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Defence 2024

Image by Marek Studzinski

The `peace benefit` that marked the end of the Cold War with Russia and allowed us to scale down our military capacity has been exhausted. Putin`s illegal invasion of Ukraine following the annexation , by his neo-Soviet Union, of Crimea has meant that our own military capacity, particularly in respect of ground wars that many thought had been consigned to history, must be the subject of rigorous review and enhanced investment.  We have rightly committed not just hard cash but military supplies from our own reserves to the defence of Ukraine and those supplies, munitions and hardware must be replaced in short order. 

In the interim our nuclear deterrent, supported by successive Governments, stands between us and a very powerful potential aggressor (or aggressors if you include China in this equation). 

Until 2019 it was understood that we could rely upon our Trident submarines and the armaments that they have carried for our protection of last but available resort.  Mr Jeremy Corbyn, as the Leader of the Labour Party, made it clear that such a deterrent would never be used – and therefore was not a deterrent at all.  He was supported in that view by the present Leader of the Labour Party and Official Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer.  Mr Starmer now says that his “changed” Labour Party will maintain the Trident fleet and all that goes with it. 

My experience, over long years in parliament, is that political leopards do not change their spots.  Keir Starmer is a political opportunist who blows in the wind and plays to whatever gallery he believes will applaud him at any given moment.  I do not believe him and I do not believe that our security – “the Defence of the Realm” – would be safe in his hands.

“The prime duty of Government is the Defence of the Realm “is the archaic but still very valid statement of political responsibility. 

If anyone was in any doubt about the need for the United Kingdom to maintain and enhance the viability of our armed forces, then events in Ukraine and the Middle East and developing instability in the Far East should have dispelled those thoughts. Democracy as we know it in the free world is under threat as never before in most of our lifetimes. 

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