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The newly appointed Defence Secretary Liam Fox has been pretty busy.  Not only has he had to get his feet under the table at the office and prepare for the strategic defence review, but he also found time to take part in the very first meeting of the brand new National Security Council and to send a message to all defence staff.  Not for him the quiet settling in period.  In his message  Liam Fox repeated the tired line that British forces are not in Afghanistan “out of choice”, but out of ” necessity”.  This tired  nonsense does not bode well for the coming defence review under Liam Fox’s leadership.


“It is easy to lose sight of the fact that one of the core businesses of Government is the defence of the country and of national interests, and that is every bit as true during difficult financial times as during more settled ones. The thinking of easier times (when public spending on health, education and social security was increased by much more than that on defence) must not be allowed to continue into these troubled times. The defence of our country must be maintained whatever the circumstances”. Defence Select Committee, 4th report, 10 Feb 2010

Strong words from the Defence Select Committee yesterday. Except time and again,(most recently in the Defence Green Paper published just last week), the government has acknowledged that “there is no external direct threat to the territorial integrity of the UK”

So all this huff and puff about “defence of our country” is poppycock. By all means try to make the argument that we need to have sufficient armed force to invade other countries to enforce regime change so that the West’s economic and political interests are served, but please do not dress this up as “defence of our country”.

I think we are all going to need strong stomachs over the the next few months as there will be a lot of cant spoken about ‘defence’ as the strategic defence review gears up.

Dr Fox (no, not the DJ, the Tory Shadow Defence Secretary) laid out the Tories thinking on the proposed defence review yesterday at RUSI. Whilst paying lip service to the idea of needing to make cuts, he made an absolute commitment to maintaining Trident and dismissed the idea of any merger between the three armed ‘services’.

The primary focus of the Tory review would appear not to be on how best to maintain and develop national and global security for the people of Britain, nor how to bring ‘freedom and democracy to those suffering under oppression and dictatorship’ (the current in vogue reasons for war in Iraq and Afghanistan) but to keep the UK as a “first division” global power. “We are at a tipping point in Britain” said the former DJ (oops! sorry, Tory leader) “We need to decide if we want to stay in the first division or slide into the second division,” “I choose the former.”