back to article Britannia should rule the (cyber) waves, minister tells Singapore event in bid to drum up Commonwealth support

A UK government minister has called for the country to "shape the standards of new technology" in a speech aimed at drumming up Commonwealth support for a cyber "leadership" role for post-Brexit Britain. Foreign Office minister James Cleverly told an invited audience at Singapore's International Cyber Week: "We must shape the …

  1. Chris G Silver badge

    I wonder how cleverly he could answer direct questions regarding infosec/cyber security, or was his speech written for him to spout without any in depth knowledge of what he was speaking about?

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Trollface

      The government missed an opportunity there to burnish their cyber security credentials - the talk should have been given by their cyber security expert Baroness Harding of Talk Talk

  2. wolfetone

    This all coming from the same party that decided Excel was a database.

  3. Fazal Majid

    "Britain, like most of the Western Five Eyes spying alliance, is increasingly alarmed by Russian and Chinese indifference to the rules-based international order when it comes to cybersecurity matters."

    That's pretty rich from a country that spies not only on the Russian and Chinese, but also on Brussels (including compromising Belgacom's telephone network) and Germany.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      I guess the GFA isn't part of the rules-based international order.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Making tsunami type AAA cyber waves .......

        I guess the GFA isn't part of the rules-based international order. ..... Dan 55

        Now that's a tad controversial, Dan 55, and quite troubling to some to be sure, although is it often said rules are just made to be broken and/or ignored ..... and ideally so if one has a better master plan to follow and share.

        :-) Beware the unexpected knock on the door though, if that proposed plan is a real dud and damp squib.

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Quote:

      "That's pretty rich from a country that spies not only on the Russian and Chinese, but also on Brussels (including compromising Belgacom's telephone network) and Germany."

      You'll also find that France spied on Germany, the UK and the US, Germany spies on the UK, belgium, France and the US, and the US spies on everyone.

      And that before we get to countries like Russia/China/Iran

      Its the nature of the game that everyone spies on everyone else.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Its the nature of the game that everyone spies on everyone else.

        and feigns shock that those despicable "others" do it. Oh no, we would NEVER!

    3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      I came here to make pretty much the same comment, but it seems I've been beaten to the jump by some distance...

      I wonder if Cleverly was even aware of the irony in a bunch of spies asking another bunch of spies to stop spying, or whether the concept is too grand for his rather limited mind. When I've seen him do TV interviews, he has hardly outshone himself, instead being one of those to stick to the Party line, ignore the question being asked, and read a prepared statement as an answer instead.

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    World beating

    I do like how the current British government think the Commonwealth nations have been in deep freeze for 50 years, unable to do anything by themselves, trade with their own neighbours or come up with their own initiatives, waiting for the UK to return to its rightful place at the top and order everyone about again.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: World beating

      Our government is much better at saying things than doing things, even when they say the right things. When the UK joined the EU it did a huge amount of damage to the Australia and New Zealand farming economies, and the Tories pretty much ignored the effects of their decisions on all Commonwealth nations. But most of them have worked their way out of the messes we caused and now have decent economies again. They would have to be stupid to abandon their economies and jump into Johnson's toilet bowl.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: jump into Johnson's toilet bowl

        what exactly does the UK have to offer to those ex-colonies? Leadership wisdom? How to fuck yourself royally and be merry for ever after? How to negotiate (successfully?) How to make friends with your neighbours? Possibilities are endless...

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: World beating

        As Foregn Secretary, Johnson gave a speech in Sydney a couple of years backwhere he literally espoused the benefits of doing business with "the Motherland"

        I was surprised he wasn't laughed off the stage, but it underscores what Britain really thinks of "the colonies"

        1. BanburyBill
          Facepalm

          Re: World beating

          As the Sydney Morning Herald said at the time: "We're laughing, Mr Johnson, but not with you."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: World beating

      Too many fall for the Empire.... sorry "Commonwealth" 2.0 BS. It would be funny if it was not so very sad.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: World beating

        I'll take a commonwealth over a political union any day. The European Community was essentially a commonwealth of nations, until its leadership decided that we would be better off in one centralised bloc with them in charge.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: World beating

          What's that squeaking sound? Does someone's tin-foil hat need oiling?

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: World beating

        The nutters keep pushing it as "CANZUK"

        As Kevin Rudd said: This is the nuttiest of the many nutty arguments that have emerged from the Land of Hope and Glory set now masquerading as the authentic standard-bearers of British patriotism. It’s utter bollocks. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/11/commonwealth-save-brexit-britain-utter-delusion-kevin-rudd

        https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexit/2019/01/17/backwards-march-brexit-canzuk-and-the-legacy-of-empire/

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UK to return to its rightful place at the top

      I might live to the day when companies in India offshore their office jobs to the goode olde post-United Kingdom.

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Business as usual

    Homegrown Unbeatable BRItish Solution

    HUBRIS.

  6. Adair Silver badge

    Sovereignty?

    So, we are leaving one bloc of nations because we don't like having 'share sovereignty', only to immediately be seeking to re-establish connections with former vassal states, no doubt only too happy to 'share sovereignty' with them. No?

    O dear.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sovereignty?

      re-establish connections

      Those connections were never broken. Unlike other European powers, Britain managed to untangle itself from empire in a reasonably peaceful way and has retained good relations with its former colonies. To the continuing benefit of both sides.

      1. Adair Silver badge

        Re: Sovereignty?

        Really? You may wish to re-visit the actuality of our 'glorious' colonial past.

        TLDNR: Our 'exit' was only 'reasonably peaceful' in some cases - and even then only according to arbitrary definitions of 'reasonably' and 'peaceful'.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sovereignty?

          Compare it with the ending of the French colonial period, Britain's 'end of empire' was indeed "reasonably peaceful"

          1. Adair Silver badge

            Re: Sovereignty?

            No, we're not comparing with anyone else's oppression and atrocity. A dead body is a life ended, whoever pulls the trigger. A nation's resources exploited and its people subjugated are those things however 'peaceful' the perpetrators style their imposition.

            Have you considered why the apologists for 'Empire' ever found it necessary to console themselves with the hope, and the assertion, that their version of empire was more peaceful, just and altruistic than the one next door: "Our natives live in peace under our rule because they know what's good for them." I'm sure they do.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sovereignty?

              their version of empire was more peaceful, just and altruistic than the one next door: "Our natives live in peace under our rule because they know what's good for them." I'm sure they do.

              I doubt if anyone believes that nonsense now, but at least when Britain realised that it was wrong, and those colonies wanted to go their own way, the politicians in charge had the wit to realise that it was preferable to accept the inevitable and make the best of it. They had learned that trying to fight it never worked. The result has been much better for all involved.

              1. Adair Silver badge

                Re: Sovereignty?

                In fact they had little choice, by then Britain's power was clearly on the wane and after two world wars there was neither the money nor the stomach for continuing to assert righteous dominance. Not that that the money grubbers were keen to let go just like that as various local 'rebellions' were given the usual ruthless treatment.

                In the end 'empire' is empire - conquest built on blood and greed, however softly gloved the iron fist may be once righteous dominance has been established.

              2. Dan 55 Silver badge

                Re: Sovereignty?

                Indeed. But only after making a mess of Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, India and Pakistan first, which were amongst the first non-'anglosphere' ones out. Afterwards they didn't have the money or military power to mess up the rest, thankfully.

          2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: Sovereignty?

            Indeed, it is a bit like the defendant in court trying to claim he should be let off a burglary charge because he didn't burn the house down as well.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sovereignty?

              elsewhere (another language, never mind) known as "could have killed her, but only beat'er up, Your Honour!"

              I wonder how our times will be judged in 200 years. If there's anyone left to judge.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: according to arbitrary definitions of 'reasonably' and 'peaceful'.

          we lost a 'reasonably' low number of troops while withdrawing and the process was 'peaceful' for the UK population.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: according to arbitrary definitions of 'reasonably' and 'peaceful'.

            UK includes Northern Ireland (and before independence, Ireland) you know.

  7. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Call for the country to shape the standards of piss-ups in breweries

    'A UK government minister has called for the country to "shape the standards of new technology"'

    Considering the record of UK government IT projects, I can't see anyone taking this offer very seriously. At least I hope that's the case.

  8. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Reskill as a Cyber Security Expert

    Hang-up your leotard and get a job in cyber security says UK Government

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-54505841

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Reskill as a Cyber Security Expert

      Computer Literacy Project 2.0 with Boris Johnson in charge. What could possibly go^W^W^W^WIt's already gone wrong.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    echoing the Cold War

    WAR! is GOOOD. WAR! means sacrifices. Sacrificed to be made by the plebs (aka the Great British Public). WAR! means the gov actions shall not be scrutinised and criticised, because if you do, you're not one of use, you're one of THEM! And don't tell me such bullshit doesn't work, it always does :(

    1. cyberdemon
      Big Brother

      Re: echoing the Cold War

      We have always been at war with Eastasia.

  10. Tempest

    Another Loon Living in the Past. Britain Has Joined the Ranks of the Former Great Nations

    The British 'Empire' started it's decline after the Second World War when the USA increasingly assumed the mantle. These days, under the guidance of the Orange Haired Freak, even the USA is in decline with China the likely successor. A pronouncement from Whitehall in earlier times meant something and was heard clearly in distant capitals.

    At one time Britain had steel mills and impressive shipyards, now only skeletons of many exist. The UK doesn't have an independent nuclear deterrent (it can't fire nuclear weapons without American permission); the Pound is not a true international currency as is the US Dollar. I remember whn the Pound was worth US$5. And when did you last buy a simple screw or a standard cell phone made in the UK?

    Britain is unable to mount an independent military operation without assistance - check out the military of China or even the DPRK.

    The only thing notable to this day is the governments ability to stick it's snout into others business, an activity it pioneered. It is amazing that any form of communication operates without a licence. Sure, Britain leads the way, in the West, for the number of public facing CCTV cameras it has and the intrusive activities of the Plod.

    And now, to ensure it's demise, it has exited the EU. The Commonwealth is a fallacy, the strong links were broken when Edward Heath told it to kick rocks upon the UK joining the EU.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Another Loon Living in the Past. Britain Has Joined the Ranks of the Former Great Nations

      >it can't fire nuclear weapons without American permission

      Those submarine launched missiles are leased, not purchaed.

      1. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: Another Loon Living in the Past. Britain Has Joined the Ranks of the Former Great Nations

        This hasn't been true for several decades.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Another Loon Living in the Past. Britain Has Joined the Ranks of the Former Great Nations

      Ah, but Brexit will restore all that. It will wind the world back to the time before Suez when we still had most of the empire and a navy that ruled the waves. Even before Covid. Brexit solves all problems.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Another Loon Living in the Past. Britain Has Joined the Ranks of the Former Great Nations

      " The UK doesn't have an independent nuclear deterrent (it can't fire nuclear weapons without American permission);"

      It can't even fire up the F35s without State Department permission (yes, seriously, startup codes issued upon request)

  11. martinusher Silver badge

    Meanwhile, back in the real world

    Thanks to Covid I'm shut in, sort of, and I'm starting to suffer from what you could call "un-travel sickness". (I'm retired so I'm supposed to be out and about seeing the world.) To compensate instead of watching TV I poke around youTube and the like looking at videos from around the world. Many of them are home made travel videos, goPros or similar stuck at the front of a train or car as it transverses somewhere scenic. Some are from places we can't visit easily even pre-Covid -- puttering around on a motorcycle in Kashmir, walking the streets of Pershwar and scenes fom driving across Pakistan, Iran and Iraq on a pilgrimage. What I learn from these videos is that despite the pontifications of Western governments life is proceeding very miuch as usual in even the most out of the way places, and its largely enabled by countries like China who supply the manufacturered goods that they need and we're either unwilling or unable to supply.

    According to our governments we're supposed to be formed into armed camps that stare warily at each other, suspicious of every move, treating every initiative or even casual contact as potentially hostile. Cold War mode, in fact. Governments in many parts of the world might appear to be going along with the program, especially if there's something in it for them, but on the ground at least its like we don't exist, we're a far off presence like a gently menacing volcano that you keep a watchful eye on, 'just in case'.

    Put simply, I think that the UK government (especially) and even the US government (probably) are delusional, they're living in a dream world of their own fabrication. They don't represent stability and 'rules based order', they're nothing but trouble. This might be why many in the West are so cynical these days.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile, back in the real world where danegeld is a peaceful precursor agent

      Put simply, I think that the UK government (especially) and even the US government (probably) are delusional, they're living in a dream world of their own fabrication. ....... martinusher

      Once arrived at that realisation, martinusher, does life get more than just interesting, especially whenever one realises how dream worlds of one's own fabrication, and of the fabrication of others, are so easily created and destroyed, and so very quickly nowadays too, with all of these new fangled and entangling virtual tools and 0days as almighty invisible weapons at our fingertips to be wielded and launched .... or offered with fully prepared [oven ready] services for future remote command and control deployment by any in need of protection from the thoroughly deluded and oppressive.

      And ... as one of those things in life one just has to have to in orders in order to survive and prosper bigly, is it always incredibly cheap at any market price/random accosted number ...... and please, do yourself a great favour, and don't fall at the first hurdle and jump into the trap that falsely equates and relates all of the above as thoroughly deluded and oppressive, especially whenever you are so very clearly informed it is not.

      However, be advised, whenever thought necessary, is it suddenly overwhelmingly powerful and energetic/virulent and vibrant and that can appear oppressive.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Britain, like most of the Western Five Eyes spying alliance, is increasingly alarmed by Russian and Chinese indifference to the rules-based international order "

    You mean, Britain is alarmed by Russia and China doing just as those Five Eyes do, routinely ignore rules that bother them? Get your house in order and start leading by example instead of whining when other start doing exactly what yourself have done for centuries.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      An Invisible Export/Import Earner .... and Greater IntelAIgent Game Changer ‽ .

      Britain .... Get your house in order and start leading by example instead of whining when other start doing exactly what yourself have done for centuries. ..... Anonymous Coward

      The problem difficulty there/then, AC, is IT requires the engagement of a novel attractive intelligence ..... which all too apparently is definitely absent in Five Eyes circles.

      When/If such is available somewhere/anywhere, the best and quickest plan is to buy some in and exercise with it. It aint rocket science whenever such is an elegant simple eloquent solution too.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020