Misconceptions on UKIP policy

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There’s a criticism of UKIP policy which I’ve seen several times, but Michael Deacon in the Telegraph (Sketch, Sept 21st) is a good example.  He reports that Nigel Farage said at our Party Conference that we shouldn’t be fighting foreign wars, and fifteen minutes later Paul Nuttall said there should be no defence cuts — as though that were an absurd contradiction.  In fact, it makes perfect sense.

The first duty of government is the Defence of the Realm.  To do this, we must maintain adequate armed forces — yet this government has cut the Army to a level not seen since Waterloo.

We must ensure that men are attracted to soldiering as a career.  We owe it to them to ensure that they are properly equipped, that their families live in decent accommodation, and especially that those who are wounded in the call of duty are properly cared for.  We need more attention to helping retired soldiers readjust to civilian life.

We are not fulfilling these tasks at the moment.  That’s why Paul say “No more cuts”.

At the same time, UKIP says we should not go to war unless there is a clear and immediate national interest, unless we have a real prospect of success, unless “success” makes things better rather than worse, and unless we have an exit strategy.  None of these conditions was satisfied by Cameron’s vague plan to bomb Syria.

So UKIP was right to oppose a Syrian adventure, and was yet again in line with public opinion — and given subsequent events, we may well be able to claim credit for stopping the US as well, and preventing yet another fruitless Middle Eastern war.

“Defence” is very much the same thing as “protection”, which enables me to sashay neatly into protectionism.  I’ve been astonished to see a couple of Twitter comments recently accusing me of protectionism.  This is rather a shock, as I’ve always been a committed free trader.  There may be Euro-sceptics who want to put up a wall around Britain and blow up the Channel Tunnel, but I’m not one of them (and to be honest, I’m not sure they exist outside the fevered imagination of Guardian hacks).

This all seems to go back to a blog piece I wrote a while back arguing that we should do more to support our farmers.

I make no apology.  It is the duty of the government to create conditions in which industry and agriculture flourish, and our people can earn a living.  Surely no one will disagree with that?  But in my view, building tariff or non-tariff barriers to imports invites retaliation, damages trade generally, and makes us all poorer.  In the end, it does nothing to help the economy.

The government should ensure that education delivers the knowledge that makes young people employable.  It should ensure that our infrastructure is adequate to the needs of industry.  It should make certain that our regulatory régime is no more onerous than those of overseas competitors.  It should seek to ensure that taxes and energy prices in our country are competitive.  None of these measures can be described as protectionist.

And while the “Buy British” campaigns of the past have never seemed to work, I would certainly not criticise a consumer who chose to buy a British product rather than an imported one.  That’s consumer choice, not protectionism.  And the job he saves may be his own.

 

 

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32 Responses to Misconceptions on UKIP policy

  1. Anne says:

    We were promised by one GREAT Prime Minister and that this Country should never again be found “wanting” in the field of DEFENCE of this Country. Yet here we have a Conservative Prime Minister that is absolutely determined to reduce every aspect of our Defence, in manpower and equipment. When I look at the youth of today, I think perhaps all should have a spell in the British Forces. It is perhaps the greatest “education” any youth could have and I mean every one of them. Starting school at a later age as suggested and only leaving at age 18 is absolutely -well words fail me! Let those that want to work, do so, and those that want to remain in further Education also do so. I started work the day I was fourteen -I slipped the net!!! But then, there was a war on!!!

  2. The military is one of the few points on which I differ, to some extent, from party policy.

    Yes we should not be invading small countries for no good reason.
    Yes we should get rid of the 70,000 procurement clerks and buy off the shelf where it works.
    Yes we should not have the defence budget used as a jobs creation programme in Labour constituencies as Brown blatantly did when he had 2 aircraft carriers, costing £5 bn but without aircraft, built in Govan and his constituency.

    But I disagree about needing a larger army. Boots on the ground are a useful occupation force (something I don’t want us doing) but do not provide optimum military capacity against enemies who could actually threaten us. Regiments have a tradition, but that is not what the military is supposed to be for.

    Wars are won by the most technologically advanced rather than numbers, otherwise we would never have had the Empire. We should be putting the money into high tech stuff – strike drones, elint, submarines, attack helicopters, lasers that can shoot shells in flight & aircraft too and my hobbyhorse, space launch capacity, satellites and the Thor system (tungsten telegraph poles in orbit which can, in a few minutes be directed to hit any spot on Earth bar the Poles), That is the modern equivalent of the fleet that made it possible to win the Seven Years War,

    • I’d take advice from the military about what it needs to fight future wars (not to re-fight the last one). But we need to build capability from the bottom up, not from the budget down.

      • ex - Expat Colin says:

        Neil…the 70,000 clerks you are on about is wrong. I have worked for MoD as an employee and contractor on some serious stuff. Clerks were binned by about 1995 because as desk officers we typed/managed our own stuff. The people you refer to are now out of London and reside in Bristol (PE) and other.They are all very experienced technical officers (many serving military/many ex military) and are charged with ensuring procurement follows requirements. Such requirements are circulated prior to contract to all related parties to ensure that new equipment is compatible with in-service requirements. That also has to meet multiple Defence/International Standards. And such requirements are always on the move – no surprise!

        I’ll say something about re-running a National Service later…I was trained in the RAF by those good guys but it won’t work again.

      • Colin on that I must admit no personal expertise. On the other hand I am told that Israel manages this with about 250 people.

      • ex - Expat Colin says:

        Neil – I don’t know about the Israeli setup as regards procurement. However, they are closely tied to the US DOD which means the real hard/time work is done by US desk officers prior to buy. Israel takes delivery of tested/proven systems. We have to do most of that ourselves with UK/Europe industry…very, very spendy. If you ever looked at a DOD standard e.g Logistics (software/hardware) you might wonder how it could ever be implemented. But we have worked with them to gain quality and compatibility…not so around the Phantom F4E we bought in place of TSR2 in the late 60s’ (Labour!!). A mess..but looked nice!

        There are a few clerks in MoD…those few girls. Well you know.

    • Chris says:

      Wars are won from troops on the ground. Not by drones.
      Lasers shooting down shells? You’ve been watching too much science fiction Neil.

  3. The more I think about our education, the nearer despair I get. The teachers are all stuck way back in the 1970s with their subjects all over the place. (Who needs French today?) The Blunkett system of too many exams sucks. We have a couple of idiots in our local paper with 11 A*s in GCSE for heaven;s sake.
    Meanwhile my next door neighbour’s son is bursting to do cars and welding but he is being taught Spanish and Jane Austen!

  4. Mendipman1 says:

    Editor

    LETTER PUBLISHED 26 SEPTEMBER 2013: Wells Journal/Mid Somerset Newpapers

    How prescient your correspondent Commodore Tim Hare’s RN letter (WJ: 12 September) ‘Why I must defend our MPs abstention decision’.) a ‘truth’ to be expected from the ‘senior’ service. Tessa Munt MP should have gone the next step in voting against the governments attempt to put ‘boots’ on the ground in Syria. Paradoxically the Conservative PPC Major Heappey Rtd and former Royal Marine, Captain Ashdown a ‘blind’ adherence to HMGs fundamentally flawed policy. It would be good to see Messrs Cameron, Hague and Clegg buttoned up in ‘infantry’ uiform as witness Winston Churchill in the !st world war! (Perhaps the Grenadiers!)*

    UKIP as articulated by Nigel Farage wholly opposed to this war ‘creep’ and begs the question of HMG and in particular The Rt Hon Vince Cable MP to whom Tessa a ‘foot’ soldier in having supplied the ‘base’ chemicals, perhaps we can identify those UK manufacturing exporters? I look forward to both Tessa and the retired ‘military’ exculpation?

    Graham E Livings, Lilliput, Upper Milton, Wells. BA5 3AH
    * A cartoon in the making!

  5. catalanbrian says:

    You may find this surprising, Roger, but I pretty much agree with the entirety of this piece, although I think your suggestion that UKIP might be able to claim credit for stopping not only the British government, but also that of the USA from a Syrian escapade may be a little fanciful. And I agree absolutely with the notion of “Buy British”. I followed that principle when I lived in Britain and now that I am a resident of Spain I do the same, buying Spanish goods when possible.

  6. Spot on Roger, but isn`t the intention that we run down our defence policies in order to make us more reliant on a European military for our protection?
    I also remember comments from the EU about the UK breaking off our special relationship with the USA, “you are now Europeans not the UK” one little hiccup and France soon stepped in!
    No doubt Mr Cameron and supporters will be certain of a well paid `non job` in the EU on their `retirement` just as Tony Blair / Mandellson and Campbell got.
    What price treachery, selling your` country?
    I also support thr return of National Service, my generation got through it OK, it helped to break off the apron strings!

  7. Jane Davies says:

    Totally agree with your comments Roger, just one little nit pick, not just men are attracted to soldiering as a career, females have been playing an active role for decades now and there is even a female Brigadier. Once in government UKIP must bring back national service, us oldies all know the benefit of this mandatory policy todays youth are in desperate need of this to shape them into adults for the future.

    • Me_Again says:

      National Service would be a total disaster and utterly impractical.
      It relied on there being just basic training [12weeks give or take] followed by deployment -when we had somewhere to deploy to.

      First there aren’t many places to deploy them and MOD property is shrinking faster than our GDP. What would they be deployed for? What could they do? Peel potaotoes, whitewash coal for inspection. March prettily?

      In 12 weeks a recruit would learn how to march and have basic weapon and infantry skills -very basic unless they were in non technical trades like chef/clerk/stores; or in the RAF they’d learn how to march but wouldn’t learn very much of anything else unless they were in non technical trades like chef/clerk/stores. Or the navy they’d learn how to march but wouldn’t learn very much of anything else unless they were in non technical trades like chef/clerk/stores.They could not be trained for more technical jobs in any reasonable timeframe.

      You would need to divert thousands of junior NCOs from leading sections/supervising sections on ships in regiments and on squadrons. We don’t have spare people anymore actually. You would need many hundreds of Petty officers/ sergeants/sergeants to teach drill and other basics. You would need hundreds of Chief petty officers and Staff sergeants and Flight sergeants to manage the divisions/troops/platoons/squadrons of recruits. You would need hundreds of junior officers to be in charge of the recruit divisions/platoons/troops/squadrons.

      You would need to open dozens of basic training establishments across the country, they would need building since we don’t have them anymore.

      You would need to return the services to proper discipline. You can’t shout at someone anymore, you can’t call them Joe 90 or a twat. You can’t F and blind at them anymore in case the poor dears are upset by it so basic training -formerly designed to strip down to basic components then re-build to service standards- would be lovely for the poor sods detailed off for it. Brought back from front line squadrons, from ships at sea and regiments deployed to teach people who don’t want to learn, how to march and salute. All at great expense to the public purse and for absolutely no useful reason at all.

      It takes two years to fully train an ordinary infantryman. We’d be discharging them just as they became useful. But since we don’t want foreign interventions then what do we need a couple of hundred thousand more partly trained soldiers for? We’d have a couple of hundred thousand partly trained sailors and only the Gosport ferry to sail on, a couple of hundred thousand more partly trained airmen and no airplanes to play with. Times have really changed since national service.

      Do you get the picture?

  8. David says:

    I saw on Fox News today that Shinola, famous for shoe polish and a comparison with other brown substance, are now making many products of quality in America, Detroit, which certainly needs many jobs. Cycles, leather goods, a fine range of watches. Folks are buying them and supporting their home country, we should try it too.

  9. And if you’re looking at buying a Beemer, go test drive a Jaguar first!

    • ex - Expat Colin says:

      Roger…you mean a FWD Mondeo base? A BMW is a superb piece of inline 6/8 cylinder machinery that could have been made here…maybe. However the interior work is more like Ford as I know. Pity about BMW in UK…their franchises are just technical numb nuts, similar to the rest. No worry, just add more EU requirements….the money spins in.

      • Chris says:

        Colin, the Jaguar X type which used the Mondeo platform is not in production anymore. Jaguar and Land Rover are leaders in the use of light weight aluminium for a number of their models.

        Jaguar is currently is moving towards an all-aluminium body for all their models, unlike BMW which still uses heavier steel. This will reduce fuel consumption and make the cars handle better.

        Time to catch up with the present and not the past.

    • ex - Expat Colin says:

      Chris – I do need to catch up but wallet no longer can. Land Rover was Alu body in my military days (Brum junk) but not Monocoque of course. One big reason (for me at least) to stick to BMW was and always will be with any car, is its ease of maintenance property. Fortunately with BMW there exists a large following in the USA/Germany in that regard and has saved my earlier wallets (many times) from the UK BMW Franchises. As such I cannot invest in present/future technology no matter how efficient it appears to be. BMW won’t be far behind anyway.

      Anyway, bathchair heading my way soon.

  10. ogga1 says:

    In cutting the armed forces what do you expect from pro eu dave, he wants reliance on Brussels.

  11. For an example of the result of reintroducing 50`s style National Service (for 4 weeks) on 30 young people with criminal records, you could do a lot worse than view “Bad Lads Army”. Its available on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ia7kxS_0Ilo

  12. Chris says:

    David Cameron is no supporter of the British Armed Forces. While overseas aid has increased by £4 billion under his watch to £12 billion a year, he’s sacked 20,000 soldiers. He destroyed £4 billion of new Nimrod MRA4 reconnaissaince aircraft with a JCB.

    The two new aircraft carriers being constructed will now have the ski-ramp instead of the catapult and traps used by American and French carriers. This means, no interoperability with our allies, more expensive VSTOL aircraft and the lack of early warning aircraft. It also means that if the F35 aircraft price balloons any further, there is no option to buy alternative cheaper aircraft such as the F18.

    The new Type 45 destroyers have been cut from 12 to 6 ships. They have no cruise missiles and require the helicopter to launch torpedoes and anti-ship missiles.

    When it comes to cuts, it’s always the armed forces first.

    David Cameron is no Conservative. He’s a liberal wearing a blue tie.

    • Me_Again says:

      He also wants to keep his four nuclear black slugs to play a wargame that finished 23 years ago. Why don’t we need main battle tanks in the numbers we did in the 80’s? Because there aren’t 100 divisions of soviet troops waiting to cross the East German/West German border. Likewise who the hell would we fire 16 Trident D5 missiles at, or even 1. Syria? Russia maybe? China?
      It has to be remembered that these are not first strike weapons and that under no circumstances could they be used unless a WMD event, aimed at us, had taken place.
      Please let’s forget Russia for now, they are not our enemies any more than America is truly a friend. I believe they are now competing in greed only and not in ideology. China then, well whatever they are, the Chinese are nobodies fools. They know they could march down Pall Mall with a division of troops and no one is going to fire a nuke at them. So why would they fire one to provoke us?

      A rogue state then. What about a rogue state nuking us or using a chemical weapon or anthrax…. Let’s just stick with a nuke for a start. I think any country which joins the nuclear club realises from day one that they just joined a club where you really can’t play with the toys. But let’s assume that say Iran got nukes. Quite topical?

      Iran with a nuke, well if I were in Israel maybe I’d be a little leary. Some fanatics are just mad enough to nuke Israel, then all hell -literally- will be let loose over the middle east because Israel will retaliate. But what of us? Are we going to launch at Iran? No.
      Not in a million years.

      Try this then. Iranians are busy making KGB style suitcase bombs. They can be got into Britain in a thousand different ways since our borders are more porous than a Tesco bag with a large hole in it. Ok they get 1, 2 or 5 here.

      On day 1 a suitcase bomb goes off in central Londonistan. A quarter circular mile of the city is vapourised with many dead. Aldermaston experts analyse the radioactive debris and get a mass spectrometric reading which shows the fissile material originated in Iran.

      Are we going to nuke Iran now? No telephone call to Tehran? We are three days now after the centre of the city has gone, the press and the people are baying for blood. A good case can be made to retaliate….. then the phone rings. Its the Iranian president. He says he’s horrified that the material came from his country and a thorough investigation has revealed that rogue elements in the revolutionary guard have secretly passed fissile material and technology to extremists, this was nothing to do with the peace loving peoples of Iran. At the same time Al jazeera broadcasts a copy of the statement.
      Are we going to nuke ’em now? No way. Could you imagine the world condemnation?
      Day 5. Another suitcase bomb explodes in the centre of Manchesteristan. A quarter circular mile of the city is vapourised with many dead. Are we going to launch now? Dammit we know where the stuff came from……
      No. Can you imagine Cameron, Clegg, Millipede chucking a bucket of instant sunshine at Tehran when they say they didn’t do it? No. Neither can I.
      Day 6 another bomb, same result do we launch? No. How could we incinerate a million people IF there’s the slightest chance their leaders are innocent? The Iranian president is on the phone every 5 minutes telling the PM that they’re pulling finger nails out as fast as they can to find out how many and where. We are just not going to launch.

      I do not however think we should not have any at all. Just in case there’s a scenario out there somewhere, where killing thousands of people in the blink of an eye, is plausible, we should retain a nuclear option.

      We should nuclear weaponise a dozen tomahawk block four TLAMs turn them into TLAM[N] -much more advanced than their Greenham common forebears. They can be fired from any cruise capable unit. Astute and her sisters are ideal. Sixth generation SSNs are like a hole in the water and there aren’t many places in the world 2000 miles from deep water.

      Really the £35 billion plus hole in our defence spending for Trident could be sensibly used to bring our conventional forces back to standard, provide a service hospital again and get us back on track elsewhere and the only people who’d be really pissed are the Americans and particularly Lockheed Martin.

      • Chris says:

        I’ll refrain from writing an essay. Nobody can look into the future, especially with regards to future wars. The Falklands war and 9/11 are two examples. Therefore, your idea that we don’t need Trident is wrong.

        Your suggestion of using cruise missiles is also misplaced. They have a smaller range than Trident, travel at slower speeds and mean that the launch platform (submarine/ship) have to be much closer to the target.

        I’d rather spend the £15 to £20 billion cost on the ultimate defense weapon for my country than throw £12 billion a year on overseas aid. And this money will be used to build new submarines rather than replacing the Trident missiles.

      • Me_Again says:

        Your understanding is WRONG. Trident isn’t a defence weapon it is a VENGEANCE weapon.
        One which is only used AFTER we have been attacked with nukes. No other reason, no other allowed use so it isn’t for defence.

        Your first paragraph states the obvious in one sense. No we cannot predict the future BUT we can say with some certainty that the possession of Trident or its ilk will not deter individual fanatics from attacking us, it is only for nation states that the credible -I use the word advisedly- threat of vengeance may act as a deterrent. However, our puny contribution of 16 missiles to any future major war -with who?- does not justify the dreadful expense of such a ‘Deadman’s switch’.

        Cruise missiles may have a shorter range but if you read my post you would have noted that they are going to be in range with plenty to spare of any potential targets. Do not underrate them, they may be relatively slow but you have to know they are coming and you have to know where from, to mount a credible defence for something with the radar cross section of an inch flying 20 feet above the ground following the terrain contours, slipping around hill sides, not taking the direct route. Avoiding known AAA sites and SAM sites veering in different directions but with terrible accuracy. Accuracy greater than Trident D5 missiles for sure. The next ones are stealthy too, even smaller radar cross section with defensive decoys too.

        When a Trident is launched, everyone in the world can see it. They can plot its course direction and speed observe its behaviour and determine its destination. Some countries even have ABMs that could take out the incoming MIRVs regardless of how fast they travel since interception relies on direction not speed.

        Your last paragraph is spurious since it is not a choice between the two. I’d rather have neither.

      • Trident is not a vengeance weapon. It is a deterrence weapon.

      • Me_Again says:

        No, Roger, check it out. I said it isn’t a defence weapon. It isn’t. A defensive weapon would be an anti-ballistic missile for example. If Trident is ever used it will be a vengeance weapon since the precept is that we have already been nuked. At that point deterrence has failed and vengeance becomes the order of the day. It isn’t just semantics it is a thought process. Trident must never be thought a weapon of defence.

        Something else to consider. Neither the Chinese or Russians ever considered the concept of ‘escalation’ to nuclear conflict or ‘strategic’ weapons. Part of their ethos was always that nukes were just another weapon in their armoury to be used as and when required to deal with a particular battlefield issue. The concept of ‘strategic nuclear weapons was entirely American.

        Hope you read the rest of the scenarios, I always did disagree with Godders on this. Such a waste of money to fight the last war again.

  13. Me_Again says:

    You can understand the argument though when the trading playing field may be level BUT the production playing field is lumpy as hell and steeply inclines towards China.
    As no doubt you are aware, China has in the last couple of years destroyed Germany’s solar panel industry utterly, by undercutting on production costs. This is after undercutting Taiwan for computer chips and dozens of other countries in dozens of products. In fact they screw everyone over. They have China Light and power to supply cut rate energy, China railways to supply cut rate rail transport.

    How can they undercut us so comprehensively apart from what is stated above? Because a small Dachshund named Colin would be hard put to live here, on the wages they pay their workers. Not only that but working in industrial China can really be hazardous to your health.

    So whilst it isn’t a good idea to be protectionist you can see the attraction. This means that to compete on the level production field we should have not privatised energy companies but mutualised. This would mean no shareholders and just cost of production, no profit [unless it is counted as investment for specific projects in forthcoming years] to push costs higher. MUCH lower energy bills mean industry here starts to become competitive again even whilst paying a decent wage with decent working conditions. A mutualised railway network would make just the same cuts in cost of transport, making businesses here even more competitive.

    There need be no sacrifice of quality, no sad return to the 70’s style of union rules OK. We’ve had several decades of privatisation which clearly demonstrate that competition does not increase -we simply get cartels- choice does not increase -unless you have a degree in talking bollocks and can understand the complex bullshit these companies produce to pick over their products- and certainly no lowering of prices.

    So how about a mutual ‘Energy Society’ and a mutual ‘Railway Society’ in which we are all investors [through costs of use]. John Lewis writ large.

    • Yes Chinese electricity costs being far lower than ours explains why they are growing at 10% a year and we aren’t – there is a 1:1 correlation between energy use and gdp.

      Our electricity prices are not a result of non-mutualisation as the fact that their profit is only 2% of turnover. Our electricity prices would be 90% lower were it not for the corrupt parasitism of our political class – and they all know it.

      Incidentally I don’t know about the dachshund but the average person in Senegal lives on much less than the EU subsidies every European cow and that has not been sufficient to make Senegal an economic giant. Competent government and a commitment to economic freedom counts for more than wages – it would be nice if we had some.

      • Me_Again says:

        I have no details of actual profit raked in but they must surely be more than 2% if the industry declared profits of 2.5 bn recently. Anyway point taken. More about who owns a strategic asset though and the lack of apparent choice. We only appear to be allowed private or state rather than a mutual compromise in the middle.
        Long while since I’ve been to Senegal but I rather think Colin’s short legs might betray him and land him in the pot.

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