“Ours is a great country of which people are rightly proud, where the first duty of government must be to defend its people and do whatever it takes to safeguard Britain’s national security.”
It goes without saying that the primary duty of any government is to safeguard its citizens. In this sense the statement is of the obvious. That is a central tenet of world order but, as a Liberal, I do wonder what the newly created TIG is attempting to convey with their message (see above in italics) on national security.
The TIG, The Independent Group, consists of MPs who have resigned from the two main political parties in British Politics, Tory and Labour. Their spokesperson is Chuka Umunna who is from the Blairite wing of the party that voted for the Iraq War. It should be pointed out that Chuka himself wasn’t an MP at the time but, nevertheless, he belongs to that faction. The rest of the group members have not distinguished themselves either in reference to the war.
It, therefore, leaves us to conclude that their stated aim on national security is wholly encapsulated in that sweeping statement. It sits uncomfortably with me, as a Liberal.
In simple terms have we not learnt that wars do not solve anything but create conflict. There are children in Yemen who are dying of starvation because of a war. Children are dying in refugee camps because of wars. As a feminist mother, the statement leaves me cold.
National security conducted without consideration of causes of war and the role that institutions play in delivering conflict solutions is a highly dangerous game. While inflicting ongoing suffering on the intended victims it also compromises citizens at home. John Locke’s ‘Social Contract’ theory states that the contract draws legitimacy from those who are governed. Given people’s lack of appetite for armed conflict where does this leave the TIG’s intentions? Alarmingly, there is an undertone of authoritarianism in the TIG’s statement or liberalism via imperialism perhaps.
What would have been far more impressive is if it had, in the spirit of creating something ‘new’, started a conversation about what form a response ought to take in the event of global conflict. The TIG assumes that the sole referent object when it comes to national security is the citizen. What about the environment, geopolitics and the arms trade with vested interests?
When you consider that conflict, Brexit, was the reason in the first place for the TIG’s formation it could have seized the opportunity to challenge and articulate new ways of addressing politics.
P/S The following comment was tweeted at me: