Friday, January 12, 2007

Blair's Plymouth speech on Defence Again!

The initial Reuters report is linked here. The speech made only the slightest passing reference to Europe let alone the EU and was all the better for that. The full text was first available from the International Herald Tribune website and is linked from here. The main points that hit me as I listened were the following: "There are two types of nations similar to ours today. Those who do war fighting and peacekeeping and those who have, effectively, except in the most exceptional circumstances, retreated to the peacekeeping alone.

Britain does both. We should stay that way. But how do we gain the consent to do it?"


"Public opinion will be divided, feel that the cost is too great, the campaign too long, and be unnerved by the absence of "victory" in the normal way they would reckon it. They will be constantly bombarded by the propaganda of the enemy, often quite sympathetically treated by their own media, to the effect that it's really all "our", that is the West's fault." ========================== "The risk here - and in the US where the future danger is one of isolationism not adventurism - is that the politicians decide it's all too difficult and default to an unstated, passive disengagement, that doing the right thing slips almost unconsciously into doing the easy thing. Many countries are already in this position. But the consequences for Britain are hugely significant. Before we know it and without anyone ever really deciding it, in a strategic way, the "hard" part of British foreign policy could be put to one side; the Armed Forces relegated to an essentially peacekeeping role and Britain's reach, effect and influence qualitatively reduced." =========================== "The covenant between Armed Forces, Government and people has to be renewed. For our part, in Government, it will mean increased expenditure on equipment, personnel and the conditions of our Armed Forces; not in the short run but for the long term." =========================== The last quote is of course the most crucial, especially as the next PM is still most likely to be the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he who has woefully under-financed our armed forces for the kind of grandiose plans put in place by he who made this speech!


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