Your chance to shape Lib Dem policy on… Security

One of the areas where the party is currently consulting members and looking for input – and one which affects nothing less than the future of our world – is on Security.

The working group, chaired by Cambridge University international affairs expert (and Lib Dem councillor) Dr Julie Smith has produced a very easy to read consultation paper asking questions on some fascinating – and crucial – questions.

The first area they look at is terrorism. How well do we really understand the terrorist threat (and its causes)? What is the best way of responding to it – by military means or other ways? How can we most usefully work with governments in countries with a terrorist problem? These are some of the questions that the consultation paper poses.

But this is emphatically not only an international affairs topic – it also looks at what we need to do at home here in the UK to tackle the terrorist threat. Is the state of community cohesion in the UK relevant to the security threat? What causes British-born people to perpetrate terrorist acts against fellow citizens? How do we engage minority and immigrant groups better in UK society?

Threats to our security do not only come from ill-intentioned people. How well do we understand the implications of potential global resource wars for our security? Are we prepared for them? What action do we need to be taking to protect our energy supplies – and what are the implications of that for our relations with the rest of the world?

And indeed what role do we think Britain needs to have in the twenty-first century world? Should we even be attempting to retain our status as a military power which punches above our weight? Leaving aside Iraq – when should countries like Britain seek to intervene in other parts of the world? Should Britain ever seek to intervene in another country on our own? – and if not, what are the implications of that for how we should organise joint operations with other countries and organisations like NATO and the EU, so that they contribute most effectively to our security?

These are all questions which are not only fascinating, but central to the future of our world.

Don’t be one of those who complains when this comes to Bournemouth Conference in the autumn, that you didn’t have the chance to contribute – go to the website and contribute your views there, or if you prefer to do so privately, write to the chair of the working group, c/o Policy Projects Team, 4 Cowley St, London SW1P 3NB.

* Jeremy Hargreaves is Vice Chair of the Liberal Democrats’ Federal Policy Committee (FPC) which is responsible for the party’s policy making. He is also part of the writing group preparing the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto for the next General Election.

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5 Comments

  • A good start would be to de-emphasise the exaggerated threat of gas and germ attacks. The materials required are difficult to make and use, compared to explosives. Sometimes it seems as if most of the funding and attention is going towards countering these unconventional threats. Remember also that the Iraq War was justified by the alleged existence of these weapons.

    In the Tokyo gas attacks, several agents working together to hit the rush hour of the busiest subway on Earth managed to kill only twelve people with sarin nerve gas. They’d have killed more people with hand grenades. Or machetes.

  • Iain Roberts 4th Mar '08 - 4:22pm

    Thanks for the heads-up. I’ll try and find time to read the 18 page document over the next few weeks and comment properly.

  • The terrorist threat is real, but let’s not exaggerate it.

    Dr Harold Shipman killed far more people in this country than Al-Qaeda has to date.

    Terrorism is best combatted by the use of good intelligence, good systems and good technology.

    Magnify terrorism, and we put ourselves exactly where Cheney, Murdoch, et al want us – in a state of heightened fear where we meekly accept the imposition of an Orwellian dispensation.

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