Author

Nick Hurley

Nick Hurley has 8 articles published.

2017 Labour Manifesto: Decline and Uncertainty for UK Defence & Security?

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Summary

  • When considering UK defence and security, the 2017 Labour Election Manifesto does not appear immediately radical. But, upon closer inspection, there are key elements within the text which suggest that the election of a Labour Government in 2017 led by Jeremy Corbyn is likely to profoundly undermine the current framework within which UK national security is upheld.
  • The manifesto is highly vague and expansive, and low on detail. However, insight can not only be gained from what is overtly stated, but also from what is conspicuously left out, in particular the lack of clarity regarding the UK’s continuous-at-sea nuclear deterrent (CASD).
  • The proposed strategic defence and security review (SDSR) could be used by a Labour Government as a vehicle for effecting radical defence spending and policy shifts which move the UK away from existing national and international security arrangements. There is a particular risk that the vital UKUSA security and intelligence cooperation regime would be dangerously undermined by a Corbyn-led Government, owing to political disharmony between Downing Street and the White House.
  • The CASD remains the ultimate insurance policy against aggressive action by hostile nuclear armed powers. Given the uncertainty of international security and politics now and in the future, retaining the existing deterrence posture is fundamental not only for the defence of the UK, but also in order to maintain the UK’s global status as a world leading nuclear power. The manifestos avoidance of this critical issue, whilst clearly stating a disarmament narrative, represents an implicit but significant national security policy shift from the current Labour Shadow Government.

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UK National Security Strategy: Brexit Opportunities (5)

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Effective strategy seizes opportunities. Without retaining the fluidity to guide bold, decisive action when unexpected opportunities arise, strategy becomes unwieldly and loses its crucial directive power.

But, effective strategy recognises opportunities for their specific merits and contexts. Not every opportunity is worth pursuing: expending time and resources in the pursuit of opportunities which are unlikely to provide a sufficient return, or may interrupt the continued pursuit of previously established strategic objectives, is dangerous and likely to prove counter-productive.

As the UK enters the two year exit negotiations with the remaining 27 EU member states, any UK policymaker or negotiator worth their salt will be actively attempting to recognise worthwhile opportunities for advancing UK security and economic interests, both in Europe and beyond. UK national security relies on such strategic thinking.

Inevitably, pursuing opportunities specifically relevant to the UK national interest is bound to generate conflict with the stated interests of the EU and their negotiators. Such conflicts may not in themselves be desirable, but this does not mean that mitigating such conflict should take precedence over the UK’s sovereign national interest.

On the contrary, the EU cannot be allowed to dictate how the UK responds to the economic and political opportunities which manifest as a result of the UK’s extrication from the union. Today, there are many opportunities to be considered, with at least two being most significant:

1. Reforge the Anglosphere. Particularly since the 1990s, the UK’s membership of the EU has coincided with a significant decline in the strength of Anglo-US relations and economic cooperation within the Commonwealth. The ‘special relationship’, for all the media bluster of Bush and Blair, wasn’t necessarily that special. The Obama years undermined this relationship even further, perhaps most strikingly shown – in Obama’s own words – with the UK being relegated to ‘the back of the queue’ in the event of a leave vote.

Despite remaining steadfast partners and allies in defence, security and intelligence sharing through NATO and the Five Eyes network, there is now genuine scope for bringing Anglosphere and Commonwealth economic co-operation into the 21st Century. A UK/USA/Commonwealth free trade agreement which facilitates economic growth and prosperity whilst retaining strong border controls has become a fundamental necessity for post-Brexit Britain. Wasting this opportunity would represent anti-strategic foolishness of the worst order.

2. Reassert British Culture and Values. Tracing its historic roots primarily to the 1960s counter-culture, the slow degeneration of British culture and values which were once proudly held in common by the inhabitants of these isles was radically accelerated through UK integration into the European supranational project.

Leaving the EU represents the clearest opportunity there has been for generations to reassert the culture and values which once defined British society, and were most critically expressed during the Second World War: individual liberty moderated by personal responsibility, respect for others, the family unit, tradition and patriotism. Scorned by the advocates of a borderless, globalist world, these values must once again be promoted without shame, particularly within the education system. Success in this critical area will do much to prevent the UK slipping back into supranational jurisdiction in future years.

UK national security relies upon effective strategy. Fundamental to strategic thinking is recognising not just what to do, but when. Opportunities are often time sensitive, and while this places immense pressure on decision-makers to act quickly, taking sufficient time to assess each opportunity on its own merits and context is the only sure way to strategically harness such opportunities and avoid unnecessary mistakes.

If UK policymakers recognise the two opportunities above and act strategically in pursuit of them, life outside of the EU will look ever brighter for UK citizens in the uncertain years to come.

We won the referendum. But without the people, we could still lose Britain

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The vote to leave the European Union signalled a seismic shift in British politics. Had the Remain Campaign won by even the slimmest margin, the UK would have been condemned to irreversible political and economic integration into a federalised European super state, with little opportunity for further political challenge to the globalist establishment.

But the Leavers won: we convinced a majority of the voting public that liberty, political accountability and national sovereignty are in their interest. We successfully made the case that the ideologically driven, globalist agenda of multiculturalism has profoundly affected British communities across the country, radically undermining British culture and rendering many of us strangers in our own towns and cities.

An extraordinary opportunity for the renewal of British culture, pride and patriotism is now firmly in reach. Sustained and conscious effort by those who argued and campaigned for the UK to withdraw from the EU did much to win the referendum, but to claim certain victory at this critical stage is woefully dangerous.

Inherent to victory is the risk of defeat. The experience of glory and pride borne from a successful struggle against all odds is among the most powerful and energetic states of the human mind. But, risk abounds at every turn. Such moments may enthuse and inspire further productive action, but can also generate undue complacency and over-confidence which can be easily exploited by the opposition. It is incumbent upon all of us to continue action and argument.

We have to bring the people with us. The primary essence of the nation is the people who are a part of it, who are then united in a common bond of respect by the values, cultures and traditions they share. The opponents of British liberty and sovereignty have over generations attempted to dismantle this bond, holding patriotism and the nation with sneering contempt. Instead, they favour a vision of ‘global citizens’ governed through a centralised, technocratic bureaucracy. They have not stopped, and neither should we.

Bringing the people with us means that campaigning for the continued existence of our nation cannot end with the referendum result and the triggering of Article 50. The victory we have enjoyed is under critical threat, and to forget this is to put that success, and the future of our nation, at serious risk.

Now is the time to renew our resolve, pushing Britain forward into the 21st Century as a sovereign nation-state with cultural pride and dignity. To do this, we need to keep winning the hearts and minds of the people. Our opponents, enraged by our successes so far, are busily engaged in the same.

This is the only chance we have to see the love with which we hold our nation made manifest in political, economic and cultural reality. To see this through to the end, we cannot sit on our laurels and sink into quiet complacency. We won the referendum, but without continuing to win the people, we could still lose Britain.

UK National Security Strategy – Threats: Border Insecurity & Subversion (4)

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Threat appears in many guises. Emerging once again as a sovereign nation-state, the United Kingdom and its citizens face an evolving multiplicity of threats and hazards. Some clear, others ambiguous, to engage with these dangers in defence of the realm requires clear, strategic thinking.

We noted in the previous instalment that national security for the UK today fundamentally relates to a state of public trust that this array of threats is being sufficiently mitigated, such that the citizens’ everyday lives may continue, and their liberties remain intact. Through leaving the European Union, there now exists the opportunity to fundamentally reassert UK national security.

Clear threats are openly perceptible. The extraordinarily destructive power of nuclear weapons is widely known, and today the danger posed by them remains critically significant. Terrorism too by its very nature courts mass attention, loudly forcing its depraved shadow into everyday life. Both of these – and there are others still – represent an ongoing, clear threat to UK national security.

Many threats are ambiguous, with their nature and scope harder to define. As the cyber realm now increasingly integrates into both critical national infrastructure and the lives of the citizen, hostile states, mercenary hacking cells and sophisticated criminals alike pose a threat to the UK which – although often as amorphous as the internet itself – would be gravely unwise to underestimate.

This series maintains that effective national security strategy demands clear, limited objectives, whilst recognising the power in the comprehensive application of state and civil capabilities in the pursuit of those objectives. With this in mind, two key strategic threats to the UK as a sovereign nation-state in the 21st century will now follow.

Firstly: Border Insecurity. Underpinning that public trust critical to a contemporary conception of UK national security is of course the continued existence of the nation itself. Without borders, there can be no nation. As an island, the UK has not suffered from the same mass influx of hundreds of thousands of impoverished migrants – primarily fighting aged males from the Middle East and North Africa – as continental Europe has since 2015. We are now watching the tragically predictable results unfold across Europe.

However, as an EU member state, the UK’s sovereign authority over its borders has been relentlessly diminished and the impact of this felt across the towns and cities of the nation. While many immigrants have happily and successfully integrated into British society and adapted to British culture and values, globalist multiculturalism has also fostered ghettoisation and social disharmony. Such disharmony generates a serious, long term national security threat.

Following official withdrawal from the EU in 2019, UK borders can be effectively re-established, ensuring that both hostile persons and uncontrolled masses can be actively prevented from entering UK territory. At the same time, such border consolidation creates the crucially necessary space within which attempts can be made to repair the serious social disharmony already affecting citizens’ everyday lives. Sovereign borders underpin national security.

Secondly: Ideological Subversion. Deeply intertwined with the concept of the nation are also the core ideological and cultural values which unite the citizenry with a common bond. To undermine these values beyond repair is to destroy the nation. Sixty years ago, patriotism was proclaimed proudly. Today, pride in Britain and British culture is systematically crushed by a regressive, neo-Marxist ideology which has increasingly come to dominate the national education system and universities.

The Ideological subversion of Western society has over generations been borne from several key sources, most critically KGB Active Measures and Frankfurt School Critical Theory. The objective of this threat is to penetrate the minds of every person – particularly the young – and through disinformation induce them to regard the originally prevailing cultural-ideological basis of Western civilisation with rebellious contempt and disdain. This fractures British society, entrenches disharmony, and undermines national security, ultimately risking collapse from within.

Meeting this threat as a sovereign UK in the 21st Century requires a comprehensive strategic approach, utilising not only military-intelligence counter-subversion operations and the open media, but also a radical overhaul of the UK education system. To safeguard the nation’s future, it is imperative that younger generations are not indoctrinated with fundamentally subversive Marxist ideology, but are instead given a rounded and rational education. Failure to do this will have disastrous consequences in future decades.

These two critical threats to a sovereign UK are of course not exclusive, and there is much more to expand upon. However, if the UK is to effectively uphold national security as a sovereign nation-state, such fundamental considerations must come first. There can be no national security without the nation, and the nation exists not only on the basis of territory, but critically also within the minds of the citizens at large. As the UK leaves the EU, engaging these threats with strategic purpose is of existential importance.

UK National Security Strategy – The Sovereign National Interest (3)

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Strategy relies upon the foundation of key guiding interests. Without these, attempts at strategic thinking and action are liable to go round in futile circles. Now that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty has been invoked, and almost certain withdrawal from the European Union set to officially take place on the 29th March, 2019, the fundamental columns of a Sovereign, UK national interest can now be established.

In the last instalment, it was recognised that the UK’s future, as well as its present, is inescapably global. But this global status can now begin to be very different to that which has reigned since 1972, where the unaccountable European Union with its bloated bureaucracy and suffocating regulations entrenched itself ever further into almost every aspect of the lives of the British people.

The opportunity for the rebirth of the UK’s global status as a sovereign nation state has profound implications. The practical process of negotiation and disentanglement is about to begin, and the UK’s position – despite the elitist naysayers and confused blue-faced teenagers – is looking strong. To many of us, this is unsurprising. We knew all along that the UK retains almost unparalleled diplomatic, economic, military and cultural links across the globe.

With this in mind, it is now possible to establish a clearer conception of the UK’s sovereign, national interest. In strategic terms, it is never wise to have too many overriding objectives, as they will likely conflict and dilute each other. Therefore, this article proposes three critical elements as the foundation of a clear, post withdrawal, sovereign UK national interest.

Firstly: national security. National security, of course, is the point itself of any national security strategy. However, there exists no specific consensus among UK policymakers or academia as to precisely what is meant by the term. Subsequent articles in this series will highlight specific security threats and suggest strategic approaches of engagement. At its core however, national security for a sovereign UK relates fundamentally to a state of public trust that our everyday, normal lives can continue, confident that the multiplicity of threats and hazards to those daily lives are being sufficiently managed by those who act in our continuous defence.

Secondly: global trade, not globalism. As a sovereign nation state, the UK will regain the power to forge trade agreements with countries all around the world: agreements which are negotiated by the UK and which therefore uphold the UK’s specific interests as the critical objective. Specific economic opportunities available to a sovereign UK will be highlighted in subsequent articles in this series, but broadly, the opportunity for renewed economic prosperity, launched from the already strong position that the UK enjoys, can now be seized in such a way as to project UK power, influence, and enrich British citizens beyond what was possible as an EU Member State.

Thirdly: British culture. Neglected – indeed often trampled upon – by the globalist politicians and eurocrats of the last forty years, British culture and values as the unifying beacon of this nation can now be reasserted as a foundational column of national security strategy for a sovereign UK. Culture and values serve as the pillar upon which perception of our interests is based, the lens through which we navigate the world both as individuals and as a nation-state. British culture was manifest on the 23rd June 2016, when the British people chose the boldness of liberty over quiet subservience. British cultural integrity must be upheld and defended. Let national pride and energy return, and watch the people put it into action.

These three points establish a fundamental basis for the national interest of the soon to be sovereign UK. The challenges ahead are not to be ignored, and neither are the opportunities. But without a clearly defined conception of the UK’s national interest as a sovereign nation state, there can be no national security strategy. The time is now to recognise those interests, and realise our sovereignty.

People’s Charter Foundation: Article 50 Statement

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The People’s Charter Foundation is a loud, patriotic voice for the grassroots anti-EU movement within the UK. We will always stand up for British freedom, British interests, and British values.

On this day, 29th March 2017, the European Council is in receipt of the UK’s notification under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Union.

This is an historic day for our great nation, surpassed only in recent times by the EU referendum of 23rd/24th June 2016. The British people’s call for liberty and self-determination must now be put into action.

The UK Government under Theresa May has a profound duty to fulfil the will of the British people. Any agreements made by the UK Government in the coming negotiations must keep faith to that duty.

In doing so, the People’s Charter Foundation stresses the following four fundamental requirements of any UK/EU agreement:

1. Nullification of the authority of the European Court of Justice over UK law. No longer can the UK Parliament and Judiciary be in any way subservient to a remote, unaccountable European bureaucracy. The UK is to be a Sovereign nation once again.

2. Withdrawal from the EU Single Market. The UK as with almost every other non-EU country in the world will continue to trade with the EU when it has officially left. The stifling regulatory burdens of the single market must no longer be mandatory, but a choice for UK businesses alone to make.

3. End to free movement. The time has come for a radical overhaul of UK immigration policy. A rational, needs based immigration system will enable us to control our borders whilst still attracting talent and valued skills from around the world.

4. End to mandatory financial contributions once the UK has officially left the EU. Any accounts must be settled by the time the UK has officially withdrawn. Given that the UK has for decades been a key net contributor to the EU, unreasonable exit bills and demands for continued post-withdrawal contributions must be rejected.

If the Government cannot negotiate a deal which keeps faith to at least these four points, then there is no choice but to leave without having negotiated a formal agreement.

Anything less would be a dangerous betrayal of the British people, which will not be accepted. The political implications of such a betrayal would be unprecedented.

The great challenge ahead brings with it the opportunity for freedom and prosperity to blossom in our great nation.

This great patriotic movement, of which the People’s Charter Foundation is part, is growing every day. We invite you all to join us in campaigning for freedom, prosperity and British values.

UK National Security Strategy – A Sovereign, Global Vision (2)

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Sovereignty without action is hollow. Be it for the individual or the nation-state, to break the chains of domination only to slink off into quiet complacency is not simply a waste, but a repudiation of the very freedom which was won. However, to be free means not only the liberty to choose, or the absence of coercion, but crucially the capacity for action itself.

A sovereign United Kingdom, when finally liberated from the bureaucratic stranglehold of the European Union, has the opportunity to rediscover an active global status as an independent nation-state. The leave slogan ‘out – and into the world’ couldn’t be more instructive.

In the previous instalment, we discussed the need for formulating a long term vision of the UK’s place in the world as the founding basis of an effective post-Brexit strategy. Given the magnitude of this task and the collaborative effort it requires, no definitive answer to this need can be given here. But, at least two key aspects of what a genuinely strategic, long term vision may look like can be identified.

First, self-determination through strength and influence. The UK has the opportunity to project influence globally as an example of the successful rejection of supra-nationalism, whilst still retaining a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, a leading role in the Five Eyes intelligence sharing network and NATO, a nuclear deterrent, near unrivalled special forces and a world class diplomatic service. These strengths greatly amplify UK power and sovereignty.

That said, the mistakes of the past have to be heeded. A recklessly interventionist foreign policy is just as dangerous as the cowardly appeasement of those who seek to do UK citizens harm. The strategic exercise of sovereignty as political or military action must stem only from the basis of sound reasoning and evaluation of the specific situation at hand.

Second, the economic prosperity of the UK is undoubtedly a critical element of national security, for without it the citizen’s ability to continue living normally is severely diminished. The modern economy is global, but don’t let the Left fool you. Globalism and global trade are not the same things: economic cooperation does not imply political integration.

Leaving the world’s only shrinking trade bloc enables the UK to forge deals with other states which are specifically relevant to the UK’s economic interests. The UK must act purposefully, securing sensible trade agreements with the USA, Commonwealth nations, India, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Singapore, and yes – while it lasts – the European Union, to name a few.

A sovereign UK needs a strategy with a global vision, which champions freedom and democracy for all by example, which maintains a strong defence, borders and effectively pursues its legitimate economic interests around the world.

Now is the time for ambition and confidence to blossom across the UK. Only action can secure freedom and realise its potential. National security rests on this foundation.

A New National Security Strategy for an Independent UK

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Strategy matters. At a time of near unprecedented political uncertainty at home and abroad, it matters even more. It is critical for the future prosperity and security of the people of the United Kingdom that the Government now fundamentally re-assesses its national security strategy.

The 2015 National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review, despite originally being intended to last five years, now lacks strategic relevance in light of the coming UK extrication from the EU. For the UK to disentangle itself from the crushing tentacles of European bureaucracy, only to succumb to our own Whitehall brand of strategic inertia, puts at risk the realisation of that great flowering of national ambition and pride demonstrated on the 23rd June 2016.

A long term vision is required, a vision based upon a clear concept of the UK’s role in the world as an independent nation state. Specific areas of key national interest must be identified, and the critical risks to those interests mitigated as much as is reasonably possible. Opportunities must be recognised and effectively seized. The approach taken in pursuit of the national interest must be realistically weighed against the resources and capabilities available to us. Both cross-departmental and private sector co-operation is essential. Adaptability to a changing world which also keeps those core interests in sight needs to be hard wired into such a strategy.

To say this is not an easy task is an understatement: it requires some of the best – and imaginative – minds this nation has to offer, but for a sovereign UK to achieve prosperity and security in the emerging century, it is a crucial one. If the Prime Minister upholds her promise to the British people that Article 50 will be triggered by the end of this month, then a potential two year period of negotiation provides some space within which strategic thinking can begin to take place. Nothing in life, least so in politics or security, is ideal, but delay on this matter will cost us most dearly.

No longer can the UK rely on a remote, supranational bureaucracy to define our place in the world. We must look forwards with intelligence, ambition and also caution as we rise to the challenge of self-determination with confidence. For the dawn to truly break on an independent United Kingdom, we must re discover the art of strategy.

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