[Ed: this is Part Two of the transcript of the speech given by Henry Bolton at the launch of UKIP’s Campaign ‘Save our Services’. Part One, touching on PESCO and Border security, was published here in UKIP Daily yesterday.]
The EU’s ‘Permanent Security Cooperation’ (PESCO)
The EU treaties contain clear ambitions for EU defence integration and centralised command and control. These ambitions are now being openly pursued. Just because Jean Claude Juncker’s parents didn’t buy him a train set as a child, does not mean we should give him one to play with now!
Let’s be quite clear:
The EU’s Common Security & Defence plans are associated with the eventual formation of a European Federal State. Any involvement in the EU’s ‘Permanent Security Cooperation (PESCO) would place the UK at significant risk of compromising the integrity and capabilities of the British Armed Forces and of subordinating them to EU authority. In particular, the EU’s integration ambitions:
- Are a threat to the UK’s status as the only European member of the Five Eyes intelligence community;
- A threat to NATO cohesion (duplication, divided assets, political competition);
- Interference with the way national Armed Forces are administered, for example seeking the wider introduction of trade unions;
- A significantly negative impact on the UK defence industry and procurement. For example: in future Britain may have no choice but to have its warships and tanks built in another EU country;
- Decisions on UK defence priorities being made by the EU.
Let me dwell a moment on greater EU military integration being a threat to NATO and why that is so important.
The propaganda pumped out by Brussels is entirely misleading and delusional. The European Union is not the reason we’ve had peace in Europe for the past 72 years. NATO and the fact that the member states of that alliance have, until recently, maintained formidable military capabilities is the reason we’ve avoided major conflict.
I served in Germany as a tank soldier and served on the staff of Headquarters 1st British Corps in Germany in the 1980s, during the Cold War. There is no question: it was NATO that was then, and that remains, the military alliance that deterred external aggression and prevented war in Europe. The EU was nowhere to be seen in that context. I find it absolutely staggering that EU officials now claim that it was the EU that kept the peace.
The only reason that EU officials are able to spread their propaganda is that nobody under the age of around 40 or so has any recollection of the Cold War. The likes of Jean-Claude Juncker are exploiting that.
Indeed, it could be argued that the EU, through its ineptitude, has exacerbated, if not created, many of the drivers of conflict, including that in Ukraine.
Countries that are members of the NATO alliance and of the European Union will inevitably pledge assets to PESCO. Indeed that’s the whole point of PESCO. Yet they will not increase resources. The inevitable result will be that resources are split between NATO and EU commitments. Not only that, but the EU will have a significant degree of political and regulatory control over EU Member States’ defence and industrial policy. The inevitable result of that is that EU Member States will all have to agree in some way on any support to NATO, making the entire construct slow when, if conflict or crisis threatens, a timely and decisive response will be crucial.
I have no doubt that many of you will be saying “Ok, but why’s he going on about this when the UK did not sign up to PESCO when it could have done on Monday [Nov 13th] – isn’t it now academic?”
No it is not.
The risk of the government selling our Armed Forces down the river, of British military personnel being deployed under EU political control and of the UK having to apply ever more draconian EU Commission regulations on procurement are as real as they were before Monday.
I return to my earlier point. The EU treaties contain clear ambitions for EU defence integration and centralised command and control. These ambitions are now being openly pursued. The UK government has stated clearly that further integration with European Security & Defence structures is on the cards. Theresa May has stated that the UK is offering to subordinate elements of its military and foreign policies to those of the EU and to dedicate part of our Foreign Aid budget – which of course should be cut – to the EU. In addition, the Government Paper on this topic released in September this year, says, at paragraph 75:
“As part of the deep and special partnership, the UK wants to explore how best to ensure that the UK and European defence and security industries can continue to work together to deliver the capabilities that we need to counter the shared threats we face, and promote our mutual prosperity. This could include future UK collaboration in European Defence Agency projects and initiatives. We could also consider options and models for participation in the Commission’s European Defence Fund including both the European Defence Research Programme and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme. Our future partnership would mean European capabilities could be developed in support of our joint security and shared values, with the UK’s research and development expertise, and its world-leading facilities, such as the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, used to support shared objectives.”
Despite the subtlety of this wording, the recently-created structures mentioned all involve UK authority to be delegated to the collective decision-making processes of EU + Norway.
The question is: does the British public want its Armed Forces and defence industry to be regulated and politically controlled, our soldiers, sailors and airmen sent into harm’s way by people they cannot even vote out of power? Or do they want the British government and Parliament to have the unfettered authority to make such decisions?
UKIP believes it’s the latter.
UKIP is fighting and will continue to fight to ensure that the government does not allow our Armed Forces, the Defence Budget, cutting edge military science, research and industry to become institutionally entangled with the EU’s dangerous ambitions. To do so would be to compromise our own ability to defend ourselves. To do so would be to compromise our national ability to ensure that this country is confident, prosperous and secure in the years beyond BREXIT.
That said, UKIP supports cooperation with friends and allies, but we are determined that the UK must never lose independent and sovereign control over its defence policy, military procurement or the use of our armed forces.
Let me be unambiguously clear:
UKIP opposes any subordination to EU policies in the area of Defence and Security.
UKIP will oppose any threat to the cohesion, unity and capabilities of NATO as a result of any EU effort to develop its own military defence capabilities.
UKIP will however actively seek cooperation with all its friends and allies.
Policing and Borders
The aim of UKIP is to ensure that we are secure at home, at our borders and abroad.
The police are obviously the primary agency, being primarily responsible for our security at home. Yet, in addition to compromising our armed forces, the Conservative government has presided over swingeing cuts to our police.
The government has persistently argued that cuts to policing do not affect the front line, yet we have seen a rapid and concerning increase in recorded crime across most areas. With the gradual demise of specialist road traffic units, deaths and serious injuries on our roads are also on the up. The cuts have also not yet ended. The Met Police for example, despite the heightened threat from Jihadi and other extremist terrorism, is having to find a further £400m in savings.
There is no question: Conservative government policies are compromising the enforcement of the rule of law and we are all despite the outstanding efforts of our police officers and staff across the country, inevitably less secure.
UKIP would put an immediate stop to police – and indeed fire service – cuts and would gradually reverse them. Our aim would be to recruit and train a further 20,000 police officers.
The Border Force Budget has also been massively reduced:
2012/13 – £617m
2016/17 – £558m
A reduction of £69m in four years!
Mrs May, when asked in the House of Commons about recently Border Force cuts said:
“I reassure my hon. Friend that we are maintaining the capabilities he talked about, but we are delivering them in a different way. He and I have discussed a particular contract that is no longer in place. What Border Force has done is look to see how it can work in a variety of ways to provide that capability, including, obviously, by working with the Royal Navy.”
This would be the same Royal Navy that cannot put some of its major units to sea for want of sailors and supplies, Mrs May?
The Select Committee report on Borders, released today [Nov 16th], makes it very clear that the government has simply been keeping its fingers crossed regarding the BREXIT related impact on our Borders. It makes plain that, if the government does not immediately commence planning and preparation, we risk chaos on our borders. The danger of BREXIT in this area, as in so many others, does not rest in leaving the EU itself, it rests in the government neglecting its duty to plan and prepare.
I have myself long called for a fully funded and comprehensive air, land and sea national Border Strategy. The UK does not have one – even Albania has one!
That is UKIP’s policy. UKIP would also immediately reverse cuts to the Border Force and I call on Phillip Hammond in his budget presentation to do exactly that. UKIP would also immediately commence the recruitment of a further 4,00 Border Force staff.
In this speech I have referred to a UKIP government. For many this may appear a lofty ambition. However, it is only by presenting practical and achievable solutions to real challenges, by presenting credible policies, that we will achieve the influence to make them happen. And that is what I have done today.
UKIP is the only party that is 100% supportive of our Armed and emergency services. The only party that is pledging to reverse the real cuts to our military, police and Border Force – the only party pledging to look after our veterans.
We are the only party that is 100% committed to preventing the subordination of our Defence Policy to the EU in any way.