SDSR Resources

As we approach the National Security Strategy review, Strategic Defence and Security Review and Comprehensive Spending Review there will be an avalanche of leaks and speculative articles in the press that are part of the careful ‘ground preparation’ campaigns waged by all three services.

We have already see articles on Maritime Patrol, the Gurkha’s, how Saudi Arabia has more jet fighters than the RAF and how Russia is about to roll through the Fulda Gap and therefore only more tanks can save us all.

I do get bored with them to be honest and wonder why the Services persist because the end result is always equal pain for all, might as well just get used to it.

What is useful though are the previous defence and security studies, risk and strategy documents etc so I am going to keep this post on the front page as we count down to SDSR.

Defence Reviews

Towards the Next Defence and Security Review

The House of Commons Defence Select Committee have been conducting a number of evidence sessions and publishing reports in the run up to SDSR 2015, summarised below, by parliamentary session.

[tabs] [tab title=”2012-13″]

FireShot Capture - Defence Committee - publications - UK P_ - http___www.parliament.uk_business_co

[/tab] [tab title=”2013-14″]

FireShot Capture - Defence Committee - publications - UK P_ - http___www.parliament.uk_business_co[/tab] [tab title=”2014-15″]

FireShot Capture - Defence Committee - publications - UK P_ - http___www.parliament.uk_business_co

[/tab] [/tabs]

SDSR 2010

[tabs] [tab title=”Report”]

SDSR

[/tab] [tab title=”Select Committee Report”]

FireShot Capture -  - http___www.publications.parliament.uk_pa_cm201011_cmselect_cmdfence_345_345[/tab] [tab title=”Government Response”]

FireShot Capture -  - http___www.publications.parliament.uk_pa_cm201011_cmselect_cmdfence_638_638

[/tab] [/tabs]

SDR 1998 – A New Chapter (2003)

[tabs] [tab title=”Report”]

SDR_New_Chapter_-_sdr_a_new_chapter_cm5566_vol1.pdf_-_2015-05-10_15.31.12

[/tab] [tab title=”Select Committee Report”]

Microsoft_Word_-_Volume_I_final_crc_version.doc_-_93.pdf_-_2015-05-10_15.26.58

[/tab] [tab title=”Government Response”]

Microsoft_Word_-_Gov_Response_to_6th_Report_Strategic_Defence_Review.doc_-_975.pdf_-_2015-05-10_15.20.55

[/tab] [/tabs]

SDR 1998

[tabs] [tab title=”Report”]

 

 

sdr1998_complete.pdf_-_2015-05-10_15.28.55

[/tab] [tab title=”Select Committee Report”]

House_of_Commons_-_Defence_-_Eighth_Report_-_2015-05-10_15.36.25[/tab] [tab title=”Government Response”]

House_of_Commons_-_Defence_-_Sixth_Special_Report_-_2015-05-10_15.37.24

[/tab] [/tabs]

National Security & Risk Strateg

Joint Select Committee on National Security Strategy

Access all the committee’s reports and evidence sessions.

FireShot Capture - National Security Strategy - UK Parliam_ - http___www.parliament.uk_business_co

National Security Strategy

FireShot Capture -  - https___www.gov.uk_government_uploads_system_uploads_attachment_data_file_6Select Committee Report on the National Security Strategy

FireShot Capture -  - http___www.publications.parliament.uk_pa_cm201012_cmselect_cmdfence_761_761

Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) annual reports

FireShot Capture - Intelligence and Security Committee (IS_ - https___www.gov.uk_government_collec

 National Risk Register GuidanceFireShot Capture - Risk assessment_ how the risk of emerge_ - https___www.gov.uk_risk-assessment-h

National Risk Register (NRR) of Civil Emergencies (2008 to 2015)

FireShot Capture - National Risk Register (NRR) of Civil E_ - https___www.gov.uk_government_collec

All Security and Risk Publications

FireShot Capture - Publications - GOV.UK_ - https___www.gov.uk_government_publications

 

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From Luddite Lodge
From Luddite Lodge
May 10, 2015 3:49 pm

With VAT , Income Tax and NI not to go up a massive deficit , overseas aid ring-fenced- I think the government will use our armed forces as their fiscal whipping boys. On the other hand, they have lost the ability to blame the Lib Dems

Rods
Rods
May 10, 2015 6:29 pm

One thing that we can all count on is that the amount spent of defence will go down. This may have been acceptable as part of the ‘Russian Peace Dividend’, but with a new much more aggressive, increasing military spending Russia, increasing global instability, defence spending probably falling so far that we fail to meet our 2% of GDP commitment as a member of NATO, then it must be looked upon as cuts too far and the Government failing in one of its most important duties of protecting our country’s existence and the citizens wellbeing.

Many Eastern European countries have woken up to the danger from a new assertive Russia with the Baltic states and Poland very much on the frontline and they have increased their defence spending. Even Germany one of Europe’s worst offenders in terms of cutting defence budgets to a current 1.3% of GDP are now committed to increasing spending from 2016 onwards.

Where military forces are increasingly dependent on less high end equipment and slow production lines so there can be no rapid replacement of losses, we are more and more dependent of fighting with what we have got. Worrying times lie ahead where those countries that are spending more on defence and have aggressive expansionist policies will feel strong enough to have a go and with current global instability we are probably only an Asian war away from WWIII. Lets not forget that WWII consisted of Hitler in Europe, Italy in North Africa and Middle East and Japan invading China. Alliances, expansion and these wars joining up meant we all slid into a world war.

In the last few days we now have a new threat from a highly unstable regime, where North Korea has successfully launched a ballistic missile from a submarine and so far extending their nuclear reach. It makes the development and deployment of the Aster 30 system that much more urgent or the deployment to cover all of Europe for the US or Israeli equivalent.

The Other Chris
May 10, 2015 7:27 pm

Are there some security Policy Papers missing from gov.uk’s Publications list? Seems to be missing the National strategy for Maritime Security:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-strategy-for-maritime-security

I’m sure the RPAS one used to be there too.

Nick
Nick
May 11, 2015 6:26 am

@TD what the papers you list (and any others you add) misses one vital thing – our (relative) ability to pay for it and our (relative) position in the world on a factual basis rather than based on historical analysis or national ego. I have linked this article as it gives a nice and straight forward basic analysis of our real position in the world:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11596205/The-UK-needs-to-learn-to-be-more-modest-about-just-how-rich-we-really-are.html

Perhaps the only thing missing from this analysis, is that a chunk of the “over-consumption” identified is funded by national debt (government and individual in the form of mortgages).

The risks facing the UK that these papers set out, is (or should be) largely the same as those facing Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Netherlands et al. Why then is our response (spending and activity) so different ?

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
May 11, 2015 10:53 am

Is there any hope now, the Tory’s have won an unexpected majority, that they will try to maintain the 2%, I could see the pro 2% arm of the party using it as a red line in trade for maintaining loyalty on some other policies they don’t agree with.

Martin
Martin
May 11, 2015 11:53 am

is Foreign aid spending still ring fenced? I know the lib dems want this but I can’t see the Tories carrying on the pledge. don’t seem to remember Cameron pledging it in the next government. Move 0.2% of GDP from DFID to MOD and we can meet our international obligations on aid and defence 0.5% and 2% respectively.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
May 11, 2015 11:54 am

The Tory party is going to have to realise that discipline now is even more important than when it was in coalition. They’ve won a majority based on common-sense, with which they would have to be barking (note to self – they’re pollies so it’s always a possibility) to start playing silly-b8ggers with threats and ego-trips.

The quickest way out of power is to repeat the mistakes of the Major years. Anyone who can’t understand that needs a quick refresh of what the Blair/Brown years were like for Tory MPs. Lots of opportunity to grandstand. No real power.

There are probably three priorities for the Conservatives in this parliament :

1. Execute the referendum commitment. To a degree, it doesn’t matter what the result is, it just has to happen to overcome the democratic deficit that people generally feel applies wrt Europe. To have delivered the referendum will be a major demonstration of credibility and provided it’s not a stitch-up, probably lance most of UKIP support as well.
2. Get the deficit down to something like the manifesto commitment. Whether it’s all cuts, or cuts and some tax rises or just increased tax receipts, we can’t keep spending more than we earn. Full stop, the end.
3. Sort out the devolution settlement, including putting revenue-raising responsibility on the devolved authorities. You make the promises, you have to pay for them. That also means English votes for English laws.

Everything else, including defence, CASD etc is of secondary importance, whether we like it or not. Expecting a political party NOT to concentrate its efforts on that which matters most to the electorate is a delusion worthy of Red Ed and his merry men. That list is plenty for DC and the rest to be concentrating on. Realistically speaking you can’t move forward to a place where defence can be better funded without sorting the things on that list. All we can hope is that the pain is not too great in the interim.

Russell vattani
Russell vattani
May 11, 2015 12:26 pm

The Tory majority is very small after the election. Already many back benchers are calling for an increase in defence spending or to at least prevent further cuts. They are threatening to derail certain bills if they are not listened to, so hopefully, the government may have to think twice before any further cuts

mickp
mickp
May 11, 2015 12:30 pm

@NAB – glad you raised all that. The Tories have in the past shown an ability to self destruct when power goes to heads Don’t disagree with your priorities either. on (1) hopefully DC has sufficient mandate to get a deal done for a degree of EU reform that allows him to put a referendum that delivers a ‘yes’ answer to staying in a more sensible and grounded EU that curbs its federalist excesses. (2) is key and probably should absorb the most time. (3) just frankly needs getting off the table. I love the Scottish people, but there are bigger fish (or mars bars) to fry that affect us all. Give them freedom to play but as part of a strong Union and with no more wasting of time with another referendum in at least the current parliament. Let’s instead have some real focus on the Northern powerhouse and other English regional initiatives. Defence is fundamentally there – just needs a bit of tweaking around the edges and a reallocation from DFID to help fill some important gaps

Nick
Nick
May 11, 2015 12:30 pm
Reply to  Not a Boffin

Common sense says your right NaB. However, do you really think the Tory party will be able to agree if Cameron campaigns to stay in the EU ? Just what sort of offer would the rest of the EU have to make to enable to Eurosceptic wing support staying in ?

The EU isn’t a matter for common sense for he Eurosceptic/Brexit mind set; its about saving the Country.

monkey
monkey
May 11, 2015 1:42 pm

In terms of overall spending Osbourne wants to limit it to 35% of GDP by the end of this term with National debt at least steady as the budget will be balanced ;-) and will thus pay itself down due to inflation when it returns ( the food surplus due to Russian import bans and oil prices will settle through ) . Thus the setting of spending as percentages of GDP so in favour makes it simple’s eh ! To achieve this 35% in defence terms of SDSR2020 will mean committing to what’s been discussed , 1 CVF ready at all times with some of the 48 JSF on board the rest replacing Tonkas in squadron service. C2 given a paint job , ( not ) FRES rolling out with the upgraded Warriors. 6 T26 committed to ( and the first with a wet bottom by then maybe ) 6 T26/45 Batch II on the drawing board. 6 MPA on the go and A400M on schedule. Helo’s same bar AH64 EUK trickling through . SSBN Successor committed too (CVF type contract) and Astute’s on schedule but same numbers. Oh yes the Boy Scouts/Girl Guides to operate the lot alternate weekends. Basically nothing new other than maybe a new LO UCAV from BAE,EADS on LRIP.

Chris
Editor
Chris
May 11, 2015 1:46 pm

Nick – ref saving the country – I am of the opinion that whichever route we take from here ref EU membership will be painful. I can’t disagree with those that say there would be negative impacts on the UK economy following a vote to exit – certainly until appropriate trade arrangements with the EU and for that matter other markets around the globe were agreed. Maybe three or four years of difficulty while the new equilibrium establishes.

But equally, if the vote declares the UK public wants to remain within the EU there are (in my view) difficulties further down the line; maybe not for a decade yet but ultimately I think inevitable. Once there has been a statement of commitment by the British public to the EU, the various councils and commissions and parliaments of Europe will brush aside any UK threats to withdraw if X agreement or Y veto fails to go the way the UK wants – “Your people want to be Europeans. You cannot leave. Do what we say.” Without doubt the end-game for those committed Eurocrats is a united state of Europe; one country enveloping the continent. Steps along the way are agreeing subservience to EU legislation, currency union, fiscal union, transferral of sovereignty. Indeed, just this morning ex-European Union Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso made a statement on the EU’s willingness to negotiate: “The other leaders of the European Union, all of them I know well, are willing to accommodate some concerns and points made by Britain, providing they are compatible with the overall project of European integration.” From this I read that we can have some minor and temporary concessions, but ultimately if we remain within the EU we will become a small part of their European Superstate. From the EU’s perspective I would wager they want the London banking business on board, and have no desire to have a (potentially) more affluent independent UK right on their border. This I think is why there has been a sudden change of position within the EU from “We will not negotiate” to “We are very happy to negotiate” – once the Stay-In vote is secured the UK ceases to have any significant say in its future and ceases to be a thorn in the EU’s side.

So that’s my perception – if we vote to leave we have some tough years while we find our place in the wider world and build our own trading agreements to suit, and if we vote to stay then in 10 or 20 years time we will find ourselves unable to retain our sovereignty or self-determination.

Personally I’d take the pain now and get on with building trade with both EU states and those further afield on our own terms. Indeed if Greece falls out with Germany over its Euro bailouts then Greece would be a non-EU state; potentially triggering the march of Italy Spain and Portugal in the same direction. Along with Switzerland and a good deal of Scandinavia that makes quite a lot of Europe free to engage on mutually happy terms. Let alone the Americas and Africa, Asia and our old chums Australia and New Zealand.

pjs
pjs
May 11, 2015 1:46 pm

At some point last term there was a lot of chatter that Cameron was receptive to the idea of using ring-fenced DfiD funds to bolster spending on resources for the Armed forces… especially in light of recent activity in Nepal, Sierra Leone, Libya etc

He has the opportunity to deliver this now that there is no issue [excuse?] of LibDems blocking this notion … it would certainly get a cheer from his backbenchers [and me] if it was announced that funding would be used to purchase a dedicated flight of [x2 of the last to be allocated] C17s, and a replacement[s] for Argus for HADR.

Nick
Nick
May 11, 2015 2:13 pm
Reply to  Chris

Chris

I do with you in part. It is time that the EU member states did agree what the future path of the EU is. The Eurozone will only work properly under a federated arrangement, with a commonly elected Eurozone government. No Eurozone government seems to want that and less so the voters of any Eurozone country. However, Grexit (if I happens) and the follow on will surely show that the Eurozone members need to commit to federalization or accept that the Euro is EMU by another name (with all those consequences).

For non-Eurozone EU members there are two options. For those on the path to Eurozone membership (eventually) then ever closer integration and for those who aren’t (UK, Sweden, Denmark ? others) then a more relax less integrated path would make sense. Something EFTA like as an end game. That said, none of these countries would influence Eurozone policy closely and like Norway and Switzerland today we might find some rules inconvenient, but forced to implement as a price of trade barrier free access to the single market.

I don’t disagree with you that we collectively need to make our minds up sooner or later, but whether now is the right time is a different issue.

IMO we are probably better off inside, helping write or influence the future of the EU as a whole than being outside complaining about the rules we are forced to implement anyway. Pretending (as many Brexit supporters seem to do) that we will be able to write our own deal is stupid. We won’t and worse, we might not like the EU we ending up living next to either. Even as the 5th or 6th largest economy in the world, we would be insignificant verses the US (or rather NAFTA including Canada and Mexico), China or federalized Eurozone. Terms of trade will be on their terms not ours.

On Greece, it is highly unlikely that Greece will leave the EU.

Chris
Editor
Chris
May 11, 2015 2:31 pm

Nick – its quite a comfy picture you paint; my fear is however that the drive for ‘ever closer union’ that is a core policy of the EU will not permit EU members to sit outside 1) the Eurozone, and 2) the European Superstate. I believe the current state of affairs is being tolerated by the Eurocrats as a temporary expediency only; at some point the demand will be made that all EU members get with the programme and stop faffing about in a half-in, half-out state. So if we stay in I see in 30 years time no England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland (NI or Eire) because we will all be part of USE. In just the same way I can’t find Prussia on the map any more. I wonder what language we will all be told to speak?

Allan
Allan
May 11, 2015 2:57 pm
Reply to  Nick

Because HMG see’s the UK as a world power second only to the US and likes to shout that out on a regular basis.

Allan
Allan
May 11, 2015 2:59 pm
Reply to  Not a Boffin

Very well put. Like it or not, in real terms, defence is way down the priority list of most voters who are far more concerned with jobs, housing, health and education.

Allan
Allan
May 11, 2015 3:00 pm
Reply to  mickp

The EU can’t reform – it can’t give the UK special privileges….time we were out of the EU but leave in a controlled manner via something like North et al’s FLEXCIT.

Allan
Allan
May 11, 2015 3:05 pm
Reply to  Nick

Sorry – have to disagree. If the UK leaves the EU, it regains it’s seat at the top table the WTO and on other UN bodies like UNECE – that means we get to draft the rules long before they get to the EU – look at the power Norway has in the CODEX process.

Rocket Banana
May 11, 2015 3:26 pm

The EU in/out question is not an easy one.

Does anyone here know the pros and cons of “in” or “out”? I doubt it. You can always put your short sighted glasses on and think in terms of 5 years I suppose, but if you look a little further things become remarkably complicated.

So Cameron offering the referendum is nowhere near as difficult as dealing with the fallout of the wrong answer, which is unfortunately neither “in” or “out”.

The most important thing to create in Europe is stability and that comes from more than just finance.

Roders
Roders
May 11, 2015 4:05 pm

I don’t think defence spending will go down.

Cameron has to keep 6 of his back benchers on side, he has a very thin majority.

Backbenchers won’t like Defence being cut.
I know David Davis doesn’t.

wf
wf
May 11, 2015 4:11 pm

@Simon: I suspect that the economic case for EU membership or otherwise is fairly finely balanced in the short to medium term, but tips towards the negative as time goes by and the EU’s share of world trade decreases. As mentioned, if we hang on for another decade, we may find it impossible to leave, so doing it now makes more sense. Those Frenchies invention of “engregage” wasn’t designed to promote flexibility on the matter :-)

As you say, if Poooty-Put carries on, economics will become increasingly irrelevant…

Richard_L
Richard_L
May 11, 2015 4:32 pm

As Allan’s mentioned FLEXCIT in addition to Brexit, I’ll post a link to it as it’s a long but very interesting read

http://www.eureferendum.com

See “Flexcit” on the horizontal list of links near the top. It’s a 7.2MB pdf download, but for those who don’t want to read the whole thing, there’s a good 2 page summary of what we could achieve at the start of the document.

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
May 11, 2015 5:04 pm

My sincere hope is that cameron negotiates a settlement that leaves britain with fundamental economic and legal sovereignty, and that we then vote to stay in.

The eurozone has made a choice, one among many including schengen and the law and justice competence, and the end result can only be growing ECB sovereignty over economic matters and growing EU parliament sovereignty over law making.

The ECB has already stated it intends to ‘manage’ consensus on EBU matters decided by QMV, it is only the start.

Which is fine, it’s necessary, but its not my idea of a future for britain, and it’s not something that other euro-outs should be railroaded into.

Cameron will have succeeded if he breaks the enforcement of ever-closer union, he’ll draw if he can’t get a good settlement and we vote out, and he’ll fail if there’s no settlement and we vote to stay in.

Nick
Nick
May 12, 2015 5:54 am

Chris

The problem is that Eurocrats don’t run the EU; governments do. The idea that ever closer union is in German, French, Italian agenda right now is unbelievable. Germany is extremely hesitant (putting it mildly) to eliminate its budget surplus, its current account surplus or fund poorer EU countries which are the minimum required to make the Euro work as a single currency.

AS for the rest, England, wales Scotland will continue to exist as long as we continue to call the land we live in by that name. Politically they may become regional areas (akin to New York or California) within a federal Eurostate, but would that really be a loss for us ? If the Euro stare followed the US model (or German for that matter) then in many ways the UK will run day to day very much like today. In any case, if this happens, it won’t be our call.

@Jedi

Reading your comments, you would be hard pressed to believe that the UK government had agreed pretty wide ranging (and almost unique to the UK) opt-outs (and opt ins) from much of EBU, Employment, Home affairs/legal etc. As for the rest, UK representatives sat in all of the negotiations, and agreed the final regulations. That we seem to like to do this and then the politicians like to turn around and say how awful the EU is, is either a reflection of their incompetence or cynicism by playing to their core support publically while doing something else.

I have a challenge for you though. Why don’t you list (or repeat the Tory list if you can find it) all the major things about the EU that you really don’t like. Presumably this s what Cameron will spend the next 18 months doing.

New regulation is one thing (as if the UK doesn’t do this anyway). I will give you an example though. If you are running a SME making equipment or delivering a service across Europe, would you prefer to deal with separate regulations and rules for each country (including the UK) or one set common to the EU, including the EU ? Take that a step further, would you prefer your overseas competition to be able to work a 48 hour week with unpaid overtime whereas your employees can only work 40 hours with paid overtime ?

I know what I would prefer. Do you ? The idea that you can create a single market (no matter how imperfect) without creating new rules out of harmonizing 26 + separate regulations that already exist, covering almost every area of legislation. Even if we were outside the EU, then we would still have to apply virtually every aspect of each and everyone of these regulations under the international trading arrangements anyway.

Where we are, outside the Eurozone, outside some of the key legislation which is otherwise EU wide, is not at all a bad place to be today. Yes, it is likely the Eurozone will continue to harmonise (making the Euro work requires this) and it will be increasingly difficult to manage this balance going forward. The tension between these two positions may be come unbearable eventually, but it certainly isn’t today.

In my opinion, creation of the Eurozone, like Scottish devolution, made the divergent paths that Scotland/rest of the UK and UK/Eurozone face inevitable. I’m not sure most of us saw that back then. This is why both the Scottish and EU issues have to be resolved for now (and maybe reviewed again in the future). Both are one shot choices. So let’s debate both issues based on rational discussion and facts rather than hypothetical fears of what might happen and political myths and wishful thinking. As we have been saying for generations, Act in haste, Repent at leisure.

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
May 12, 2015 7:03 am

@ Nick – “I have a challenge for you though. Why don’t you list (or repeat the Tory list if you can find it) all the major things about the EU that you really don’t like. Presumably this s what Cameron will spend the next 18 months doing.”

You haven’t really grasped that this accretion of competences is a process and not an event.

The EBU business we did indeed get a result from, but it is just one element of fundamental economic sovereignty:

http://www.openeurope.org.uk/Content/Documents/PDFs/EBAsafeguards.pdf

Germany benefits from the single currency by having its natural foriegn exchange rate suppressed by the wider currency region. Its goods are cheaper, but by the same token it raises the exchange rate for the wider currency region. Making their goods more expensive.

And do so whilst engaging in none of the normal solidarity acts that nation states engage in to normalise wealth potential within regions:

Federal US taxation is ~25% of GDP and the variation in spending levels between rich and poor states is ~5% of GDP, so a variation of roughly 20% of federal spending.

How big a budget would the EU need to be able to slosh around 5% of combined GDP into the poor regions (bearing in mind the current budget is only 1% (and heavily constrained by CAP payments)?

The other point is that americans accept this, they are all american, whereas we are rapidly finding out just how german the germans are, and finnish the finns are, when it comes to firehosing cash at nations they consider to be essentially delinquent! In the UK this ‘sloshing’ occurs in the form of:

a) National pay-bargaining which benefits poorer regions (teachers, nurses, etc)

b) National social benefits more generous than poorer regions could afford alone (eg.housing benefit in glasgow)

c) Targeted regional development grants/discounts to encourage business growth (objective 1 EU/WEFO funds)

d) Additional infrastructure spending to support the local economy (the mainland-skye bridge)

e) Operating national services hubs from depressed regions to boost wages (DVLA in swansea, etc)

Unless Germany recognises the ‘familial’ relationship, and the obligation that goes along with that, then it needs to leave for the good of its neighbours.

This principal applies equally to the netherlands and finland, but since it is Germany that is the driving economic power for the euro’s sake the answer must be ‘right’.

One mechanism to equalise this foriegn exchange disparity would be eurobonds. To compensate for a higher than natural foriegn exchange rate the wider currency union would borrow collectively, and thus lower their borrowing costs on the back of Germany’s strength.

The quid-pro-quo would be that Germany’s cost of borrowing would rise, as it too would be borrowing through the wider currency union and would see its strength diluted in consequence.

What is happening right now is commonly termed “wanting to have your cake, and eat it too“, an attitude considered ugly by weaker members of the polity who consider that cake to be shared treat.

That cannot continue, and it will not. Which is why Britain has a problem.

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
May 12, 2015 7:06 am

Simon asked about the economic conseqences of leaving the EU, this would be a good primer:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/05/10/so_what_would_the_economic_effect_of_britain_leaving_the_eu_be/

Chris
Editor
Chris
May 12, 2015 7:24 am

Nick – I understand you are pro-EU. I understand each treaty requires a vast word by word bunfight involving representatives of each member state at the end of which each member state is on the hook to ratify the new agreements. But I don’t believe that the process is a fair and open as do you; where teams from now dozens of different countries speaking almost as many different languages try to get a single document compiled, particularly where each nation has its ‘key points’ to sneak in, there is ample opportunity to downplay importance of clauses, ‘accidentally’ use the wrong word (“ah my mistake I speak your language a little wrongly”) in translation, or even explain the intent of a clause in a fundamentally different way to that which it is intended to be applied. When all is said and done the negotiating and review teams are not large and the full impact of the treaties are in some cases not far short of the state’s centuries old amassed legislation.

For example. Here is what has become known as the Single European Act. http://europa.eu/eu-law/decision-making/treaties/pdf/treaties_establishing_the_european_communities_single_european_act/treaties_establishing_the_european_communities_single_european_act_en.pdf

The first 200 pages are apparently a restatement of the earlier Treaty Establishing the European Coal and Steel Community – a treaty that was in place since 1952 (34 years earlier) but which presumably the review team had to wade through with a fine-toothed comb. Not at all clear why this was repeated in its entirety in the 1986 document. The phrase “ever closer union” appears just once in the 1127 page agreement, as a one-line statement of intent on page 217. But here it is phrased as ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, not ever closer union of the nation states. From this one seemingly benign statement of a wish that the peoples of Europe should gain better common understanding, the EU has built its claim that Europe has agreed to become a single nation. You will hear the various presidents of the councils and commissions and chambers use the phrase ‘Ever Closer Union’ as an immutable goal, almost religious in its significance. I very much doubt those engaged in negotiating the agreement on behalf of Her Majesty’s government were made fully aware of the significance or intent of that one line in the document. You might even think that the repeat of the 1952 Treaty was put in just to ensure the new member states’ negotiating teams were bleary-eyed and dozy by the time they reached page 217…

But I am not in the legal trade; I don’t spend my days trying to spot the weasel-words in other people’s writings. Maybe those trained in the art have supreme insight and spot the intentions even when faced with intentionally obscuring explanations.

The point is though that there are currently 28 nation states all trying to negotiate better deals for their own peoples and a massive all-powerful bureaucracy answerable only to itself which has the power to give itself more power whether the minions like it or not. I do not believe the ‘representatives’ from the various nations remain loyal to their electorate; I think they for the most part get swept into the excitement of superpower control and make cliques and cadres based on coffee-lounge activism all within the rarefied atmosphere of the EU political machine. Certainly I can’t remember the last time the MEPs were called to Westminster to explain themselves and get new instructions. Which is no doubt why the likes of our Chancellor and a small team of non-MEPs are the negotiators for the new deal for UK, and not the MEPs already in place.

Upshot – it is not Germany France etc that drive the EU, the EU bureaucracy that has grown like a cancer is now autonomous and does whatever it can to increase its power and control.

Nick
Nick
May 12, 2015 8:31 am

Chris

I’m not under any illusions regarding the way the EU woks. I used to work along side a person who was seconded to the Treasury so that he could act as expert voice for the UK in the negotiations regarding the harmonization of capital markets legislation. He hated the way his opposites spent the whole tie trying to protect their own national interests (special opt outs which applied only the Netherlands or Luxembourg), as opposed to trying to produce something sensible. I am not convinced that civil servants go native in the way you think when negotiating, although I agree it is more likely at a Commissioner level.

In fact, I dare to think that we don’t negotiate quite as hard for the UK in these back room deals as we could or should do (we do have a strong idealist streak).

I understand that the UK suppliers fewer diplomats to the EU and has fewer civil servants engaging directly in the process than France or Germany and then wonder why the output isn’t as UK friendly as we would like.

Yes this is a black art out of site and comment from the public here or anywhere else. However, I don’t see this really being any different than what’s happens at your local council, county council or in UK national government. Arguably the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations between the EU and USA or the anti-monopoly investigations of Google for example have higher publicity and public comment than most of what happens within UK government.

Am I pro-EU. Yes to a degree. I believe it is better to negotiate together as a trading block. UK/China or EU/China trade deal negotiation has a completely different dynamic and importance. I do believe the single market (a Thatcher idea), whilst a complete pain to implement, is a long term driver of wealth in the EU – for all of us.

Globalisation has reduced the power of nation states considerably as of today. Further globalization is inevitable, which will further weaken national governance. I look at the USA and don’t see California or New York State (both similar in size to the UK) being swamped by federal US government. As with the argument for Scottish independence, we are indeed better together. The question we must decide in Europe is how together do we want to be today. The UK is already some degree away from the EU norm in many areas.

What I want to hear, before the referendum, is the pro/anti/exit camps clearly state just what do they want to change (“reform”), why and what might the benefits/costs be. Probably, the majority of Europeans would agree that the EU doesn’t work adequately today.

We should also remember that the EU really lacks any effective democracy today. MEPs have very limited power to hold either the Commission or the Council of Ministers to account. Mind you, I do rather feel that about UK MPs and our own government.

Nick
Nick
May 12, 2015 8:44 am

@Jedi

I agree with you. You clearly set out why the Eurozone doesn’t work and (in my view) will ultimately fail; a single currency requires a single government just as the UK has (or the US).

You can look at the Eurozone, was an experiment to prove that you can have a single currency and multi-government or as a stepping stone to political union. Right now it is neither. What happens next remains unclear.

Of course the UK has a problem as we have decided not to join the Euro (I would say never join) and the steps needed to make the Euro a success requires more joined up behavior and financial and political harmonization.

I absolutely agree the Eurozone and the EU needs reform and a clear path forward which can accommodate this situation. This might not be possible to do and the UK may well have to leave as a result. However, I don’t see that we can absolutely say that its an impossible task today.

Since the choice we are being asked to make by 2017 is continue in a reformed EU (Cameron and hence the UK governments preference) or leave, I ask again what reforms do we want to obtain as a redline item ?

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
May 12, 2015 9:58 pm

@ Nick – “I ask again what reforms do we want to obtain as a redline item ?”

There are no easy answers to the question of fundamental economic and legal sovereignty.

Much like the example linked above the answer is an obscure and technocratic change that ensured double-QMV to ensure the interests of the euro-outs would not be easily caucused against in this particular matter.

This will arise time and again as the eurozone gradually evolves economic governance. Cameron’s challenge is to make EUrope recognise the principle that it is not right that we (or other euro-outs) should have to fight for our survival every time they evolve away from incoherence.

Nick
Nick
May 13, 2015 6:37 am

Jedi

It seems to me that it is perfectly acceptable and reasonable to argue that we should leave the EU entirely because of X, Y and Z. The debate would then be what are the benefits (real tangible and intangible) and costs (real and intangible) of membership, with the public left to decide on merits.

However, UK government policy is to stay in a reformed EU with Cameron telling us that his negotiated reforms are sufficient (in his/government opinion) or not.

The problem I have is I see a very strong absence of what these reforms are supposed to be, with the exception of Control over our own borders (essentially the ability to ban EU migration). This is the one thing that we are least likely to be able to get back. Even Switzerland, which has the best position we can hope to attain on negotiating an exit while remaining in the single market, doesn’t have full control over this.

Even here, does anyone really believe that anything will change in practice ? That we are actually going to stop EU citizens coming to work in the UK as builders, plumbers, electricians, retail, street cleaners, care home workers, Finance, Engineering, doctor and nurses ? Let alone even expelling the ones who work here today ? We have already agreed limits on ability to claim benefits (and no doubt will agree a further tightening). This particular problem (if there ever was one outside the imagination of some commentators) sits in the past.

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
May 13, 2015 7:14 am

@ Nick – “That we are actually going to stop EU citizens coming to work in the UK as builders, plumbers, electricians, retail, street cleaners, care home workers, Finance, Engineering, doctor and nurses ?”

That is somebody else’s problem, not mine.
I’m broadly happy with the four freedoms, in fact the lack of freedom of services as things stands greatly reduces my enthusiasm for the EU.

Fundamental economic and legal sovereignty. As I gave in the openeurope example above.

Nick
Nick
May 13, 2015 8:36 am
Reply to  jedibeeftrix

Jedi

Which services do you mean ? Just curious.

Obsvr
Obsvr
May 13, 2015 8:44 am

Interesting quote from an article in The Economist a couple of weeks back titled “Great patriotic war, again”:
“Opinion polls show that 90% of Russians are prepared to discuss the possibility of nuclear war. While 57% of older Russians say that such a war cannot have any winners, 40% of younger people are convinced that Russia would defeat America and NATO.”

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
May 13, 2015 9:12 am

@ nick – We are a services dependent economy that makes an awful lot if money selling services abroad. And yet we have never yet managed to get a common market for digital goods and services, in large part because Germany has resisted the notion of a common services passport.

People whine about the damage leaving Europe would do to our trade in goods without considering how much our potential total exports are already retarded by continental unwillingness for a cross border service market.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
May 13, 2015 9:31 am
Reply to  jedibeeftrix

No worries, Jedi… With the trans-Atlantic trade and investment pact you will get it
– just that it is not for us, but for the leading exporter of digital goodies to be let in through the back door
– the Commission is always 5 years behind: they kept pursuing MS (for a good reason) while Google ate everybody’s lunch, under that radar screen. The world’s biggest advertising agency having a near-monopoly?

Chris
Editor
Chris
May 13, 2015 9:39 am

Obsvr – I came to the same conclusion a month or two back – from the inside looking out, Russia is getting new equipment by the bucket-load, its acting with resolve in or at least in support of Ukraine, its talking tough on the international stage, NATO is disjointed when it comes to its position on what to do wrt Ukraine, the Baltic States, the Med. The EU is anything but unified when it comes to a common defence strategy, with the richest nation very anti military options and the southern states concentrating on economic issues and the weight of migrants on their shores. USA has not been shy in its suggestions that Europe looks after its own back yard while USA concentrates on the equally worrying tensions in eastern Asia. China while becoming very wealthy on trade is struggling to weld capitalistic reality to communist ideals. From Russia the outside world must look like a push-over. Especially when the Russian media is so very pro-government.

Nick
Nick
May 13, 2015 10:55 am
Reply to  jedibeeftrix

Jedi

The single market wasn’t built in a day (its even older than the Euro in inception). There are lots of competent national regulators (and special interest groups) out there very ready to defend the special rules and deals and controlled access to their specific market place. Given that many higher value service industries also require national specific qualifications, it was always going to be a difficult task to open the service sector.

That said, lack of progress today opening up specific sectors doesn’t seem like a strong reason for leaving the EU to me, especially as sooner or later service sector will indeed open up and following an Brexit we wouldn’t be involved in writing the access rules to a market sector that our national players would be very interested in having access to.

Nick
Nick
May 13, 2015 11:01 am
Reply to  Chris

Chris

I cant help pointing out that we have lead the way at trying to make sure the EU doesn’t have a defence (head quarter) dimension and that NATO remained the focus. All for good reasons of course, but Obama has rather under-cut them now.

Of course, I don’t believe this would have made one iota of a practical difference and we would find ourselves in the same place as today.

Nick
Nick
May 13, 2015 11:02 am

I saw this yesterday

http://www.janes.com/article/51295/saceur-analysts-see-russia-renewing-invasion-of-ukraine-in-next-two-months

It chimes with the mood music on the ground from what I hear.

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
May 13, 2015 1:03 pm

@ nick – “That said, lack of progress today opening up specific sectors doesn’t seem like a strong reason for leaving the EU to me”

Nor me. It should and will however weigh on the value we attach to being in the EU when contemplating the alternative.

Richard_L
Richard_L
May 13, 2015 10:15 pm
Nick
Nick
May 14, 2015 10:24 am

Nuclear armed Saudi ?

http://gulfnews.com/opinion/thinkers/a-nuclear-saudi-arabia-in-the-making-1.1510401

Unsupported opinion piece, but I would expect the potential issue to be on the UK agenda somewhere.

Nick
Nick
May 14, 2015 10:26 am

A Washington post article, worth a mention in passing re Ukraine

http://gulfnews.com/opinion/thinkers/what-game-theory-says-about-ukraine-s-future-1.1510395

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
May 20, 2015 3:06 pm

A video from RUSI that well worth a watch about the implications of the election on the up coming SDSR. It’s just over an hour but is worth the time to watch, and raises some interesting questions from about 48 mins onwards.
‘Watch RUSI Director General Prof Michael Clarke and Research Director Malcolm Chalmers offer their considered assessment on the impact the new Conservative government will have on defence and security.’