Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 21 June 2012


On 30th June Plymouth will be the centre for National Armed Forces Day. There will be a host of local activities to celebrate the wonderful service that our Armed Forces provide. There will be much saluting and marching, ships on the sea and planes in the air, glistening boots and medals and VIPs and dignitaries, with a few real heroes sprinkled in between. I am looking forward to it. We cannot do too much to acknowledge our debt to our service men and women, past and present.

Some take the view that as a post-imperial country in the twenty first century Britain should now reduce still further the size of our armed forces and trust to diplomacy and others to keep us safe. I view this as dangerous nonsense. Some want us to scrap Trident and spend the money on yet more welfare. I view this as close to treason. The world is just about as dangerous as it has ever been and if we do not maintain the capability to defend ourselves at home and overseas, we will be failing the next generation who would rightly hold us to account.

Let's review a few potential threats. In the immediate years following the collapse of communism, Russia looked as though it would stumble into a European-style democracy. In fact it has lurched towards a dictatorship under Vladimir Putin who presides over an aggressive gangster state which contains almost limitless gas and oil and nuclear weapons aplenty.

China is on the rise and rise and within a decade or two will overtake the USA on military spending and global supremacy. America has made plenty of mistakes but generally speaking has been a benevolent superpower. Will China be as benign?

Pakistan owns nuclear weapons but is one of the most lawless states on the planet. What happens if its government falls completely into the hands of Islamic extremists who wish to destroy the west?

Iran is developing nuclear capability, not just to create energy. They are pledged to remove Israel from the map. What happens if they acquire nuclear weapons and strike first?

The Arctic Circle is full of minerals that will become increasingly valuable. Nobody is clear who owns them. What happens if Russia and the USA and European powers and Canada all make a bid for them?

On National Armed Forces day let us celebrate the freedoms wrought by our armed forces, past present and future!

posted by Gary @ 09:24