The primary threats to the United Kingdom and our interests are not direct attack or invasion by other states but terrorism, cyber/hybrid warfare and pandemics, set against the backdrop of the challenge of climate change. We must also recognise the danger of “accidental” conflicts. The Government has an overriding duty to make the best possible provision for defence against these threats.
At the same time, we must also keep these threats in perspective. For instance, creating an atmosphere of fear helps terrorists, unnecessarily curtails freedom and diverts disproportionate resources from other areas. Less than 100 UK citizens have been killed by terrorists in the last 20 years; and more than 1,500,000 have died prematurely from smoking, with tens of thousands more linked to air pollution in our towns and cities. So far over 125,000 have died directly from COVID-19 and many thousands more indirectly.
Defence is about saving lives but many of the actual threats we need to address cannot be successfully deterred by military force. Further, we must not fall victim to the “defence industry,” we must take a lead and work with governments ready to adopt a more mature and progressive attitude to the waste and dangers of military spending. We believe it is time to stop playing with “boys toys.” We need a rigorous evaluation of what weapons we need and what weapons we don’t. Posturing or tokenism does nothing to make people more secure.
Cyber threats are very real and attacks are happening today, many more are being planned or seeded in computer systems. Challenges to liberal democracy are increasingly common and must be defeated by appropriate means. Regimes that seek to undermine and supplant our way of life must be aggressively targeted, we must act against the ruling elites, and aim to free peoples from repression and totalitarianism. We must have a clear view of objectives and understand how best to deliver success.
Defence is not a matter of emotion and sentiment but is literally one of life or death. Hard decisions must be taken and along with a complete overall of the armed services, we will unilaterally abolish the UK’s nuclear weapons. It is a nonsense to worry about climate change while investing in weapons that would precipitate an environmental catastrophe. Nuclear weapons are dreadful, their use would cause inconceivable death and destruction – there are no circumstances in which we would “press the button.”
The Peoples Party will:
- appreciate that the nature of the threat and the type of defence required to best protect citizens ehas fundamentally changed in the last couple of decades. Generals nearly always prepare to fight the last war, we must provide a better defence now by focusing on today’s and tomorrow’s threats.
- create a unified Royal Defence Force (RDF), merging the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, with the primary objective to protect against terrorist threats, cyber attack and large scale organised criminal activity.
- cut traditional defence expenditure dramatically to £2bn.
- support efforts to deliver a world without nuclear weapons. We believe that far from making us and the world safer, nuclear weapons and their potential use by terrorists or their accidental use by a nuclear state, is one of the biggest threats we face. The traditional deterrence argument for the possession of nuclear weapons no longer applies. We believe that given the dreadful consequences of using nuclear weapons, there are no circumstances when they can rationally be employed. Terrorists are not deterred and rogue states must be tackled by other means. Hence we will decommission Trident and stop its replacement. We will redouble efforts to stop nuclear material getting into the hands of terrorists and rogue states.
- concentrate on the development of small special forces units within the RDF and MI6 designed to undertake continuous worldwide operations against terrorists or states that sponsor terrorism. These forces will be superbly equipped and will undertake largely covert operations against threats and potential threats. In particular, we will use information and cyber warfare technologies to defeat and frustrate potential threats, while at the same time protecting the United Kingdom from a cyber counter-attack. We will proactively hack the hackers.
- double intelligence and technology expenditure to £4bn.
- work smart to change hostile and potentially dangerous regimes from within.
- ensure that sufficient funding is allocated to civil defence equipment, in particular the provision of PPE, vaccines and medicines.
- not look for “enemies” but building relationships, seeking to understand the causes of tensions, defusing them where possible.
- rejoin the EU to work with colleagues to ensure peace in Europe, the source of hundreds of years of conflict.