Defence and Security Forum
Defence and Security Issues Discussed in the 21st Century
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The DSF's Co-founder, Lady Olga Maitland
Welcome to The Defence and Security Forum

The Defence and Security Forum was founded by Lady Olga Maitland in 1983. It was originally a campaigning organisation known as Families for Defence launched to challenge the anti-nuclear protest movements such as CND. Families for Defence’s remit was to promote the NATO case for multilateral nuclear disarmament. In the course of doing so the purpose was to focus on the importance of a proper provision for the defence of the United Kingdom.
Major General Patrick Cordingley, our Chairman Our Keynote Topics

  • International Relations
  • Economics
  • Politics
  • Defence and Security
12th Annual European GRC and DPO Day - Copenhagen (2019) Booking forms

Welcome to the 12th Annual European GRC and DPO Day.

Lady Olga Maitland - As ever timely. GDPR facing constantly changing environment, challenges, technology. Is it always fit for purpose?
I wonder but we have to work with it as it is. And indeed prepare ourselves post Brexit …
But the principle is there.  The threats and attacks continue, everyone is vulnerable, A business can crash .   You can be hit from unexpected quarters, and third party networks are the weakest spot. Then even spotting an attack needs a skill.   It can sometimes be days before you realise the extent of an attack. Or you mayb e faced, as I heard from a major oil production company, when their computer screens went fuzzy and then blank.

What to do?

In this case, they pulled all the plugs, but still took two weeks to get back to normal.  Mercifully one of their operations was outside the main network…but a major crisis.

It can happen to us all.

Hence the importance in keeping up to date This conference is taking place thanks to our sponsors OneTrust and Trust Bridge. A word first about OneTrust. American led, and founded. Today it is global with 4,000 companies on its books, small,medium,large. It specialises in handling third party risk, privacy, data security, and in our context within the demands of GDPR.
They will be presenting today and you will learn more On that note, post Brexit, the Uk will still shadow and replicate GDPR.

Our second sponsor The Trust Bridge will be represented today by David Clarke, the Chief Technology Officer. They specialise in training, for data breach and management with audits on and impact assessments.
Usefully they offer access to every delegate to one licence for their accredited data breach course and a free 30 minute breach clinic to every delegate via video or phone after the event.

I will look at my personal experience because in part they mirror what is going on. A No deal Brexit is still on the cards even if Boris Johnson gets his deal through the House of Commons.

He then must negotiate the new relationship with the EU, and that is far from clear on how long it will take, and what form. The risk therefore of a No Deal at the end of the transition period is very real. The level of preparedness by the government is still fragile. I deal with the Department for International Trade.

In title, fine.  In practise woefully underfunded and minimal resources. And very difficult to plan in a meaningful way.Right now, nobody knows if a Conservative government will still be in play.  At this moment the Australian head of campaigning at No. 10 has pointed out that the poll position ahead of Labour is actually less than at the same time during Theresa May’s campaign.
It hardly needs saying that a minority government would produce a lot of problems….

The outcome of this election is more acute and impact serving than any one in recent years save for the referendum. A clear majority by Johnson will mean he can press ahead with negotiating a new relationship.  Some say the Canadian model would be fine, but that took seven long years, and in any case we are not Canada. There are limitations on what they may do.   We are next door. We need to secure free freedom for financial services...

Can Boris Johnson do it in a matter of months?

Breaking all records while we languish under  the WTO rules.  Impossible for British farmers to sell their lamb to France faced with high tariffs. No joke.
So what impact so far are we seeing.? There are some facts. The European and indeed global economy has slowed down as Germany well knows.

For all that the number of jobs created by foreign investment in the UK’s key sectors has dropped.  These are namely business and consumer services, automotive, software and computer services, financial services, environment, infrastructure, transportation, food and drink, electronics and communications.
London did best, but even the capital has seen a decline in jobs.   Elsewhere it is more stark.  Scotland, Yorkshire and Humber regions found that FDI halved between 2017 and 2018.

The reality is that Brexit with uncertainties and just not knowing what the new landscape will be has dampened growth  with all countries including the US.

Some major investment banks have shifted to an office in the EU to ensure freedom of movement. There are  well known brands who  have shifted out of the Uk such as Richard Dyson, despite being a Brexit champion.  His hq is now Singapore.

Elon Musk announced in November2016 that his plans for building a Tesla car in the Uk would be unaffected by the vote.
This week he announced he would be his  producing cars in Germany not far from Berlin, upsetting German car manufacturers for planting himself in effect in their office canteen.

Welcomed by the German Government.

Elon Musk cited, ‘Brexit uncertainty has make his investment too risky’
Boris Johnson’s Leader of the House, and champion of the ERG, Jacob Rees Mogg speaks one language, but his investment fund, Somerset Capital Investment,  of which he is a major shareholder, has just shifted to Dublin, and set up not one but two separate funds, as indeed have many companies. The race to get Irish citizenship has been fierce
What kind of future do we have? What standing do we have right now?

While moderating a conference in Singapore, the message I received was, ‘we are not so concerned here about your EU exit, but very rattled, to put it mildly that the British political system has become extremely unstable, chaotic even.  We always had confidence in the UK that is solid and comfortable in its own system and could manage any crisis.’
This has seriously impacted our confidence for now on investment.
Turn to another country,  not on your financial horizon but soon will be,

Algeria looks on with amazement

Algeria is looking at the UK with amazement.  I know because I travel there frequently as chairman of the Algeria British Business Council. To get a trade deal working needs considerable manpower. The UK at present in the Department of International Trade, does not have that resource.
In fact Algeria would like a trade deal sooner rather than later. Their relationship with the EU is rocky.

Getting a trade deal of course takes two to tango.   Neither country can move forward and take decisions.   Both countries have elections on December 12 and for both countries these elections will be seismic in political and economic change.

Then would the Uk be ready to push forward?   I fear the list of countries to negotiate with is so huge, that despite Algeria being hugely rich, it is unlikely to be top of the list.

As for a fast and satisfactory trade deal with the US, I think it is best to say this will be limited at best.    The so called ‘Special Relationship’ will not carry much weight.

Leaving a key bridge

In fact, having left the EU, we will have left that role as a key bridge between the EU not only in inward investment, but also with  the National Security Council. We  have been a key voice on  that count.

Sir Mark Lyall Grant, former Head of the National Security Council to the British Government recently told a seminar of Defence and Security Forum which I run, that in the future we will have to be much more resolute in standing up for ourselves, and use our diplomatic skills at the highest degree to be heard.

He did feel that a very pro-US stance will not help the UK, but rather hinder our ability to be seen as a trusted and independent voice.  We will have no choice but to form alliances because that is how the world works.  

General Sir James Evelyn, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, Nato, with a key NATO  meeting coming up very soon in the UK with Trump visiting , also told DSF that he had no doubt that by leaving the EU, Britain’s role in the world will be diminished.   We will have to work very hard indeed to be heard.
Taking a realistic view of our way forward.

The plus is that if managed well , the UK could be a channel for inward investment but we would have to work very hard indeed to make ourselves attractive and allow a good flow of labour at all levels to service this.  Putting aside the NHS which Boris Johnson has pledged a leeway but every migrant will have to pay 600 to get in, as a down payment for any use of state services.

Bureaucratic system full of obstacles

I fear a
bureaucratic system full of obstacles,  which will only impede our progress. Boris Johnson has said he would offer an attractive tax regime, that is if elected with a clear majority.  This will be helpful.   He talks about free ports but why should ships stop here when they can go direct to Rotterdam?
There is of course another side.  The global instability has meant a rush of funds from countries in stress, indeed I know that the Island of Jersey has found themselves now holding trillions of dollars coming in from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and all the Middle Eastern countries. The same applies from places further afield. Jersey is a recipient, so too Guernsey and the Isle of Man.  

The City of London has also benefited. We are seeing a paradox.
Independence can have its return.   But it will need real creativity to make ourselves worthy of the effort to come through London rather than direct to Europe.

Much, much depends on the outcome of the General Election.   I have fought four general elections, all tough, especially in 1997 but nothing compared to today when so much is at stake in terms of the future of our country , and so little known on how it will turn out.

My advice

Keep calm.  Do prepare for the worst, in the hope that while prepared, and er, at a cost, hope that at last stability will arrive. Only then can real solutions be found.

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A DSF speaker. Lady Olga Maitland talking to delegates. A DSF speaker
Delegates enjoying the debate. Lady Olga Maitland chatting to a delegate. Cordingley

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