Delusions of power?

March 18, 2021 12:05 PM
Originally published by Babergh South Suffolk Liberal Democrats

Are we the only ones who feel a sense of disappointment with the recently announced update on future policy on defence and foreign affairs

It's not the analysis of issues that confronts us that causes problems. We can all agree there is a continued Russian threat, the rise of China, the growing cyber risks and the raid economic growth in Asia are all trends we would recognise of trade with India


Rather it is the proposed response that disappoints

The headline grabbing proposal to grow our stockpile of nuclear warheads from 180 to 240 is one such response. It is not clear if the proposal breaks international non-proliferation agreements (not that this would be an issue for a government that has shown a cavalier disregard for such agreements trashing our trusted brand in the process) but either way it appears there is no capacity in the foreseeable future for them to be built at Aldermaston anyway.

In the past 20 years the U.K. has dropped from a top 3 place to somewhere just above 20th in volume of trade with India. Sending an aircraft carrier and support ships out East every few years is unlikely to change things much. If China decides to cut up rough in the South China Sea no one seriously believes we would be any deterrent to action.

We are rightly proud of our soft power, our culture., Language, values. How odd then that we decide to reduce our aid budget by around £5bn a year just at the time the poorest nations of the world are struggling to combat the pandemic and its consequences.

You sense there is a desperation in government circles to do trade deals at almost any cost to help fill the self inflicted economic hole caused by Brexit. Today our Foreign Secretary has been recorded saying we should trade liberally with countries even if they have a poor record on human rights. At the same time the Business Select Committee of MPs has complained about the lack of measures to stop products from slave labour from the Uighurs in China entering the supply chain.

Having said Russia remains a real threat little attention is paid to European security even though arguably this remains the most immediate concern. For a country with our limited resources you are left wondering about whether we continue to have delusions of a global reach we cannot afford when we would be better to focus on issues closer to home.

At least we can console ourselves with the thought that the IT in the new media center in 9 Downing Street was installed by a Russian company that also works for Russian state TV!