Video Commentary on the Royal Navy readying itself to protect UK waters after Brexit, the EU council adopting their next set of Brexit negotiating guidelines, UK foreign and defecne policy post-Brexit, questionning the point of the continuing Remain campaign and Owen Smith and Vince Cable still clinging on to the hope of another EU referendum.
HMS Forth, pennant number P222, is currently on operational sea training getting ready to protect UK waters and fish stocks after we leave the EU.
HMS Forth is the first of five extremely capable offshore patrol vessels that will act as the eyes and ears of the Royal Navy around the UK and further afield if necessary, with the UK defence secretary saying they will also be used to protect fish stocks.
"Gavin Williamson said the vessels will “stand ready” as he unveiled the first of five £116m ships which will form part of the Royal Navy Fishery Protection Squadron." Reports the Telegraph today.
The vessels can operate with a crew of between 38 and 60 with room for up to 50 Royal Marines or troops. They are armed with a 30mm main gun, two Miniguns and four machine-guns. They have two Pacific 24 sea boats and a flight deck too.
They will also help to safeguard fishing stocks, reassure and protect Falkland Islanders and deploy to the Mediterranean and Caribbean if necessary. Says the Royal Navy.
That may all sound a bit jingoistic to some, but they are our territorial waters containing our economic resources, so we should be capable of protecting them.
Now, welcoming the news that the EU Council has quickly adopted their guidelines for the future Brexit negotiations, which is another milestone in the Brexit process and gives their negotiator, Michel Barnier, his mandate, Theresa May said:
"I believe we are approaching this with a spirit of co-operation, a spirit of opportunity for the future as well, and we will now be sitting down and determining those workable solutions for Northern Ireland, but also for our future security partnership and economic partnership.
"I believe it is in the best interest of both the UK and the EU that we get a deal that actually is in the interests of both."
The guidelines include that the EU is determined 'to have as close as possible a partnership with the UK in future' that covers 'trade and economic cooperation as well as other areas, in particular the fight against terrorism and international crime, as well as security, defence and foreign policy.'
The EU always does seem extremely keen to keep our defence and security arrangements as well as our foreign policy tied as close to them as possible.
We have yet to leave the EU and at present our foreign policy is shaped by that membership. We need to ensure that we are as free as possible from the EU after we leave so that we can forge our own foreign and security policies.
So far it looks to me like we're being herded and hog-tied by stealth into EU defence requirements by both the EU and our own domestic administrations, which will not leave us free to operate fully in the national interest in the future. The UK armed forces are criminally still lined up to be sucked into PESCO as far as I am concerned.
Moving on, writing in Brexit Central, Fawzi Ibrahim who is a national officer of Trade Unionists Against the EU and a retired lecturer takes the view that the transition agreement puts the last nail in the Remain coffin.
As far as he is concerned all the Remainer hopes of staying in the single market and customs union as well as keeping freedom of movement, have gone.
"The EU has disappointed its most ardent supporters in the UK, who were hoping that the EU would come to their rescue and provoke a breakdown of negotiations. Our Europhiles now form a sad bunch of malcontents who spend their time whining from the sidelines, a flavour of which can be seen in The Guardian on a daily basis. History is never kind to those who stand in its way." He writes.
And he ends by saying that the 21 month transition phase will be over very quickly with, the only matter of real concern being the final agreement and that he says:
"…must give the UK unadulterated sovereignty over all its affairs, including fisheries."
The Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary and former Labour leader hopeful, Owen Smith, has reopened the Brexit split in his party by calling for a referendum on the final UK/EU agreement.
Writing in the Guardian, Mr Smith says that his party needs to do more than back a soft Brexit or a soft Irish Border.
Claiming that promises made by Brexiteers, especially of more money to the NHS post-Brexit, are not going to be honoured, he said:
"….we have the right to ask if Brexit remains the right choice for the country. And to ask, too, that the country has a vote on whether to accept the terms and true costs of that choice once they are clear."
The vast majority of Parliament voted for the referendum to be held and on what basis, they also overwhelmingly voted for Article 50 to be triggered and over 80% of MPs were voted in at the last election on party manifestoes that said the Brexit vote would be respected.
Owen Smith is just another Remainer trying to upset the democratic apple-cart!
Just like Vince Cable's Liberal Democrats who yesterday issued a press release saying that eight EU prime ministers belonging to the 'Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe' (ALDE) group had agreed a joint statement calling for the people of the UK to be given a vote on the final deal. Only to have the group later say that no such agreement had been reached.
Poor old Vince!