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, 18 February 2016


At a recent gathering in the House, the conversation turned to the state of the world. One senior colleague expressed the view that the world is currently more dangerous than at any time since the end of the Second World War in 1945.

At least in the Cold War there were only two sides, the west and the communists, principally Soviet Russia. There was fear and the threat of destruction, but there was control of sorts.

Now there is no sense of any one being in control.

The war in Syria might end soon if the ceasefire holds. But more likely it will not. It is rapidly becoming a proxy war for other world players rolling out their agendas and ambitions.

Russia seems intent on keeping Assad in power and increasing its influence in the Middle East. Iran and Saudi Arabia look like getting involved in the complex and historic web of Sunni/ Shia conflict.

Islamic state are intent on building their bloody Caliphate.  All the while the long-running conflict between Israel and its neighbours continues to rumble on, sadly full of potential to spill over into military action.

Further afield tensions between China and Taiwan and China and Japan continue to simmer over disputed islands in the South China Sea. I have no doubt that Chinese generals are itching to test their rapidly increasing military capability. North Korea continues to develop and test nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.

Nor should we assume that the Ukraine uprising is over, far from it. Russia is building up its forces in that hotly disputed territory right on our doorstep.

This is the challenging picture that confronts us.  We will be fortunate not to witness and/or be involved in some major conflagration over the next decade. A very sobering thought.

It is the backdrop against which two crucial decision must be made. One is whether we renew our independent nuclear deterrent or not. To me this is clear cut. Now is most certainly not the time to give up our ultimate insurance policy.

The second, less easy to fit into this gloomy context, is the decision on EU membership. Of course NATO is our strategic defence alliance and it is vital that we play a full part in this.

However, our security is also interwoven with other European powers. The uncertain state of the world is something that we have to factor in as we approach this big decision.

posted by Gary @ 09:29