison are trying to expedite the extraction of foreign nationals to a defined deadline.

    The US and French have the manpower the equipment and experience – the UK doesn’t.

    Our PM Mr ‘Grandstanding’ with a ‘Political Gesture’ has been shown his place in the World.

    As we see daily the UK doesn’t even have the manpower, strength of will or equipment to protect its own borders and the World knows it, the EU knows it, the US knows it. That’s why our so-called democratic Government is powerless for anything other than a political gesture.

  26. Donna
    August 23, 2021

    As Blair demonstrated in Iraq and Senile Joe has now demonstrated in Afghanistan it is not in our interests to be a poodle to America. We must ditch the “special relationship” narrative and take a far more hard-headed approach to a country which has continually proved it is not a friend and treats us more like a colony than an ally.

    We must never again join in one of America’s foreign adventures. They have demonstrated beyond any doubt that they are incapable of building hearts and minds in countries/cultures so very different to their own and they no longer have the will to stay for the long haul. The next time an American gets on the phone demanding our participation the answer must be NO.

    Similarly, with the EU, the Government must take a far more hard-headed approach, particularly over Northern Ireland. The EU is demonstrating hostility and a determination to damage our economy and drag NI out of the UK. It must be resisted; we can’t abandon the citizens of NI the way Senile Joe has just abandoned the Afghans. Rescind the NI Protocol.

  27. Bryan Harris
    August 23, 2021

    Well said – THAT should be on the wall of every civil service office, just so they get the idea.

    Such a shame that Cummings didn’t get on with his evolution of the CS before he became a whistleblower, because that was and is still very badly needed. It is apparent the CS as the tail, wags the dog of government in so many ways, as they provide the briefing papers on all sort of subjects, as well as providing expert advice.

    Recent events have shown that yes, our leaders are far too close to our neighbours in the way we think, too often our leaders are like lemmings following the same dogmatic approach to problems, when a little bit of research and common sense would provide real answers. I certainly do not want us to get closer to the Biden administration, and we should get more distance from the EU.
    I often feel that our leaders are in a games condition – creating fake hostilities, and so on, to distract from other matters.

    Something badly needs to be done about how government functions – It clearly is far from optimum presently. Let’s start off with having less advisors, removal of all psychologists, and a re-education of those supposed to be supporting ministers so that they follow what ministers want, rather than the other way around.

  28. Andy
    August 23, 2021

    I’ve mentioned before my Brexit backing neighbours who are outraged that Brexit means they can’t now spend the winter in France with their grandchildren.

    Well we had another Brexit win in our street too. Another Brexit voting couple – also Baby Boomers – were telling us how their summer holiday didn’t happen because one of their grandchildren didn’t have 6 months left on his passport. They got to the airport and were turned away. The passport was still in date but, thanks to Brexit, you now need 6 months left on your passport to travel to some sovereign EU countries. As it was their mistake the insurance company is not paying out either. They’d paid a small fortunate for Covid tests too. They lost several thousand pounds. Still, they’re loaded.

    When they told us I was brilliantly sympathetic, expressing distress in all the right places, whilst actually killing myself with laughter inside. I made sure I made a little dig about Brexit just to compound their misery.

    So much winning Mr Redwood.

    1. Sea_Warrior
      August 23, 2021

      But I suspect they’ve had their AZ jabs.
      P.S. The annoying restriction put in place by the Evil Empire will lose them some tourism business from me in due course. Thank God there’s a whole wide world left to explore.
      P.S.2 Any well-organised tourist knows to check the relevant FCO travel advice pages and their passports in good time.

      1. MiC
        August 23, 2021

        The whole wide world eh?

        You seem to have written off the US these days, so where do you fancy? The ex-USSR? The islamic world? Africa? the Chinese sphere? Latin America?

        No? That leaves about Aus, NZ, Canada, and Japan then – and the latter’s reps described this country as “irrational” following the Leave vote.

        So the best of British, what/

    2. Mike Wilson
      August 23, 2021

      @Andy

      Sounds like you live in a street full of half-wits. You must fit right in.

  29. GilesB
    August 23, 2021

    Excellent post.

    A multi-polar world will be much better than a world dominated by a single power than bends to the whims of its own domestic politics, perspectives and priorities.

    But more complicated. And, as you say, the U.K., like other nations needs as much flexibility as possible to weave, maintain, leverage, adjust and unpick a continuously evolving mesh of alliances – beholden to no-one.

  30. ukretired123
    August 23, 2021

    Reply to Leggat
    Your sweeping generalisations display your own limits on the finer points of Geo-political history and naive “Let’s be friends” with our competitors Sir John is alluding to.

  31. John Miller
    August 23, 2021

    The incompetence displayed by the US administration, intelligence services and military commanders has been simply staggering. Until the Republicans regain power (perhaps sooner rather than later as Biden is unfit to serve) we must not enter any military or intelligence operations with the US.

  32. None of the Above
    August 23, 2021

    Thank you for a very welcome and thought provoking piece. I am always bemused by the comments from people who give the impression that they see things monochromatically without recognising the various shades of grey between the extremes.
    If I understand you correctly Sir John, you believe that we should not be afraid to occasionally disagree with or even displease other nations. I agree.
    We should not feel responsible for the happiness or contentment of other nations. If our appropriate and reasonable actions offend others, then so be it. Perhaps we should be more particular in future in how or when we chose to cooperate with others.

  33. Robert B
    August 23, 2021

    Churchill said he admired Roosevelt, only to be sidelined by him at Yalta as he sucked up to Stalin (how could that be possible, unless one is totally devoid of skills in the judgement of people? ). Roosevelt preferred Stalin to Churchill because he hated the British empire. Lend-lease was very favourable for US interests and the US betrayal over the Tube Alloys project is yet another example of this special relationship.

    1. Mitchel
      August 23, 2021

      Roosevelt envisaged a Big Four running the world after the war(USA,USSR,UK and China -with France relegated to the ranks of Italy and Spain)and wanted everyone else effectively disarmed with US troops out of Europe within two years.Deluded Churchill wanted a global Anglo-American imperium -which is why you had the cold war and the putative Operation Unthinkable(using Germany before it was fully defeated to attack the Soviet Union)knowledge of which the Cambridge spies passed on to the Soviets.

  34. Nota#
    August 23, 2021

    If you are self-reliant and comfortable with your capabilities to take responsibility for yourself, you earn respect from others. Successive UK Governments have gone out of their way to ‘ensure’ the UK can never be in this position. They have ensured that were we had an indigenous lead in capability or resources it would be sold to foreign powers. Is it the think they can ‘buy’ friends?

    Even today we have the ongoing saga of ARM, Meggitt/Cobham, the Power for our industry and homes etc. all strategic entities that should contribute to the safety and security of the UK are being sold to the control of the political control by foreign powers. Why?

    This is Government against the people it is there to protect, it is Government that is fighting it people. Yet as a contradiction they go out of the way to out bid other nations, NOT work or act in unison of other Nations so as to have a post-it badge with the UN’s COP26. The head of in a direction that continues to pass any competitive advantage the UK may gain to foreign powers. All for what a ‘virtue signal’

    1. DavidJ
      August 23, 2021

      +1

    2. O
      August 23, 2021

      NOTA# :

      We could hope that when our “I want to be the World King” PM has strutted his stuff before the 30K jetting in from all over the World with all the World’s Covid variants this lunacy of unilateral action to combat the World’s CO2 emissions will be dropped.

      But I unfortunately doubt it as we have a Government that prefers to virtue signal rather than do what is best for its citizens.

    3. MiC
      August 24, 2021

      From wherever did you get the idea that a Tory government was “there to protect” the people?

  35. Jamie
    August 23, 2021

    On a case by case basis – say’s it all – equates with we make it up as we go along – we made brexit up as we went along and see where we are now – out on a limb

    1. Timaction
      August 23, 2021

      ………..out on a limb?? There was nothing in our membership for us other than costs, mass immigration, exporting at our expense our manufacturing industries and a trade imbalance with no say over the old and new rules/regulations that binded us. End of. You lost, get over it.

      1. DavidJ
        August 23, 2021

        +1

  36. bill brown
    August 23, 2021

    Sir JR,

    Well written piece on teh fact taht as a nation we do not have a speicla relationship with the US nor any other country and willahve to work on a case by case basis.
    The little remakr on the EU trying to control us, is interesting I do not think the Eu care a bit about us any longer, except when we try to run away from deals already made.

    1. NickC
      August 24, 2021

      Bill, The EU still controls trade within the UK, as well as within Northern Ireland. So it appears the EU cares very much.

  37. glen cullen
    August 23, 2021

    Boris has called a meeting of the G7 ref Afghanistan….what a waste of time
    We can’t invade Afghanistan and we can’t put pressure on its neighbours or spiritual leaders and sanctions are meaningless – therefore the only things left to discuss is the number of refugees and the amount of funding/aid

    1. Dave Andrews
      August 23, 2021

      They could always discuss how they might divert huge amounts of public money to their mates to do practically nothing. In other words, the same as what they’ve been doing the past 20 years.

    2. Nota#
      August 24, 2021

      @glen Cullen – maybe it is to discuss the clear up of the latest XR rabble mess, the extra pollution it creates and extra polluting caused during the clean up – all laid at the taxpayers doors.

      Otherwise yes we are powerless at every level – we cant even protect ourselves. A Government that can’t even keep its people safe and secure because it permitted the sell of, of the means, is a Government in neglect of its main purpose.

  38. Mitchel
    August 23, 2021

    Here’s the good news from Business New Europe 22/8/2021:-

    “Iran’s new Caspian gas find may be so large it could meet a fifth of Europe’s needs.”

    And here’s the bad!:-

    “…technical and financial assistance will come from Russia and China.Price and destination of the Chalou(name of field)gas would be co-ordinated with Russia.

    1. Sea_Warrior
      August 23, 2021

      Perhaps we should get fracking here!

      1. Timaction
        August 23, 2021

        Indeed but not with Carrie on Boris. Just like we’ll import our coal needs to virtue signal the world with their net zero religion.

        1. DavidJ
          August 23, 2021

          +1

    2. glen cullen
      August 23, 2021

      I thought that ‘gas’ was going to be banned in the UK 2025 and word removed from dictionaries so not to confuse school children of any alternative to ‘green’

      Not to worry the rest of the world can reap the benefits of cheap abundant gas

      1. Everhopeful
        August 23, 2021

        Apparently they are going to “level up” the price of gas by slapping a tax on it! Got to be FAIR to electricity.(🤬).
        Tallow candles and kindling wood, mufflers and bed socks not to mention nightcaps!

        1. glen cullen
          August 23, 2021

          That’s a neat little plan; tax everything massively just to make electricity and the green dream appear cheap

        2. Micky Taking
          August 25, 2021

          the prudent among us are already building supplies of ‘Tallow candles and kindling wood, mufflers and bed socks not to mention nightcaps!’

      2. Micky Taking
        August 24, 2021

        Mick J sang ‘its a gas, gas, gas’ but I think it was about now enjoying life and humour, after a very tough start..
        Sort of Brexit fan years before the daft word was coined.

  39. forthurst
    August 23, 2021

    Why should our conflict with Germany in 1939 have been America’s cause? By that time there were far more Americans of German ancestry than British.

    The truth of both world wars was that we could not defeat Germany without American involvement: we were simply not powerful enough.
    The Tories like to boast that we are a nation that punches above its weight; this is inadvisable. The continuing hostility towards Russia because it is ruled by Vladimir Putin rather than someone in the mould of Boris Yeltsin and attempts to provoke it with adventurism in the Black Sea demonstrates that we are governed by people whose idea of grand strategy is schoolboy grudges and japes.

    Germany’s decision to take Russian gas and not be bullied by the US to take theirs is grown-up behaviour. We deserve to be ruled by grown-ups too who pursue our interests based on present day realities not on who we might have been when viewed through rose-tinted spectacles.

    Reply Many reasons why the German conflict had to be Americas as well as ours, starting with the genocide

    1. forthurst
      August 23, 2021

      Reply to Reply The BBC did not broadcast any such allegations until a year after American entered the war.

      1. hefner
        August 23, 2021

        Indeed, the first report appeared in the New Republic on 22 December 1942.

  40. margaret
    August 23, 2021

    The issues need to be in our own Countries interest and to waiver from that priority is wrong, however others will also argue that some issues are not in our interest. Everyone has to give in to some extent to balance positives and negatives , yet if the matter is undoubtedly against our own best interest , a firm stand is required. Looking at history can teach us about human nature , yet not the issues of today where in the west much less violence is threatened!

  41. paul
    August 23, 2021

    Shutdown the foreign office, job done. Pay off the D

    1. glen cullen
      August 23, 2021

      It’s a good idea but this government would just subcontract the role to an overseas consultancy at double the cost…..then claim the FO has reduced its carbon footprint

  42. Mark
    August 23, 2021

    It is not sufficient to do what a handful of politicians think is right. That supports Blair’s action in Iraq, and Cameron’s in Libya. Both look like failures. We need to do things that are right and make sense, and therefore garner support, including in due course from some who were initially reluctant. That’s much trickier to achieve in practice.

    Past successes have included the abolition of slavery, and the development of the modern industrial world. Present failures include attempts to control climate and the rising dominance of China in world affairs.

  43. DavidJ
    August 23, 2021

    Excellent Sir John; I hope that you will ensure Boris reads it.

  44. Mark Thomas
    August 23, 2021

    Sir John,
    I think a good measure of who your true friends are can be seen from the scores given in (of all places) the European Song Contest. The UK consistently does so poorly that there seems little point in taking part. The talent of the various contestants has little to do with it. The lesson from this is that you shouldn’t need to rely on friends, but you do need to be respected.

    1. Mark Thomas
      August 23, 2021

      Eurovision Song Contest

    2. Micky Taking
      August 24, 2021

      and UK pays by far the biggest slice of the cost… when will we ever learn.

  45. John McDonald
    August 23, 2021

    Absolutely correct Sir John, but we still support countries that do us harm behind our back.
    If we can be friends with Pakistan why not with Russia ( our traditional default enemy).
    If truth be told the Russians have done much less harm to this country than Pakistan and other Middle Eastern Governments. Some on paper our friends. We choose our Enemies badly too. They tend to start with a fairly large Christian community before we invade to remove the evil dictator and then are t left with hardly any Christians in the Middle East. Funny how some of these Evil Dictators allow religious freedom and a climate of religious tolerance if not complete harmony.

  46. Original Richard
    August 23, 2021

    “All my adult life I have witnessed the political and civil service establishment urging bad ideas on our country in order to avoid the UK being “isolated””

    I’m sorry but I do not believe this explanation.

    Rather that our Establishment has used the excuse of “not upsetting” the EU and the US to implement unpopular “bad ideas on our country” which they wanted to do all along but did not dare admit it to the electorate for fear of being turfed out of office.

    This is why we needed to leave the EU and in time we will hopefully elect a Government that wants to implement the policies that will benefit the UK residents and not ones designed to save the World at our expense.

    Three obvious examples are the unilateral and technically unachievable 2050 net zero carbon target, the signing of the UN Global Compact on Migration and aid money thrown around the World like confetti.

  47. Denis Cooper
    August 23, 2021

    An interesting unionist perspective:

    https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/opinion/columnists/henry-mcdonald-irish-nationalists-cant-rely-on-joe-biden-as-events-in-kabul-show-3356106

    “Irish nationalists can’t rely on Joe Biden, as events in Kabul show”

    “And then came Joe Biden riding into town. Irish nationalism’s newest messiah who arrived with words of warning about Brexit, the perfidious Brits, a potentially hard Irish border and the need to protect the Good Friday Agreement.

    His deputies like that witless wind bag Nancy Pelosi delivered speeches expressing support for the Irish government and northern nationalist parties’ campaign against Brexit.

    Their intervention re-created the grand delusion of the early 1990s when unionism supposedly faced an ever-powerful global pincer movement comprising of Dublin, the Clinton White House, northern pan-nationalism and even the EU.”

    “The shameful, chaotic surrender of America in Kabul last week should shatter that illusion.”

    1. Sayagain
      August 24, 2021

      Irish nationalists don’t care too much about what Unionists have to say – nationalists generally know they have had their day. They don’t care too much either about what johnny come lately Joe biden has to say.. as sinn fein (ourselves alone) they rely first of all on themselves and their own resources

  48. Multi
    August 23, 2021

    We are hardly independent – for instance we are not anywhere near being self sufficient we depend so much on outsiders for imports especially for food stuffs. Then Liz Truss has not yet set up anything worthwhile to match the loss of trade we had with the EU . Bidens America doesn’t care and as for OZ NZ they have gone off the boil, Lastly where is this new merchant ships building programme we were promised ‘ how can we be an independent nation if we don’t have our own british owned flagged merchant ships? – independent indeed?

    1. Peter2
      August 23, 2021

      There are plenty of ships in the world belonging to many major shipping companies.
      Look them up.
      You can order stuff from one far away country and have it delivered here in the UK in a container and have it delivered to your address.
      It’s happening every day.

      1. Harvey
        August 24, 2021

        Yes that might be ok in peacetime but what if worldwide hostilities break out like in 1914 and 1939 – as an island nation can we truly rely on foreign owned and foreign flagged ships to deliver for us?- answer: I don’t think so

        1. Peter2
          August 24, 2021

          We have merchant shipping and aircraft and an army navy and airforce.
          The idea that we have to be completely independent, such as owning all the ships and all the containers we need to trade is a ridiculous one.
          Even if we had a war would it be with every nation?
          There are over 160 nations.
          Some woukd be our allies as happened in 1914 and 1939.

  49. Micky Taking
    August 23, 2021

    Well Sir John, what a hornets nest of deranged creatures you have stirred up !

Comments are closed.