Fox and Osborne miss the point…..
People might reasonably have expected the two Coalition parties to have displayed some public friction however, the spectacle of whole departments battling it out across the airwaves is something else altogether. Liam Fox and George Osborne have been quite publically crossing swords over Trident’s inclusion (or indeed, exclusion) from the Ministry of Defences spending commitments. Fox’s eventual decision to push ahead with Trident even if it means swinging cuts elsewhere is, frankly, bordering on the barmy. I have written plenty about the virtual uselessness of Trident when it comes to current defence situations and the notion that it should take priority over conventional forces is genuinely naive.
This week has even exposed the weakness of conventional forces against the terrorist threats with the ‘War Log Leaks’ exposing the utter futility of the Afghanistan campaign; not to mention its unacceptable cost in the lives both of combatants and civilians. Labour should start making the coherent case for immediate withdrawal. On a wider level, we have to realise that nuclear weapons are simply a nonsense. Indeed, they have no meaning beyond that of a costly and potentially dangerous status symbol.Britain, long since deprived of her Empire, keeps them purely to preserve its self-image as a great global power.
No single political party has yet to deal with post Cold War realities when it comes to defence; nor have they absorbed the lessons of the ‘War on Terror’. This is a little worrying considering nearly a decade has passed since 9/11 and more than that since the end of Soviet Communism. In reality, it is top-of-the-range intelligence services and a genuine spirit of multilateral co-operation that best serve our defensive needs; preserving conventional forces is a necessity to be sure and providing them with adequate equipment is again something that should be done. However, their expansion, along with the retention of baubles like Trident is totally pointless and counter-productive. Now, if only somebody was prepared to air that view in public rather constricting the argument to pure economics and affordability then that would be a discussion really worth having.