Delingpole: Huawei, Coronavirus, and Boris’s Great Brexit Betrayal

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 24: Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosts Chinese New Year celebrations outside 10 Downing Street on January 24, 2020 in London, England. The lunar new year, which begins tomorrow, marks the Year of the Rat according to the Chinese zodiac. (Photo by Lauren Hurley/Getty Images)
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Would you buy a communications system from an oppressive, secretive, totalitarian regime which may be responsible for perhaps the deadliest viral pandemic since the catastrophic Spanish Flu outbreak of 1919?

Even before the coronavirus raised its terrifying head, buying 5G technology from China’s Huawei looked like a bad idea for Britain.

Now it’s looking like the most stupid idea since the Trojans saw the Wooden Horse their Greek enemies had left outside the gates of Ilium and said: “Nice! Let’s drag it inside.”

To recap, 5G — which stands for ‘fifth generation’ — is the next wave of wireless telecoms technology. Insanely, against the advice of allies from the U.S. to Australia, the British government has decided to award the contract for this strategically vital communications system to a country which is not only a major geopolitical rival but which is also infamous for spying on its competitors: China.

According to MP and ex-soldier Tom Tugendhat this is unacceptable.

Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6, has warned that Huawei ‘without question’ poses a threat to British security.

President Trump, too, has urged Britain to be ‘very careful’ about using Huawei in its 5G network.

Even George Soros recognises that Huawei represents a massive security threat and has praised Trump’s decision to stand firm against it as “the greatest, and perhaps only, foreign policy accomplishment of the Trump administration.”

If a problem is serious enough for Trump and Soros to agree on it, then you know it’s a serious problem.

So how on earth is Britain still considering allowing this viper into its bosom?

The stupidity, as Dominic Lawson reports here in the Daily Mail, can be traced back to the era when those two globalist chumps Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne were running the show. Both were determined to prove how modern and forward looking they were by forging a relationship with the world’s most dynamic new power China.

In fact, the nexus between Huawei and the UK began as long ago as 2003, when BT began talks with the Chinese company to provide devices aggregating customer lines and connecting them to the main part of the network.

The contract was signed in 2005. Astoundingly, although BT told the Cabinet Office that it was proposing to lock Huawei into UK telecommunications, the civil service ‘did not refer the issue to ministers or even inform them until 2006 — a year after the contract between BT and Huawei had been signed’, according to the damning words of a 2013 Commons Security and Intelligence Committee report.

In other words, this was a clandestine agreement cooked up by the administrative state with no public consultation.

But the Cameron/Osborne era, you might have hoped, was a period of embarrassing, faux-Conservative sclerosis, incompetence and managed decline from which a forward-looking Conservative PM like Boris Johnson would hope to distance himself.

Apparently not, for the current rumours are that rather than nix this disastrous deal made by his discredited predecessors, Boris is instead minded to go ahead with it.

The reasons for cancelling the Huawei deal are manifest; the reasons for sticking with it are murky and obscure – but seem to have something to do with what Trump would call the Deep State and what in Britain we might call the ‘liberal elite’ or the ‘corrupt, self-serving Westminster bubble.’

Certainly, Huawei has worked long and hard to buy the favours of those in power.

As Lawson reports:

The Conservative Party has complacently taken many thousands of pounds in donations to its coffers from Huawei.

The Conservative peer, Baroness Wheatcroft, joined the Huawei ‘advisory board’. (She was accompanied in this enterprise by such luminaries as the former senior civil servant Sir Andrew Cahn, the former BP chief executive Lord Browne, and the late former head of the Confederation of British Industry, Dame Helen Alexander.)

Huawei’s meticulous ingratiation into the heart of the British Establishment went to the very top: it donated half a million pounds to the Prince’s Trust. It was only a year ago that Prince Charles’s most treasured public enterprise declared it would ‘not be accepting new donations from Huawei’ because of ‘public concerns’.

Furthermore, the Civil Service has clearly already decided at the most senior levels to push through the Huawei deal, come what may.

The villain of the piece, according to this scoop by Glen Owen in the Mail on Sunday, is Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill.

Government sources say Mr Johnson has ‘buckled’ under pressure from Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill to let Huawei help to build the system.

They claim that Sir Mark, the powerful head of the Civil Service, has ‘manipulated’ Mr Johnson into agreeing the deal by presenting it as a ‘fait accompli’ – and by ‘nobbling’ the British security services into dropping their objections.

A source said: ‘There is a massive row brewing over all this.

‘Sedwill is telling people not to ‘worry their little heads about it’, and manipulating Boris into appeasement by saying that as the deal was already given the green light by Theresa May, to cancel it would require him to actively reverse the decision of a predecessor.’

Sir Mark has told the Prime Minister that a ban on Huawei equipment would delay the widespread introduction of 5G for at least two years after the 2025 deadline in the Tory manifesto – and would also delay the availability of super-fast broadband.

Like his equally grim predecessor Jeremy Heywood, Mark Sedwill is the embodiment of the left-leaning, globalist, Remain-championing, entrenched Establishment which sought so hard to derail Brexit.

The same goes for so many of the influential figures in government and the Civil Service and industry who have been pushing for Huawei (and also for the similarly counterproductive and pointless HS2): this is the Remoaner resistance doing its damnedest to ruin post-Brexit Britain.

These are the kind of people who, we’ve been assured by insiders, are going to be swept away by the new broom of Boris’s chief advisor Dominic Cumming, in a bid to make Britain more democratically accountable and less in thrall to a shadowy administrative state.

If so, it would appear that Cummings has been outfoxed. Heaven knows what arch-retainer Sedwill may have promised in order to keep his job but it looks like he was speaking with forked tongue or, perhaps, that he concocted some kind of devil’s pact where he agreed to put his weight behind a frictionless Brexit in return for being granted certain favours in return. If that is indeed the case – though it’s pure speculation on my part – then the British people have been very ill-served by this stitch-up.

And just when the Huawei deal couldn’t look any more unattractive, along comes the coronavirus to emphasise the nature of the regime we are dealing with.

The coronavirus has emerged from Wuhan which, not uncoincidentally, is the home of China’s germ warfare programme.

Rather than nip the problem in the bud, China has behaved exactly as you would expect a secretive, totalitarian regime to behave: lying about the virility and morbidity of the infection; allowing as many as 5 million people to leave Wuhan before any quarantine was able to take effect; lobbying the World Health Organisation not to declare it a global emergency.

And this is a regime that Britain is now trusting with its wireless technology?

The Huawei deal is starting to look like an unforced error so epically naive, dangerous and wrongheaded that it threatens to eclipse anything Boris Johnson may achieve in the rest of his administration.

It’s also a betrayal of the very thing on which Boris had hoped to stake his legacy: delivering a successful, meaningful Brexit.

One of the key elements in Boris’s vision of a bright, post-Brexit future for Britain outside the European Union is international trade: all those incredible deals Britain is going to negotiate once it is no longer shackled by EU regulations – starting, of course, with the ‘very big deal’ promised by President Trump with the U.S.

But Trump has since made it clear that one of the main obstacles to such a deal is if Britain ignores its allies’ security concerns and goes ahead with the Huawei deal.

If you wanted to be cynical, you could argue that the Remain-biased Civil Service — led by arch-Remainer Mark Sedwill — is using the Huawei deal as a cunning way to sabotage Boris’s post-Brexit deals in order to make the Brexit vote look like a mistake and to make a return to membership of the EU more likely. You would also, quite likely, be absolutely right in your assessment.

We have scotched the Remainer snake but we have not killed it. No doubt it will come back to bite us many times hence.

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