As Prime Minister David Cameron sets out a massive increase in the United Kingdom’s defense spending to Parliament Monday, in a move aimed at, according to him, protecting “prosperity,” he has also pledged that France can use a British air base in Cyprus to launch airstrikes on Syria.
Meanwhile, social spending cuts are due to be announced Wednesday, including to the Ministry of Defense and the police.
The gist of Cameron’s five-year defense and security plan, which he is putting to Parliament Monday, is “More planes, more ships, more people,” according to his most recent Twitter post:
More planes, more ships, more people. The Strategic Defence & Security Review is about Britain's national security. pic.twitter.com/efDZe5Dl70— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) November 23, 2015
Writing on Facebook Monday (see below), the British leader also said the government would make a major new investment in a new generation of surveillance drones,” while explaining in The Telegraph that the U.K. will make a joint investment with France in developing unmanned combat air vehicles.
The U.K.’s Royal Air Force base in Cyprus will also be opened up to the French so they can launch airstrikes against the Islamic State group in the aftermath of the attacks on Paris, Cameron announced at a joint press conference with France’s President Francois Hollande on Monday.
IN DEPTH: Paris Attacks
If Cameron gets his way, the chances of which commentator Andrew Rawnsley writers in The Guardian “have been dramatically improved in the wake of Paris,” Britain will invest an extra 12 billion pounds (US$18 billion) in defense equipment over the next 10 years. That means the U.K.’s defense budget, which is one of the largest in the world, will swell to US$269 billion over the next decade.
“This is not a time to equivocate about allowing our police to shoot a terrorist to save the lives of innocent people.”
On Facebook, Cameron urged the public not to “equivocate,” “stand back” or “question” the shooting of terrorists or the motives of security and intelligence services:
“This is not a time to equivocate about allowing our police to shoot a terrorist to save the lives of innocent people. It is not a time to stand back and wish for another world where Jihadi John or Reyaad Khan could somehow be arrested, rather than stopped in their tracks. Neither is it a moment to question our support for our dedicated security and intelligence services”
He claims his plan aims to respond to a variety of threats, including the rise of the Islamic State group, the crisis in Ukraine, and cyber attacks, but he also justifies it in the foreward of the review, as a way to "safeguard our prosperity."
He reiterates this purpose in a Facebook message about his day, writing, “These investments are an act of clear-eyed self-interest to ensure our prosperity and security.”
The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, proposed a foreign policy for Britain that would learn lessons from what he calls its “succession of disastrous wars … (that have) increased, not diminished, the threats to our own national security.”
Meanwhile, the premier faces swelling unrest against cuts to the public sector and to welfare payments amid growing inequality and poverty in the European nation.
Ironically, with Monday’s announcement of a planned increase in spending on warmongering, cuts will be made not only to domestic police forces, but also the Ministry of the Defense. A source told the International Business Times UK that up 10,000 jobs could be cut (up to 20 percent of the civilian workforce) over the next five years.
“People die this way and governments fall.”
British newspaper The Mirror reported Sunday that the planned cuts to police, due to be announced by the finance minister, George Osborne, on Wednesday, are being slammed by senior police figures, including former Scotland Yard Commissioner Ian Blair, who said the austerity measures will directly affect the police’s work with young Muslims who are being radicalized. Blair said, “National security depends on neighborhood security,” adding, “People die this way and governments fall.”