Feeds

Ashdown's missile dump security panel puts women to flight

Generals, spooks and academics want more soft power

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

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."

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
APPLE FAILS to ditch class action suit over ebook PRICE-FIX fiasco
Do not pass go, do cough (up to) $840m in damages
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.