The government has said we must have closer defence co-operation with France due to the need for spending cuts.
Anybody with the smallest bit of common sense will realise that the biggest producer of military equipment in the western world is the United States. Because they are the biggest producer and tend to order hundreds of items where we would only order tens of the same things, the Americans have unit costs which are far lower than ours, and by placing our orders with US manufacturers at the same time as they place theirs, we can also get the advantage of these reduced prices.
France, on the other hand, has a much smaller defence budget and even combining orders with them, it would be unlikely to result in any significant reduction in price. I also know from personal experience in another field that the French idea of a joint project is 90% to France and 10% to Britain, largely as a result of our useless Civil Service negotiators. (Remember how Blair gave up our EU rebate in exchange for a promise from the French that they would consider altering their agricultural policy - has there been any change?) A number of British companies in the defence industry already co-operate very closely with American companies and indeed, some actually own subsidiaries there.
The Conservatives, quite rightly, questioned how much the UK could afford to rely on European allies after the Government statement..
Dr Liam Fox said: 'For us there are two tests: do they invest in defence? And do they fight? Sadly, too few European allies pass both these tests.'
Now whether you agree with the war in Iraq or not, it is this country's sovereign right to go to war without consulting anyone outside this country. France opposed that war, which is also their right. This could conceivably happen elsewhere in the future where our interests did not coincide. Under these circumstance, would they continue to supply us with arms?
The Americans, on the other hand, fall into what is often called the Anglosphere, an unofficial grouping of mainly English speaking countries who tend to think alike and generally have interests in common. It is far more likely that in any future conflict we will, once again, be fighting alongside the Americans; if it is anything like Afghanistan, we will also be having to borrow American equipment on occasions. It makes far more sense to have equipment in common with our most likely ally in any conflict rather than anyone else.
And of course, any co-operation with the French will take us even further into the E.U., which of course maybe among the ulterior motives for this government move.
Richard Ottoway Resigns from European Movement
15 minutes ago