Election ‘shock’ just means more of the same for defence

Contrary to predictions, the 2015 General Election has delivered a small majority for the Conservative party who will continue to govern but are now no longer reliant on Liberal Democrat support. Mr Cameron remains Prime Minister and has quickly re-appointed the same Chancellor of the Exchequer and Foreign Secretary while Michael Fallon will continue as Secretary of State for Defence. Instead of the horse-trading and uncertainties of minority government, this seamless transition means we can make some assumptions about the future defence planning based on Tory pre-election statements.

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RFA Argus, Freetown, Sierra Leone

The Royal Navy – prime force for delivery of emergency aid and disaster relief

The size of the Britain’s £11Bn overseas aid budget is becoming increasingly controversial at a time when we are cutting defence spending and trying to reduce national debt. There are good reasons for wealthier nations to help the poorest in the world but whether these hand-outs create lasting peace and prosperity is questionable. There is however, a clear moral imperative when natural disasters occur to assist our fellow man struggling for their very survival. This important and frequently required humanitarian aid mission is often forgotten in political discussions around the size and shape of the navy.

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CND protest Parliament

In search of the Royal Navy’s political friends (Part 2: minority parties)

Summoning only a handful of MPs between them, the fringe parties have until now had a very limited ability to influence national issues. The absence of a legacy that can be criticised maybe to their advantage but they lack the political inexperience and the gravitas that comes with office. Any judgement of them must therefore be made mainly on their pronouncements, not their actions. The mainstream parties are mainly composed of ‘career politicians’ more concerned with power than ideology, but at least the fringe parties are predominantly ‘conviction politicians’ who actually believe in something. They tend to have stronger and sometimes extreme views on defence matters which must now be scrutinised.

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In search of the Royal Navy’s political friends (Part 1: the mainstream parties)

The general election due in May this year promises to be a tight contest and the result is unusually difficult to predict. Whatever the complexion of the new administration a defence review will be conducted in October that will be critical for the future of the RN and the security of the nation.

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Operation Sealion

Our new Battle of Britain – Have the lessons of history been forgotten or misunderstood?

This is a guest post by Dr. Anthony J. Cumming, graduate of Plymouth University and winner of the Julian Corbett Prize for Research in Modern Naval History. This piece provides a historical perspective on myths about defending Britain that continue to influence allocation of precious defence resources.

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