While others seek short-term political advantage to suit the flavour of the day, most notably the leader of the Labour Party, who has evolved from ‘Captain Hindsight’ to ‘Captain Flip Flop’, the Conservative Government is rightly getting on and focusing on the long-term issues that are important for our country - a vital one being defence.
Having grown up during the Cold War and then seeing it end, I had hoped that the world would become a more peaceful place, but sadly the opposite is now becoming true. Western complacency has enabled other state actors who themselves have benefited from, but do not themselves adhere to, a rules-based international order, to become increasingly powerful on the global stage, economically, diplomatically, and militarily. Following Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, many of our European allies better realise that we achieve peace through strength, not through appeasement.
Ensuring NATO remains the strongest military alliance on the planet is the cornerstone of our future peace and security. Of NATO’s 31 members, only 7 met their 2% GDP spending on defence commitment last year. In Europe, the only two large countries that managed it were the UK and Poland.
The Conservatives are maintaining our leading position in NATO by working to grow defence spending to a higher target of 2.5% of GDP, which will help grow our economy and ensure future security. Defence spending is now over £50 billion a year for the first time ever, and I observe that many local and skilled jobs in Crawley are dependent upon our strong defence industry.
Another important alliance for us is AUKUS, which promotes a free, open, secure and stable Indo-Pacific. The development of the UK’s hunter-killer AUKUS submarines is being progressed, with contracts signed worth £4 billion that will support thousands of highly skilled jobs. These are the largest and most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy and will be the world’s most advanced nuclear submarines. In an ever more volatile and contested world, I am grateful we have a government who take decisive and long-term decisions to ensure our future security.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
4th October 2023