I was asked today that if my party was in office as the British government, just how would we have handled the Libyan situation any better than the current government.  Although the answer is much more complex than simply ‘sending a gunboat’ to the area, I didn’t have to think very long for an answer.

If my party had been in office, it would have been a simple matter of directing the Royal Navy to move into the Libyan coast in force and evacuate our nationals.  ‘In force’ means with enough air power to protect the fleet and with enough ground forces (Royal Marines) to facilitate the evacuation with the minimum conflict. 

I was then asked how we would achieve that with the minimum resources that we now have.  This was the question that I was really waiting for!  The answer was that we would not be suffering from the criminally poor resources that our military are now suffering under.  We would never have implemented the savage cuts to the nation’s defence that the current government have imposed.

I accept that cuts in government spending are absolutely necessary – but it is where those cuts should be made that needs to be reconsidered.  Of course, politically correct and unnecessary Quangos would disappear as would all non-jobs in national and local government.  It is still not known how much this would save, therefore for the purposes of this exercise; we shall not take one penny of it into consideration.

The British nation hands over to a foreign power the sum of between £45 – £48 million every day, of every week, of every year.  That equates to an amazing £17.5 Billion per year.  As huge as that amount may appear, it is small fry to the amount that we give away in foreign aid, which is somewhere in the region of £500 Billion per year.  Some of this money goes to countries where it actually does some good but the vast majority of it goes to fund the lifestyles or increase the Swiss bank accounts of despot dictators or goes to countries that are perfectly rich enough to look after themselves, some of them even having their own space programmes and nuclear arsenals.

Foreign wars, which are of no concern to this country, cost us dearly – not only in simple money but in the much more costly expenditure of the lives of the flower of British youth.  Mere boys and girls mainly, who are simply doing what their country asks of them.  Not only would we save the hundreds of millions of pounds Sterling that these wars have cost the nation but we would save the lives of our soldiers, sailors and airmen who would then be free to perform the task of protecting these Isles and the people who live in them.

The scrapping of our naval and air defences is nothing short of treachery.  I use that world with careful consideration.  Throughout history it has been the practise of ‘throwing onto the beach’ the men who have fought England’s wars as soon as peace is attained.  Naturally this always meant that when the next war, with Napoleon or some other ‘Johnny Foreigner’ came alone, we were woefully unprepared each and every time.  That was the case right up to and including 1939 and the advent of the Second World War.

This time it is different.  The coalition government intends to bring all of our troop’s home from Afghanistan by 2015.  Whether that happens or not is of course dependant on whether this government keeps its word – and it does not have a very good track record of that.  Should that target be achieved however, they do intend to cut our army by another 20,000 troops.  That is one promise that they will keep!  That final cut will reduce our armed forces to the level we had in 1840.  That is ‘1840’ it is not a printing error.

The big difference is of course that we are not at peace!  The world is far more dangerous today than it ever has been.  The Cold War, when the Soviet Union faced us across an iron Curtain laced with nuclear missiles was a walk in the park compared to the situation the world is facing today.  We, and every other Western nation, are surrounded by enemies, many of whom are within our own borders.  With the collapse of the Soviet Union, there is an abundance of nuclear devices that have simply disappeared along with some of the people with the know-how to manufacture more.

Many countries are naturally aware of this and are taking steps to increase their military capability. 

Countries such as Russia, which is embarking on a massive naval rebuilding programme.   Countries such as Communist China, which whilst the backs of the world were turned away fighting the ‘War on Terror’, was quietly beavering away and developing a naval force that is today capable of taking on the US Navy in the Pacific. 

Communist China, the country that was able to send in enough military and naval hardware to ‘spirit away’ 12,000 of their nationals from Libya, whilst the response from the British is for Cameron to immediately go stomping into a most delicate situation in the Middle East to try and sell even more weapons to them, at the same time as our Deputy Prime Minister, Clegg, decides that as it’s half term, he will go on holiday with the kids and ‘forget’ that he is supposed to be running the country! 

Whilst the Chinese use their Mediterranean Fleet for this superb rescue effort, the British manage to divert our one remaining warship in the Med, from its final journey home to the scrap yard, to Benghazi where it waits off shore because it might be too dangerous, until her captain loses patience and enters port on his own decision.  Instead of being congratulated when he gets home, he will probably be reprimanded!

Countries like Australia.  Which has recently purchased two helicopter/assault carriers from the US and has carried out joint naval exercises with the US and other Asian naval fleets, specifically designed to counter the new threat from China.

Other countries, far less stable than even Col Gadafi’s Libya such as North Korea, which has its own nuclear capability.  Has test fired missiles that have travelled across Japan – an obvious message to anyone who cares to listen that they have the means to deliver those nuclear warheads – and an insane dictator! 

Iran, busily working to develop its own nuclear capability and has vowed to wipe from the map, the one democracy in the Middle East Israel.  It also spends its petrol dollars funding extremists and terrorists the world wide.

Against this background the British government wield savage cuts where they should least be cutting.  Is that ‘Prudence’ or is it ‘Treachery’?

So, the answer to the original question was ‘Yes, we would have handled it better.  After all it’s only Common Sense’.  My questioner went away without another word, but he did have a thoughtful expression on his face!

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