Brexit, Parliament and the Libertarian Way

I had believed that when I composed my previous article for my Brexit blog that was the final article, it was the end of the matter and my blog. After all, the EU referendum had been and gone. The result had been declared in favour of Leave. I would no longer be required to write additional articles as the politicians of Westminster would comply with the referendum result which by a House of Commons vote they had all sworn on oath to put before the electorate and not only abide by the outcome of that decision but to implement that outcome in its entirety. By taking part in the Commons vote, irrespective of which way they voted, all MP’s bound themselves into this contract between themselves and the electorate. To break this contract would be an act of deceit and deception upon the electorate, breaking the sacred covenant held between the politicians and the electorate.

Now thanks to a ruling in the High Court, Brexit must now be debated and voted upon by both Houses of Parliament. Both the MP’s and the Lords must vote in favour of the UK leaving the EU for this now to become an actuality. The fly in the ointment to this recent ruling is that the overwhelming majority of members sitting in both Houses are openly opposed to Brexit and wish for the UK to remain within the EU. We have now reached a bizarre situation where there are pro EU MP’s whose electorate in their constituencies voted in favour of Brexit by large majorities. So the question must be; will those MP’s comply with the will of the majority of their constituents and vote for Brexit in its entirety? Somehow, I very much doubt it. I can envisage their bloody minded arrogance, their conceited pomposity, believing that the majority of their constituents who voted for them to become a Member of Parliament are in this instance totally wrong and at fault. I can well believe many of these MP’s will choose to block Brexit at every turn and opportunity. Or at the very least water down Brexit so much so that the UK ends up being little better off than Norway’s model. By doing so, these MP’s will be displaying a level of superiority to their citizens which has not been observed since the 1700’s. Indeed, the last time this level of defiance by sitting MP’s was last seen was in 1773, only to be followed by the Boston Tea Party and the loss of the Americas. It is an honour and a privilege to be an MP but, in this modern day and age do they really need to be reminded of their position in society? That they are the servants of the people and not their masters who reside in petulant judgement over their citizens? If our MP’s willingly choose to annul the outcome of a referendum then this will break a bond of trust which has been held between MP’s and their electorate for centuries. To break that bond in times when people have little respect for politics is to set a foolish precedent. Why will any citizen in future bother to turn up at their local polling station and vote? When more people have voted on this occasion than ever before only to have that outcome denied them? What will be the point of voting? None. That is a depressing and negative outcome for the citizens of any country to face.

As for the House of Lords? These members are totally unelected. It was different in the past when the peerages were carried down family lineages. Those members knew from a young age the responsibility that they would hold in future life. They were prepared for all eventualities. Yet now, we have actors, celebrities and suchlike who now reside in those chambers as members of the House of Lords. I am certain there are even more inexperienced members who reside there, well out of their depth of understanding. These members will no doubt take much delight in voting down Brexit. Unelected members denying the voice of the majority after they have spoken.

So it is with much sadness I have returned to my blog. In retrospect looking back at the Brexit campaign I did learn one thing of importance and value. Like the overwhelming majority of Brexiteers I was in the camp of being pro Europe but not in favour of the EU and it’s level of political control. It was a constant battle to convince the undecided voter that we were in favour of Europe just not in favour of our nation losing its sovereignty. It is not as if the UK were the only nation to be disgruntled with the EU. If you were to travel to Greece, Italy or any of the poorer EU member states I am certain you will find many dissatisfied citizens who have lost their voice entirely to those who reside on the EU Council and Parliament. And that is part of the problem faced by the EU and the rest of the world. The political classes of the modern world seem ever eager to form ever larger centralized governments, being over eager to form new larger federal nations in the hope of carrying more political clout on the world’s stage. Simultaneously, there is this narrative desire to shape and mould the citizens of the world into a “one size fits all” or “catch all” system where we are all interchangeable with each other. All with the same requirements and needs, which is utterly preposterous. A prime illustration of this is the Eurozone of the EU. Countries which should never have been allowed to enter the Eurozone in the first place are now held politically and fiscally captive at the mercy of foreign nations, governments and their laws. These nations have lost all self determination and by doing so are unable to fulfil the basic needs and requirements of their own peoples. All because these political and legislative powers have been centralized and removed from the citizens.

Bereft of much of their individuality, all of the member states of the EU are required to act as an individual nation, speaking with one voice no matter their cultural and historical differences. All sovereignty and the right to self determination long since lost. As I campaigned for Brexit, being uncomfortable with the level of power being exhibited by the EU, I had a “Road to Damascus” epiphany of my own. And the recent High Court ruling cemented that epiphany. While campaigning I found my political views becoming more and more Libertarian. By the end of the referendum campaign I had come to realize that the unpopularity of the EU and many of its faults were due to its vast size, their centralized governments filled with unaccountable bureaucrats and the inability of this faceless behemoth to communicate, let alone converse with or listen to its citizens. But many of the undecideds and remainers responded with the reply that the UK was not much better off by having the unelected House of Lords and no voice in England outside of London and the centralized political power held by Westminster. I found I was unable to disagree with them or find fault with this fact.

I realized; was the political animal that is Westminster, with all of the centralized government that is Whitehall along with Parliament that much different to the centralized behemoth in Brussels that we criticize so much? The answer to this, is probably there’s very little difference at all. The solution to this in my mind is a new political template which incorporates ever more decentralized government at its core, with devolved powers being shared out amongst the regions and to those citizens who inhabit them. As citizens we may now be living in a 24/7 global world but this does not mean that our requirements and needs are the same the world over. During the Brexit campaign not only did I argue the case that the needs and requirements for British businesses and British citizens were different to the needs and requirements of French or German businesses and citizens, I would now go a step further. I would claim that the needs and requirements say for example of Cornish fishermen were different from those of the fishermen who work off the coast of the North East of England. But then surely, don’t the needs and requirements for all the Cornish people differ, if only slightly from the needs and requirements of their neighbouring Devonians? In some instances surely the needs and requirements of the Cornish living on the north coastline differ from the Cornish living on the southern coastline? Yet the centralized powers of Westminster would be incapable of differentiating from the needs of someone living in Exeter City to the needs of someone living in Mousehole. That is the problem. All life is viewed the same outside the London political “bubble”. There is London, then there is “other” to which the centralized political machine is utterly oblivious to.

So I now realize that even the discussion of devolving powers to the regions of East Anglia and the West Midlands is nowhere near small nor adventurous enough. The needs and requirements of inner city Birmingham and Warwickshire are vastly different to neighbouring rural Worcestershire. Indeed, Worcestershire offers a salutary lesson to all, especially those who favour centralized regional government. This is merely swapping one behemoth for multiple versions. Between 1974 and 1998 Worcestershire lost its “Shire”, becoming merged with Herefordshire. By and large this new “Hereford & Worcester” was a failure, letting down the people of both Shires. Even though they were neighbouring Counties, both largely rural at the time of being formed, the needs and requirements of both Counties were so different that there was disagreement at nearly every level and in every sector. During this period much of the discourse boiled down to which County had autonomy or rule over the other County and which County controlled the funds? Even though Hereford & Worcester was merged into a single County, they still saw themselves as two Counties in partnership, debating over which was superior to the other. On the one hand the centralized government of the EU believes that it can deal with every member state as if they were part of a single nation, and Westminster believes that it can deal with the needs of England as an entire entity; yet on the other hand two similar neighbouring Counties were ultimately incapable of successfully working together cohesively due to the differing needs and requirements of the authorities and citizens from both Counties.

Ultimately, I believe it would be far better to decentralize and devolve power to the level of Counties/Shires, each separate with their own sitting Assembly. Each elected member of this Assembly could be chosen either by using the old “Hundred” divisions in rural areas, or a set number of streets, or an estate for towns and cities. Each County/Shire Assembly Member would then be accountable, transparent and visible within their designated ward.

Best of all with this new tier of decentralized government, Assembly members would know the members of their ward on sight. At least at this tier of politics, it would bring an end to the party machine and party politics. Assemblies would be filled with independent, non-affiliated, non-partisan members, who would have no overall allegiance to either main party nor political leader. The archaic two-party system would be at an end at County level. No fear of de-selection from their chosen party, as party politics would be neutered from the grass roots at ground level. The real fear for members would be that of dismissal from the Assembly for performing below standard and not acting on behalf of the members of their ward.

If the centralized government of Westminster gave autonomous power to these County/Shire Assemblies, allocating funds to each County Assembly on an annual basis, they would then hold the sole responsibility of running that County on a day to day basis for the well-being of its citizens, while distributing those funds to the Local Councils and the NHS. Therefore, if the Assembly members were to misappropriate funds or, to show poor decision making when allocating funds, being a transparent visible face within the community, they would find themselves answerable to that community whereby they could face a hearing and ultimately dismissal so as a new member could be elected in their place. Holding onto one’s position would solely lay with the ability to effectively and efficiently perform tasks while being accountable to the local populous and their requirements at all times.

Say for example that a County Assembly is investing poorly in certain areas of the NHS where that investment is needed. Hypothetically, say there is a lack of investment in nursing care for the elderly in a County where the age of the population is much higher, where funds are being misdirected to another area of the NHS which that County is less effected by, then the electorate would be able to take those Assembly members to task and in due course have them removed to elect new members in their place.

These County/Shire Assemblies could also serve another purpose. Each Assembly could select a leader or representative who would sit in the House which would replace the House of Lords. Each representative would be instructed by the Assembly beforehand in which way to vote. Even Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could adopt this tier of politics and they too could dispatch Assembly members to sit in the new House. This new House would be comprised of Assembly Members who were independent and non-partisan, free of the machinations of the political machine of Westminster.

MP’s sitting in the House of Commons could concern themselves with matters of national security and defence, international affairs and matters that concern the nation as a whole. While the day to day running of the country, the policing, the health care, education and infrastructure could be left to be autonomously run and maintained by the local members of the County/Shire Assemblies. This way the majority of political and fiscal powers would be devolved to a County regional level. This would be the first time since the Magna Carta in 1215 where the people could claim to have a say in politics. For the first time in our history there could be a political system run by the British people, for the British people. Indeed, with a new House filled with representatives of these County/Shire Assemblies, by their very presence and transparent actions, they would neuter the level of power that is wielded by the Commons.

If County/Shire Assemblies had already been in place and if the electorate had to chosen to vote for Brexit candidates then the electorate would be all too aware at a local level of the popularity of that vote. County Assembly members could have been dispatched to their House with a mandate to vote Brexit through. That way the MP’s would have been completely aware of the amount of groundswell popularity for the leave vote and for Brexit. With a sufficient amount of pro Brexit Assembly members in favour of the referendum result, neither the dissatisfied remainers nor the MP’s would be in any kind of position or power to go against the outcome of the referendum. While all the time that popularity for Brexit would be transparent so there could be no redress or complaint from any side. Indeed, for many powers to be decentralized and devolved to County/Shire Assemblies, the most positive step to this smaller tier level of government would be the extra transparency shown towards the electorate. Ultimately, that can only be a positive step towards involving the electorate in the future of modern politics.

What are the chances of my generation bearing witness to such a political upheaval and to see the end of current partisan party politics? In reality, probably slim to none. Nor I doubt will the next generation, nor the one after that bear witness to such a change in our political system. After all, a turkey has never yet volunteered to vote in favour of Christmas!

 

Brexit – A Bright Future

Two weeks have passed since the nation went to the ballot box on the 23rd June. I have been dismayed by what I have witnessed. The EU referendum was over. The voting done. The nation had spoken. Over 17 million people had voted Leave. They had grasped the opportunity for a brighter future. The verdict was final. Brexit had been victorious.

You would not have known this if you were watching the news broadcasts on mainstream television channels. The BBC are the most guilty but all broadcasters are culpable of continuing to promote a pro EU and Remain stance, in spite of the fact that this nation voted Leave.

These broadcasters, who should have been allaying the fears of the general public after Brexit and bringing calm to the markets; who should have been “banging the drum” for the UK and British commerce, promoting the news of all those nations who have since contacted the UK and are vying to be first in line for trade talks.

Instead, we have witnessed nothing but churlish spite from the broadcasters as they have concealed and failed to publicize the positive news on Brexit while seeking to grasp and promote every story that may undermine the process of Brexit or the UK economy. Broadcasters have failed to publicize the news that within hours of the Leave result members of the Commonwealth of Nations were contacting the UK to begin trade negotiations. Immediately! Canada, Australia and New Zealand were the first to take up the clarion call with the New Zealand Government offering the UK the use of their best trade negotiators to help with the Brexit negotiations with the EU. Other Commonwealth nations, Ghana and India have also contacted the UK to begin trade talks. None of this has been reported on mainstream TV.

Outside of the Commonwealth of Nations, within hours of the Leave result being declared, the United States of America  admitted that the UK shall not be “at the back of the queue” as had been hinted during `Project Fear’, instead the USA quickly contacted the UK to begin preliminary trade talks. Again, a positive story for British commerce had been concealed and gone unreported. South Korea and Mexico have also contacted the UK seeking talks for new trade agreements. Again this passed unreported. European Free Trade Association (EFTA) members Iceland and Switzerland have also contacted the UK seeking trade talks. This too passed unreported on mainstream TV.

If the broadcasters truly cared about this nation and their viewers they would be promoting the positive message of Brexit to the UK and the rest of the world, instead of continuing with their policy of `Project Fear’. Whatever happens during future negotiations with the EU, the UK will have some form of access to the Single Market. More importantly, for the first time in over forty years the UK shall be able to bypass going through EU channels and hold face-to-face trade discussions with the other 52 members of the Commonwealth of Nations and the rest of the world outside of the EU. The UK has regained its voice on the world’s stage. With the opportunity of unfettered negotiations with all those nations and potential new markets, the 27 member states of the EU no longer look so inviting. Not that you’ll hear this positive message in the mainstream media. Instead, the mainstream media shall continue to spoon feed you a diet of fear, gloom and negativity.

The British mainstream media have been utterly disingenuous in their attitude to the point of treachery of their own nation and people. If there is to be a recession in future, they shall be the culpable party and much of the blame shall fall upon them. It must be said that the Bank of England and other organizations who were content to play their part in `Project Fear’ are equally culpable and they too will need to accept the role they played in causing harm to the UK economy.

Regardless of the home grown treachery and those fifth columnists spreading fear, as long as our politicians have the moral courage to invoke Article 50 (having been given the mandate to do so by the outcome of the referendum) and complete the UK’s exit from the EU within the next two years, the potential future of Britain outside of the EU still remains a very bright one. All of those nations previously mentioned are there waiting in the wings offering new opportunities to the UK, with potential access to economic markets which when combined are far in excess of the EU’s. Those nations seeking access to British economic trade will only continue to grow and expand in the passing months and years ahead. Outside of the EU there is an entire world of opportunity opening up to the UK, offering a bright and prosperous new future with endless possibilities.

EU Referendum Myths On Figures

It seems peculiar even as the Remain campaign berates the Vote Leave campaign for the £350 million per week figure going to the EU from the UK as non factual; the Remain campaign holds to their statement that there are over 500 million consumers in the EU for British businesses.

If the Remain campaign wished to be completely factual they should claim that there are over 500 million `potential’ customers, when in reality there are nowhere near that many potential consumers.

In Southern Europe and the Mediterranean the economies of Spain, Greece, Italy, et al are far from being in the position where their citizens can purchase goods and services from the UK on a noticeable scale. The same can be said for the nations from Eastern Europe who have joined the EU. Their economies are too disadvantaged to be able to purchase British goods and services.

All of these nations are in the Eurozone. The chances of these economies recovering within decades are negligible. This is the entire point of the Eurozone. All of these nations are kept poor and are reliant upon Germany and the European Central Bank. When the European Union morphs in to the United States of Europe and nations are transformed in to principalities their utter reliance upon the ECB will be the leverage used for their agreed compliance to a federal Europe. What this does mean is the majority of citizens of the EU are not consumers of British goods and services.

The UK in the EU has to accommodate 27 other nations, which are set to increase, just to do business with Germany, France and the BeNeLux nations. The economies of France and the BeNeLux nations are not in the rudest of health. This leaves Germany as the main market for UK goods and services. This is less than 82 million consumers, not over 500 million. In reality, for German consumers it is not even that amount. Your average German citizens, Herr und Frau Schmidt are not consumers, they are savers and investors, unwilling to spend and consume anywhere near the levels of British or American consumers.

For British goods and services there are far more potential consumers in the rest of the world, hundreds of millions more potential consumers outside of the EU. To think otherwise is sheer folly and for this reason it is the sensible decision to vote leave on the 23rd June.

EU Army

Having written previously on the formation of an EU Armed Forces, with recent changes gathering apace I am compelled to write further on the topic of the EU army, its position with NATO and the future potential consequences.

Since the conception of the current European Union there have always been plans for what people are referring to as an EU army. As early as the 1992 Maastricht Treaty (Treaty on European Union) under Article J.4, plans were made for the EU to form a common defence policy, with the aim to go on and form a common defence, i.e. the basis on which to form the inception for an EU Army.

By 2003, at a meeting in Brussels it was agreed between France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg to form a “European Defence Initiative”, whereby the armed forces of each nation would in future work closer together in cooperation.

This meant reinforcing the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) which lead to the formation of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Though both policies serve the same purpose, there are major and important differences in how they each go about achieving that goal.

At the 2007 Treaty of Lisbon (TEU) it was agreed to expand upon Article J.4 so, under Article 42 it was agreed for the upcoming CSDP to pool the resources available to the European Defence Agency (EDA) and form a “Permanent Structured Cooperation in Defence” within the EU. In effect this was the license granting the EU to form a combined EU Armed Forces enshrined as a directive in EU legislation.

For an EU Army to come to fruition the Common Security and Defence Policy was required to supersede the European Security and Defence Policy. It is vital to understand the differences between the two. The main points of the ESDP are:

  • The ESDP though being of Europe was not operating under direct legislation from the EU.
  • The ESDP was enacted under the organisation of the Western European Union (WEU). Though the WEU’s Council and Assembly operated from a headquarters in Brussels, the organisation was in fact a part of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), the Allied Command Operations headquarters for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  • The remit of the ESDP was enacted under NATO protocols.
  • In 1995 a European multinational rapid reaction force, the European Rapid Operational Force (Eurofor) was set up by the WEU. The deployment of Eurofor was a joint NATO and EU action.

By comparison the nature of the Common Security and Defence Policy brought about by the Treaty of Lisbon differs greatly to the previous European Security and Defence Policy. Those differences are:

  • The CSDP falls entirely under the jurisdiction of the European Union. NATO has no say and plays no part in the policy.
  • The WEU embedded in NATO was abolished to be replaced by the European Defence Agency (EDA) as early as 2004. The EDA is answerable solely to the EU Council and has no links with NATO. The EDA is responsible for a remit that covers everything from defence think-tanks to research and development, from operational planning to tactical deployment.
  • Eurofor the joint NATO and EU European multinational rapid reaction force was replaced by the EU Battlegroup (EU BG). Again, this EU Battlegroup is solely answerable to the Council of the European Union and therefore the unelected European Commission.

The EU Battlegroup is also complemented with the European Corps (Eurocorps), the European Gendarmerie Force (EUROGENDFOR or EGF), the European Maritime Force (Euromarfor or EMF) and the European Union Force (EUFOR). All are joint EU operations.

It is the EU Battlegroup which has formed the nucleus of this EU army. Already in May, British troops of the 2nd Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment and the 4th Infantry Brigade were deployed on exercise on Salisbury Plain as part of an EU Battlegroup joint operation. Further more, as explained by others including Colonel Richard Kemp CBE, from July these troops shall form part of the EU High Readiness Battlegroup and shall be commanded by the EU Council.

The European Defence Agency and therefore the EU Battlegroup is presided over by the “High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy”. The High Representative works in conjunction with the President of the European Council. Both unelected in the positions they hold. It is they who shall hold sway over the deployment of the 2nd Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment and the 4th Infantry Brigade from July. The post of High Representative is currently held by Italian politician Federica Mogherini. A member of the Italian Communist Youth Federation, after the dissolution of the Italian Communist Party, Mogherini became a member of the post-Communist `Democratic Party of the Left’. So at this very moment a representative of the Communist/Socialist left now holds the power to preside over the deployment of members of HM Armed Forces.

Whether members of HM Armed Forces on exercise bore the insignia of the Union flag or the EU flag is a moot point. The most pressing issue is who held control and overall power to deploy British troops on exercise. The answer to this is the High Representative, a `foreign’ politician and a `non-British’ body hold the powers to control a supposedly sovereign nation and the movements of its troops. This is not a fantasy, nor a dream but an event that has already taken place in actuality and has already occurred.

In my previous article The Armed Forces of the EU, I concentrated upon the eventual and complete loss of sovereign control of HM Armed Forces by the UK. I also focused upon future dangers placed upon citizens of the EU when, not if an EU Armed Forces came to fruition.

Since there are many in the StrongerIn and Remain camp who display a total sense of naivety where it concerns political and defence policy matters, and who are in complete and utter denial about the formation of an EU army, I would care to impart to them a prescient concern which is far greater than the UK leaving the EU.

Don’t just take my word for it, for what I am about to write. Listen to the professionals. Listen to Veterans for Britain, heed the words of Rear Admiral Roger Lane-Nott CB, Major-General Julian Thompson CB, OBE, General Sir Michael Rose KCB CBE DSO, QGM, Lt-Gen Jonathon Riley, Major-General Tim Cross CBE, Major-General Nick Vaux CB, DSO, Major-General Malcolm Hunt OBE, Rear Admiral Richard Heaslip CB, Rear Admiral Conrad Jenkin, Commodore Mike Clapp CB, Colonel Richard Kemp CBE and now included in that number Field Marshal Lord Charles Guthrie GCB, LVO, OBE, DL. Research these men and what they now say of the EU. You shall not only discover much bravery on their part but you shall also discover much reasoning and truth in the words they say.

To place the current dangers of the European Defence Agency and Article 42 in to context we must look to the past and the Cold War. Many of us are children of the atomic age. Born after the Second World War we grew up in a world that lived under a silent but constant threat of total annihilation during the Cold War with the USSR, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics opposing the West which included the USA and NATO members.

During this Cold War period, especially for many of us who grew up in the vicinity of, or indeed on military barracks, we were fully aware that we were all protected by the concept of “Mutual Assured Destruction” (MAD). A form of global peace was maintained, with both sides fully aware that in the event of a pre-emptive nuclear strike the other side would retaliate without fail with equal or greater force including the use of second-strike capability. The absolute guarantee that either side would retaliate with equal force brought parity to the Cold War and ensured an acceptable stalemate. It was only in Korea and Southeast Asia that the Cold War was able to turn “Hot” in any way, allowing opposing forces to `safely’ judge their foes combat abilities.

In the mean time, we were well versed in “Protect and Survive” public information films. But we never panicked. Living near military installations we were all aware that somewhere in Soviet Russia our areas would be targeted by ballistic missiles. But we also were aware that we were all under the protective envelope of professional NATO forces. Under the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) we were protected by the intercontinental bombers from the United States’ `Strategic Air Command’, we were protected by our own Royal Air Force and among others the Avro Vulcan bombers. By sea our Royal Navy deployed the Polaris programme, ensuring that four nuclear powered Resolution class ballistic missile submarines patrolled the seas. By counter-measure for anti-submarine warfare, the Royal Navy deployed long-range hunter-killer submarines to search for Soviet ballistic missile submarines. Ensuring our security, did not alone fall to the USA and the UK. That task was ensured by all NATO members, most notably Canada. We were eternally grateful to all the NATO personnel for their dedicated service and constant vigilance as they showed courageous acts of bravery and sacrifice.

During all that time of the Cold War NATO forces kept us safe. They ensured parity. The Soviet Union were aware if they had carried out a pre-emptive strike, those in command at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), the Allied Command Operations headquarters for NATO in Brussels under the Western European Union (WEU) would have been authorized in those circumstances to retaliate with immediate effect alongside the USA. Thus the stalemate of guaranteed “Mutual Assured Destruction” ensured peace.

Now all of those safeguards against any combative strike shall be gone. Thanks to the EU Army, or at the very least which even the Remainers can admit to, the joint EU defence policy of the European Defence Agency. Along with the EU Battlegroup this has guaranteed the marginalization of NATO within the EU.

These are precarious times. The administration of Barack Obama is currently more concerned with pressing matters in the Pacific Ocean, looking to the China Seas, China, North Korea and Southeast Asia rather than concentrating efforts towards Europe and NATO. Whoever the next Commander-in-Chief shall be, I doubt this outlook will alter very soon. At the same moment that President Obama berates NATO members from the EU for not achieving high enough levels of expenditure in their defence budgets towards NATO, these same EU states have directed this funding towards the European Defence Agency. While the power of NATO weakens and is siphoned off, so does the power of the EU’s own defences weaken. The EU army may already exist in the form of the EU Battlegroup but as each nation amalgamates its own forces in to the EU army the dilution is becoming so great to be considered a threat to our defence strategy.

As previously mentioned in my other articles, since 2013 Germany has begun the integration and amalgamation of its Deutsche Marine with the Royal Netherlands Navy, the Koninklijke Marine, including their respective Marine forces, the German Seebataillon and the Dutch Korps Mariniers, along with all submarine operations. Further to this, an 800 strong German army battalion will be integrated into the Dutch Navy. The collaboration between Germany and the Netherlands has seen over 2,000 Dutch soldiers from the 11th Airmobile Brigade (11 Luchtmobiele Brigade) integrated into the Rapid Forces Division (Division Schnelle Kräfte) of the German Bundeswehr. In future the 43rd Mechanized Brigade (Gemechaniseerde Brigade) of the Royal Netherlands Army will be integrated into the 1st Panzer Division (Bundeswehr Panzerdivision), but the Bundeswehr 414 Panzerbattalion has at this time already been merged with the Gemechaniseerde Brigade. Due to amalgamation all of these forces are therefore reduced in size and weakened due to less personnel and material. Nevertheless, all have been assigned to the EU Battlegroup and are conversely not a part of NATO forces.

Now we come to the most problematic and dangerous issues of the European Defence Agency. Under Article 42.2 of the Treaty of Lisbon:

“The common security and defence policy shall include the progressive framing of a common Union defence policy. This will lead to a common defence, when the European Council, acting unanimously, so decides. It shall in that case recommend to the Member States the adoption of such a decision in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.”

 In the past where those in command of NATO at SHAPE could order an effective and immediate retaliation, is the European Defence Agency now in the position where all 28 members and 2 Presidents of the European Council need to be in unanimous agreement before a retaliatory strike can be made? This seems like a virtual impossibility. It is little wonder that in the six Yugoslav Wars fought from 1991 to 2001, conflicts fought on European soil; there was no presence from the EU in the Balkans. Not once. All intervening forces came from NATO and UN Peacekeeping Operations. Not a single presence from the EU due to a lack of unanimous agreement. This is just one example in a litany of many.

This is a grave concern and a very serious threat to our immediate safety. If European Defence Agency forces are not deployed by unanimous agreement then what may be the other options? It may be possible in future we shall witness the High Representative and the President of the European Council (both unelected in the positions they hold) take the executive decision to order a retaliate strike. To consider the possibility that either would hold sway over the Royal Navy’s Trident nuclear programme and their four nuclear powered Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines does not bear thinking about. By recent attitudes exhibited by the EU it would seem unlikely that their services would ever be deployed, no matter the circumstance. Worse still, all potential future threats to the EU will be aware of the impotence of the European Defence Agency and will perceive any EU concept of “Mutual Assured Destruction” (MAD) as moribund.

This weakness is a grave threat to global peace. To vote Brexit is the only way to ensure the long term survival of a strong NATO presence within Europe and maintain global peace. If the people of the UK vote to remain in the EU, HM Armed Forces shall ultimately be confined by the rules of Article 42. Operating within the EU Battlegroup, call it an EU army, call it a joint-operation, call it what you will; what it means is that our professional armed forces shall be bound up in the EU’s vanity project as they form their own army, therefore neutralizing the combat effectiveness of HM Armed Forces. In future we shall witness an EU army which focuses almost solely on internal crises, while simultaneously flag waving and marching on parade grounds to persuade the citizens of Europe that this army has any gravitas; at the same time they shall turn a blind eye to all external threats from outside of the EU.

While remaining within the EU, the UK shall be unable to influence future defence policies of the Common Security and Defence Policy or the European Defence Agency. It is only by leaving the EU, would the UK be able to influence the disastrous situation Europe now finds itself in. After Brexit the UK would at last regain a powerful voice within Europe to speak on behalf of NATO. Only after Brexit could the UK have enough power to influence the United States of America to once again look towards Europe and NATO. For NATO forces would be unable to operate effectively without the great input from the forces of the USA.

If you wish to preserve NATO to ensure the safety of ours and future generations the only solution for this is to choose Brexit and to vote leave on the 23rd June.

To The Brexiteers

Normally my articles are lengthy as I attempt to reach out to those voters who are either undecided or those who can be persuaded to move over from the remain camp. This article is different. This article is for the Brexiteers themselves. Whichever group or political leaning they happen to belong to, they are all united in trying to achieve the same goal; to permanently free the UK from the shackles of the EU. I promise this article shall be a shorter one. If only slightly!

From the remain campaign we are now hearing mutterings where they claim as the polls are now placing both sides on near equal percentages, the same could be said in the polls during the build up to the 1975 EEC referendum. Yet in 1975 the Yes (remain) went on to win with 67% of the vote on a 65% turnout. The remain campaign are banking on history repeating itself and the electorate voting similarly in 2016 as they did in 1975. If the remain campaign truly believe this I believe they may be shocked by the eventual outcome.

In the intervening years from 1975 to 2016 so much has passed that the two referendums are almost incomparable. Having said that, we can at least contrast the referendums of then and now.

In 1975 all the major parties including Harold Wilson’s incumbent Labour Government, the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic and Labour Party supported the Yes vote. Party policy dissent came from the Democratic Unionist Party, the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru. The only other voices of dissent came from Enoch Powell, Michael Foot, Tony Benn, Peter Shore, Eric Varley and Barbara Castle.

By contrast in 2016 there is a lot more discord amongst the MP’s of the major parties. There are over 140 Conservative MP’s alone that back Brexit. The political scene has observed the emergence of UKIP and in great contrast to 1975 has seen a concerted effort from the public at a grassroots level acting under the umbrella of “Brexiteers”, whether they’re a part of Vote Leave, LEAVE.EU, Grassroots Out, Better Off Out or are acting individually as free agents.

In 1975 apart from the Morning Star and The Spectator every tabloid and broadsheet newspaper supported and campaigned to remain in the EEC. At that time newspaper consumption per household was high. By contrast in 2016 the influence from the national press has weakened as sales have drastically fallen. This time the national press though weaker is more balanced with some periodicals leaning towards or even openly supporting Brexit.

In 1975 there were only 3 television channels; BBC1, BBC2 and ITV made up of regional broadcasters. All were in favour of the Yes vote and remaining in the EEC. With only 3 terrestrial channels large swathes of the population in their tens of millions were held captive by openly biased pro EEC propaganda.

By contrast in 2016 mass media has changed beyond recognition. Gone is the age of analogue, replaced by the digital age, satellite television and internet television on demand. The days of mass audiences held captive by the TV set in their living rooms are long gone. The old terrestrial channels may support the remain campaign less overtly in this referendum but their reach has diluted and lessened with so much choice presented to consumers. With hundreds of digital channels to choose from and online entertainment from the internet our options are limitless. This has fragmented consumers and has ensured that the mass media can no longer reach out to tens of millions of the electorate in one single broadcast.

The true difference between the referendums of 1975 and 2016 is a social one. In 1975 there was no internet and no social media, there was nowhere for people to put across their dissent or air their grievances. Instead many remained silent. Facing such an onslaught of constantly biased and inescapable propaganda from the mass media I am aware of many who felt resigned to the Yes vote winning, they ultimately chose to abstain. They felt the outcome was that clear cut.

The greatest difference is that in 1975 the British electorate were voting on whether to remain in the Common Market, where they were informed the EEC was a trade only agreement. If those who voted Yes in 1975 had been made aware of what was to come, that they were in actual fact voting on their own sovereignty, it is intriguing to wonder how many would have changed their vote to No?

In 2016 the British electorate are not voting on the EEC, they are voting on the EU, a vastly different manifestation. In these intervening 41 years since 1975 there have been many who have waited that long for this very opportunity. Sadly, many Brexiteers in the making have long since passed away, but thankfully they have been replaced by younger voters, even though they never got to experience life in the UK before the EU, they too are more than willing to embrace this opportunity.

As we near the climax of the EU referendum campaign there is much for the Brexit camp to take heart from. Not least the utter hysteria from the remain campaign. The hysterical hyperbole of the remain camp has far exceeded my expectations. This can only be due to abject fear on their part.

The 1975 referendum was won at a stroke by the mass media. Not this time. The Brexit campaigns are too many, too diverse for the media to silence their voices. While the remain campaign lumbers along the old path of  mass media to push “Project Fear”, the Brexiteers en masse have taken to social media, to Facebook, Twitter, et al and are doing so more convincingly. Both camps may take to canvassing the streets and holding debates, for which all the Brexiteers give grateful thanks to those volunteers, but in this digital age the battle shall be won or lost in the immediate age of social media. Thankfully, those very same canvassers and supporters have taken to social media and are redressing the balance of disinformation in real time. As the campaigns peak and become more heated that real time immediacy shall be more vital than ever.

Whatever the remains think, 2016 shall be nothing like 1975 and that is largely due to all of the Brexiteers campaigning tirelessly to get the message across. For that I doff my hat and salute you for your efforts. If every one of us can convince just one person to vote leave, then we have a chance. If we can each convince two voters and more, there is a very good chance that the majority of the British electorate shall choose Brexit and will vote leave! Personally, I am proud to call myself a Brexiteer.

The End of the Status Quo

If you were to believe the mainstream media you would be under the apprehension that on Thursday 23rd June 2016 when you go to vote on the EU referendum, you either make the choice of voting to leave the EU and stepping in to the great unknown, or you choose the soft easy option by voting to remain within the EU, in effect choosing the status quo. This is a misapprehension, a complete fallacy.

Whatever the outcome is on the 23rd of June, come the 24th the economic, political and social landscape of the UK shall be irrevocably changed forever more. The EU referendum is that vitally significant. Whichever campaign wins the referendum, there will be change. The remain campaign promises a continuation of the status quo but they are impotent and will be unable to fulfil those promises. In reality those promises will be broken within weeks of the outcome of the referendum.

Come the 24th of June there will be no more status quo. All there shall be is the status quo ante, or the status quo antes even; either result shall draw a line in the sand to mark life in the UK before the 23rd and life in the UK afterwards. If the UK electorate vote to leave the EU the immediate future may indeed be less certain, an unknown quantity but at least the UK shall be in control of its own destiny. A future outside of the EU may be uncertain but the possibilities are endless; the aftermath from the status quo ante brings hope and a brighter future for the UK.

If the UK electorate vote to remain within the EU the future is certain but that future also brings change. Any voter who chooses to vote remain expecting the status quo will be in for a great shock. No matter how much they distance themselves from the leave voters the irrefutable truth is that they too are voting for an end to the status quo. Only this time the aftermath from the status quo ante, though a known quantity brings change over which the UK has no control whatsoever. By voting to remain YOU are giving consent to the EU, voting to accept the mandate of the EU and consenting to all of the EU edicts imposed upon the UK. Afterwards, the EU will see a remain victory in the referendum as an admission of complete acceptance of the EU from the British public. This consent will only further embolden the EU to accelerate and extend their mandate upon the UK.

As a member of the electorate if YOU vote for the UK to remain within the EU, you are misinformed if you believe you are voting for the status quo. YOU are voting for change whether you like it or not. If YOU vote to remain this is what you are voting for and giving your full consent to:

  1. YOU are giving your consent to the UK one day becoming a member of the United States of Europe.
  2. YOU are therefore giving your consent to the UK losing its sovereignty and nation status.
  3. YOU are giving your consent to members of the UK in future to refer to themselves as European as they will no longer be classed as British.
  4. YOU are giving your consent to the UK in future signing up to the Schengen Agreement.
  5. YOU are giving your consent to the UK in future sacrificing pounds sterling and adopting the Euro as its form of currency.
  6. YOU are giving your consent to the demise of the Commonwealth of Nations, British Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies.
  7. YOU are giving your consent to the UK losing HM Armed Forces and agreeing to British subjects being enlisted in an EU Armed Forces under Article 42 of the 2007 Treaty of Lisbon (TEU).
  8. YOU are giving your consent to the UK allowing the EU to impose EU legislation upon the UK and for EU law courts to sit and convene on UK soil while holding precedence over UK courts, thus replacing the British rule of law with continental EU law.
  9. YOU are giving your consent to the UK adopting the US-EU trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
  10. YOU are therefore giving your consent to the UK in future privatising the NHS by adopting TTIP.

By voting to remain in the EU these are only the most vital areas of which YOU are complicit in giving your consent to. Whatever the mainstream media may tell you, YOU are voting for change.

There are of course those who claim they are voting to remain within the EU so as to retain the status quo for the immediate future in the hope that the federal dream of a United States of Europe will disintegrate, and after the fallout they hope the EU single market will be retained in its current state.

If the EU’s goal of a United States of Europe fails to come to fruition, then it shall only be due to a complete economic or social meltdown. Why would anyone place the UK in a scenario where this nation would be embroiled and enmeshed in such disruptive chaos? It would be far better for the UK to be outside of the EU if such a meltdown were ever to occur.

Either way, the aftermath from the status quo ante, be it remaining in the EU and becoming a member of the United States of Europe or being embroiled in an EU meltdown, neither of these are in any way favourable or welcome when compared to the aftermath of June 23rd and the UK regaining its sovereign independence from Brussels.

If YOU are contemplating or intending to vote to remain within the EU, I urge and implore you to utterly ignore all biased mainstream media. Instead carry out your own research and investigation on the EU referendum with an open mind. If you still decide to vote remain, then so be it but you may just change your opinion along the way. Just let that decision at the ballot box be YOUR choice.

The Armed Forces of the EU

In the run up to the EU referendum on the 23rd June there has been much talk in the media of the formation of an EU Armed Forces; if it will be formed, when shall the inception take place and has this process already begun?

Many of these answers can be found in the 1992 Maastricht Treaty (Treaty on European Union) and the 2007 Treaty of Lisbon (TEU) but the seeds for an EU Armed Forces were sown decades earlier. This vision could even be said to go as far back as Robert Schuman and Jean Monnet the fathers of the modern EU who laid down their vision in the Schuman Declaration in 1950.

In the modern EU, one of the most important moments was the meeting in Brussels in 2003 where France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg met and agreed on the formation of the “European Defence Initiative”, whereby the armed forces of each nation would in future work closer together in cooperation.

This meant reinforcing the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) which lead to the formation of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Though both policies serve the same purpose, there are major and important differences in how they each go about achieving that goal.

Primarily it is the Treaty of Lisbon which has accelerated the immediate likelihood of seeing an EU Armed Forces come to fruition. The reasoning for this is at the Treaty of Lisbon under Article 42 it was agreed for the upcoming CSDP to pool the resources available to the European Defence Agency (EDA) and form a “Permanent Structured Cooperation in Defence” within the EU. In effect this was the license granting the EU to form a combined EU Armed Forces enshrined as a directive in EU legislation. However, this is only possible because at the EU’s inception at the 1992 Maastricht Treaty (TEU) under Article J.4 it was agreed for the EU to form a common defence policy, with the aim to go on and form a common defence, i.e. the basis on which to form the inception for an EU Armed Forces. This proves unequivocally, since the very birth of the European Union in its current form in 1992, the desired goal has always been to see an EU Armed Forces and therefore their desired goal is also to see the EU transformed in to a single federal nation.

For this to come to fruition the Common Security and Defence Policy was required to supersede the European Security and Defence Policy. It is vital to understand the differences between the two. The main points of the ESDP are:

  • The ESDP though being of Europe was not operating under direct legislation from the EU.
  • The ESDP was enacted under the organisation of the Western European Union (WEU). Though the WEU’s Council and Assembly operated from a headquarters in Brussels, the organisation was in fact a part of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), the Allied Command Operations headquarters for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  • The remit of the ESDP was enacted under NATO protocols.
  • In 1995 a European multinational rapid reaction force, the European Rapid Operational Force (Eurofor) was set up by the WEU. The deployment of Eurofor was a joint NATO and EU action.

By comparison the nature of the Common Security and Defence Policy brought about by the Treaty of Lisbon differs greatly to the previous European Security and Defence Policy. Those differences are:

  • The CSDP falls entirely under the jurisdiction of the European Union. NATO has no say and plays no part in the policy.
  • The WEU embedded in NATO was abolished to be replaced by the European Defence Agency (EDA) as early as 2004. The EDA is answerable solely to the EU Council and has no links with NATO. The EDA is responsible for a remit that covers everything from defence think-tanks to research and development, from operational planning to tactical deployment.
  • Eurofor the joint NATO and EU European multinational rapid reaction force was replaced by the EU Battlegroup (EU BG). Again, this EU Battlegroup is solely answerable to the Council of the European Union.

The EU Battlegroup is also complemented with the European Corps (Eurocorps), the European Gendarmerie Force (EUROGENDFOR or EGF), the European Maritime Force (Euromarfor or EMF) and the European Union Force (EUFOR). All are joint EU operations.

The process of implementing an EU Armed Forces has steadily increased apace twofold. Firstly, the EU member nations have the perfectly feasible excuse of citing joint collaboration being due to EU wide cuts in the defence budget. Therefore, they claim the only way these countries can maintain the same levels of defence is to work in partnership with other nations, each bringing together their own specialities, thus ensuring there is no wastage of funds due to duplication. At face value this seems perfectly feasible and sensible.

However, the EDA has completely removed all EU military operations from NATO. This was carried out under the pretext that the EU wished to ease the cost of the defence burdens placed upon the USA and Canada. Yet there is a hollow ring to this statement. The USA is constantly taking the European members of NATO to task for not spending enough on the NATO defence budget, indeed they are consistently berated for not achieving the correct levels of expenditure.

This tears apart the reasoning for joint collaboration being due to defence budget cuts, as now thanks to the EDA, many EU nations are now doubling up and deploying two armed forces, one to meet the needs of the Council of the European Union and one to fulfil the duties required by NATO, more so now with less joint deployments from the USA and Canada. It may even be possible to claim that the actions of the EDA are in fact weakening NATO Forces and placing NATO members in increased and unnecessary danger. This does not even take into account the extra duties required to be undertaken when carrying out UN Peacekeeping Operations.

Secondly, the implementation of an EU Armed Forces has steadily increased apace due to the recent migrant crisis within Europe. At present, the European Council and the European Commissioner have agreed to accelerate plans for an EU combined Coastguard and SAR service. The EU is citing the migrant crisis as another valid reason to speed up the formation of joint European Armed Forces.

Whatever pretexts the EU wishes to choose, the inescapable fact is that EU nations are experiencing an acceleration in the policy of amalgamating and merging military forces. As touched upon in an earlier article Britannia and Her Hearts of Oak, where I wrote:

“Since 2013 Germany has begun the integration and amalgamation of its Deutsche Marine with the Royal Netherlands Navy, the Koninklijke Marine, including their respective Marine forces, the German Seebataillon and the Dutch Korps Mariniers, along with all submarine operations…..”

Further to add to this, an 800 strong German army battalion will be integrated into the Dutch Navy. This battalion will be subordinate to the Dutch Navy until 2018. This is very interesting. One can only assume that the circumstances shall have changed after 2018. Will that battalion be reassigned elsewhere, or will they take precedence over the Dutch Navy afterwards? Or by 2018 will the presence of this Bundeswehr battalion in the Dutch Navy be a moot point due to the fact that an EU Armed Forces will already be in the processes of being formed?

For now this collaboration between Germany and the Netherlands has seen over 2,000 Dutch soldiers from the 11th Airmobile Brigade (11 Luchtmobiele Brigade) integrated into the Rapid Forces Division (Division Schnelle Kräfte) of the German Bundeswehr. In future the 43rd Mechanized Brigade (Gemechaniseerde Brigade) of the Royal Netherlands Army will be integrated into the 1st Panzer Division (Bundeswehr Panzerdivision), but the Bundeswehr 414 Panzerbattalion has at this time already been merged with the Gemechaniseerde Brigade. These troops are assigned to the EU Battlegroup.

Add to this the desire from the Deutsche Marine to create and take command of an EU combined Auxiliary Naval Fleet which would include the British Royal Navy. Also, the German Air Force, the Luftwaffe of the Bundeswehr showing a keen interest in merging with the French Air Force, the Armée de l’air.

Where does this leave the British Armed Forces? It could be claimed that the British Armed Forces have been overstretched to beyond their full capacity. Currently, the British Armed Forces are deployed in order to defend the UK, the Commonwealth of Nations, the British Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies which have been discussed at length in my article Great Britain, the Commonwealth of Nations and the European Union. The British Armed Forces are also deployed in service as members of NATO, are a part of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) along with Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore, also the UK Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) along with Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway, and also with France a member of the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF). Not forgetting of course the British Armed Forces commitments to UN Peacekeeping Operations.

While the forces of other nations within the EU may be in the process of becoming more specialised so that duplication can be avoided when merging forces, the British Armed Forces occupy a very different position. Once the Royal Naval is in possession of the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier and she is deployed with fixed-wing Joint Strike Fighter Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II aircraft, which is expected to be by 2020, the British Armed Forces will be in the position of being able to deploy every conceivable specialisation for any and all contingencies that may arise. The British Armed Forces, no matter how overstretched will be in that enviable position of being able to deploy a complete sovereign combat force at will. Very few armed forces in the world, never mind the EU can claim such a feat. The size and range of the British Armed Forces even in this reduced state must be a troublesome concern for those in the EU who wish to speed up the process of forming an EU Armed Forces.

So what future awaits the British Armed Forces? This rests entirely on whether the UK votes to remain or leave the EU. If the UK chooses to remain in the EU it is difficult to see beyond Article 42 and the “Permanent Structured Cooperation in Defence”. No matter the protestations or denials from concerned parties, this can only mean unequivocally one day in the future the British Armed Forces will form a part of the EU Armed Forces. Like a society member invited to the ball, if you spend the entire evening at the ball, no matter how many times you refuse an excuse-me, eventually you’ll end up on the ballroom floor irrespective of your protestations. The same goes for the EU. So long as the UK remains a member of the EU, no matter how many times the British Armed Forces protest and refuse the offer to amalgamate and merge with foreign forces, one day in the future that opportunity to decline will be refused and by then it will be too late. The British Armed Forces will be on that path to becoming a part of an EU Armed Forces.

The problem today is that far too many people focus on the “here and now”, and so long as there are no immediate issues they are able to ignore any matters of concern. What must be remembered is that the “here and now” is completely and utterly irrelevant as far as the EU and defensive strategic planning are concerned. The founders of the EU had the foresight to see 50 to 60 years in to the future, to the present day of “now”. For those concerned with the EU, they must do so likewise and predict all of the eventual outcomes 60 years hence. How will the future EU Armed Forces look? What shall be the objectives of this EU Armed Forces? These are the questions that need to be asked.

There are many differing permutations to predict but it is difficult to envisage anything other than a dystopian future. It may be a case of fearing something that may never come to pass. It is quite possible in the future the German economy may overheat and the Eurozone collapses, leading to the end of the EU dream. But it is equally plausible that given time the EU or, certain nations of the EU will eventually go on to form a single federal nation.

Back to the present and near future. What are the possibilities of an EU Armed Forces being realised long before a single federal nation becomes an actuality? As German and Dutch Armed Forces are already merging, the chances of witnessing an EU Armed Forces sooner rather than later is all the more likely and inevitable.

Returning to the future possibilities of an EU Armed Forces, how will this affect the British Armed Forces?

  • Firstly, if the British Armed Forces are merged in to an EU Armed Forces this shall mean a loss of sovereignty of the British Armed Forces, which shall mean a loss of sole control of the UK’s defences and military deployment.
  • With the British Armed Forces merged in to a European-centric EU Armed Forces and with the loss of sovereign control over the British Armed Forces, the UK government shall be incapable of deploying a military force at will. This will inevitably leave the Commonwealth of Nations and British Overseas Territories exposed and in several cases undefended. To many this inability to continue the protection of those peoples shall be an unforgivable act of betrayal.
  • To save on defence expenditure the armed forces of member nations within the EU are specialising so, when these nations’ forces merge, duplicate resources are surplus to requirement. With that being the case, as the British Armed Forces are capable of deploying every kind of combat force whether by air, land or sea, it would seem inevitable when the British Armed Forces were merged in to an EU Armed Forces, so as to cut out duplication many of the British Armed Forces units and therefore their personnel would no longer be required.
  • Once the EU Armed Forces become a reality what shall become of what remains of the member nations own armed forces? It is difficult to envisage anything other than the EU viewing them as a perceived threat and rival to their own EU Armed Forces. If tolerated at all, at best these armed forces will be reduced in size and stature to little more than bit part players, akin to the USA’s National Guard at best.
  • Taking the last two points into account, with sections of the British Armed Forces merged in the new EU Armed Forces and any remaining residue either heavily constrained or stood down, there is the very real threat in future of massive job losses. The British Army was initially shaken to the core in the mid 2000’s when venerable regiments were reduced in size and amalgamated in to new smaller regiments. This will seem like window dressing compared to the potential future cuts. Right across the board covering the British Army, the RAF and Royal Navy, in future years the cuts to their budget may seem utterly incomprehensible when viewed in today’s world.

The future social integration and organisational structure of an EU Armed Forces must also be considered when in comparison to the British Armed Forces. For the majority of the population in Britain Her Majesty’s Armed Forces are beloved, respected and trusted; knowing that their service personnel bear allegiance to the Crown and have sworn an oath to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and by doing so are ensuring the protection of the people of Britain. For the main, British people feel safer when in the company or vicinity of members of HM Armed Forces. It is an inherent trait bred in to the psyche of the British population. As long as there is continuity with loyalty to the Crown, even non British forces earn the loyalty and trust of the British public, be they Australian, Canadian or New Zealand or based in the UK, the Brigade of Gurkhas. All are cherished and revered because they come with history and their track record of bravery and loyalty is legend.

For the British people we also know that by acting on behalf of the Crown, HM Armed Forces are representing a known quantity. Incumbent governments, their Prime Ministers and the sitting Cabinets along with Parliament as a whole may order deployments of the British Armed Forces in to combat, but these are all Ministers who have been directly elected by the British public. If mistakes are made they can become public knowledge and the British electorate hold the power to vote that incumbent government out of office. By comparison, the EU Armed Forces shall be deployed by the European Defence Agency (EDA) which is answerable to the European Council and therefore the unelected European Commission. This is all well and good for so long as the European Union remains in its current form. However, with dynamic entities such as the EU their processes are not set in stone, they are fluidic, always vulnerable to change and once a single federal nation comes to pass they may be subject to pressures from political forces who wish to exploit these weaknesses.

In the far and distant future who knows how much power shall be gained or rescinded by the European Council, Parliament or Commission? In a European single federal nation how much sovereign power will be yielded by its incumbent President? In the future, no matter how small, is there a plausible possibility in this European single federal nation of a tyrannical despot being swept to power as the President of a continent sized nation? If so, and they are able to deploy the armed forces of the federal nation at the will of their whims then British personnel serving in those armed forces shall be held prisoner to give sway to those whims and allow themselves to be deployed in to combat wherever their President deems necessary. Granted this is a vision of a dystopian future at the extreme end of the scale but there is no reason to dismiss this outcome out of hand, as one day in the distant future it may potentially become an actuality.

Lastly, what of the dynamics of the structure of an EU Armed Forces? Which nation or nations shall take precedence over the other nations, if any? Will the merging of forces be biased towards enabling a structural system to be built around a single federal nation? If this is the case, in future how shall battalions be deployed and how shall their ranks be filled? Will there come a day when Dutch-German battalions are based on British soil in the same manner as British and US military bases operating from West Germany? If in this future there is mass civil unrest could we potentially witness non British personnel being deployed on to British streets in British cities to quell the people?

Or rather, if the EU Armed Forces are to be biased towards enabling a structural system to be built around a federal nation, does this mean in future so as to dilute the ideals of national identity at a state level will the EU Armed Forces operate on a level akin to the French Foreign Legion? In future when young hopefuls present themselves to their local army recruitment officer, will there be every possibility that new recruits shall be expected to complete their basic training in another member state to make them feel more European?

If in future personnel of the British Armed Forces are required to pledge an oath of allegiance to the President of a federal nation rather than to the Crown would this guarantee a drop in new recruits? If so and if this were to be mirrored by other nations would a federal Europe out of necessity be forced to bring about federal wide conscription? Of course there are far more questions to be asked than there are answers on the formation of an EU Armed Forces.

If the electorate of Great Britain decide to vote to remain in the EU on the 23rd June, there is every chance in the coming years thanks to Article 42 of the 2007 Treaty of Lisbon (TEU) and the “Permanent Structured Cooperation in Defence”, that HM Armed Forces shall be merged and lost to the EU Armed Forces.

However, as one EU Article seeks to remove the sovereignty of the British Armed Forces and the sovereignty of Great Britain, there is another EU Article which can restore that lost sovereignty. Under Article 50 of the 2007 Treaty of Lisbon (TEU): “Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.”

It is as if Brussels and the other members of the EU have always realised that Article 42 would be far too bitter a pill for the British Armed Forces and her nation to swallow. Being amalgamated and merged in to an EU Armed Forces or a European single federal nation would prove to be more than a step too far. For this very scenario, solely for the British, the EU appears to have created Article 50 so that Great Britain can escape the clutches of Article 42. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth; embrace this offer from the EU graciously and on the 23rd June vote to leave the EU and vote for Brexit!