Security and Stability 2

August 12, 2017

In relation to the European Union, and the Hope and Vision for it, which we had but remains unfulfilled; our departure from the EU raises issues about what our future relationship will be, especially as there seems no desire by the core members of the EU and the Eurozone to reform their institutions.  Our two areas of concern are the future of Gibraltar and the continuance of the special relationship with the Republic of Ireland through the British + Irish Council and the Common Travel Area.  The threats arise from the EU failing to recognise the special status of Ireland  by virtue of the Republic being a member of the CTA and of the EU.

The continuance of the CTA should not be in doubt and any problems relating to the border are of a practical nature that can easily and sensibly be resolved.  The obstacles to that are of a political nature driven by opportunism.  Sinn Fein have demanded the granting of special status to Northern Ireland by the EU with the customs and trading border effectively being pushed in to the Irish Sea.  The aim of this is to peal off Northern Ireland from the UK.  It is unacceptable, but it seems the Irish Government who are supposed to be impartial by virtue of the Good Friday Agreement, have endorsed that position and thereby created a barrier.  The second barrier is the refusal of the EU to discuss future trading arrangements before agreement is reached about the border.  But, it is the agreement on customs and trade that will determine how the border will operate in the future.  The EU is putting the cart before the horse.

Both the Irish Government and the European Commission keep demanding clarity from the UK, but both are unwilling to place any concrete proposals on the negotiating table.  Following the Referendum last year Liam Fox made the UK position very clear.  The UK wanted free and fair trade with the EU and would not place any obstacles in the way.  However, if terms and conditions were implemented against the UK they would be matched by the UK with the very same measures.  That should be the UK position with regard to the Irish border.  A free and open border will be maintained between Britain and Ireland, made easy by the fact that neither are in the Schengen Area, and they continue joint external visa arrangements and immigration/entry procedures.  In effect that puts the border in to the North Sea and the English Channel.

It is a situation that could be open to abuse and will have to be carefully monitored to ensure criminal elements are frustrated.  The EC are right to be wary of the UK being used as a back-door to the EU.  Likewise the UK does not want the Republic to be used as a back-door in to Great Britain.  With good will it can be policed in an unobtrusive manner.  This is not made easy by the attitude and actions of the new Taoiseach, who acts as though the North is already part of his jurisdiction.  His undiplomatic visit to Belfast recently, to show solidarity at the Gay Pride event and promote Same Sex Marriage, does not bode well for future relations and does not demonstrate impartiality.  It is not Northern Ireland that should have ‘special status’ – it is the Republic of Ireland’s ‘special status’ that should be acknowledged and recognised by the EU.

Spain has a normal veto regarding the final exit agreement from the EU, but has also been given an additional veto in relation to Gibraltar and the application of future trading agreements via the UK.  Latest comments by Spain’s Foreign Minister indicate a softening of their official position, with him promising not to raise sovereignty issues during the negotiations.

However, they still aim to recover Gibraltar and restore territorial integrity despite the indisputable fact that Gibraltar was ceded in perpetuity to the British Crown.  This softening seems to be in response to concerns raised by 10 thousand Spanish workers who cross the border each day and the wider population who cross to shop and take advantage of lower custom and excise duties, and the absence of VAT.  The existing border is not open as Gibraltar is not in the Schengen Area.  That will not change, but it is a reason why Gibraltar could join the CTA (and it has strong Irish links) and why a change of status to that of a Crown Dependency would be of great advantage.

The UK is not leaving Europe and will still be a member of the Council of Europe that has a larger membership, and a remit that is much wider than just human rights.  Our commitment to European Solidarity can in the future be focused through the CE institutions.  Our position would be to concentrate our efforts there for a Europe based on Christian principles and values.  As a member of the CE we would still be able to fly the flag inspired by Our Lady and Her crown of twelve stars; and also able to acknowledge the ‘Ode to Joy’ anthem that celebrates brotherhood, peace and understanding.  Both the flag and anthem originated with and were adopted by the Council of Europe, but were later high-jacked by the EU.

Of course the UK will still be a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.  Whatever the future for a European Defence Union, we will be detached.  Our future lies in being more independent and more influential.  The support from the UK government for Germany having a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, with a veto, should be withdrawn.  It will not be our concern if the EDU wants that status in the future, but it will then be up to France to concede that status in their place.

In relation to the United Nations our aim would be to maintain the UKs pre-eminent position on the Security Council, but to reset the approach away from population control, replacing that with pro life and family positions.  There is evidence of mission creep by UN agencies that are now out of control.  Many are redefining Charters, Conventions and Declarations to suit their own progressive agendas, contrary to the decisions and wishes of the UN General Assembly.  They need to be curbed or if necessary disbanded.  The UN also seems to be incapable of controlling the activities of Non Governmental Organisations and their financial backers.  This is a grave situation when the likes of George Soros and his co-conspirators are able to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign states.  The entry by corporate entities in to space exploration that has a commercial motivation, resulting in despoilation and exploitation, also gives cause for concern.

The UK government does not engage the public when it takes up a foreign policy position or pursues initiatives at the UN.  Never apologise and never explain seems to be the historic culture ingrained at the Foreign Office.  That needs to change with a new culture of openness and transparency.  We have concerns about the FO support for the inclusion of Brazil, Germany, India and Japan as permanent members of the Security Council as this will make it even more difficult to achieve a consensus.  The proliferation of nuclear states is a sign of failure, as also is the fact that the existing five veto holding permanent members are the world’s biggest arms producers.  If those five cannot prioritise a plan for arms reduction and a further extension of Nuclear Free Zones, we have to question their raison d’etre.

This major problem is peculiar in that it only afflicts the Northern Hemisphere, as the whole of the Southern Hemisphere – including all of Africa and Central & South America – are NFZ.  The UK respects these long-standing agreements and is committed to not infringing them by taking nuclear weapons in to those regions.  So, nuclear bombs and missiles will never be based in the Falklands, for example.  In the future we could be called on to police the South Atlantic and need to be prepared for that eventuality.  It should be remembered that NATO responsibility ends at the Tropic of Cancer.

Potential flash points are in Central Asia, the Far East and Pacific; with China being a greater threat than Russia.  While we should not get directly involved, we might have to provide cover if the US Navy is withdrawn to the Pacific.  This happened during the Viet Nam conflict when the maintaining of carrier task groups off-shore put a great strain on the US Navy.  The US focus has already shifted from the Atlantic to the Pacific.  It is clear that we are going through a period of change that requires a totally different approach to UK foreign policy.  A renewed commitment to the Commonwealth and a declaration that the UK will defend its interests on the Security Council would be a minimum position.  It should also be recognised that we can be drawn in to conflict due to Treaty obligations; meaning that we should not make promises we cannot keep.  This requires the maintaining of a credible military force.


Security and Stability

July 16, 2017

CDP policies are framed by reference to the essential ‘six systems of community’ as listed in categories 2 to 7 in the sidebar to the right.  Over and above those is the duty to ensure that the country is secure and stable; as this enables and allows the ‘six systems’ to flourish.  Since ancient times the prime duty of a King has been to protect his subjects, mainly against external threats, but also internally by imposition of law and order.  In modern times this prime duty, to protect its citizens, rests with the executive government overseen by the people’s representatives.  The duty to protect its citizens can now be more widely defined to include environmental and health hazards, as well as the unscrupulous behaviour of conmen and carpet-baggers.  However, for the elaboration and discussion of this category we are limiting our coverage to the three sub-elements of foreign policy, defence and civil protection.

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Tortoise or Hare

August 9, 2016

There was a serious side to the previous post [The train now standing] because it is the start of a journey and the train has only just pulled out of the station, for it then to come to a grinding halt.  There is apprehension that the train will reverse back in to the station.  Passengers are now waiting nervously for an announcement as to how it is to proceed.  Slowly and vaguely appears to be the order of the day.  The official indication is the journey will start in January 2017 with the invoking of Article 50 and we will arrive at our destination, outside the EU, in 2019 with plenty of time to spare before the general election in 2020.  Now that seems to be very optimistic and it is inevitable that delays will occur.  The passengers will start to get impatient and demand more haste, but that is exactly what must not happen.

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The train now standing

July 27, 2016

With the dust starting to settle following the EU Referendum we can begin to reflect on the result and divine from the entrails the future course of events.  But first, an amusing look at the last month.

Oh! Mr Porter, what shall I do?

I want to go to Birmingham

And they’re taking me on to Crewe,

Take me back to London, as quickly as you can,

Oh! Mr Porter, what a silly girl I am.

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Its not the economy, stupid!

June 21, 2016

This referendum is about change, versus more of the drive towards closer political union.  Yes, Cameron returned from Brussels with a new semi-detached status for the UK.  But, it was nonsense and such a good deal that the Remain campaign never mention it.  Yes, EU President Tusk belatedly tells us that ten states are now signed up to reform.  But, this is too late and unsure, and if they are the smaller nations their percentage of the double voting system will not carry much weight.   It does smack of a ‘pig in a poke’.  If he can firm it up and get all the 27 states on board, he may have a chance for post-referendum negotiations, but then we will be negotiating from a strong position because we will have voted to leave the EU.  Voting to LEAVE is a win-win situation.  Vote to Remain will result in them thinking they need not change and it will be business as usual.

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Keep Calm and Get Serious

June 20, 2016

Any hope that the last three days of campaigning before Referendum Day would take on a more serious and factual tone have been quickly dashed.  It is business as usual for the campaign managers and spin doctors.  They are making a big mistake by treating the referendum like a general election; that is you can get away with a lie because the voters expect politicians to lie.  The case brought before the Courts, that the successful candidate for the Orkney and Shetland constituency in 2015 lied, was not successful.  There was no doubt that his election campaign claim was untrue, but that did not cut any ice with the Court.  There is no law that says candidates must tell the truth.  In this referendum both sides have been careful to use the words may or might or could, even on issues that are very clear and factual.  In general elections it is very much a competition between future promises, while this referendum is about what has happened with the European Union and what the evidence tells us about where the EU is going.  Voters are much better informed, can see through the competing claims and are not swayed by party loyalties.

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Why do Catholic bishops mistake EU integration for solidarity?

June 19, 2016

Our CDP position on the EU is contrary to that of our Catholic Bishops, who are of course in tune with their fellow bishops in COMECE [the {Catholic} Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community], which has a permanent Secretariat in Brussels.  In October 2009, I pointed out the irony of the support of COMECE for the Lisbon Treaty resulting in them having to change their name, because the European Community would no longer exist after the Treaty as the single identity and personality of the European Union was adopted.  They should have become COMEUE, but they did not, and that explains the problem – they are still looking at Europe as if it was the EEC or EC.

Their main purpose was liaison with the European Community, with the objectives to monitor and analyse the political process of what became the EU, and to inform and raise awareness within the Church about EU policy and legislation.  They were to promote reflection on the challenges arising from European Unity, based on Catholic Social Teaching.  Remain or Leave, the choice is not a matter of faith or morals.  We are free to take a contrary position.

For this post our starting point is the Catholic Herald article > http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2016/05/12/why-bishops-love-the-eu/

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