Feeds

Ashdown's missile dump security panel puts women to flight

Generals, spooks and academics want more soft power

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

A heavyweight panel of academics, spooks, generals and politicians led by Paddy Ashdown has published the results of a two-year investigation into the way Britain should handle its national security in future. However the broad appeal of the report will be somewhat undermined by the resignation of most of the female panel members - with one citing a "blokey atmosphere" during its compilation.

The report, Shared Responsibilities - A National Security Strategy for the United Kingdom, is produced by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR - "the UK's leading progressive think tank"). It can be read in pdf here (warning, 144 pages).

Shared Responsibilities was written under the supervision of IPPR's "Commission on National Security in the 21st Century". The Commission was co chaired by former special-forces officer, MI6 spook, Liberal politician and UN overlord of Bosnia Paddy Ashdown. Ashdown's co-chair was Lord George Robertson, UK Defence Secretary in the late 1990s and former chief of NATO. Alongside the two men were various generals, top cops, spooks, academics and diplomats: the sort of people usually to be found in national-security debates.

But the IPPR is "progressive", and Shared Responsibilities is designed to appeal to a broader cross-section of British politics than is normally the case in any detailed discussion of national security. As a result, the original panel also included LSE prof and prominent nuclear-disarmament advocate Mary Kaldor, as well as Shami Chakrabarti of Liberty. Francesa Klug of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (the former CRE) was also on board.

At the time, human-rights advocate Shami Chakrabarti said that the investigation was "a golden opportunity to address serious security challenges in a rational, principled and non-partisan manner and to ... protect our security without sacrificing hard-won liberties.”

The report is out today, and some would find it fairly progressive. It says that the UK should more or less get rid of the entire Royal Navy and significant parts of the RAF*. The report adds that in the panel's opinion a credible minimum UK nuclear deterrent should be maintained, but the UK should "be prepared, if necessary, to place all or part of our nuclear weapon assets at the disposal of multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations". It also says that Blighty should rely less on its alliance with the US, stop trying to be able to act independently too, and instead work to create a situation in which the European end of NATO could tackle security matters around the world together without US help**. (Good luck with that.)

In many ways something of a wish list for a more right-on panel member, then. But nonetheless Kaldor, Chakrabarti and Klug have resigned from the panel and are not signatories of the report. The only female remaining on the Commission is German policy wonk Constanze Stelzenmüller, based in Berlin.

"You might have noticed that it was the three women who resigned," Kaldor told the Reg today, mentioning a "blokey atmosphere we found really difficult" in panel discussions. Speaking of her own and the other women's decision to drop out of the process, she said they were "unhappy with the process rather than the direction it was taking ... we didn't have sufficient input. We were reluctant to spend the next year doing the same thing."

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.