This is the first of a three-part feature on defence.
In November 2015 the government published its ‘National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 – A Secure and Prosperous United Kingdom’. At that time ministers did not consider it likely that we would leave the EU. That document now needs to be updated to reflect polices appropriate to an independent nation.
The document has a wide scope and comprises 96 pages, clearly far too lengthy to reproduce and comment on here. However there are certain key points which do warrant discussion. UKIP has some good points on defence in its current (outdated) manifesto but must be prepared to address defence matters in more detail by the next election.
In making my comments I will refer to the various clauses using their original numbers. The full document may be found here.
4.4 The Government’s most important duty is the defence of the UK and Overseas Territories, and protection of our people and sovereignty.
Of course this is absolutely correct for, without it, everything else is pointless as it might be taken away by an enemy.
4.14 There is currently no immediate direct military threat to the UK mainland.
I have to disagree on this. We face a clear and present danger from the large number of mainly male immigrants who have gained entry legally or illegally and are resident in their ghettos or elsewhere. Such ghettos have not been policed effectively for years and are likely hiding places for weapons and explosives. No doubt the enemy is increasing in number by the day owing to the welcoming of so-called ‘refugees’ and ineffective border controls. The police demonstrated their inability to act during the Bradford riots of 2001; I doubt that they would do better today.
4.23 … The UK is not part of the EU’s Schengen open borders agreement, and so we have been able to set our own approach to the migration crisis…
Clearly their approach has failed and continues to do so with no end presently in sight.
4.25 We have significantly strengthened border security…
Well, it isn’t working is it? In my recent experience airport security is improved but seaward defence is still a particular concern. Current information suggests that their patrol boats have now been increased to nine; a pathetic number even to patrol the SE coast possibly most at risk.
4.91 We will ensure that terrorists who are convicted in the UK are then effectively monitored and managed in prisons…
Really? Let us hear your excuses for the recent prison riots and, no, we will not consider them acceptable.
4.93 We will continue to invest in capabilities to protect ourselves against terrorist …We will continue to invest in systems which give us data in advance about people intending to come to this country…
How on earth is it possible to get advance information on illegal immigrants? They don’t have any idea of the numbers already here. Even many of the recently admitted ‘children’ are now turning out to be adults.
4.97 We continue to enhance the ability of emergency services specialists to deal with multiple, major terrorist attacks…
I’m sure that the emergency services are fine for the most part. Unfortunately for the victims those services will always be reactive and will usually arrive too late.
5.8 In 2013, the UK became the first G7 country to spend 0.7% of our GNI on Official Development Assistance – a commitment that we enshrined in law in 2015. DFID is a world-leading organisation…
Unfortunately for the taxpayer DFID seems adept at financing corrupt foreign politicians and aspiring girl singers. Monty Python could do no worse but, alas, the performance of DFID is not very entertaining either.
5.125 Tackling conflict and improving stability and economic opportunity overseas is part of our long-term, comprehensive approach to migration…
We will do much more to help refugees closer to their homes… and to tackle organised immigration crime.
Sorry guys, your policies are simply not working…
6.22 Our engagement with China in recent years, following this model, has led to direct financial benefits for the UK – and reflects our ambition for the UK to be China’s leading partner in the West. The UK is now one of the most popular destinations for Chinese investment in Europe…
Engagement with China needs to proceed with extreme caution. The Chinese are adept at insidious infiltration and gaining influence in countries such as those of SE Asia and more recently Africa. The theft of intellectual property rights is common. Any partnership with them is one-sided.
6.61 Responsible defence and security exports, including equipment, services, sub-systems and through-life support, are essential for our security and prosperity. They directly sustain tens of thousands of jobs across the UK and generate economies of scale that reduce the cost of equipment to the Government and taxpayer. They underpin long-term relationships with our partners’ national security organisations, and help us deliver wider foreign policy objectives.
The key here is in interpretation of the word ‘responsible’. The world is undergoing rapid change and our friend of today might well turn out to be our enemy tomorrow. Extreme caution is required in handing over our weapons and support. As is usually the case the involvement of the ‘bean counters’ in such decisions must be avoided.
The next five years
4. The following are judged to be the Tier One risks over the next five years:
This will remain the most direct and immediate threat to our domestic security and overseas interests. ISIL, Al Qa’ida and affiliates remain committed to attacking UK and Western targets.
It is right that this is seen as a Tier One risk but it would be foolish to ignore the likely presence of such organisations in our country already. From what I see it is being ignored.
What should we, i.e. our government, do about it? That will have to wait for Part II, published tomorrow.