Does the UK need to spend more on Defence?

November 15, 2018 5:00 PM
By Gary Fuller in Folkestone Herald - Talking Points
Originally published by Folkestone and Hythe Liberal Democrats

Gary FullerWe absolutely do need to spend more on defence. You weren't expecting that were you. Defence is about more than spending on weapons of war though. Defence at its core is about ensuring that internal and external threats don't lead to the destruction of our society.

There are many challenges facing us as a country, a continent and a species. Most of the challenges we face have nothing to do with who has the biggest aircraft carrier or who can wipe out all life on the planet the most effectively in under an hour.

The challenges we face, that threaten our society, are around Climate Change, poverty, education, globalisation and the information age. All these challenges could result in the end of our society and all of them require significant investment if we want to tackle them.

So how are they a threat? Let's pick an example. Climate change, if left unchecked, is likely to result in an increase in catastrophic weather events. This will lead to competition for land and resources that is likely to lead to more conflict. Such conflict will affect our security.

Another example is Cyber-warfare. In the past few years we've seen large portions of the NHS disabled by a ransomware attack, and we're seeing ever more evidence that nation states are seeking to interfere with our democratic decision making via social media.

When the NHS was attacked, the affected machines were running a defunct operating system that no longer received security updates. Imagine such an attack coincided with a biological or chemical attack. Upgrading IT systems must be a defence priority.

In the 21st century we need to recognise that defence is about more than weapons. Defence is about tackling the world's problems to keep us safe at home, and it needs more money.