Yet again, we read misleading articles about the Defence budget in the news today. We are not spending 2% of GDP on our Armed Forces as reported in many newspapers and media outlets. A huge amount of Defence money has been siphoned into the domestic security silo.
As a result, our soldiers, sailors and air-people are suffering from a lack of modern equipment and realistic training. This reduces morale, harms retention, alarms our Allies and supports our adversaries.
See Chapter 2 of Belfast to Benghazi for the last time that a Government properly supported the Armed Forces.
On Thursday 21st June, I am facing the daunting prospect of opposing the prize-winning journalist, Peter Hitchens, at the Rab Butler Debate on Anglo-Russian relations in Saffron Walden.
Tickets are free for members, or £5 for guests with a complementary glass of wine. The event starts at 7.30 p.m. in the wonderful Hart’s Bookshop.
The Government of National Accord is up in arms about a House of Commons proposal to pass a law enabling the British Government to use frozen Libyan assets in Britain to compensate IRA victims.
This was one of three legacy issues, which London was keen to pursue when I arrived in Libya in 2011. The other two were the criminal investigations into the 1984 murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher and the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. The issue of IRA compensation was the brainchild of an ambitious lawyer seeking to take a multi-million pound slice of the Libyan oil and gas money. His letter to Prime Minister, David Cameron in 2011, was an outlandish piece of opportunism.
See Chapter 6 of Belfast to Benghazi for other mistakes London made in the aftermath of the Libyan revolution.
A big development in Libya’s journey to regain its place as an influential member of the international community took place in Tripoli yesterday. The public announcement that General Tom Waldhauser was in the Libyan capital meeting the Presidency Council and the Libyan military chiefs was not possible until the security situation and humanitarian problems improved.
There is a significant risk for the Libyan Government in welcoming the US military into the country. The memory of the US Ambassador’s assassination in Benghazi is still fresh and there remains very strong opposition to foreign troops on the ground. See chapter 6 of Belfast to Benghazi for the story of the first secret visit to Tripoli of the US commander of AFRICOM after the 2011 revolution.