UK Defence Force General discussion

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
I always thought defence was the the best tool to negotiate a decent trade relationship with the EU after Brexit. Apparently May was incapable of figuring this out and caved in to the EU. Simple approach, no trade deal, no defence relationship and maybe no continued NATO membership. With questionable NATO support from the US, the EU might have to look after themselves. At that point, a favourable deal for the UK looks like a better option for the EU
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I always thought defence was the the best tool to negotiate a decent trade relationship with the EU after Brexit. Apparently May was incapable of figuring this out and caved in to the EU. Simple approach, no trade deal, no defence relationship and maybe no continued NATO membership. With questionable NATO support from the US, the EU might have to look after themselves. At that point, a favourable deal for the UK looks like a better option for the EU
Sir Humphrey explains it quite eloquently.

 

Ocean1Curse

Member
As an outsider looking in the U.K. is scheduled to leave the EU on the 29 of March 2019. That just leaves a hard BREXIT. What's in the U.K. favour is they've still got the £pound so a recession on the €uro won't hit the U.K. as hard as it will hit Europe.

This idea of a hard BREXIT is a wives tale IMO. Britain has already turned its manufacturing into an industrial wast land, that's fundamentally what kicked off the leave campaign in the first place so they've already done there hard BREXIT.

At least when there's a hard BREXIT the £pound will fall again and that will give UK manufacturing and business the badly needed boost it needs which relative to EU problems is a minor issue.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
This NYT article seems to reinforce the idea that the UK should have used the threat to exit all defence cooperation with the EU unless a satisfactory BREXIT deal was reached. No US and no UK on Europe’s six. Sounds like leverage to me.:D

Trump Discussed Pulling U.S. From NATO, Aides Say Amid New Concerns Over Russia
Maybe time has come for such realpolitik as May's BREXIT deal got thrashed in Parliament: PM’s Brexit deal rejected by huge margin It was a real cricket score - an innings defeat and some. Trouble is whether or not the Europeans would react as the US & UK would expect is a completely different story. They may in fact give the US & UK the one fingered salute, go ahead with their European Force concept and with NATO out of the way, structure it as they see fit without interference from perfidious Albion and meddling from across the Atlantic. They have the French nuclear deterrent and if push comes to shove, Germany and a couple of other Euro-nations would be quite capable of going nuclear. Ironically the actual "loser" would be the UK with the US retreating from European affairs. But would the UK be the loser? From the European POV definitely yes, but I think not because they would be free of the clutches of Brussels based bureaucrats, retain sovereignty over their forces and defence policy etc., retain the freedom to act in their own interests, and most importantly of all, their military customs, history and culture are not subsumed amongst a plethora of multiple competing military histories and cultures.
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
They have the French nuclear deterrent and if push comes to shove, Germany and a couple of other Euro-nations would be quite capable of going nuclear.
I disagree. France has always had its nuclear deterrent outside of NATO, and I don't see them playing nicer in a Euro force in that regard. France is France, coalition wise, they are in a different dimension.

Germany I don't think can go nuclear. Well of course they have the technical capability and the industrial capability, but they don't have the moral and ethical confidence to wield that kind of power. It would be more likely the Dutch or someone else would have to bear that burden.

For Britain it is probably a chance to look at a closer military alliance with a new set of friends. Britain is a significant power in its own right, so I don't think from the military perspective there is an issue for the UK.

Economically, Brexit is likely to hurt the economy, deal or no deal exit. That is likely going to impact the budgets at least in the short term. I worry about big military acquisitions in the near future.
 

KiwiRob

Well-Known Member
Here’s another article suggesting a reason why the UK would be better off out of the EU.

Britain's Economic Future Depends On Brexit
What an absolute crock of poo article. Britain's motor manufacturers are already leaving, buying an Andriod phone in a UK airport isn't going to make android apps fee free because the user will have an account for their phone in an EU country, UBER and LUFT still have to purchase vehicles to perform their job, to move away from private owners owning vehicles there will need to be millions of private hire cars to take their place. Online shopping kills local shopping and replaces many high street jobs with far fewer distribution hub and delivery driver jobs, which is worse for the economy. An the final kicker EU nationals aren't rushing to get into the EU they are leaving in there thousands everyday.
 

ASSAIL

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
PM May sacked her Defence Secretary today over his criticism of the Huawei involvement in the UKs 5G network.
I haven’t heard any further commentary here.
Have the Brits taken this with a bit of a yawn or is there likely to be repercussion

Mods I put this here because I couldn’t find a general Brit Defence thread and it’s more about the UK forces than Huawei.
Sorry folks, I didn’t look hard enough, it’s late, Mods could you pls move to UK Defence thread
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
The pommy Conservative Party have promised "extensive review integrating defence, security and foreign policy" if elected. Apparently the Labour Party have promised a defence review as well. We know where the Labour Party one would lead, especially a Corbyn lead one. However, a Johnson lead govt is another story. Would Boris adhere to the recent Conservative mantra of austerity or would he be bold, change and spend on defence? The election is 8 days away, so we don't have long to wait for a result.

UK Conservatives propose far-reaching defense review if elected
 

Hone C

Member
Boris' manifesto promise is to "continue to excede the NATO target of 2% of GDP" on defence and to increase the defence budget by "at least .5% above inflation each year."
Aside from the fact that the 2% of GDP figure is only achieved through some creative accounting, funding does look set to increase under a Conservative government. Its certainly not comparible to the huge sums being promised to the NHS however; as in most Western democracies there is simply not enough appetite from the electorate for large increases to defence spending. The impact to the UK's finances post Brexit is another factor, especially in the short-medium term.
As you say Ngati, only another week before we find out one way or another.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
The UK Govt has announced an integrated security, defence and foreign policy review that "will be the most “radical reassessment” of the country's place in the world since the end of the Cold War." The briefing notes from the Queens Speech speak more about defence itself and are found on P. 128. One quote I saw in the Defense News article: "One industry executive, who asked not to be named, said Cummins arriving at the MoD was a bit like having Vlad the Impaler paying a visit." does cause me concern, but then it could go both ways. Cummins is Boris's senior advisor, and he maybe what is needed to sort the MOD out. I just wonder if a lot of the problems and expenditure blowouts are caused from within the MOD itself. Time will tell.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
The defence secretary spoke yesterday of "managing expectations", so I don't expect too much.

He also spoke about MoD waste, which is fair enough, but that's been used by previous politicians as an excuse for their own wasteful decisions, e.g. constant changes of direction (see CVF cats & traps, among many others), & decisions to delay spending, effectively short-term cuts, which cause higher spending longer-term (see CVF construction delays). Politicians have also rewarded savings (in many areas, e.g. local authorities) by cutting budgets, which discourages trying to save money, & imposed rules which effectively force waste. I've seen this in action, with money being spent wastefully solely to keep it in the budget for next year, e.g. when a supplier can't deliver on time, & therefore can't be paid before a deadline after which the money will be clawed back, though it'll still have to be paid when the goods are delivered, & will also be lost from next year's budget, so something else will have to go. To minimise the problems, the budget holder's best strategy is to find something else to spend the money on quickly, so instead of it being lost twice, they only have to work around one loss,& they should get something useful, even if not their first choice (River Batch 2 because of T26 delay?). Current government members & Parliamentary supporters have done absolutely nothing about any of those problems in the past.

Cummings seems to enjoy disruption for its own sake, & have the sort of immense self-confidence that leads to any advice that doesn't match the official line being ignored - & that's dangerous.

So far, I see nothing to cheer me up. I hope my worries are misplaced, but I fear that the outlook is bleak. Boris is notoriously dishonest (sacked for proven lies a couple of times - almost Trumpian in his mendaciousness), so I don't trust any of his promises.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
As an outsider looking in the U.K. is scheduled to leave the EU on the 29 of March 2019. That just leaves a hard BREXIT. What's in the U.K. favour is they've still got the £pound so a recession on the €uro won't hit the U.K. as hard as it will hit Europe.

This idea of a hard BREXIT is a wives tale IMO. Britain has already turned its manufacturing into an industrial wast land, that's fundamentally what kicked off the leave campaign in the first place so they've already done there hard BREXIT.

At least when there's a hard BREXIT the £pound will fall again and that will give UK manufacturing and business the badly needed boost it needs which relative to EU problems is a minor issue.
The UK's most successful industry these days is financial services. A hard Brexit puts that outside its biggest market, & unprotected by the WTO. Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris & Dublin have already benefited from jobs being switched from London. Expect that to continue.

Manufacturing is no longer able to respond much to opportunities such as a lower exchange rate: its supply chains are integrated with other European countries, & there are few local suppliers able to step in & replace those from across the Channel, so they'll be paying the same price for parts in Euros as before, with the complication of less smooth border crossings, & in the case of a hard Brexit, maybe tariffs.

Scope for maufacturing expansion is limited by skill shortages, & putting them right is handicapped by an education system which has turned away from vocational & technical education, & governments that think it makes sense to charge high prices for education & training in technical knowledge & skills, so you qualify with heavy debts in an environment where jobs are rare. Also, a hell of a lot of our manufacturing sector is foreign-owned, & a lot of those foreign owners built or bought factories here because they liked the combination of the English language & being inside the EU single market. A lot of investment decisions have been postponed, & others which a few years ago might have been in our favour gone elsewhere. We're now seen as competing with E. European EU-members & non-EU countries such as Turkey for investment in things like cars to be sold in the EU - & we're not going to match Turkish wages, land prices, building costs, etc.
 

DouglasLees

Member
The UK's most successful industry these days is financial services. A hard Brexit puts that outside its biggest market, & unprotected by the WTO. Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris & Dublin have already benefited from jobs being switched from London. Expect that to continue.

Manufacturing is no longer able to respond much to opportunities such as a lower exchange rate: its supply chains are integrated with other European countries, & there are few local suppliers able to step in & replace those from across the Channel, so they'll be paying the same price for parts in Euros as before, with the complication of less smooth border crossings, & in the case of a hard Brexit, maybe tariffs.

Scope for maufacturing expansion is limited by skill shortages, & putting them right is handicapped by an education system which has turned away from vocational & technical education, & governments that think it makes sense to charge high prices for education & training in technical knowledge & skills, so you qualify with heavy debts in an environment where jobs are rare. Also, a hell of a lot of our manufacturing sector is foreign-owned, & a lot of those foreign owners built or bought factories here because they liked the combination of the English language & being inside the EU single market. A lot of investment decisions have been postponed, & others which a few years ago might have been in our favour gone elsewhere. We're now seen as competing with E. European EU-members & non-EU countries such as Turkey for investment in things like cars to be sold in the EU - & we're not going to match Turkish wages, land prices, building costs, etc.
The skill shortage is as you suggest our strongest handicap in the UK. There seems to be a direct correlation between the expansion of ‘higher’ education (mostly media or marketing related courses it seems) and the decline of practical, technical and even social skills. Going to ‘yooni’ has become an end in itself even though the experience is increasingly second rate and the qualifications increasingly devalued. There seems to be an unholy convergence of the post-modern, post-industrial obsession with ‘equality’ and ‘anti-elitism’ with the notion (peculiar to Britain I think) that skills, including engineering, are inferior to purely academic study. Give me old-fashioned apprenticeship any day!

The skill shortage is one of the underlying structural problems that will be brought to the forefront by Brexit in the coming years. This is especially true as Brexit policy is being made on the hoof and governed by populist ‘red lines’ rather than any kind of forward thinking. The possibility of a Norwegian or Swiss style relationship with the EU (being part of the EEA and continuing to benefit from the Single Market) seems to have been lost. This is even though such an approach would have been better for the economy in short and medium term (& the long term IMAO) as well as a reasonable compromise between the relatively high Remain vote and the relatively low majority for Leave. The commitment to a ‘points based immigration system’ amounts to little more than a mantra from politicians who do not know what this means except that it sounds good. It does not properly address either the skill shortage or the concerns (both real and exaggerated) of many Leave voters. All this shows us the problems inherent in referenda that present crude and binary choices.

I agree with the comments about Dominic Cummings. However he is an extreme example of a tendency towards deconstructing everything that has plagued British institutions since at least the 1990s (and arguably since the economic radicalism of the 80s). The presumption seems to be that anything tried and tested that has evolved over time should be shaken up: the opposite of the traditional British pragmatism that once protected us from doctrinaire radicalism: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. We can see this deconstructionism in the cultural changes and egalitarian dogmas being imposed on the Armed Forces - and the general disregard for their historical evolution and distinctiveness. We see it also in the changes to the education system that have led us directly to the skill shortage.

I’d like to be optimistic but I can’t help thinking that 2020 could well be the Year of the Brown Smelly Stuff.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
The skill shortage is as you suggest our strongest handicap in the UK. There seems to be a direct correlation between the expansion of ‘higher’ education (mostly media or marketing related courses it seems) and the decline of practical, technical and even social skills. Going to ‘yooni’ has become an end in itself even though the experience is increasingly second rate and the qualifications increasingly devalued. There seems to be an unholy convergence of the post-modern, post-industrial obsession with ‘equality’ and ‘anti-elitism’ with the notion (peculiar to Britain I think) that skills, including engineering, are inferior to purely academic study. Give me old-fashioned apprenticeship any day!
I think the above applies to Canada as well and to a certain extent the USA.

The commitment to a ‘points based immigration system’ amounts to little more than a mantra from politicians who do not know what this means except that it sounds good. It does not properly address either the skill shortage
Doesn't do much for Canada either, especially when foreign degrees and credentials aren't acceptable without a recertification.

I’d like to be optimistic but I can’t help thinking that 2020 could well be the Year of the Brown Smelly Stuff.
Yep, and this applies to most of the world, not just the UK.
 

DouglasLees

Member
I think the above applies to Canada as well and to a certain extent the USA.



Doesn't do much for Canada either, especially when foreign degrees and credentials aren't acceptable without a recertification.



Yep, and this applies to most of the world, not just the UK.
Let’s drink to that - the Year of the Brown Smelly Stuff, that is. And I agree that it seems pretty pervasive and world-wide.
I’m interested to hear that there are similar skill shortages in Canada and the points based system is made meaningless (or at least less meaningful) by the need to re-qualify.
 
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