Huawei. Boris takes his orders from Whitehall and bottles it

The Winter (December 6th 2019) Edition of the Salisbury Review is out now..

We have been at ‘cyber war’ for years with China, the world’s foremost mass-surveillance state, world-leader in industrial espionage equipped with armies of hackers mounting cyber-attacks on Western corporate and governmental infrastructure systems – and now we plan to hand over them control of our digital communications systems, and further enhance their technological lead.

So much for ‘taking back control’. More like ‘business as usual’.

According to Boris Johnson and his ministers, the involvement of Huawei in our 5G network is needed to ‘diversify’ the market. No need, then, to worry about the motives of the Chinese. And no need to worry that our closest allies have banned Huawei from involvement in their own wireless networks.  

The Telegraph editorial today lamely asked how we got into this mess: ‘Why have British-based companies not developed this technology?’

Well, one answer is that we owe the Chinese big time. You cannot run a vast trade deficit year-on-year, import billions of pounds of cheap Chinese goods, and expect not to have to pay for them. The quid pro quo is that they make our consumer goods for us and in return we hand over our capital assets – businesses, property, securities, shares, you name it. Trump, thank goodness, can see this. Unfortunately, we could not care less.

Another is that British firms, ably assisted by City hedge fund managers, corporate raiders and asset strippers, have long specialised in maximising short-run profits on the backs of cheap imported labour, instead of investing long-term. Any firms that do the latter and reach a certain critical size are quickly snapped up, stripped down, or bought out by foreign competitors. Again, we could not care less – that is, unless it is banking and financial services that are in question.

It is sad to reflect that we once had so many firms at the cutting edge of these technologies: Plessey, Marconi, Racal, Ferranti, Cable & Wireless, Standard Telephones & Cables (who pioneered optical fibres). All gone.

What is to be done? For a start, ring-fence our most promising high-technology companies. Invest in them. Build and equip technical schools. Train our own engineers and technicians. Follow Trump and insist on fair balanced trade with China, an end to dumping. Put Britain first. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be what Brexit Tories armed with the mantra ‘Global Britain’ have in mind.

Yes, Britain will be open for business. But it will be Britain that is on sale.

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17 Comments on Huawei. Boris takes his orders from Whitehall and bottles it

  1. The Chinese have continually and flagrantly broken copyright and intellectual property laws, and copied products from dozens of other countries. The Chinese Government is a direct descendent of Chairman Mao’s genocidal regime, we should be extremely wary of them.
    As for our own senior civil servants a ghastly bunch of managerialists who are globalist, technocratic, and anti-British. There are scores (maybe hundreds) who must be removed from post if the United Kingdom is going to thrive post Brexit. The government have failed the first test by signing the agreement with Huawei, let us hope they pass the second great test by scrapping HS2, the third test will be whether they have the gumption to support British fishermen (the target should be 80% of fish to be landed by British boats in British ports), if they do that it will be a great move for all four countries of the UK, it will help many areas that struggle for well paid employment, it will also be a sensible victory for conservation, as well as support industries such as boat building, fishery patrols, fish processing. Putting British coastal villages and towns ahead of the financial sector will be a clear indication that this government have truly understood the message from both the 2016 referendum, and the 2019 election. But have they?

  2. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/01/29/donald-trumps-top-diplomat-says-huawei-poses-real-risk-jets/

    Bad on so many levels.
    1 message it sends to our most important ally. We don’t care what you think.

    2 message to Chinese. Green light to carry on with your trade and currency wars.

    3 message to British public. Foreign office civil servants still in control .

    4 message to own mps
    Nothing changes . Same old thing
    This isn’t going to be a bold radical change government

    5 that’s without jeremys health issues which seem not inconsiderable

    6 not a Britain first message

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/01/29/donald-trumps-top-diplomat-says-huawei-poses-real-risk-jets/

    • With respect Catherine, we have to look beyond present concerns and think about how the world is shaping for our children and grandchildren.
      Surely there is no doubt that the main threat to peace, decency, human especially women’s rights, justice and Western/Christian values comes from the ummah, not China?
      China has let go of the economy to a large extent and as Adam Smith pointed out, this inevitably means a weakening of central, political control. It doesn’t look like that in the MSM media – but they have to distract themselves from their appeasement of Islam in some way or other.
      Chinese don’t just fill our universities, they also are free to travel and do business everywhere. There were many who held on to family enterprises and wealth all through the Cultural revolution – the Red Guards were not ubiquitous.
      The more the Chinese settle down to making money the more they’ll mind their own business – and we have that in common with them. We have absolutely nothing in common with the Islamic world, fast becoming the dominant culture with 57 tyrannies and counting, and establishing sharia all over Europe.
      We need allies. Give the Chinese a chance.

      • The West faces two threats in my opinion, both of which will reach their apogees at different points in the future.

        If nothing changes, Islam will dominate much of Western Europe by 2050.

        If nothing changes, China will dominate the entire world by 2075, including no-longer-Islamic Western Europe.

        • Paul – Let’s hope there are other possibilities. Your second sentence is most likely to become reality though why no one can see it baffles me. I read the other day that Sweden has a ‘major Islamophobia problem’ – laughable when you know what has happened to Malmo.

          One of my reasons for optimism about China is that in many ways it’s like America was just over a century ago with stacks of cheap goods, corruption and dodgy trading practices. I’ve a great faith in trade – once people get stuck into making money they mind their own business and learn to live and let live.

          • Oh, 99.9% of people want to do just as you say, Michael. Unfortunately for them, 0.1% of people politically control the various competing countries/cultures/religions and history will verify that said 0.1% start all the wars the poor bloody 99.9% have to go off and die in.

        • @ Paul Weston
          Islam v China to fight for world supremacy over our children’s dead bodies? A nuclear explosion over Mecca during Hajj would finish one, and maybe germ-warfare would finish the other….

      • Thank you for this link. But the picture it paints of the consequences of ‘giving the Chinese a chance’ are truly terrifying, at least so far as Australia is concerned. I had no idea things were that bad. Unless a renewed new Anglosphere can be forged, Australia is finished as a Western liberal democracy. At least with Putin, we know what we are up against. With the Chinese, it is quiet power and silent invasion masked by an inscrutable smile. Someone told me last night that the Opium Wars have never been forgotten nor forgiven. I wonder if there is truth in this.

  3. By 1850 the British Empire had consolidated a colony called Hong Kong adjacent to the East Asian mainland. By 2050 the Chinese Empire will have consolidated a colony called Britain adjacent to the West European mainland – at this rate.

  4. Excellent article, not least for raising the point of our Government investing in its own people, or not as the case may be.

    That idea of a people, their history, culture etc has long since flown the nest in most who step into politics and elsewhere. It’s all about money, no loyalty, no honour no service and duty to your own.

    Oh well, what goes around comes around, we owe them nothing either.

  5. The advice about Huawei comes from Whitehall staffed by the very same people (Home Office) who have allowed millions of illegal migrants into the country, The Department of Health, who wrecked the NHS, The Ministry of Transport, Crossrail and HS2, and the Ministry of Defence, who failed to provide our troops with proper equipment in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 1938 the Foreign Office authorised the sale of fighter plane engines to Nazi Germany, ( ring a bell with Huawei?) and advised Chamberlain on ‘Peace in our Time.”

    Don’t believe me? If ever you get stranded abroad, call the Daily Mail not the Foreign Office. The latter is called ‘Foreign’ because it is there to look after the interests of foreign governments, not you, unless you went to public school and Daddy is something big in the City or government.Ask some of those stranded in China today.

  6. Oh you mean the million or so Muslims locked up in Chinese re-education camps are happy ? Or how about if you are arrested by the police in China you have only a 1% chance of being acquitted ? Or the government control of the internet blocking out foreign news, and Tibet….

    • It’s true China is not a garden of Eden but life there seems to have improved from a low base. My Chinese students were bright, free, happy and optimistic about their country. I don’t think they were kidding me. (By contrast most students from the EU, the ME and even Texas were pretty negative. The couple of Persians I had – escapees – would not even say Iran without expletives.)

      I don’t much care what they do with Islamics, people who have made every country where they rule into a hell, especially for women. I would welcome some objective info from the region to see if there’s anything HMG and the EU can learn. To claim, as they do, they are being brainwashed is mighty funny when you reflect on how they bring up their own children. (Irony deficit as our yet-to-be-deposed leader of Labour/Nazis might say.)

  7. I’ll be accused of taking money from the Chinese Embassy (makes a change from the Israeli) but I wonder if the threat is not overblown.

    China has discovered the delights of an enterprise economy and free enterprise. The people are happier, freer and less of a headache for the communist government: they are minding their own business and making some money – most of them.

    So, why would Huawei do anything to annoy its customers? It is in its interest to make them content. The day that they are found to have done some nasty spying or whatever is the day they lose their entire export market for this tech and all others and wind up in administration. That’s how a freeish market economy which China is becoming works. have conservatives forgotten Adam Smith?

  8. We have got into this mess through ideology to an extent.

    It isn’t a good idea for government to stop a foreign takeover of a British business, the business owner must be free to negotiate with whosoever he wishes. However, if that business is critical to the national defence, security, or is a vital utility, there should be some sort of review system, whereby an ensuing sale or take over could be prevented.

    I am thinking here of ARM, probably the most pervasive silicon company on the planet, albeit held as intellectual property, and we sold this to a Japanese company.

    I predict that in a few years time, this will come to haunt us big time, just like those sales/mergers of all those old British electrical engineering companies that the author mentions, are doing now.

    My friend’s father invented a method which made the PCB until then an idea, a reality in 1959?, his patent is held in the Science Museum. As an employee of AEI (not mentioned above), he was awarded the grand sum of a ten bob bonus and they had sold the patent on to America within a year.

    I believe that our biggest problem is that since about 1914, the permanent government aka the civil service has held far too much power, and never a day passes when they do not accrue more through wheedling the system, and always wheedling it in their own favour, empire building by stealth.

    The EU is in my view, the very first layer to begin to be stripped back, we need to really get going on this. We need to give ordinary individuals back their power to dream, their power to invent or innovate, and the freedom to prosper.

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