Despite the threat of China, Russia and Iran, nobody has a credible plan for our national defence
It is symptomatic of how far the issue of national security has fallen in the estimation of politicians of all persuasions that it has merited little more than a footnote in their manifestos. Leaders of all the main parties are very much in their comfort zone when it comes to airing opinions on the NHS, education and social welfare, but they are less forthcoming about issues pertaining to the defence of the realm.
This is surprising given that the global threat environment becomes more challenging by the day, and the potential damage that the likes of Russia and China could inflict on our national well-being is considerably greater than the less quantifiable risk of, say, “the climate emergency”. It was only last year, after all, that a team of Russian assassins tried to poison a defector with a highly toxic nerve agent in a quaint English city.
Russian aggression, Chinese infiltration of our telecoms system, Iran’s financing of global jihadi groups, and the ability of our Armed Forces to respond: these are all subjects that are worthy of detailed discussion. And yet, from the television debates to public meetings, defence and foreign policy issues have barely featured.