31 December 2013

Paris Exhibitions (2) Braque

Two exhibitions currently at the Grand Palais in Paris are coming to a close early in 2014 but both will transfer elsewhere. This post might therefore remain of interest, as could the previous one about Félix Vallotton

Georges Braque 

Georges Braque (1882 – 1963) was one of the 20th century’s major artists and his life and works are the subject of a major retrospective at the Grand Palais. Braque was borne at Argenteuil near Paris and in 1890 moved with his family when they took their painting and decorating business to Le Havre. A year ago I posted about an exhibition then running at the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris, Le Cercle de l’art moderne Collectionneurs d’avant garde au Havre (The Modern Art Club Avant-Garde collectors in Le Havre):
Between 1906 and 1910, a group of art collectors and artists formed the Modern Art Club in Le Havre with a membership including Braque, and Raoul Dufy … and some of the town’s wealthiest businessmen. They set themselves the objective of promoting modernism in Le Havre, organising exhibitions, lectures, poetry readings and concerts. Guillaume Apollinaire and Claude Debussy supported the Club, which had links to the newly established Salons d’Automne and des Indépendants in Paris. Arguably, Impressionism began in Le Havre when Monet painted Impression, soleil levant there in 1872, so it is not surprising that the Club showed acquisitions by Monet and Renoir at their annual exhibitions. But some of the collectors also took an interest in the Post-Impressionists and the Fauves … buying from galleries (left), auctions or the artists themselves. …
Growing up in this milieu (Braque was taught the flute by Dufy’s brother) it isn’t surprising that the painting business seemed less attractive than becoming an artist. His family were prosperous enough to allow Georges, at the age of 19, to return to Paris where he received both a tradesman’s and an artist’s training by the end of 1904. It is also, given his connections, unsurprising that he would begin his artistic career in 1905-6 as a Fauvist. In fact, for me the most interesting part of this exhibition covers the years before the First World War. In 1907 Braque not only began to be influenced by Cezanne but through Apollinaire met Picasso, saw Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and was introduced African sculpture.  Braque's artistic response was the Grande Nue, 1907-8 (right). Returning to the Fauvist haunt of L’Éstaque in 1908, he moved rapidly away from works like Le Port de La Ciotat, 1907 (The Port of La Ciotat, below left) to a new style as in Le Port, 1909 (Harbour, below right).

Pictures like the latter were rejected by the Salon d’Automne in 1908, and, when exhibited later that year, Matisse, according to Braque, described them as being made of little cubes. In the years that followed Braque and Picasso would develop Cubism, as Braque put it: «un peu comme la cordée en montage» (“a little like two climbers roped together on a mountain”). This would lead by 1911 to what the exhibition calls the Analytical Cubism of Les toits à Céret (Roofs at Céret, below left) and Le Guéridon (The Pedestal, below right).

Between 1912 and 1914 Braque would develop collages (papiers collés) like Violon et pipe, 1913/14 (below left) and La Mandoline, 1914 (below right). Braque was able to make use of his craftsman’s training to create wood effects in oils instead of glueing fake wood and in lettering.

In 1914 Braque enlisted in the French army and received a serious head wound at Artois the following year. He was able to resume painting in 1916 in the style referred to as Synthetic Cubism with a marked dissociation of form and colour, as in Rhum et guitar, 1918 (Rum and guitar, below). The exhibition seemed to gloss over what must have been a major interruption to both Braque’s life and his artistic development.

I have to admit to finding Braque’s later work less interesting but obviously the exhibition provides a valuable opportunity to appreciate it. From the 1920s classical Mediterranean themes appear in his work, for example studies of Canephores and, in the 1930s, Le Duo, 1937 (below, left) and Femme à la palette, 1936 (Woman with a palette, below left).

Perhaps inevitably, Braque’s work during the 1940-45 period would turn inwards: Grand intérieur á la palette (Large Interior with Palette, below top) and Les Poissons noirs (Black fish, below lower) both 1942; and, unlike some fellow artists during the Occupation, he managed to keep his distance from the authorities.

The exhibition has brought together a large number of his billiard table paintings, Le Billard, 1944 (below),

and from his Atelier series, Atelier VIII, 1954-55 (below), produced between the mid-1940s and mid 1950s. The bird theme appears in the latter and again in a series of bird paintings, for example, 1960 (Black and white birds, poster above).

Georges Braque ends at the Grand Palais on 6 January and will be at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts from 16 February to 11 May 2014.

28 December 2013

The Queen and Alan Turing

On 24 December the UK Ministry of Justice announced that “Renowned scientist and World War II code-breaker Dr Alan Turing has been given a posthumous pardon under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy by the Queen …”. The subsequent media reporting, fairly limited, of course, on Christmas Eve, concentrated on his work at Bletchley Park during World War 2, his being found guilty of gross indecency in 1952 and accepting hormonal treatment, and his suicide two years later at the age of 41 (eg BBC News, MailOnline).

The words "A good day to bury bad news" were never uttered, the actual remark in an email from a government special adviser to her press officer colleagues on 11 September 2001 (9/11) being:
It's now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury. Councillors' expenses?
but the practice of governments releasing information at a time calculated to attract the least attention originated long before then and will doubtless continue into the future. But why was it thought desirable to put out the Turing story just before Christmas - or, alternatively, what was the government hoping to avoid? I can think of a few things. First of all, this type of retrospective apology seems to appeal to politicians who presumably think that their rewriting history will improve their own place in it. Certainly many people believe Turing was treated badly and that his early death deprived his country of an immense talent. But in this particular case the government may want to avoid a debate as to why one homosexual should be pardoned when so many other men with criminal records for similar offences, far from brilliant but still alive, have not. For this reason I am not persuaded by the argument put forward in The Times (£) yesterday by Janice Turner that the pardon was an attempt by the Tories to appear progressive and improve their share of the gay vote – the geek vote, maybe. Nor did she explain why in that case the press release went out on Christmas Eve.

More of a problem for the government is that the pardon is yet another U-turn, having rejected it as recently as February 2012. Also probably best avoided is too much popular attention being given to the machinery of constitutional monarchy. The Ministry of Justice posted the text of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy (below), only the third, it seems, in HM’s 62 years:

To a layman it reads oddly, not so much the quaintness of the legalese, but because it is signed by Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, although in the form of a notification to him of HM’s intent, which in turn only exists because Grayling requested it in the first place! I daresay in presidential systems there are similarly tangles. There is also the irony that Elizabeth II was head of state when the Crown prosecuted Turing in 1952, the case being known as Regina v. Turing and Murray, though it would almost certainly not have been known to her at the time. What her personal opinions are about the desirability of this pardon are, or even whether she has any, we will almost certainly never know.

The announcement of the pardon can only have been helpful to the forthcoming Turing biopic, The Imitation Game, directed by Morten Tyldum who has cast Benedict Cumberbatch, best-known as BBC’s Sherlock Holmes, as Turing (above).

24 December 2013

Paris Exhibitions (1) Vallotton

Two exhibitions currently at the Grand Palais in Paris are coming to a close early in 2014 but both will transfer elsewhere. This post might therefore remain of interest, as could the next about Georges Braque.

Félix Vallotton: The Fire Under the Ice (Le feu sous la glace

If an opinion poll were to ask people in the UK to name an artist beginning with ‘V’, the most frequent answers would probably include Van Gogh (if he weren’t disallowed as a ‘G’, and on that basis, hopefully Van Dyke), Vermeer and, it has to be admitted, Vettriano, but I doubt if many would come up with Vallotton. Félix Vallotton (1865 – 1925) was born a Swiss citizen in Lausanne but moved to Paris when he was 17 to pursue a career as painter, engraver, writer and art critic. Successful in his twenties, he took up French nationality in 1900. Perhaps because he is not easily linked with any particular artistic movement, apart from an association with Les Nabis in the 1890s, and because so many of his works are now in only one museum in his hometown, his work is not often exhibited or well-known.

The Grand Palais show explores, and goes some way to justify, the hypothesis of its title that beneath Vallotton’s cool analytical style of painting, there were often darker preoccupations and sexuality. The curators, instead of a chronological approach, have addressed 10 themes, examples being Flattened Perspectives, Female Duets, Icy Erotism, This is War! In practice this means that works produced at the same time are widely separated in the show. The consequent disruption of sequence in a retrospective can be justified if such themes are sufficiently coherent – I’m not sure that was the case here. On the other hand, the conjunction of themed works is necessary to advance the proposition that the “fire” is close to the surface.

Vallotton’s skill and objectivity seem to be particularly evident in his portraits. Gertrude Stein, 1907 (above left) makes an interesting contrast with Picasso’s much better-known work of 1912 (at the Grand Palais two years ago), although was much less appreciated by the sitter (she called Vallotton “a Manet for the impecunious”), and shows a precision which was already well-developed 20 years earlier in Félix Jasinski tenant son chapeau (Félix Jasinski holding his hat, above right). An example of a Nabi painting with its marked perspective and planes of colour is Laveuses à Étretat (Washerwomen at Étretat, 1899, below left) although this would remain one of his styles after he moved away from the group, for example in La loge de théâtre, le monsieur et la dame, (The theatre box, the gentleman and the lady 1909, poster above). Vallotton’s ability as a wood-engraver influenced by Japanese prints is apparent in La Paresse (Sloth, 1896, below right), one of his Intimités - unsentimental views of contemporary Parisian life.

The Grand Palais exhibition includes numerous examples of Vallotton’s nude studies, for example Le Repos des modèles (Models resting, 1905, below)

and Le Bain au soir d’été (Bathing on a summer’s evening, 1892-93, below), which, at 1 metre by 1.3 metres, provides even more for the viewer to take in than the image below might suggest and leaves one wondering just what was in Vallotton’s mind when he painted it.

The exhibition reveals other aspects of this complex man’s life including his marriage to a widow with three children, his interest in photography and his reaction to the destruction of the First World War (Verdun, 1917 below) which seems to bridge Nabi and Futurist styles.

Félix Vallotton: The Fire Under the Ice continues at the Grand Palais until 20 January 2014 and will be at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam from 14 February to 1 June and at the Mitsubishi Museum, Tokyo from 14 June to 23 September.

(modified 26 December)

15 December 2013

Daumier at the Royal Academy

Daumier (1808-1879): Visions of Paris at the Royal Academy is apparently the first Honoré Daumier exhibition in London since the early 1960s. He is probably best known to British eyes as a lithographer who provided a sharp political and social commentary during a particularly turbulent period of French history (see below). Gargantua 1831 (below left) satirizes King Louis-Phillipe, while Nadar elevating photography to art 1862 (below, right) is a commentary on the aerial photography craze which Julian Barnes touched on in his recent Levels of Life.
The RA’s exhibition reveals that  Daumier could also turn his hands to political caricature in the form of clay busts and sculpture, as well as watercolours (The Sideshow (Parade de saltimbanques), c.1865–66 in the poster above) and oil paintings acceptable to the Salon (The Laundress, (La Sortie du bateau à lessive), 1861–63) and The Painter at His Easel (Le Peintre devant son tableau), c.1870–1875 (below, left and right).

Daumier (1808-1879): Visions of Paris continues at the RA until 26 January 2014.

Anyone visiting Paris in the next few months and interested in the mainstream of the artist’s work should take the chance to see Les Parisiens de Daumier, sponsored by the Crédit Mutuel de Paris at their gallery in the Marais (details on their website, poster above). There are plenty of examples of his drawings for magazines (Le Charivari in particular) satirising contemporary Parisian life. Some depict a world that is now almost unrecognisable, others seem oddly familiar - La crinoline finnisant par être soupçonnée (below, right) should amuse anyone who has been through a security check in the last ten years. The Head of Louis-Phillipe in the form of a pear (Tête de Louis-Phillipe en forme de poire), 1840 (below, left), from the musée Carnavalet, would have been worth borrowing by the RA as a fine expression of the artist's Republican beliefs.

Les Parisiens de Daumier runs until 4 March at Galerie du Crédit Municipal de Paris - 55, rue des Francs-Bourgeois 75004 Paris. Open Monday to Saturday from 9h to 17h, closed on Sundays and public holidays.

Some major political events in France in Daumier’s lifetime: 

1814 Restoration of the Bourbon monarchy (King Charles X) in place of Napoléon Bonaparte
1830 After a revolution, King Louis-Phillipe installed in place of Charles X
1848 Second Republic declared after the abdication of Louis-Phillipe
1852 Louis-Napoléon (Napoléon III) installed as Emperor after a coup d’état
1870 Third Republic declared after Napoléon’s defeat by the Prussians at Sedan
1871 Siege of Paris and suppression of the Commune

8 December 2013

Saving Van Dyck’s Self-portrait

Oh, the perils of social media – post in haste, repent at leisure. Yesterday on this blog’s Facebook page I remarked that I was:
Sending donation to @artfund #savevandyck but awaiting their response to Bryan Sewell
With a link to an article by Brian Sewell which had appeared in the London Evening Standard. Facebook turns posts immediately into tweets as can be seen below:

Not only had I misspelt “Brian”, but worse I hadn’t checked subsequent issues of the Standard for any responses. As you can see, this omission was pointed out by Sandy Nairne @Boathouseman who, much to my embarrassment, is the Director of the National Portrait Gallery. All I can offer by way of apology is to reproduce his letter to the ES (Wed 4 Dec, page 51) below:

I was glad to see that he thinks a system for matching auction bids, as Sewell suggested, might be feasible in the future. And this is the link that matters.

3 December 2013

Scotland and Trident

The Referendum on Scottish independence will be held on 18 September 2014. In November 2013 the Scottish Government published a white paper of 649 pages, Scotland’s Future Your Guide to an Independent Scotland. Its Chapter 6 addresses International Relations and Defence and, since posts on this blog in the past have examined the consequences for the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent of Scottish independence, I thought it might be worth extracting anything in Scotland’s Future which seems relevant to that issue.

In brief, and has been said previouslyScotland’s Future states that an independent Scotland would seek the removal of the RN Trident submarine force which is currently based on the Clyde. An independent Scotland would negotiate to join NATO as a non-nuclear member. It is worth noting that the Scottish Government’s proposed timescale for removal of Trident is within the first term of the Scottish Parliament following independence. The first parliamentary election in an independent Scotland would take place on 5 May 2016, instead of the election for the devolved Parliament. Although the white paper states various objectives to be achieved during the first parliamentary term, it doesn’t appear to define its duration. The devolved Scottish Parliament has been holding elections every four years since 1999. However, the current term has been extended to five years to avoid a clash with the UK general election due in 2015. The first term of an independent parliament, if it were to follow established practice, can therefore be expected to end in 2020 or, possibly, 2021.

The white paper might have been expected to respond to some of the points raised about Trident in the Ministry of Defence’s paper, Scotland analysis: Defence, presented to Parliament in October. Some extracts from this are also quoted below. As far as Trident is concerned, Scotland’s Future fails to respond to the MoD’s point that the NATO Strategic Concept makes it clear that:
“the supreme guarantee of the security of the Allies is provided by the strategic nuclear forces of the Alliance, particularly those of the United States; the independent strategic nuclear forces of the United Kingdom and France, which have a deterrent role of their own, contribute to the overall deterrence and security of the Allies” (paragraph 2.36)
How an independent Scotland’s view that “Trident is an affront to basic decency with its indiscriminate and inhumane destructive power” (page 232) can be reconciled with the NATO Strategic Concept is unresolved. But then, so are other significant non-nuclear defence issues raised in the MoD paper, and these in turn are dwarfed by the problems of EU membership, currency, borders and so on which would arise if there were to be an independent Scotland.

Scotland’s Future Your Guide to an Independent Scotland 

Chapter 6, International Relations and Defence, opens with summary points including:

• Our defence plans focus on a strong conventional defence footprint in and around Scotland and the removal of nuclear weapons, delivering a £500 million defence and security dividend in 2016/17
• Scotland’s security will be guaranteed as a non-nuclear member of NATO, with Scotland contributing excellent conventional forces to the alliance (page 206)

Pages 207 to 251 concentrate on Scotland’s international relations, defence, and Defence Why we need a new approach, is addressed from page 232 onwards:
Improving the way defence is delivered in and for Scotland is one of the most pressing reasons for independence. 
For decades we have been part of a Westminster system that has sought to project global power, giving Britain the capacity to engage in overseas military interventions and to deploy nuclear weapons. 
Scotland has been home to one of the largest concentrations of nuclear weapons anywhere in the world, despite consistent and clear opposition from across civic Scotland, our churches, trade unions and a clear majority of our elected politicians [Endnote 255 but should be 254, see below]. Billions of pounds have been wasted to date on weapons that must never be used and, unless we act now, we risk wasting a further £100 billion, over its lifetime, on a new nuclear weapons system. Trident is an affront to basic decency with its indiscriminate and inhumane destructive power. 
Westminster’s commitment to nuclear weapons leaves other aspects of our defence weakened. Costs for the successor to Trident are to be met from within the defence budget, taking money from conventional equipment and levels of service personnel. The Royal Navy will have two new aircraft carriers years before it has the aircraft to put on them. Cost overruns are endemic and major projects have been significantly delayed. Scotland can do better.
On page 237 the five defence priorities for an independent Scotland are identified, including:
• securing the speediest safe withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Scotland
• reconfiguring the defence estate inherited at the point of independence to meet Scotland’s needs, including the transition of Faslane to a conventional naval base and joint headquarters of Scottish defence forces
On page 244 the following appears:
Reserve personnel make a valuable contribution to defence capability and will do so in an independent Scotland. Our proposals include a baseline requirement for around 1,700 reserve personnel at the point of independence. However as there are currently an estimated 2,200 trained reserve personnel in Scotland [Endnote 264, see below], it would be both feasible and desirable to increase numbers beyond the baseline that requirement suggests, in order to build flexibility and enhance capability. In the longer term the Government envisages the reserve force building to 5,000 personnel after 10 years.
On page 245/6 it is explained that while details will be negotiated with the rest of the UK, the Scottish Government currently envisages that among other things:
• Faslane will be retained as the main naval base for an independent Scotland. 
… The transition of Faslane from a submarine base to Scotland’s main naval base and joint force headquarters will be managed gradually: personnel and equipment will be brought into the Scottish defence forces and infrastructure will be developed, while the personnel and equipment remaining within the Royal Navy are relocated by the Ministry of Defence. The Scottish Government intends the transition to be complete within ten years [Endnote 265 see below]
On page 246/7 the future sharing of defence facilities is discussed, but:
Negotiations on the maintenance of shared capabilities would not include nuclear weapons. This Scottish Government would make early agreement on the speediest safe removal of nuclear weapons a priority. This would be with a view to the removal of Trident within the first term of the Scottish Parliament following independence. The detailed process and timetable for removal would be a priority for negotiation between the Scottish Government and the Westminster Government. However we have noted the work undertaken by the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), which suggests that Trident could be dismantled within two years [Endnote 267 see below] 
The transitional arrangements will support both the day to day operations and the workforce levels at the base. We will retain the capacity for shared arrangements with the rest of the UK and other allies, recognising Faslane’s excellent deep water facilities and its geographical position. There are currently 6,700 military and civilian jobs at HMNB Clyde [Endnote 266]
On pages 250/1 International partnerships are addressed, primarily NATO:
Following a Yes vote in 2014, the Scottish Government will notify NATO of our intention to join the alliance and will negotiate our transition from being a NATO member as part of the UK to becoming an independent member of the alliance.
Scotland would take its place as one of the many non-nuclear members of NATO. The Scottish Government is committed to securing the complete withdrawal of Trident from an independent Scotland as quickly as can be both safely and responsibly achieved.
Moving on to Constitutional guarantees, it is stated that:
Only independence will enable Scotland to play a full role working within and alongside the international community in creating the conditions for nuclear disarmament. The development of a written constitution for Scotland would also provide the opportunity to include a constitutional ban on nuclear weapons being based in Scotland.
Later, in Chapter 10, further devolution as opposed to independence is discussed. It is pointed out that in those circumstances:
Westminster would continue to take decisions on defence matters and Scotland would remain the base for the Trident nuclear weapon system and its successor. (Page 336)
The last part of Scotland’s Future consists of 650 questions and answers about independence. Those relevant to this post are:
285. Will NATO membership make it more difficult to secure the removal of Trident? 
The removal of Trident nuclear weapons from Scotland will require negotiation with Westminster and liaison with NATO. But the aim of the current Scottish Government is clear – to secure the speediest safe removal of Trident from Scotland and to join the 20 (of 28) countries who are members of NATO without either possessing or hosting nuclear weapons. We believe that a non-nuclear independent Scotland operating within NATO will be preferable, to the UK, NATO, and our other neighbours and allies, to a non-nuclear Scotland outside of the alliance. 
313. Would you sign/ratify the NPT if/while Trident nuclear weapons were still based at Faslane? 
Yes. We have made a clear commitment to secure the speediest safe withdrawal of Trident from Scotland following independence. Scotland’s ratification of the NPT will not rely on the detailed arrangements for the withdrawal of Trident. 
314. Would the removal of Trident from Scotland result in its decommissioning? 
It is the Scottish Government’s preference to see Trident decommissioned, but that will be a matter for the government of the rest of the UK. 
315. How long will it take to remove Trident from Scotland and who will bear the cost? 
Nuclear weapons have been based in Scotland for almost half a century, despite the long-standing majority opposition of the people of Scotland. In addition, Scottish taxpayer contributions to Trident spending could support many more public sector jobs in Scotland than the weapons system currently brings to the Clyde, and every year therefore Scotland loses out because of the continuance of Trident nuclear weapons. The detailed process and timetable for removal would be a priority for negotiation between the Scottish Government and the government of the rest of the UK. However, following a vote for independence, we would make early agreement on removal of nuclear weapons a priority. This would be with a view to the removal of Trident within the first term of the Scottish Parliament following independence. 
328. Will the armament depot at Coulport remain? 
Our commitment is to securing the earliest safe withdrawal of Trident from an independent Scotland. This includes the removal of all elements of the current system, including the missiles and warheads which are stored for the Vanguard submarine fleet at Coulport. 
534. What powers are currently reserved to the Westminster Parliament? 
Despite many decisions being made by the Scottish Parliament and Government, many key decisions are still taken by the Westminster Parliament and Government, such as: 
… defence – for example, keeping Trident nuclear weapons and going to war in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan
Scotland’s Future Endnotes

Endnote 254 On 20 March 2013, the Scottish Parliament voted conclusively 61 in favour, 16 against and 31 abstentions) in support of the UN Secretary-General’s five point plan for nuclear disarmament and called on the Westminster Government to acknowledge the Parliament’s opposition to Trident. 
Endnote 264 This does not refer to the timeframe for the withdrawal of Trident nuclear weapons and/or the Vanguard submarine fleet, which would be decided and delivered separately as quickly as it can be both safely and responsibly secured. [This Endnote is informative but not relevant to the context it was cited in! ]
Endnote 265 Scotland Analysis: Defence, UK Government, p32. 
Endnote 266 Disarming Trident – A practical guide to de-activating and dismantling the Scottish-based Trident nuclear weapons system, Scottish CND, June 2012. 
Endnote 267 Cancelling Trident - The Economic And Employment Consequences For Scotland.

Scotland analysis: Defence

Chapter 1 addresses Security and protection through integrated defence and describes particular Defence capabilities including the strategic nuclear deterrent (paragraph 1.56, page 39 onwards). There is a text box providing the justification for the deterrent which draws on the 2010 SDSR and 2006 Trident replacement white papers. This is followed by:
1.57 The value of the UK nuclear deterrent to NATO was acknowledged by the Secretary General of NATO earlier this year in a letter to the Secretary of State for Defence, which stated that the UK capability “will continue to play a crucial role as part of NATO’s appropriate mix of nuclear and conventional forces that both deter and defend against threats to our alliance (Footnote 72, see below).
Chapter 2 addresses Security and influence through international alliances and relationships and a section is given over to NATO membership and SNP policy on nuclear weapons (page 62 onwards) which it is appropriate to quote in full:
2.36 NATO’s Strategic Concept commits the Alliance to the goal of creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons – but reconfirms that, as long as there are nuclear weapons in the world, NATO will remain a nuclear Alliance. This position was confirmed in NATO’s Deterrence and Defence Posture Review, endorsed by all 28 NATO Allies, which concluded in May 2012 that “NATO must have the full range of capabilities necessary to deter and defend against threats to the safety of its populations and the security of its territory, which is the Alliance’s greatest responsibility” and that “the supreme guarantee of the security of the Allies is provided by the strategic nuclear forces of the Alliance, particularly those of the United States; the independent strategic nuclear forces of the United Kingdom and France, which have a deterrent role of their own, contribute to the overall deterrence and security of the Allies” (Footnote 112, see below). 
2.37 All NATO nations, whether they possess nuclear weapons or not, are required to subscribe to NATO’s Strategic Concept. Although only three NATO nations have nuclear weapons of their own (the US, UK and France), a number of other Allies host elements of NATO’s nuclear capability on their sovereign territory in peacetime; and 27 out of the 28 nations participate in the NATO Nuclear Planning Group (the remaining nation, France, is a nuclear power). The SNP’s stated policy on the UK’s nuclear deterrent capability is therefore problematic, and its opposition to nuclear weapons in the round is inconsistent with NATO’s Strategic Concept. 
2.38 An insistence on the removal of the UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent from Scotland would likely cause significant problems for Scotland in developing its international relationships on a bilateral as well as a multilateral basis. The Henry Jackson Society think-tank has commented that “Unlike the anti-nuclear stance of some existing NATO members (such as Norway, whose stance is held largely in principle), the SNP’s policy would have very real practical implications. Especially problematic are: the SNP’s commitment to the unilateral divestiture of Trident from Scotland, without agreement from other NATO allies; its opposition to nuclear-armed vessels docking in Scottish ports, a position held by no other NATO country; and the possibility of its demands resulting in the unilateral disarmament of another NATO member: the UK.” (Footnote 113, see below). Similarly, the Scotland Institute thinktank concluded that “IS [Independent Scotland] would have to carefully navigate the diplomatic issues related to joining NATO. If negotiations between r-UK [the rest of the UK] and Scotland were deeply problematic, the Alliance would be apprehensive towards importing r-UK and IS acrimony into the organisation. A likely dispute over Trident would also make accession tricky.” (Footnote 114, see below). 
2.39 Even if nuclear weapons were to be removed from Scotland, the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee has suggested that it could take more than 20 years to identify and develop a new base elsewhere at significant cost (Footnote 115, see below). As examples of the potential complexity of these negotiations, Russia’s Black Sea fleet was due to relocate in 2017 from Sevastopol in Ukraine to Russia’s Novorossiysk port, but was granted a 25- year extension in 2010, while the Royal Navy retained access to three Irish ‘treaty ports’ for 17 years after the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1921. 2.40 The UK Government has made it clear that it is not planning for Scottish independence. If the result of the referendum were to lead to the current situation being challenged, then options would be considered, but any alternative solution would come at huge cost. It would be an enormous exercise to reproduce the facilities elsewhere. It would cost billions of pounds and take many years. Furthermore, if the nuclear deterrent had to relocate, then so would the whole of the submarine enterprise, including the Royal Navy’s attack submarines and the submarine centre of excellence (Footnote 116, see below). This would have a major impact upon the sustainability of the naval base at Faslane, which is the biggest employment site in Scotland with 6,700 military and civilian jobs, increasing under current UK Government plans to 8,200 by 2022. In its assessment of the SNP’s defence policy proposals, the Henry Jackson Society think-tank commented that “While the SNP propose stationing the Scottish Navy in place of the Trident fleet, that would be unlikely to generate more than 1,000 jobs.” (Footnote 117, see below). The 2010 cross party submission to the UK Strategic Defence and Security Review from the Scottish Government and the main Scottish party leaders concluded that Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde “provides a significant skills base in the area and is a significant employer” (Footnote 118, see below). With personnel numbers and MOD infrastructure investment increasing, the importance of the facility to Scotland as an employer and skills base is also strengthening.
Scotland analysis: Defence Footnotes

Footnote 72 NATO praises Royal Navy’s dedication to delivering security, UK Government, , 4 April 2013. 
Footnote 110 House of Lords Hansard Column GC56, 24 Oct 2012. 
Footnote 111 Scotland couldn’t waltz into the world’s clubs, The Times, 18 June 2013,  
Footnote 112 Deterrence and Defence Posture Review, NATO, 20 May 2012 
Footnote 113 In Scotland’s Defence? An Assessment of SNP Defence Strategy by George Grant, Henry Jackson Society, July 2013. 
Footnote 114 Defence and Security in an Independent Scotland, The Scotland Institute, June 2013. 
Footnote 115 The Referendum on Separation for Scotland: Terminating Trident-Days or Decades?, House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee Fourth Report of Session 2012-13, 25 Oct 2012. 
Footnote 116 The Referendum on Separation for Scotland: Terminating Trident – Days or Decades?: Government Response to the Committee’s Fourth Report of Session 2012-13, House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee, 9 January 2013. 
Footnote 117 In Scotland’s Defence? An Assessment of SNP Defence Strategy by George Grant, Henry Jackson Society, July 2013. 
Footnote 118 The UK Strategic Defence and Security Review 2010: A cross party submission from Scottish Government and the main Scottish party leaders.

1 December 2013

A Poor Infographic on Brits in the EU

The other day, the infographic below was doing the rounds on Twitter. Note that the source of the data, not necessarily the way it's been presented, appears to be IPPR and that it is undated.

The total of 2.2 million presumably includes the 329k for Ireland which would make the EU about 1.87 million. This can be compared with IPPR’s 2006 figure of 1.5 million in the EU excluding Ireland, which I quoted in a post here in November 2011 about British second homes in Europe.

This is a poor piece of graphical presentation making the sort of naïve error which was criticised by Edward Tufte 30 years ago in his The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. The font size used for the numbering has been scaled to the area (and shape to some extent) of each country, so the 1m in Spain is the same size as the 6k in Poland. Obviously in the real Europe there are about 170 times as many Brits in Spain as in Poland, something which the presenter should have tried to address. He (or she) didn't explain the country shading blue to grey either