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MoD Defence intelligence update 25th February 2024

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Sunday Music spot: Singet dem Herrn (Bach - Sing to the Lord a new song, BWV 225)

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Quote of the day 25th February 2024

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MoD Defence intelligence update 24th February 2024

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Health Secretary Victoria Atkins on the doctors' strikes

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Continued UK support for Ukraine

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I make no apology for blogging a third time today about the war in Ukraine and the support Britain has given and will continue to give to Ukraine.As we mark two years since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, the UK government has announced a new package of 200 Brimstone anti-tank missiles in a further boost to defend Ukraine and continue our support for the brave Ukrainians who are fighting this war. Over the course of the Ukrainian war, Britain has been at the forefront of the global response. Since the start of the conflict, the UK has sent almost 400 different types of capabilities to Ukraine and last month, the Prime Minister announced we will be investing a further £2.5 billion into military support for Ukraine, taking our total support to over £12 billion, accounting for military, economic and humanitarian aid. We are continuing our support by announcing a new package of 200 Brimstone anti-tank missiles in a further boost to defend Ukraine. Britain will not

Project Gigabit

This week  the government confirmed that  one million properties in hard-to-reach communities can now access lightning-fast broadband thanks to Project Gigabit , as we stick to the plan to speed up interest connections for families and businesses and grow the economy. Fast broadband speeds are essential to modern day life, which is why we announced Project Gigabit in 2021.  Thanks to the Conservative long-term plan, more than one million properties in hard-to-reach communities have now been upgraded with access to lightning-fast gigabit-capable broadband, helping to grow the economy and improve services for households.  Conservatives will sticking with our long-term plan to improve access to the fastest broadband, allowing households to connect to the internet seamlessly to make work and leisure easier as we build a brighter future for all.  Full disclosure - I am writing this post as a Conservative activist but am also an employee of Openreach and hold a modest number of shares in the

Saturday music spot: J. S. Bach's Harpsichord Concerto no. 6, BWV 1057

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Admiral Radakin on the progress of the war in Ukraine

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Two years since Putin invaded Ukraine

When Ukraine gave up one of the world's largest nuclear arsenals, in exchange all five of the permanent members of the UN Security council gave security assurances in exchange.  The assurances from France and China were somewhat weaker and in separate documents: but Russia, the United States and Britain all signed documents known as the Budapest Memorandum  in 1994 which they promised to respect the borders of Ukraine. Yet, in 2014, Putin's Russia illegally annexed the Crimea, part of Ukraine's territory. Then, two years ago today, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in which Putin attempted to conquer the entire country. Putin's illegal invasions of Ukraine quite clearly broke the promises in the Budapest Memorandum and are arguably the most egregious breach of a treaty since World War II.  Under the promises we made at the time, Britain and the USA are required to seek immediate UN security council action to provide assistance to Ukraine. Putin thought th

Quote of the day 24th February 2024

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Music to start the weekend: "Salvator Mundi" by Thomas Tallis

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Backing British farmers

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This week the Prime Minister spoke to farmers about  a major new package of support for the farming industry. The Conservatives have a farmers, a long-term plan to champion our countryside and protect British farming for the next generation. We have delivered better targeted funding for farmers and protected our best farmland – but there is more that can be done.  This week the government announced our largest ever package of competitions and grants for farmers worth £427 million, as well as a UK-wide Food Security Index, new rules to make sure farmers always get fair prices for their products and cuts to planning red tape to help farmers grow their business. This action will secure the future of the farming sector for generations to come.

New agreement to help stop the boats

Today the UK government announced a working arrangement with Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, which will help make further progress in stopping the boats. This builds on agreements with France, Albania and Turkey, which with other measures the Conservative government has taken, and which have already delivered real progress in reducing illegal channel crossings, which are down by over a third.  The UK has been making strong progress, with the number of small boat crossings down by 36 per cent last year and more than 24,000 people with no right to be in the UK removed.  The new agreement with Frontex will provide the UK with access to new levers and intelligence to make the UK’s borders safer and more secure and help crack down on vile people smuggling gangs.  While we are sticking to our plan and making progress, the Labour Party have no plan to tackle the small boat crossings. Labour say that they will work with our neighbours but as today's agreement shows, we

Quote of the day 23rd February 2024

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This is taken from the poem "Dane-geld" by Rudyard Kipling. You can see read the whole poem at  Dane-geld – The Kipling Society

Baby loss certificates

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The government is   launching baby loss certificates to formally recognise the loss of a baby during pregnancy , improving support for grieving parents during this devastating experience. Losing a baby during pregnancy can be a hugely traumatic experience, which is why we are launching baby loss certificates for parents who have gone through a loss of pregnancy before 24 weeks. From today, parents can apply for a certificate to record the loss of their baby if they chose to do so, formally recognising their experience and ensuring they feel heard as part of our commitment to make healthcare faster, simpler and fairer. The government is committed to ensuring bereaved parents feel supported through their grief and recognise their loss, as we stick with the long-term plan to deliver our Women’s Health Strategy and improve women’s healthcare and maternity support.

MoD intelligence summary, and announcement of more aid to Ukraine

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 The MoD has announced today: "As part of our latest military aid package, the UK is providing 200 more Brimstone missiles, a precision-guided anti-tank missile, to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.   This aid plays a crucial role in stalling Russian advances. #StandWithUkraine. And here is the daily intelligence bulletin:

The row on Gaza in the commons yesterday

No party covered itself with glory in the House of Commons yesterday during the debate about Gaza. We have limited influence as a country on the tragic events in the Middle East: we should be using what we have to work for a fair and lasting peace in which the lives of both Jewish people and Palestinians are valued and protected. I agree with the Conservative government statement on this, which reads as follows: "Yesterday, we made clear that our position on Israel and Gaza remains unchanged – we are calling for an immediate pause to fighting in Gaza, to get humanitarian aid in and get the hostages out. Israel has suffered the worst terror attack in its history at the hands of Hamas. Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas in line with international humanitarian law but we know Palestinian civilians are facing a devastating and growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. We want the fighting to stop now which is why we tabled an amendment to the SNP’s motion yesterday setting

Quote of the day 22nd February 2024

"Hurt, slightly bewildered, Hoyle crept back to the Commons to apologise for breaking parliamentary convention. Labour had told him its MPs were under threat, afraid of attacks on their families and their security being at risk if they couldn’t register publicly that they had voted for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” . This, say Hoyle’s people, was a pressure that weighed heavily on him. And if that’s true, that is more serious than anything else that happened in the Commons chaos of yesterday: that MPs, and even their party leaders, are saying they are under such threat, so physically intimidated, that they felt they must vote in a particular way. The speaker seemed to endorse that as a good reason for allowing them the chance to cast a vote under threat. Pause and think about that: it really is a sinister new low." Polly Toynbee , writing in the Guardian here about yesterday's row in the House of Commons yesterday.

Thursday music spot: Vivaldi's Concerto for 2 Mandolins in G major

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Investing in a million new homes

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 Conservative plans for the economy and new housing mean that we are on track to have delivered a million new homes by the end of this parliament and new infrastructure to match.

Rishi in Wales

Today,   the Prime Minister is visiting North Wales on a levelling up tour , as the Conservatives stick to our long-term plan to level up the country to spread opportunity, create jobs and revitalise local communities for a brighter future for all. Levelling up is about providing people with better opportunities to work, travel and feel proud of where they live, which is why we are delivering major projects across the whole of the UK to deliver a brighter future.  As we confirm that more than one million homes, businesses and public buildings can now access the best internet speeds thanks to our investment, the Prime Minister is visiting North Wales to visit communities and businesses to see how they are benefitting from greater connectivity and investment in the region.

Making Britain a Science Superpower

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Gaza

The UK government is calling for a humanitarian pause to fighting in Gaza, to get humanitarian aid in and get the hostages out.  Israel has suffered the worst terror attack in its history at the hands of Hamas.  Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas in line with international humanitarian law but we know Palestinian civilians are facing a devastating and growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.  The UK is calling for a pause to get aid in and hostages out, then progress towards a sustainable, permanent ceasefire, without a return to destruction, fighting and loss of life. 

Protecting Children from abuse

Today the government announced tough new measures to crack down on child sexual abuse, better protecting children from vile sexual predators.  Too many children who have been victims of sexual abuse have been failed in the past, but the Conservative government is determined to crack down on this. So the government is introducing tough new measures requiring those in positions of responsibility to report allegations of child sexual abuse by law and powers to block registered sex offenders from changing their name.  These measures, recommended by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, are backed by robust criminal penalties, protecting children from sexual abuse in the future. These reforms will send a clear message that children will never be let down, whether in schools, sports settings, or any supervised environment, delivering on our plan to secure a brighter future for children across the country.

Has there just been another "Recession that never happened?"

In respect of my post here, the Independent newspaper reports that, and I quote, “ Ben Broadbent, the deputy governor of the Bank of England, said the recession talk over the past few days has been 'unhelpful.' He suggested there was the possibility that upward revisions in the future may mean that a recession never actually took place." It is not difficult to see that Ben Broadbent is correct. Based on the initial and provisional figures released last week, the Office for National Statistics said economic activity declined by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of the year from the previous three-month period. That followed the previous quarter's 0.1% fall, which meant that the British economy is considered to be in recession. However, such provisional figures tend to be revised upwards by an average of 0.15 percentage points. If that happens this time, and if the present quarter returns to growth - which looks very possible as the Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey said

Midweek music spot: The Seekers sing "The Carnival Is Over"

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MoD defence intelligence update 21st Feb 2024

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Quote of the day 21st February 2024

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