The coalition government has rightly conducted an up to date assessment in this ‘age of uncertainty’ on the current and likely future threats to the UK. But I believe their assessment to be fundamentally flawed.
They have then used the results of their assessment to decide what form our defences should take to protect the nation from future harm. But crucially it also shapes the public’s perception of what form that harm might take.
The major threats they identified are placed into three ‘tiers’:
- In the top tier is international and Irish terrorism, cyber-attacks, inter-state military crises and major natural or accident disasters
- In the second tier lies an attack on Britain or its territories using NBC (nuclear, biological or chemical weapons) or an insurgency/event abroad that potential terrorists could exploit, organised crime and an attack on satellite communications by another state.
- In the third tier are a conventional attack on the UK or its territories or any ally/EU country, significant increases in terrorists, organised criminals, illegal immigrants or illicit goods, a civil nuclear accident and food, resource or energy supplies disruption.
So you can see that much of this is not purely military in content. A significant proportion would be dealt with by non-military response by such bodies as GCHQ, the police and other emergency services. When considering the complete defence of the nation this is how it should be.
However, the elephant in the room for me is the UK economy. Without a well protected economy the rest is just academic and any money spent may as well be thrown down the drain.
Just consider that, apart from the well known major terrorist events over the last decade the thing that nearly brought our whole civilisation(?) crashing down was an economic disaster. A wholesale failure of the banking, government and regulatory system on a national and global scale all fuelled by ‘unforeseen’ events. All leading to almost international unrest with riots in many countries.
The enemy here? Greed, lack of oversight and understanding coupled with a belief that we’d got it hacked.
So while we argue about the numbers of soldiers, sailors, airmen, aircraft carriers, submarines, tanks and fighter aircraft the banking system and global financial system goes on mostly unchanged.
The outlandish bonuses still get paid, loan rates stay cripplingly high, mortgages unavailable and the financial instruments that Warren Buffet famously called ‘financial weapons of mass destruction’ are still out there.
For me the most immediate and likely threats to the UK come not from a military strike but from:
- A lack of true political accountability.
- The fractional reserve banking system.
- Membership of the EU in its current state.
- Complex banking systems run by and for the banking ‘Masters of the Universe’.
- Taxing true work to reward the money shufflers.
An attack on us all of ‘banksterism’ by international ‘banksters’ if you like.
Why has this not been identified as a threat? Do the powers that be think they’ve got the greed in check? Are they of the belief that the bit of tinkering they’ve done at the edges is enough to provide sufficient oversight?
When dealing with terrorists we’ve got MI5/6, GCHQ and the army, the SAS as well as the police and special branch. With the banksters we’ve got the Bank of England and currently the FSA.
I am in no way belittling the death and physical injuries that war and terrorism causes as well as the misery to their families. But please consider, which of all these threats has recently caused the most widespread and continuing damage to the UK and its interests? Which of these threats has caused 25% cuts in public spending, massive depletion of our armed forces and a potential swathe of job losses, all of which puts us in a much weaker position than before?
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