DefenceSynergia (DS) is most concerned that at a time of maximum threat to stability in Europe, Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) and many of its institutions are distracted by internal Westminster politics. “Partygate” has consumed too much of Her Majesty’s Opposition’s time and the Conservative Vote of Confidence in the Prime Minister has proved so distracting that even the normally focused Chairman of the Defence Committee appears to be more concerned with internal party politics rather than concentrating on UK defence and security.
The fact is that there is a war in Central Europe which is consuming British and NATO war stocks at an increasing rate whilst Ukrainians die attempting to prevent the Russians from extending their hegemony further within Europe. Whilst the current Prime Minister’s leadership in supporting the Ukrainian government is to be well commended and recognised, a redoubling of effort to extend that support across the remaining NATO and European allies must take a much higher priority of time and example.
In his recent RUSI commentary Dr Jack Watling rightly highlighted the urgent requirement for HMG and MOD to fund ‘Rearming the British Army’. This is hardly a “sexy” topic for the general public and the media circus to become vociferous over but, DS would argue it as being fundamental.
But, who in Westminster is listening just now – HMG, HM Opposition, Committee Chairmen, Who?
NATO and therefore UK policy is to keep involvement to a ‘no boots on the ground’ posture – we shall see. However, this NATO stance, especially in respect of training, providing intelligence and arming Ukraine’s armed forces is not neutral which means that the UK (NATO) should be on a war footing – at least a quasi one for fear of giving the Russians further excuse to escalate their aggression and for industry’s sake if nothing else. The war costs money and British and allied industry will require priority orders if it is to get down to the Regeneration of all HM Forces.
This calls for a clear Strategy that goes beyond the obvious need for contingency funds from the Treasury to bolster UK Defence funding in order to regenerate. To achieve this is a paramount need for Ministers and HM Opposition to think Clearly, Cohesively and Cooperatively beyond the Westminster bubble and focus on National Interests within the Ukraine crisis context. Existentially the inability of Ukraine to export its wheat is affecting the whole world and increasing food prices. It may even lead to a reduction in this year’s production as storage cannot be made available for this year’s crop.
Given the already list of economic woes besetting the country, it is high time these were faced and the public informed so that there is reassurance and confidence in UK’s ability to defend itself in the context of the Defence of this Realm.