Independence Day

We’ve Achieved Brexit!

Firstly, may I offer my hearty and warm felt congratulations to all those who have campaigned for Brexit. Well done to all concerned.

During this time of campaigning for the leave vote, along the way I’ve met some true Patriots but I was astounded by the amount of abuse and vitriol we received from the Remain and StrongerIn campaigns. We attempted to retain our dignity amid the accusations. Personally, I was accused of being a liar, fantasist, racist, fascist, a deluded old colonial, monarchist and a warmonger amongst many other things. I am none of these apart from being a monarchist of course.

I consider myself to be a true Patriot. It’s strange but this American style word is the one which defines me best. I wished for a Great Britain which retained the sovereignty of her nation, her peoples and her armed forces, now and in to the future. In a federal Europe this would have been an impossibility.

For those of us who have campaigned for Brexit, we have saved the UK from being reduced to a principality in a federal United States of Europe. We have saved the Commonwealth of Nations from being broken up. We have retained the sovereignty and guaranteed the protection of the British Overseas Territories. We have retained the sovereignty of HM Armed Forces and will ensure the resurgence of NATO forces within Europe.

By ensuring the UK does not enter a federal Europe, we have guaranteed that the UK shall never be forced down the route of adopting the Euro, nor will the UK ever be a member of the Schengen Agreement.

Brexit will also bring relief for many other member nations of the EU who are equally dissatisfied with the way in which the EU is travelling. It’s not just us “Little Englanders” who are disillusioned by the lack of democracy within the EU. The UK leaving will surely give long term succour to the Greeks and other members suffering in southern Europe.

The people of the UK must be strong and move forward, accepting this majority decision. As I type, the markets are in flux. This was expected and is not due to Brexit, but rather is self-inflicted, due to the negative campaign of Project Fear lead by the UK Government and the Remainers. They and EU funded bodies talked the UK down so much that they have caused this short term damage to the UK economy. The UK is strong and will swiftly bounce back once the markets accept the outcome and see the many potential possibilities that lay ahead.

The Leave campaign has had to fight an uphill battle; it seems a miracle that the Brexiteers have actually won. Firstly, we have had to endure a Government which has broken and breached its own purdah laws and rules on many occasions. Secondly, we have had to campaign around a biased mainstream media which has gone out of its way to promote Remain, whilst besmirching and belittling the Leave campaign at every possible turn. Thirdly, the EU and the Remain camp were able to wheel out the “experts” and “professional bodies and organizations”. We were berated at every turn when we refuted their claims. This wasn’t due to the fact we’re narrow minded fools who don’t respect experts. This was due to the fact that we just didn’t trust the words of directly and indirectly EU funded experts. They were all reaching their conclusions from a naturally biased perspective. Fourthly and lastly, was the mud-slinging. What good came of calling Brexiteers xenophobic racists, or to refer to us as Little Englanders? In the end it came to nought. It was unpleasant for those of us on the receiving end but those negative slurs may just have rebounded against the Remainers.

The one factor the Remain camp failed to grasp is that the Leave camp was never against Europe. The overwhelming majority of Brexiteers love Europe. I may even dare to claim we are the true Europhiles. We are the ones who wish to protect and preserve all the nations of Europe and their diverse cultures. In spite of the fact that the European Union’s motto is “United in diversity”, the sad truth is a United States of Europe would bring about a depressing monoculture formed in to a single nation. We love Europe; it’s the lack of accountable and transparent democracy from the EU of which we are not fond. The Remain camp never understood that we separated Europe from the EU in the Leave campaign.

 

 


 

 

What now for the future of the UK? 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.”

Now is the time for the UK to enact Article 50. What does the future hold then? I’m not a politician but I firmly hope that our next political leaders shall believe in themselves and the UK and shall hold firm against all barracking from the EU. The UK is strong and holds many cards.

The UK’s biggest asset is the one it left behind in 1973; EFTA. I am certain the Leave camp were afraid to overstate the case for EFTA in fear of the Remains twisting the facts about the European Free Trade Association. I have previously written upon EFTA in the article BEFTA – The Future of EFTA and the UK.

Now, more than ever I see a trade partnership with the EFTA members of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland as an immediate but partial solution to the EU. Both Iceland and Switzerland have already contacted the UK seeking trade talks. With a strong UK rejoining EFTA, that organization of our own design can be reformed in the 21st Century to be an effective trade bloc alongside the EU. This of course means bringing an end to the European Economic Area (EEA) Treaty under its current terms and conditions. With the UK in EFTA, the EU will have to listen and respond more favourably to any and all demands from a reformed EFTA.

This will only be the beginning. With a resurgent EFTA, nations trapped within the EU will look upon a successful trade only organization with envious eyes. How long before other nations in the EU are holding their own referendums over whether to leave the EU? Denmark, a nation not in the Eurozone, nor keen on the Schengen zone as they continually apply controls to their borders; a country which only joined the EEC because the UK joined would be a nation ripe for leaving the EU and joining us in an EFTA trade bloc. Many Danish citizens would be attracted to the notion of Daxit. Many of the wealthier EU nations, not beholden to Germany or the European Central Bank would be in a position in future to defect to a successful EFTA. This will leave the Franco-German engine with an even larger tab to pick up, as they continually attempt to keep the poorer nations of southern Europe within the Eurozone.

There will come a time when even the EU will have to admit the Eurozone dream is over. For the foreseeable future the goal of those who seek a federal Europe will be at least partially moribund. If France and Germany along with some or, all of the BeNeLux nations wish to go ahead with forming a single federal nation; that shall be of their own choosing. In future, without the UK’s bolstering presence in the EU, other member nations of the EU and their peoples will be able to regain control of their own sovereignties, whether in a reformed EFTA, a potentially reformed EU in decades to come or, even alone if that is their choice. This is what the EU referendum has always been about; the sovereign freedoms of a nation to make independent choices.

Some form of deal will be made with the EU to trade in the Single Market and that best chance is EFTA. Outside of the EU the rest of the world awaits the UK. To begin with, there is the security blanket of the Commonwealth of Nations. No longer limited or restrained by having to go through EU channels, the UK shall be able to have face-to-face dealings with our Commonwealth “Family”. That’s 52 other nations! Consider all the potential business opportunities available to the UK now that it will be able to deal with them directly. Indeed, within hours of the Leave result being declared, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were contacting the UK to begin trade negotiations. Immediately! So important is the opened up UK market (they’ve waited over forty years for this opportunity) that these nations are in agreement to form a bilateral trade deal to work together in helping the UK market. Other Commonwealth nations, Ghana and India have also contacted the UK to begin trade talks. That security blanket has already proven to be working.

The UK has regained its voice on the world’s stage. Think of all the other countries and potential markets outside of both the EU and the Commonwealth. Without the restrictions of having to go via EU channels to trade with the rest of the world, the UK will be in a prime position to forge many new agreements and deals in the coming years. Again, 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. South Korea and Mexico have also contacted the UK seeking talks for new trade agreements. In future many more nations will follow, seeking trade agreements with the UK. This is what those in power at the EU have feared; for its member states to openly see a UK outside of the EU proving to be so successful that it shows the EU for what it is; a barrier rather than a conduit to economic trade. That alone may be enough incentive for some EU member states to seek extraction from the EU.

Many young voters have been afraid for their futures, scared by `Project Fear’. They needn’t be. Many of them were born after 1992, or were too young when the UK via the Maastricht Treaty was taken in to the European Union they now know. They really can’t comprehend how big and powerful this nation once was. Freed up from the EU, Great Britain with her own voice restored can grow again. There is an entire world out there, a bright new future of endless possibilities. At this very moment in history, never shall this country be more democratic, more freer, more sovereign, nor shall its future be more brighter and hopeful in potentiality than it is at this current time. This is why we must grasp this opportunity with both hands and go forwards together, as one nation, united in the just cause of returning the UK to its rightful place on the world’s stage and to build a bright and prosperous future for the generations of Britons who will inherit this great legacy.

 


 

Since writing this article, nearly two weeks have passed since the nation went to the ballot box. 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. 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 culpable and much of the blame shall fall upon them.

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;  with new opportunities for 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. This is the positive message which our mainstream media should be exalting to the nation and the world.

 

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!

 

Sovereignty

Definition of sovereignty:

The authority of a nation to govern itself or another state.

The liberty and free will to decide one’s own thoughts and actions.

The act of a nation making its own laws and controlling its own resources without any coercion or interference from other nations.

It’s a contentious issue, the notion of sovereignty. Being non-tangible, the essence of sovereignty can therefore only be defined in emotive ways. The idea of sovereignty can be subjected to all manner of nationalistic and patriotic ideals, ranging from the extremes of anger and fear to the funny and silliness, from violence towards others to the pomp and circumstance joy of the Last Night of the Proms. No matter how much we try and push it to the back of our minds, the notion of sovereignty is vital as this forms a definition of self.


 

It is often said with age comes wisdom. Perhaps this should be wisdom comes more often with age? Even in my own situation I find this to be a universal truth. I was a part of the young adult generation who watched “Blackadder Goes Forth”, when it first aired on the BBC. Set in the trenches of the First World War, we the fans all waxed lyrical of how excellent the series was, how wonderfully hilarious it was, yet how tastefully the farce of war was handled right up until the final scene of the final episode, with the ending credit simply showing a field strewn with poppies. How we all laughed and pitied our ancestors, the British Tommies, lions led to the slaughter, to die in the fields of Flanders for a senseless cause not of their own making, having been led by idiotic foolish old duffers, those stupid old donkeys. This became the accepted view by many, including my own self I must admit.

I have always had a great interest in history. To mark the centennial anniversary in 2014 I was asked to research the names of the fallen at my local war memorial. While tracing the movements of these men and their battalions I came to understand how much more complex the Great War actually was when looked at in depth. To discover how Great Britain entered the war, not because some unknown in a distant land had assassinated an Archduke but how Great Britain was brought into the war having to honour a pact to protect Belgium from Germany. In 1839 at the Treaty of London, Great Britain signed a covenant swearing to protect and uphold the neutrality of Belgium. To protect the sovereignty of Belgium and the other nations in Europe including its own self, Great Britain sacrificed the lives of over 730,000 in the armed forces, with over 1,600,000 military wounded. Civilian deaths were in excess of 120,000. In lives and monetarily Great Britain paid a heavy price for taking part in the Great War.

Throughout history Britain has fought on the seas surrounding Europe and fought on the soil of mainland Europe to protect British sovereignty and the sovereignty of other nations within Europe. Be it at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, when Britain’s Vice Admiral Lord Nelson fought Napoleon Bonaparte’s navy of the First French Empire and the navy of the Spanish Empire, or the Peninsular War in Iberia which saw the British armies of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington fight alongside Bourbon Spain and the Portuguese against Bonaparte’s France and Spain. All of these actions culminated on Sunday, 18th June 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo. Again this saw Wellington’s British armies alongside the other nations of Europe, the Netherlands and the pre-German kingdoms of Prussia, Hanover, Brunswick and Nassau take on the might of Napoleon Bonaparte’s French armies. All the while, defending the sovereignty of these European allies against Napoleon, Britons fought with honour and pride, they bled and laid down their lives for “God, King and Country”.

In today’s modern society to fight and lay down one’s life for “God, King (Queen) (the Crown) and Country” may seem totally archaic and obsolete. We now tend to live in a secular, agnostic society, more republican in thought rather than displaying signs of monarchical loyalty and as for country? There are those who wish for devolution, to break up the Union and to extricate Scotland and Wales from Great Britain. There are also those who would be content to sacrifice their sovereignty, for Britain to be dissolved into nothing more than a European State, little more than a principality.

After Waterloo the next time Britons sacrificed their lives on the soil of Western Europe was the Great War. Germany, a nation in its infancy, not yet fifty years old by 1914 and whose kingdoms had stood beside the British at Waterloo now stood against the British. Germany had believed Great Britain would not go to war over a mere “scrap of paper” but they found the British honours covenants and vows of sovereignty.

Sadly, only twenty one years later, honouring another covenant to help protect Poland’s sovereignty, Great Britain was at war with Germany. Yet again British troops were on European soil defending Western Europe, this time against the might of Hitler. British troops bled and laid down their lives in attempting to preserve the sovereignty of those nations, defensively fighting on the back foot all the way to the Dunkirk evacuation. By the end of June 1940 France and the Low Countries had fallen to Germany. Free Europe had fallen to the Axis Powers of Germany and Italy.

Great Britain, an island, stood alone, under siege but the sovereignty of her nation’s peoples held firm. For the duration of the war the Royal and Merchant Navy fought the dangers of the Battle of the Atlantic to keep a supply line open to Great Britain. While mainland Europe lay under the shadows of the Axis Powers, Great Britain with the aid of her Empire was much more than a small island. The island of Great Britain was a static giant aircraft carrier, a troop ship, an ammunition dump and a supply depot all rolled into one. With a far reach into the Atlantic Ocean, resupplied by convoys, Great Britain was able to withhold the Axis Powers indefinitely. So much so that Britain was able to fight and expand the theatres of war in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Britain and her Empire also fought in the theatre of South-East Asia against the Axis Power of Japan. Again British troops were defending the sovereignty of her colonies and other nations. If Great Britain had fallen to the Axis Powers in 1940, without multiple theatres of war Germany in all probability would have defeated Russia. Without Great Britain the forces of the USA would never have been able to launch the D-Day Normandy invasion. Without Great Britain and the resources of her Empire, the USA acting alone would have had to have gained a foothold in North Africa before launching an assault in the Mediterranean. If Great Britain had fallen there is every reason to believe the Third Reich would have endured, possibly to the present day.

Ironically by holding out and winning the war, one of the biggest overall losers was Britain, losing her gold reserves, greatly in debt Britain lost swathes of her Empire, granting those nations autonomy and self determination. Again, recognising the importance of sovereignty Britain relinquished her overseas territories. The only things Britain gained from being on the winning side of World War II was the satisfaction of being there from the start; being the only nation to withhold the onslaught and keep Axis troops from landing on sovereign soil; being one of the few nations who foretold and predicted war with Nazi Germany; and the only nation who could claim a moral victory of fighting in the name of freedom, self determination and sovereignty.

If you just consider all those Britons who have bled and paid the ultimate sacrifice in World War I and World War II, who died on the land, on the seas and in the air for the freedom of their fellow Britons, all those Britons horrifically scarred and injured physically and mentally, all who paid a price so that theirs and future generations could live in freedom, in a sovereign nation with self determination and a national identity of self. Now if it were at all possible, tell them, tell those Britons to their faces that their sacrifices were for nought, utterly in vain, that they may have died for your freedom and sovereignty but you don’t care. Tell them you’re only too willing to betray their memories, that you shall be content for Britain to be slowly but ever so surely absorbed into a federal state within the EU, no matter the price which your ancestors have paid for the butcher’s bill to give you freedom, you’re more than willing to sacrifice your own national identity, your own sense of self, your own sovereignty purely for economic reasons. How cheap do you hold the nationality of your own self, or that of your children, grandchildren and future generations? Will thirty pieces of silver purchase the betrayal of your ancestors who fought and died for your freedoms and sovereignty? You decide that on Thursday 23rd June when you vote.