“We need to look at the Heavens for our next National Defence Review”

Article written by /u/Markthemonkey888.


Markthemonkey888 is currently a working peer in the House of Lords, with an expertise in defence and environmental policies.

Space, the final frontier.

The second decade of this century has just come to a close, mankind are ever closer to conquering the heavens. With the advancement in spaceflight technology and independent private space companies such as SpaceX, we as a species, are on the verge of returning to the moon, and going beyond to colonize mars. We are on the verge of technologies which will allow mankind to explore our solar system, and to boldly go where no man has gone before. 

But with new opportunities, comes new threats. For the United Kingdom, we have lagged behind in defence space technologies compared to most other major countries. Ever since the infamous ZIRCON satellite, we have largely ignored this field, which is becoming ever more important. 

By conservative estimates, we are behind most nations in military satellite and anti-satellite technology by 5-10 years, and 15 years behind the likes of US and China when it comes to outer space technology. It is of my opinion, and many of those in think tanks and academia all across the UK, that this trend of 0 spending in military space defence programs should stop. As one analyst wisely put, “Space underpins everything. The successful military powers of the future are going to be those that most easily and quickly assimilate change in the defence environment to their advantage.”

With India, China, Russia and the US capable of intermediate-advance anti-satellite technology, and the ever growing arsonal of military spy, communication satellites, the advancement in military space planes, and even the development and deployment of hypersonic missiles, the United Kingdom can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines. 

We are however, presented with an opportunity this next term with the upcoming National Defence Review to correct our mistakes, and attempt to catch up to the world standard when it comes to our Space defense. I have compiled the following suggestion in order to catch the RAF up to standard.

Recommendation 1. The Creation of a Defence Space Command under the Royal Air Force.

The UK should follow in the footsteps of India, France, Russia, US and China, and establish an agency/command under the current RAF that deals exclusively with military satellite, satellite tracking and anti-satellite warfare. This organization will also work on the integration of space technology into other branches of the armed forces, like a way to beam high-resolution video directly into RAF cockpits. This would also make funding any future projects easier as well. 

Recommendation 2. Start the development/purchase of Anti-Satellite missiles.

The UK should possess the capabilities to shoot down dangerous or hostile objects in space. We should work with the French in developing the Aster 30 anti-air missile family with anti-satellite capabilities. France has already expressed interest in anti-satellite missiles back in 2016, and the Aster 30 is a stable enough platform to support any type of augmentation. Or alternatively, we could purchase a small arsonal of SM-3 land/sea based or ASM-135 air launched anti-satellite missiles from the US to fill our need.

Recommendation 3. Replace the aging Skynet 5 program.

Skynet 5 communication satellites have dutifully served the armed forces for the last 10 years. These satellites have provided the UK with invaluable resources such as secure communication methods and instant battlefield-command communication globally. We need to replace and upgrade these satellites before they start going out of service. I propose replacing the 4 satellite in Skynet 5 with 6 new satellites in Skynet 6 to increase global presence and coverage. 

Recommendation 4. Develop a new class of reconnaissance satellites.

In the age of information warfare, a pair of eyes in the sky is sometimes key to decide the outcome of a battle. We need our own reconnaissance satellites to assists our UAVs in gathering information for our armed forces. This would also help us monitor situation closely all over the world, and remove our reliance on the NSA for satellite information.

Recommendation 5. Join the US-led Operation Olympic Defender.

It is about time that the UK joined the US and its allies on the research and development of new technologies. Pretty simple here. 

If we are able to include and achieve all five of my recommendations within the next or two Defence review cycle, we will not only have caught up to the rest of the world in technology and capabilities, but potentially become a world leader on the issue. 

“The Government’s win in Oxfordshire shows the broad appeal of the government despite opposition soundbites.”

NOM DE PLUME

ContraBannedMC’s big gamble and ego-trip failed big time, with them finishing third in the recent Oxfordshire and Berkshire by-election, going into the election they were the favourite to win the election, the veteran socialist MP had carried the seat with a massive majority is GEIX, it was a seat they believed they could not possibly lose. Not only did they lose the seat, but they came third behind Saunders16 suggesting that ContraBannedMC was never personally popular amongst constituents, but rather that endorsements had helped them get elected. It is a huge feat for a sitting government to win a by-election, it is an even bigger upset considering the seat’s history of electing firmly left-wing candidates. Whilst the opposition come up with their cheap soundbites of ‘tear gas coalition’ and the attack dogs make cheap adverts, it appears these have not struck a chord across the country. This was the oppositions chance to back up their facts that the government is unpopular, however, this did the opposite and empowered the government. It’s notable that so-called Classical Liberals campaigned for the social democratic candidate, their message however clearly fell flat. Sunrise decided to back a party of defectors, for what? No one really knows, but it’s likely they are running out of talent and are struggling for members. The by-election saw ContraBannedMC down 29.87% showing a massive decline for his far left movement. Overall there was a 20.26% swing to the Conservatives from /ContraBannedMC.

Results from Ox-Berk By-Election (Courtesy of VerkhovnaGeordie)

The by-election saw a sizeable increase in turnout, with turnout at 67.67%, up from 44% showing that people are becoming more engaged with politics and empowered by this government and the changes it is bringing forward. Another possibility is that the presence of a more moderate left-wing candidate encouraged Lib Dem and more Blairite Labour voters to turnout which they may not have previously done. Despite all the odds Anomaline and the government got this seat, which no one would have foreshadowed, so the government can walk away very happy with this result.

In other news, there were protests organised by the opposition including the Classical Liberals, Labour, Lib Dems and The People’s Movement. The opposition is telling us this is a success and shows that people do not support the government. Let us go through two notable remarks made by opposition figures today:

Our turnout today will show the Government one thing, this country is motivated to oppose the actions of this Prime Minister

Tommy1boys

Isn’t it funny, how Anomline’s majority in the by election is larger than all the protestors put together, how 70,000 people represent the whole country astonishes me.

Another running theme brought up by opposition speakers was that votes at 18 was not in the Conservative and LPUK manifestos.

Nowhere in their manifestos did they state their desire to strip 16 and 17 year olds of their right to vote, and yet that’s what they’ve done

JellyCow99

The Liberal Democrats last time proposed income tax rises alongside rises in tobacco duty. They also proposed a rise in the rate of drug tax, surprisingly after reading their GEX manifesto, there was no mention of any of these policies. There was also no mention of a £40bn deficit.

The leader of new Britain ack8 sums it better than I could. This kind of rhetoric “sets a bad precedent that government legislation that was not pre-determined in a manifesto should be delayed from enactment, especially as coalition governments are common”. On and also he is a hypocrite.

This government is pressing ahead with its agenda, with many bills of the so-called Gregfest passing through with ease, and, with the political upset that occured in Oxfordshire and Berkshire, it appears firmly in control whilst still maintaining popularity.

This column was written for The Daily Telegraph by DUP Baron HenryJohnTemple of Carrickfergus as an opinion editorial. The views expressed are not necessarily representative of those of The Model Telegraph Media Group, its editors or its proprietors.

Friedmanite19 is the incumbent MP for Somerset and Bristol.

“Education is the foundation of a functioning democracy. Why, then, would we not limit the function of our democracy to be kept safe by those who have the education necessary to be an adult?”

NOM DE PLUME

The age in our society where one is responsible for voting, being elected and maintaining positions in the government is one of enormous burden, and it is a burden that we should expect only of those that can be reasonably expected to be a fully functioning and participating member of society. While it is regrettable, the recent change to the voting age is not one that fulfils these criteria, and it cannot be said that the right will be exercised correctly on either their behalf or the behalf of the entire society at large. These are decisions that affect us all, and we should all strive to see how we can improve our voter base.

The idea that individuals can make decisions on behalf of our country is grounded in the fact that they have an understanding of the country, of our society, of the function of our government. In the modern age, this is something that is indisputably tied to education and experience. This fact may be depressing to those of younger age – nobody is disputing the tragedy and disparity those who feel disenfranchised may feel as a result. Their opinions on all things are not invalid; they are uninformed. Through no fault of any of them, the subset of those who have not experienced what it is like to work, what it is like to serve for their country, what it is like to experience a modicum of adulthood simply do not have the proper mindset to be deciding the path for all of our country, for all of our society.

In theory, the agreeability of having a statement of absolute suffrage is a vital and insurmountable key to democracy, something that all people accept and strive for. To those who have lived, who have worked, to those who have had their idealism tempered by reality, we understand that universal wide-reaching privileges like these may need to be withheld for some time.

Just as the right to damage the body with certain substances are withheld to those who we deem incapable of understanding or fully interpreting the risks, the right to damage society should be kept safe to those who are involved in it. We know the dangers of exploitation, we know the fear of those who contribute less than ourselves, we know that there are times when we must hold our nose and say “not yet” to responsibilities that will be a burden to a younger generation while doing the best we can on their behalf.

As we do not hold dear to our hearts the idea that someone that is 16 can be a CEO, an airline pilot, a Prime Minister, we should not also hold the idea that these individuals can uphold the ideal of safeguarding our democracy. This is a job that is the most important job of all citizens of the United Kingdom. It is a job that requires education, a job that requires experience, a job that requires citizenship and all the responsibilities that come with it. It is a job for those of age, and the age for that across the world is uniform with few exceptions.

As regrettable as it may be for those looking forward at a longer time in the shadow of these responsibilities, the country will be better for their sacrifice.

This piece was written for The Daily Telegraph by Conservative MP Anomaline as an opinion editorial. The views expressed are not necessarily representative of those of The Model Telegraph Media Group, its editors or its proprietors. The MTMG thanks Anomaline for their opinion editorial.

Anomaline is an incumbent MP for the South East.

“It’s right that Parliament has the opportunity to consider alternatives to the two polar regimes of a universal blanket ban or universal inclusion which allows serious criminals to remain the right to vote”

LECHEVALIERMAL-FAIT

I read the Baron Granthams OP-Ed in The Times with great interest as everyone I am sure many did owing his not inconsiderable expertise. His analysis of matters of the law is meticulous but in areas of morality and legitimacy I find his arguments much less persuasive and so following the debate in the house and questioning by the the luminaries of the House of Lords General Committee I wish to now take the case to the country.

But before I do I take issue with a number of points made in that Op-Ed, firstly the suggestion that Hirst should be seen as a floor. I content that Hirst as a ruling only sets out principles in which a parliament should consider limitations on the right to vote for prisoners. In this we see that Hirst isn’t a floor but instead boundary conditions upon a continuum of acceptable solutions. I shall set out later, why I my proposal sets bar where it is and also why parliament and not the courts needs to be the one to do the setting.

My last quam is the Lord Grantham’s suggestion that 50% of the house of commons does not support the proposal. This I fear is a weak argument, not only do neither of us know how MPs will vote but even if a majority of our elected representative are opposed to the bill then it is still right that they consider it and voter may evaluate them on that basis. And thirdly his calculation of over 50% of the house opposes prisoner votes relies on the LPUK opposing it. But I know very well from discussions with cabinet colleagues, and backbenchers across government as well as talks outside of government. That this bill has wide ranging support, and much to the consternation of the noble lord some members support an even harsher policy than the one that I am proposing.

But turning to the substance of the question, I feel it is inaccurate to speak of suffrage as “universal” in any context while retaining complete accuracy, indeed the word does not appear in Protocol 1 Article 3 for very good reasons it is wholly unworkable legally, and it was purposely excluded from the text by British negotiators no less! In no state is the right to vote enjoyed by citizens without qualifications, and there are many different legitimate grounds for qualifying the right in exceptional circumstances. I believe prisoners who have committed a sufficiently serious crime to have been handed a long custodial sentence to be one of these circumstances.

The qualifications put in place required wildly differ from state to state as does circumstances, culture and history. With respect to prisoners even within signatories of the ECHR there is huge variety, some justifications such as France allows a trial judge to disenfranchise based upon the proportionality of the crime, Germany applies a system whereby crimes against the state and democracy are punished with disenfranchisement, in Italy prisoners with life sentences may be permanently disenfranchised and lesser sentences result in shorter periods of disenfranchisement and Malta disenfranchises all prisoners sentenced for a period greater than one year. And there are many more unique systems as well as other countries which like us currently have full suffrage for prisoners.

This is all to say, this is not a question of law, the ECHR did not impose upon Britain an obligation to pass the Human Rights Extension Act 2015 it only it explicitly stated in its conclusion that;

“it will be for the United Kingdom Government in due course to implement such measures as it considers appropriate to fulfil its obligations to secure the right to vote in compliance with this judgment.”

The obligation was to simply bring forward legislative proposals that fulfilled the courts requirements for proportionality and a legitimate aim.

What the Human Rights Extension Act 2015 did was catapult Britain from one extreme to another. Parliament has never been given the opportunity to consider anything but these two extremes and I am glad that the proposals that I have brought before the house will remedy this lack of consideration.

The government’s plan will give the house an opportunity to consider for the first time, legislation that keeps us a compliant member of the ECHR, maintaining our standing on human rights internationally. While rationally qualifying the right to vote.

This is not something that should be ignored or left to the courts indeed the courts themselves have told us that they cannot decide where on the spectrum of possibilities we should be. In the landmark Hirst ruling the ECtHR itself said:

The Court accepts that this is an area in which a wide margin of appreciation should be granted to the national legislature in determining whether restrictions on prisoners’ right to vote can still be justified in modern times and if so how a fair balance is to be struck.

European Court of Human Rights

The current system is patiently unacceptable it to me, David Cameron said the thought of prisoner votes made him feel sick. While I am not queasy I feel a deep moral sense that those who break the law and violate the norms of our society, the rights of others or our shared institutions should not be in a position to make the law. My thesis is that laws and rights only have meaning within the context of a community that accepts them, the most serious offenders have ignored those and caused great damage. They should not automatically qualify to vote, doing so retains agency over the lives they have wreaked.

But let’s be honest Dave wasn’t physically sick at the thought of people convicted of misdemeanors voting. What’s galling and difficult for many good decent Britons to swallow is the idea that the absolute universal inclusion of prisoners gives the same voting rights to unapologetic murderers as for them. This sense of equity between two people who should not be treated as equal because of their different choices and actions, erodes our civic responsibility people see this and question the value of the right to vote. “If that person is worthy of the right to vote, why should I bother? Or why should I put time into making a good choice?” This harms our democracy and the rule of law.

Rationally qualifying the right to vote can be a powerful symbol against democratic malaise, that reinforces the value of the right to vote by showing that we remove it in certain circumstances because certain people should not exercise it – and we go to the bother because it is a valuable part of our democracy.

The social rejection of serious crime reflects a moral line in the sand that safeguards the social contract and the rule of law. This point is underlined by how we police in this country, we do not police by SWAT cars or force, we police by consent, working with communities not suppressing them. It is critical for this approach to work that crime is socially condemned and that we maintain buy into society. The promotion of civic responsibility may be abstract or symbolic concept, but it is a primary goal of government and fundamental to our society it should not be looked down upon for being abstract or symbolic.

Prisoner votes threatens this balance, it fails to attach a civic consequence to serious crime to clearly condemn it. It treats prisoners as universally worthy of voting and influencing our society when clearly there is variation and nuance.

For these reasons our proposals take a middle road between blanket bans and a blanket right to vote. We will stop people with long custodial sentences of over six years from voting, this will prevent those who committed serious crimes and violated significantly the rights of their fellow citizens from being able to vote.

We also note that forgiveness is a key conservative value and a fundamental purpose of the justice system aside from reparation or punishment is rehabilitation. Therefore we have included in the proposal a mechanism by which prisoners who are sentenced to greater than a six year term may apply for re-enfranchisement provided that they meet criteria such as being remorseful. We think this is a fair compromise and we do not wish to prevent prisoners from having an opportunity for civic engagement provided that they are on the path towards rehabilitation and indeed hope that this may incentivise some prisoners to more strongly engage in rehabilitation programs out of a desire to reacquire the right to vote. And irregardless of the success of our proposals in the voting lobbies, we as a government are committed to reducing crime through rehabilitation. We will reduce overcrowding and improve access to prison libraries. We might not feel that all prisoners deserve the right to vote absolutely, but we equally believe that every prisoner should be given the best opportunity to turn their lives around.

“If history has thought us anything, it’s that a party abandoning its values leads to electoral oblivion. The LPUK must heed that lesson.”

SEIMER1234

And, breathe.

Yes, after a long tough term, and an even tougher week of campaigning, the Eleventh General Election is over, and the result are known. Yes, coalition building is going on as I write, and the dawn looks set to break on another fresh new term. How exciting.

However, I take this time to pause and reflect, on the shoddy state of liberalism in the UK at the moment, and what we as libertarians must do to prevent the same happening to our ideology and party.

Firstly, we must look at what happened to the liberal parties. They lost a collective 5 seats this election, and the Lib Dems are now the 4th largest party in the country, behind the Tories, Labour and LPUK. The classical liberals remain the 5th largest.

For two parties that after the last GE formed a government, this is a damning inditement of what has been, in many eyes, a term marked by chaos, confusion and broken promises from the two parties. The Liberal Democrats broken promises did not largely come from their time in government, yes most certainly they had government policies that conflicted with their election promises however these did not amount to a true betrayal of their ideology. Instead, the Liberal Democrats threw their supposed “liberalism” out the door, by joining the TLC opposition made up of far left, avowedly socialist parties. The Liberal Democrats threw their vision of a liberal Britain out the door once it because politically beneficial. And then, we have the Classical Liberals, whose betrayal is much clearer to see. The broken promise that perhaps defined the failed Liberal government was their u-turn on another referendum. It was a U-turn that would haunt them, and, some would argue, be the downfall of their government.  The Classical Liberals all too often looked like they had been taken captive, with a leadership that stayed silent when Liberal Democrats pursued illiberal left-wing policies, perhaps best illustrated by PM Wagbo’s anti-nuclear weapons sentiments displayed on Twitter. While this did lead to backlash on the Classical Liberal back-benches when I myself tweeted asking Twisted to state his opinion on Wagbos comment I received radio silence. For far, far too often, the Classical Liberals abandoned their principles to appease a Liberal Democrat party that knew full well, in this supposed “coalition of equals”, one party was much more equal than the other.

However, that is not the reason I am writing this article. I am not writing this article to outline the flaws of the liberal parties. I am writing this op-ed to warn my own party of what happens when we abandon our values. While I still believe, I truly do, that the ideology and policies of the LPUK are the same now as it was when I joined, I too was unable to ignore the sensationalist, extreme campaign and twitter antics that we saw over the general election. It’s clear to me that there was a change in our rhetoric during the general election, a change for the worse. It’s a change which to far too many has confirmed their view of our party as far right. The LPUK can not abandon our values of personal and economic freedom, and we can not allow our rhetoric to mirror that of the far right.

If history has thought us anything, it’s that a party abandoning its values leads to electoral oblivion. The LPUK must heed that lesson. The LPUK must continue to offer a socially and economically libertarian vision for the United Kingdom’s future, in the same way, the Liberal Democrats and Classical Liberals must offer a socially and economically liberal vision. Our nation can not slip back into a two-party system of Tories vs Labour. Our discourse needs a liberal and libertarian alternative to the ideologies of the establishment parties. The LPUK, Lib Dems and Classical Liberals must dare ourselves to do better and to stand up bravely for the ideals we are elected on.

This piece was written for The Daily Telegraph by seimer1234 MP as an opinion editorial. The views expressed are not necessarily representative of those of The Model Telegraph Media Group, its editors or its proprietors. The MTMG thanks semier1234 for his opinion editorial.

Seimer1234 is the President of the Libertarian Party UK and the incumbent MP for Buckinghamshire.

“Something Fishy went on in Kent and it wasn’t just Kwilson”

LECHEVALIERMAL-FAIT

Let me begin by saying that joining one of Britain’s established political parties is unequivocally anathema to offering something new – kwilson has obviously engaged in something fishy. So while under the rules of our electoral system he owns the seat and may do what he pleases with it, at the very least he has completely failed to inform voters in Kent and the South East that this was an option he was open to. And this humble writer believes that the decent thing now would be to offer the people of the South East a chance to now that he has switched parties to pass their verdict on that.

However Mr Wilson’s actions are far from the only fishy part to this tail, the guts of the story are the strange decision by all three TLC parties to fail to stand in Kent and endorse instead a former LPUK and short-lived Tory. This curious decision, that they now reject, deserves attention in its own right. The petition that is going around casts Something New!’s Manifesto as centre-left and and appears to be trying to establish a narrative where by Mr Wilson was feigning left of centre credentials obtained endorsements and quickly went back in his word.

A number of points in response to this: firstly, even if it did happen as is suggested in this narrative those responsible for deciding to endorse Something New! clearly did a poor job by failing to take into account Mr Wilson’s wider record and failed to anticipate how that might lead to a defection to a right of centre party. His diverse political history should have been enough to raise some question and indeed in his very first tweet since returning to politics Mr Wilson states that he wanted to rebuild bridges with the LPUK and followed this up by announcing his decision to run in Hampshire – which is a Green-Tory marginal.

kwilson’s tweets

Further the strange decision to attempt to cast the Something New! manifesto as centre left is bizarre and, for self proclaimed leftists, reflects a worrying lack of knowledge of their own ideology. An honest assessment is that Mr Wilson is libertarian and anti authoritarian. Where there is overlap with the progressive left, it is because the left embraces anti authoritarianism. But there is explicit disagreement with the left on a range of subjects from tax to foreign policy. In summation I wouldn’t ascribe leftness or rightness to the document, it is at its core anti authority.

So if the TLC is not guilty of gross incompetence in endorsing Mr Wilson then what might have happened? Indeed, knowing many of the members of the TLC leadership to not be complete incompetents (only partial), can we explain firstly why Something New! very quickly decided to not run in Hampshire South, as initially stated, and instead in Kent and secondly what the TLC’s wider goals in this were in this.

Anonymous sources within the TLC and published in The Daily Telegraph (10th Feb) reported a conversation on a similar topic where the TLC was deciding to endorse DF44 in Lancashire South and where the former PM Wagbo is reported to have said, “We probably don’t have a better candidate” and that “it will tie up Tory resources”. With Kent being a much safer Tory seat than Lanc South – indeed the safest in the nation if constituency polls are accurate – then it is even less likely that the TLC would be able to field a strong candidate there, but nevertheless hoping to gain electoral advantage from the return to politics of Mr Wilson. The TLC concluded by a similar logic that they could gain national advantage for the TLC by tying up a Tory Deputy Leader in a local fight instead of campaigning nationally.

By offering Mr Wilson endorsements in Kent but not in Hampshire South (a Green Tory marginal) to induce him to run there instead of Hampshire South with LPUK support as I theorise he initially planned to from his tweets. Where in a calculated move he publicly declares he is running, offers an olive branch to the LPUK and has chosen a seat where no LPUK candidate is likely to stand. I theorise his plans only subsequently changed once he failed to receive an endorsement from the LPUK (who had already come to an arrangement with the Tories) and was instead offered the opportunity of TLC endorsements in Kent.

There was certainly some political advantage to be gained by the TLC whether or not Something New! won as I have already discussed. So it appears that they are not the entirely naive and innocent bystanders who have been taken advantage of as they might wish you to believe. And further to this line of thought a Something New! Victory on the list may well have come at the expense of an LPUK or Tory seat, and surely this is the political calculation that high ranking members of the TLC anticipated would result by endorsing him, anything less would simply be incompetence.

If the TLC are unhappy with the decision of Kwilson to change parties they should reject any benefit that they derived from the tying down a senior Tory. Thus if they are purely motivated by a non partisan desire for fairness then they should also put to a by-election any seat where a visit by a less busy Tory DL might have tipped the balance. I eagerly await yet another by-election bonanza.

But all of this is simply conjecture based on a limited snapshot of incentives, public statements and private conservations reported on by The Telegraph. All we can say for sure is that there was Something very Fishy went on…

LeChevalierMal-Fait is the Conservative MP for Essex and is writing in a personal capacity.

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