An MoD official has outlined the proposed terms for the UK’s participation in EU defence agencies and bodies.

The information came to light when Peter Kyle, Member of Parliament for Hove, asked in a written Parliamentary question:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether it is the Government’s intention to seek (a) continued participation of the (i) European Defence Agency and (ii) European Defence Fund or (b) to be part of Permanent Structured Co-operation (PESCO).”

Stuart Andrew, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, responded:

“The proposed terms for the UK’s participation in EU agencies and bodies until the end of 2020 are set out in Article 128 of the Withdrawal Agreement.

As outlined in the Political Declaration, the UK will seek an Administrative Arrangement with the European Defence Agency (EDA) that would enable us to participate in EDA projects and programmes where it is of mutual benefit, to further our defence cooperation opportunities.

The Political Declaration provides the option for the UK to participate in capability projects through the European Defence Fund, subject to conditions in Union Law. Any UK participation in EDF projects would be aligned with our requirements and represent value for money.

The UK has not joined Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), but recognises its potential to support increased defence investment in Europe and the development of capabilities that contribute to NATO. The Government is scrutinising the current list of PESCO projects to identify which of those we might have an interest in, or be able to add value to, as a third country. Our future participation is subject to the rules governing third country access that are still being negotiated by PESCO Participating Member States.”

65 COMMENTS

  1. Its all far too complicated for a poor dim witted fool like me to understand. It does smell a bit like more EU attempts to ‘own’ the UK via the backdoor. Should we participate/ cooperate? Of course we should. Do all these ‘treaties’ seem to bind us and tie us to an unelected cartel of power crazed bureaucrats? Tusk, Junckers et al? It does to me.

    I’m sure some of the intelligentsia will explain it all.

    • A good political statement by Parliament. In plain language, “We have not yet made up our mind, when we do, we may change it”

    • Is writing ill informed nonsense a common thing for you?

      Donald Tusk was elected into his current office in 2017 and jJean Claude Junker was elected into his office during 2014. The democratic process for their election is a short Google search away!

      Considering we live in a country with a heriditary head of state and an unelected upper chamber saying the EU is undemocratic is comical!

      • Unlike Tusk HM Queen has no direct impact on the UK’s political life.

        The Lords have been neutered since the Parliament Act of 1911.

        One is truly comical is EU apologists talking utter crap constantly. If you don’t like it here leave.

        • It is not about being an apologist for the EU it is about correct falsehoods about it.

          The Commision is elected, Tusk and Juncker are elected FACT!

          The Queen is not elected or the Lords

          Watching our nation go from being an influential power at the heart of Europe into being a vassal state begging any sordid deal we can get whilst being an international laughing stock offends me.

          I might well leave, but that time hasn’t come yet

          • The great thing about this country is that it has never like being told what to do, as was seen with Brexit;)
            The EU is no longer simply a trade agreement, even then how dare Britain forget about its old allies in the rest of the world, especially the commonwealth. The EU has now become a disguised federation, what other free trade agreement needs a parliament? courts? constitution? army? united taxation(soon)? army(soon)? anthem and flag? And if things keep going things will get worse, people say stay in and reform but thatcher tried, blair tried, brown tried and cameron tried, they failed!
            And talking about being an influential power in Europe, Europe isn’t the be all and end all of world affairs, in fact quite the opposite, Britain has abandoned the wider world and has solely focused on Europe for the past 40 years, that not acceptable! People keep saying this is Britain retreating from the world I disagree, this is Britains chance to expand its power to the world, which is partly why people voted for Britain, not because they want to become an insignificant island and the truth is you can’t become a global power if chained to an organisation that wants to limit your national power and influence and absorb into their own.
            The Queen is of course unelected but I like that, apart for historical reasons it means our PMs and MPs are not at the top and are answerable to someone and are seen as a servant to the country which is different with a president. The Lords have minimal power but even then these are people who for the most part have had successful careers and know what they are talking about.

          • Keithdwat

            I agree.

            Usual thing now after exchanges like that is that they run and hide rather than go over point by point what you raise.

            Or you’re shot down with generalisations, comments on Nazi Germany, and Pie in the sky accusations.

            Real Strictly stuff.

            Careful with insightful well thought out and spoken posts like that…you may be accused of getting on the soapbox….

            And do keep it up. It really gets up their noses, which means it is hitting home the truth.

            They hate that.

      • I think you’ll find that the House of Commons (elected) has at various times voted to have a Constitutional Monarchy and a House of Lords made up largely of life peers. The E.U. parliament is elected, nothing else is, certainly not the Commission where all the real power is. Overall the answer is simple. If it benefits the U.K. do it. If not we don’t

        • WRONG! The Commision IS ELECTED! It has been so since the Lisbon treaty was ratified and put into action.

          The process is a short google search away!

          We have an unelected head of state, an unelected upper chamber and an utterly archaic parliamentary system that operates on presidence rather then written rules.

          Our nation is in desperate need of comprehensive constitutional reform yet people still bang out falsehoods about the structures of the EU as if they are received truth!

          • Fedaykin
            When you “shout” wrong at someone you should fist do two things. 1) read ( can do? ) what I said and (2) get the facts of your reply right , otherwise folk will think your just ranting.

          • The Commission is not elected.

            “Unlike in the Council of the European Union, where members are directly and indirectly elected, and the European Parliament, where members are directly elected, the Commissioners are proposed by the Council of the European Union, on the basis of suggestions made by the national governments, and then appointed by the European Council after the approval of the European Parliament.”

        • No idea who this Fedex person is! Better have a word with him about Napoleon.

          Is total ignorance of how our and EU institutions common for you?

          • Hi Fedaykin.

            Just to say that although I disagree over the EU with you I agree absolutely that our system needs serious reform.

            That means the Lords and FPTP replaced by PR.

          • PR which would have given UKIP 90 odd MP’s I believe in 2015.

            Oh the Irony! Mr Heredotus below would then really be able to stand up for the honourable MP’s getting a good deal for Britain!

            The hypocricy is hysterical.

    • Kieth

      “The great thing about this country is that it has never like being told what to do”

      The US has been telling us what to do since the Second World War.

      • Still holds true though Sole.

        Just because HMG dances to the foreign policy of the United States that does not mean the people do.

        And this whole Brexit shambles is about the people, is it not? And democracy, and sovereignty. Not opinions on whether we will be richer or poorer.

        • Depends which way you look at that i suppose, the US tell our government what to do and the government represent us so..

          Also our armed forces have died and retreated because of another countries wishes.

          We get told what to do on a daily basis by our own government, our bosses at work, our wives haha

          Brexit for me has never been about getting told what to do because of those examples above, it’s silly to think like that to be honest, it’s meant to be about opportunity, about making ourselves better, surely any decisions we make as a country should be to better ourselves economically and give us more prosperity, it should never be about “well we don’t like being told what to do” that’s such a childish way to look at anything really. And I’m not pointing the finger at you with this, it’s a few others that seem to use that as their only reason now.

          Brexit can be made a success, I’ve always been of the opinion it can, there are loads of countries who are not in that sort of political union and are successful, it’s about getting there that’s the problem, a government that’s a complete shambles top to bottom, an opposition not any better, disorganised and divided, just like the population.

          I have stopped having a definitive opinion either way because of that, no one can be certain how this will play out, to be frank I’m sick to the back teeth of Brexit, so many more important things that need to be adressed in the country and we are ore occupied with this for years. Hopefully it gets sorted and we can move on and build bridges as a country.

          I replied to your comment on the overseas bases article btw Daniele.

        • Hi Keeef…just picked up again on your earlier post and agree with what you say. The E.U. is like some crazy monster fungus, started no doubt with all the best intentions but has got out of control. I voted remain originally but the more I learn of the intentions of the E.U. and not just those in news items the more I like the idea of freedom. Am I right? God knows.

  2. So it looks like it’s ok for the French to shaft us in joint defence projects whenever it suits them.
    Better to partner with Japan, USA, Canada, Australia etc.
    As for Europe. We saved them from Bonaparte, The Kaiser, Hitler, and Communism. Look at all the gratitude we get in return.

      • Being close to European defence projects would help retain some employment in the UK. However, as long as these interests are supportive of NATO we should be involved. That said, any participation with the new EDF (or whatever it’s called), we should continue to decline any interest, as it could deny NATO of our total commitment?

        • Can you clarify which partnerships we have with any of them?

          Canada/Australia joined on the frigate program, after we put all the money in to design them. Effectively benefiting from our investment.

          We do the same with the US, we join their projects, they however never join ours and always buy local.

          Japan we have an investment in one missile.

          On the flip side, yes European defence projects have not always gone smoothly but we are equally as bad as anyone else with pulling out or changing our ideas (e.g. type 45 etc)

          Looking at only the negatives of european projects is just trying to make a point without looking at things objectively. Look at the Tornado or Typhoon, both European projects that worked well. There are many others.

          What i am saying is each country is in it for themselves, including the UK, and pretending that some are worse than others is non-sense.

  3. It’s virtually a content-free answer as far as I can see. Since as I understand it the Withdrawal Agreement (WA), if it gets approved by Parliament, has a transition period until end 2020 I assume the first bit of the answer is probably effectively saying no change until the end of that transition period. The bit that then goes on to talk about what is in the Political Declaration (PD) is essentially meaningless since that is merely a list of aspirations rather than anything legally binding. The EU could easily backtrack on anything during the negotiation/transition period and refuse to agree to convert some or all of those aspirations into legally binding agreements. That’s why I’m really nervous about May’s deal, a lot of concessions to the EU (e.g. the exit payment) are legally binding in the WA whereas most of the beneficial terms we hope to negotiate in return are simply listed as wishes and good intentions in the PD. We seem to be giving away our ace cards without getting much in return.

    By the way, I looked up the European Defence Agency in Wikipedia. I was interested to see that of the currently EU28 Denmark has actually oped out…

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

    • Good post Julian.

      May’s deal is appalling. Which is of course intended.

      I’m pleased you mentioned the “transition period” because many of our most dishonourable MP’s and media have conveniently forgotten it, bearing in mind we are apparently going over a cliff edge in March.

      Actually the cliff edge is further on, during which we could get a FT agreement, if the EU wanted, which of course they won’t.

      It’s all water off a ducks back now as I have no belief any more in the political class nor any belief more than hope that Brexit will happen the way voters intended.

      • Back on you soap-box again I see! Hopefully, our dishonourable MPs will continue to do their duty and argue for the best deal for Britain. Pie in the sky futures should be left to the dreamers…..there were plenty of those in 1930s Germany. You seem to want to raise Brexit at every point….are you related to a certain Scottish troll by any chance?

        • Herodotus.

          I’d agree with you if out of nowhere I’d mentioned the B word.

          If you can be bothered to read the posts previous above I was replying to Julian who mentioned the Withdrawl agreement.

          And added my opinion to his.

          Funnily enough, Julian is a die hard remainer.
          Said so himself once.
          Yet I have utmost respect for how he posts and am able to have a conversation with him without the pompus self important crap you seem capable of writing.

          Lee1 and Julian1 are others whom it’s possible to debate and agree to disagree.

          Is it natural for you or are you really making an effort to come across like so?

          You really have issues, you really do.

          This is a public forum and I’m not on any soap box.

          Meantime I will CONTINUE to speak my mind if the subject raises it’s head.

          You clearly have issues with that.

          Tough.

          No, I’m not related to TH.

          But you’re rapidly becoming seen as being in the same category with posts like that.

          • Many thanks for the kind words Daniele. I also have great respect for your posts even though we fundamentally disagree about what would have been best for the U.K. re Brexit. Right now I just want to see some progress towards decisions that actually move us out of this shadow of uncertainty because uncertainty is helping no one. We need to get this Brexit stuff behind us so that we can start building the future rather than spinning our wheels in what feels like a real life Groundhog Day and going nowhere.

      • Because they are a sovereign nation and Denmark knows only too well what happens if Germany aspires towards and acheived dominance over Europe alongside their French lapdogs. Denmark is at least savvy enough to know that the guarantors of their ongoing freedom reside in NATO not the EU.

        • On the NATO point agreed, which then naturally leads to the real question – if Denmark took that stance then why didn’t the U.K.? We have many other opt-outs and have never really been in favour of federal Europe as a majority view or a government position (Thatcher “no, no, no” and many subsequent vetoes and robust debates) so an opt-out on the EDA would have seemed quite natural.

          Maybe the U.K. took the position that it was better to be sitting at that particular table to monitor what was going on and halt or slow down undesirable stuff as appropriate. Perhaps with the U.K.’s bigger military capability our politicians felt that we would have a powerful enough voice to be able to influence direction, or at least speed of movement, whereas Denmark felt that its voice would be lost amongst the voices of the bigger nations.

          Who knows, but to me a very interesting if soon to become somewhat irrelevant question. Ultimately, despite being pro-EU, I think that in defence matters decisions in time of crisis are usually far too time-critical to allow the luxury of consensus decision making amongst 28 (soon to be 27) decision makers and sovereign capability under the command of a single commander (UK government in our case) is necessary. There are other areas where I do not feel that this is the case, e.g. safety standards, financial regulation etc. but defence is different.

    • Too long-ago for both sides I feel. It was a tragic situation. The South Africans’ came up with the best solution, truth and reconciliation. Learn the lessons and move on!

      • “The South Africans’ came up with the best solution, truth and reconciliation. Learn the lessons and move on!“ – Obviously you haven’t been reading anything about South Africa recently. Clearly it did not work and South Africa is on they way to becoming Zimbabwe 2.0 only with more famine and death on the way. What with has been dubbed “Land Reform” (better known as expropriation without compensation), a crumbling infrastructure caused by endemic corruption and kleptocracy, a economy entering depression which wil only be worsened by capital flight once the seizure of property begins.
        All “truth and reconciliation” did was allow western liberals to turn a blind eye to the complete incompetence of the ANC. Now the West turn a blind eye as Ramaphosa turns into Mugabe in a better suit.

        • You’re mixing up two very different things. The truth and reconciliation (T&R) stuff was about defusing racial tensions. There was genuine concern amongst many South Africans that the 1994 elections would result in a bloodbath of retaliation, whites murdered in their beds as payback for the NP apartheid era, etc. T&R helped diffuse those tensions.

          The subsequent kleptocracy is indeed an alarming and disheartening issue, driven by deeply dishonourable people getting into power and looting the state hence the crumbling infrastructure and many other economic issues.

          Although there are problems SA is not Zimbabwe yet and SA can still avoid that fate. It’s not wall-to-wall decay. On infrastructure for instance my Sky broadband in London (UK) is about £30 per month inc landline rental for an 11Mbps connection, my broadband in Cape Town is about £32 per month at current exchange rate for a 500Mbps connection (fibre straight into my apartment) plus free VOIP telephone number with talk that we might soon get a free upgrade to 800Mbps or even 1Gbps … hmmmm.

          Land expropriation without compensation (EWC) is still somewhat up in the air in terms of how the pieces will fall and how it will turn out in practice. In the same way that the Brexit debate has the concept of BINO (Brexit in name only) something somewhat similar to that outcome for EWC is still possible.

          (Although I was born and raised in the U.K. this comment is posted from my South African home. My family and descendants have lived here since 1654. I live and breath this stuff for about 5.5 months every year while I am over here and discuss it with friends and family who have lived here all their lives as have their parents, grandparents and many generations before that.)

    • Time to move on. Facts are that IRA and Unionist terrorists have been forgiven and not investigated or prosecuted for their actions during the troubles. Same should be applied to the legal combatants as the illegal combatants.

      • the problem is that if the police dare investigate someone they go ohhh discrimination blah blah blah when they are criminals that need to be taken of.
        Ive been the bog side, only once(its a strong nationalist area in Derry/Londonderry) and have went to the museum there and it was one of the most biased places id ever been to, you could see the hatred in the owners eyes, in all fairness he lost someone on Bloody Sunday. I believe he’s involved in the case to try and persecute these soldiers.
        But I went to the siege museum(orange order) in the centre after and although biased slightly, the people gave a lot more of a caring view if the past and didn’t seem to have much of a dislike to the nationalists as the nationalists would like you to think.
        But he talked about how it was just the done thing to go out and riot, come home for dinner, go back out and riot, throw a few petrol bombs and go home for bed. It was jus the done thing, it was seen as normal, and then they wonder why the police didn’t trust them in this area.
        But you are completely right, the same rules need to applied to the legal combatants as the illegal ones.

    • As someone from both sides of the coin, knowing lots of people on both sides, being of both irish catholic and British protestant descent(although my irish family were always pro british and have many family who served in the forces in the wars) I can sort of stand back and see both sides.
      The way I see it if IRA terrorists, yes terrorist, even most in Ireland think so can get away with genocide, not just murder, then how come these people who were just there because they were order to by the people now prosecuting them are now being faced with charges over circumstantial stuff that happened nearly 50 years ago. Was the incident justified? no, but to me most things that happened in that conflict wasn’t justified, sure the catholics were being discriminated against but that was already changing at it really wasn’t that bad as people make out, and the religious divide over what is effectively the SAME RELIGION is beyond belief!
      Its ridiculous that these terrorists are aloud to get away with it but these more than likely innocent soldiers are being prosecuted is ridiculous. Bloody Sunday was a dark day in the history of these islands but it needs to be forgotten and we must look to the future as one as we all effectively the same people at the end of the day.

      • “from both sides of the coin”

        How is having just unionist family “both sides of the coin” ?

        That statement proves you don’t have a clue about the conflict in Ireland.

        You’re making out like the conflict is a religious one, it’s isnt, it never has been, Wolfe tone, one of the founders of Irish republicanism was a Protestant, the Belfast brigade had Protestants in it, there were thousands of Protestant IRA members.

        The Irish conflict has and will always be political, nationalists who want a united Ireland vs unionists who want to remain part of Britain.

        Was there discrimination based on religion? Yes but that’s because predominately the Catholic population was nationalist and the Protestant population unionist.

        Further proof of this is why isn’t there this religious conflict in the rest of the U.K.? where Catholic’s and Protestants live together in complete peace, I have lived in England all my life and have never once experienced sectarianism.

        “sure the catholics were being discriminated against but that was already changing at it really wasn’t that bad as people make out”

        You can go on YouTube right now and see news reports of footage of terrified parents with crying catholic primary school children running through a guard of police trying to protect them from being spat at and bricks thrown at them while trying to take their kids to school.

        Try telling those parents “it wasn’t that bad”

        And that’s what’s funny about your comment, you’re trying to peddle that ‘because the catholic’s weren’t treated that bad the IRA’s actions weren’t justified’ but that’s not even the main reason the IRA were fighting.

        Read a bloody book about it please. As someone who has studied the conflict in Northern Ireland, it pains me when people in this country can’t even get a major conflict that has gone on for over a century in the U.K, on actual British soil right, it’s embarrassing.

        • I come from an Irish Catholic family, who are nationalists and proud to be Irish and not British, although historically we’re happy with the UK, going back a bit, my other side is Protestant British from England.
          And unlike you, I grew up about 20 miles from Derry(I usually call it Derry) in the Republic, I think I am aware of what I am talking about.
          I am fully aware of the discrimination that went on to CATHOLIC people in NI.
          As for why there isn’t discrimination in the rest of the UK, that’s because of the type of orangemen in NI is different from the rest, they have always been different and have had a history of looking down on Catholics.
          To say it wasn’t discrimination because of religion is ridiculous, yes there was the political point but the reason the troubles (particularly the troubles) began was due to the catholic communities were being discrimated against through gerrymandering, access to jobs, housing etc and the orange parades would walk though catholic areas and to them it looked like they were being mocked and put in there place, the political point was wanting equal rights in NI, as the Catholics had more access to the education system and many more were going to university(only queens in those days) they weren’t putting up with it anymore, so the civil rights movement began, completely fine but those marches turned into riots, and those policemen turned into riot control and the army and things got out of han and both sides have done wrong things.
          My point about it not being that bad was that some people, a minority take things completely out of hand and that it was entirely the unionists fault whereas if they stopped rioting for no reason(sometimes there were reasons) and sat down(which they did in the end, and this applies to both sides) then maybe things could of been worked out sooner.
          The civil rights movement was fine but that evolved into rocks and into petrol bombs and into car bombs.
          The conflict was religious, it was political as a result of the sectarianism.

          • “being of both irish catholic and British protestant descent(although my irish family were always pro british”

            “I come from an Irish Catholic family, who are nationalists and proud to be Irish and not British”

            Which one is it?

            The Irish conflict is not anywhere classed as a religious conflict, it’s a political conflict with religious aspects.

            You talk about the troubles began due to the Catholic civil rights movement, but the reason the Unionist paramilitaries were set up was because they thought the Catholic civil rights movement was a front for Irish republicans wanting a United Ireland, and they were mostly right.

            Anybody who thinks the Irish conflict is mainly religious really hasn’t read about it properly, if you live 20 miles from Derry away or not. A quick google search will tell you the conflict is a political one, with religious aspects, but mainly political.

          • My mums irish catholic, my dads english protestant, i grew up in a catholic area, which is everywhere in the south!
            There was without a doubt political aspects but let me tell you in the 50s and into the 60s people would have preferred a united Ireland but for the most part people were happy, and when the British army first rolled on the streets in 69 the catholics and nationalists were happy to see them, they would go out to them with tea and biscuits when they were on the street and they were seen as a neutral force, of course they were on the unionist side though and opinions quickly changed after bloody Sunday.

  4. Something from me on the EU commission being elected. this is NOT true! EU commissioners, which make up the commission, are proposed by the EU council. They hold all the executive power within the EU and are the only people within it that can propose legislation. No unelected body in any western democracy has this power.

    Hope that clears things up slightly.

    • We know Alan.

      I don’t recall having a vote for the president of the EU!

      Because there wasn’t.

      No one had heard of Von Rumpy until Nigel Outed him!

  5. I don’t know whether Brexit is entirely good or bad. There are certainly countries in Europe who very happily exist outside the EU while the UK losing close access to a 500 million person market seems like an own-goal of sorts. What a lot of us who live in other countries don’t understand is
    a. Why is it such proving to be such a battle to sort out a positive outcome for the UK properly? and
    b. Why on earth do you want or need an expanded presence on the world stage? Why more bases? Ships in the South China sea why?

    You are a part of Europe and your future is dependant on Europe. You should be sorting out decent security and defence arrangements with Europe to your own advantage. That is unless you are thinking of trading more with Chine and India? It certainly looks like an expanded trading relationship with the USA is not going to be very beneficial to the UK because the USA is 100% dedicated to securing its own advantage. If you have decided to ditch the EU structure you guys need to be looking at becoming closer diplomatically to Asian powers (China, Japan, South Korea etc.) not flexing non-existent muscle which will scare everyone off.

    I think that most of us outside Europe understand and accept that the UK is sort of a proxy state of the USA in policy and action, but one area where you have an advantage over many other countries is in cyber warfare and intelligence. You have a long history of excellence in intelligence. The comment sections in the CYBER section at the top of the page are always very very slim compared to the Land-Sea-Air comment sections maybe because these sections are a whole lot sexier than Cyber! But if you advanced your cyber and intelligence sectors instead of bleating about classes of ship and falling numbers, you would truly be a force to be reckoned with. If you can beat an enemy before a shot is fired and they know that (and are scared of it) you will be much much more powerful as a state and be able to punch well above your weight.

    I don’t think that the UK govt has any real desire to reinstate the UK as a physical world power again – it costs far too much and there is not the appetite for it at home – bar in these pages here!

    • I’m just going to duck the Brexit discussions not because I don’t think that you make some valid points but frankly I’m worn down by the whole thing. I suspect many of us in the U.K. who have been immersed in the ongoing debates since before the referendum campaigns even officially started probably feel the same. Finally something that unites many leavers and remainders!

      On the cyber/intelligence comments, I very much agree. In UKDJ’s defence though, I suspect that the big reason why the coverage of those areas is so sparse here is not disinterest or a lack of understanding of its importance but simply the fact that so much is classified. The MoD issue a press release pretty much every time a contractor is selected for T26, a ship goes in or out of refit, deploys or returns to home port, etc, etc but if GCHQ was about to invest £100m in a program to develop its own quantum computer capabilities you can be pretty sure it would never be made public.

      I don’t know if it is still the case but when I had dealings with GCHQ about 20 years ago even the daily canteen menu was classified information let alone what investments were being made in computing infrastructure.

      • “lack of understanding of its importance but simply the fact that so much is classified”

        Very much agree with that Julian.

        I also agree with the disappointment at the lack of content on Intelligence and Cyber, an area that interests me greater than the conventional forces.

        One can actually discover plenty on the intelligence side as often with HMG the left hand has no idea what the right is doing. You can discover things but you have to research, incessantly, and look closely.

        “but if GCHQ was about to invest £100m in a program to develop its own quantum computer capabilities you can be pretty sure it would never be made public.”

        Only because they probably got there years ago already! And have moved onto something else. Whatever advances are made by the NSA will be automatically reflected in GCHQ as the two are hand in glove.

        The UK’s membership of 5 Eyes is the trump card in UK defence in my opinion.
        And the previous UKUSA SIGINT agreement. due to legacy historical, language, and personal links built up over and after World War two, gives many advantages.

        “But if you advanced your cyber and intelligence sectors instead of bleating about classes of ship and falling numbers, you would truly be a force to be reckoned with. If you can beat an enemy before a shot is fired and they know that (and are scared of it) you will be much much more powerful as a state and be able to punch well above your weight.”

        As far as I’m concerned we are a force to be reckoned with and we DO punch above our weight. Lack of numbers does not mean a lack of appreciation of the cutting edge capabilities we have that many lack.

      • “even the daily canteen menu was classified information”

        LOL reminds me of the classification of the carpet colour in Thames Houses restaurant. Blue apparently!

        Or the fact that the Post Office Tower was a state secret, that does not exist, even though it is sitting there in Central London and photographed by thousands.
        Older readers may remember the ABC Trial which included that.

        • Thames House restaurant carpet is blue? Did you just contravene the Official Secrets Act? You are so much trouble now Daniele!

          As for the Post Office Tower, I can neither confirm nor deny your claim that it exists.

    • Tony King…What an excellent post….clarity from the outside. Proxy state of the USA ….probably! Crappy free trade deal with the US….almost certainly, shit food and no advantage to our economy. Emphasis on intelligence….our strong point since the Zimmerman Telegram. Why is Britain in such a ridiculous position re the EU…..because the Tories have given in to a bunch of right-wing berks with their heads up their arses. Time for change in 2019!

      • “because the Tories have given in to a bunch of right-wing berks with their heads up their arses.”

        That will be the many millions who voted leave? Or the majority of Parliament who are rightly not agreeing to Mays deal, who are certainly not right wing.

        https://labourheartlands.com/labour-constituencies-voted-to-leave-the-eu/

        Neither obviously. So just a cheap shot.

        Still with fingers in ears and eyes closed, sitting in a corner singing to yourself!

        Maybe come and join the grown ups and actually debate the points raised
        ( Look further above for my points you always run from )

        Instead of hiding and getting in a few more cheap digs and the bottom of the thread!

        Deary me.

        • Why is this article back! Is this a cue to re-engage with the Brexit debate? Ooh you are awful, but I like you! Meanwhile I am prepping my walking boots for this months march for a 2nd referendum. Hope to see some of you on the day…will be wearing a black fedora with a [email protected]$k Brexit sticker. Happy days!

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