Coffee House

Liam Fox warns on security spending and on avoiding Iraq

22 June 2014

The Cabinet is split between doves and hawks on whether Britain should back US involvement in Iraq, but this morning Liam Fox argued on the Andrew Marr Show that whether or not the Uk avoids military action, it will not be able to avoid the threat from jihadists. he said:

‘Remember, the West is seen as a single entity. There are those who say if we don’t get involved, if we hunker down, then we’ll be fine, there’ll be no backlash. That is utterly, utterly wrong because the jihadists don’t hate us because of what we do; they hate us because of who we are and we can’t change that. It’s our values and our history that they detest more than anything else.’

There is also the point that an unnamed hawkish minister makes to Tim Shipman in the Sunday Times today: just because this country isn’t directly involved, its airbases and engineers could still be used by the Americans. Fox’s warning was coupled with a call for a review of security powers and spending: he said politicians should examine ‘whether the security services have adequate resources for an increased threat. And that’s a question that politicians will have to take into account in judgements on spending allocation. But also do the powers that they have reflect the increasing need?’

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Show comments
  • Bonkim

    Don’t trust this man, was he not pallying up with a commercial bod on a foreign trip on official business and had to resign.

    True the Jihadists lump all in the West as the Great Satan they have to eliminate, and don.t differentiate between the different countries and their foreign policies. Is that any different from say those in the West lump all islamic fighters as terrorists regardless of the different causes they are fighting for – I suppose both sides each other as the baddies needing to be eliminated.

    • Maidmarrion

      Much like we lumped them all in the ” axis of evil” eh?

  • starfish

    Too many armchair generals on this thread

    Yes there is a major equipment spend


    The armed fprces have immense manpower issues. Real structural fault kines in key areas

    An improving economy is exacerbating the problem

    We have generally good kit but it is over used and under supported

    The support infrastructure is creaking from estates to buildings to repair facilities even IT power and water in some areas -no investment for decades as focus was on iraq and Afghanistan

    In my own service 19 ships are doing the work of 26 and the T23 will need to be LIFEXed to double their original service life

    And service personnel are still bailing this half-arsed country out olympics, strikes, commonwealth games, flooding etc

    Plenty of money for foreigners and benefit addicts

    And I speak feom direct personal experience of trying to keep this show on the road

    It is only the quality of our people that have prevented strategic failure on an epic scale

    • MirthaTidville

      In a nutshell Starfish..well said. RAF is in the same situation.

  • kyalami

    Spend more on defence.

    Fight less.

    Make sure our armed forces are well-trained, well-equipped and well-looked-after.

    If you overtly carry a big stick, chances are you’ll get into fewer fights.

    • Bonkim

      Sound logic. Only spending more does not always equate to stronger or better – defence industry is a tight-knit cabal, very inefficient and act as if the money bags will appear regardless of how they manage it.

  • Pier66

    No MORE WARS With Britain Involved please
    thats my opinion If we can stay out of those disgrace would much much better, leave nato and other organisation fix a thing that will NEVER fix
    Ynwa and Tory for ever

  • David Ganz

    Does anyone take this disgraced exminister, too fond of dragging his cronies to meetings, seriously? He should be in prison.

  • swatnan

    The man has a shifty demeanour and cannot be trusted.
    What is he hiding about himself?

  • david trant

    All that libertarian stuff the Tories always spout when in opposition soon goes in the shredder when in government, I do hope David Davis will be fighting a by-election over the comments made by Liam (has anyone seen my catamite?) Fox.

  • Last Man Standing

    Recent research shows that at least 250,000 Muslims support extreme violence in the UK in support of Islam, and that 30% of Muslim university students do. Indeed this represents an increasing level of support for Islamic violence by the young, and therefore by the Muslim community in the UK.

    At least 500 Muslims from the UK have gone to commit acts of terror in Syria and Iraq. How many thousands and tens of thousands of others would wish to do so?

    We have been placed in grave and immediate danger by successive Governments. Now is the time to act for the security and stability of our historic and indigenous society. At the least Muslims must not be permitted to hold any positions of authority in Government, in the provision of state services, or participate in politics or education.

    Islam, as a political ideology, is incompatible with our own Western civilization. We act robustly but with generosity and humanity, or we will lose our civilization and society forever.

  • victor67

    Same old neo-conservative tosh that was spouted after 9/11.
    “They hate our freedoms and moms apple pie”
    You wouldn”t imagine Norway, Sweeden or Switzerland high up on their target list. Pax American is targeted because it medals In the affairs of the ME .

  • goatmince

    “Remember, the West is seen as a single entity.”
    Now, anyone who has ever left his shire to travel the planet knows that that’s 100% organic male cow dung. Counter extremists stupidity by letting the indigenous stupid speak? You’ve done that rather well in this instance, congrats for that.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …i think I like your goat sockpuppet most of all, lad.

  • Alexsandr

    so Liam Fox is telling us what Adam Werrity thinks is he?

  • Kitty MLB

    We have cut our defence, we have already used up much of our
    resourses in Iraq and Afghanistan, never forgetting the lives
    of our soldiers gone forever.
    Do we have enough resourses if we are attacked by Islamics
    in our own country?
    You say they hate us because of who we are and not what we do,
    really? So when the tube station was blown up on that dreadful
    day in July, they never said that was revenge for Iraq.

    We have had nothing but trouble since being dragged into a war
    that was nothing but Blair prancing about on the world stage.
    In reality the middle east are heading for a civil war that could
    last for decades.
    So No, we must be doves.

    • HookesLaw

      We have not used up ‘resources’ in iraq. We still have a defence budget which is currently building 2 giant aircraft carriers and scores of exotic jets. We currently have ample airpower.
      As a nation we should be less concerned with how many scores of thousands of soldiers we have but on their equipment and on how many special forces we can train sustain and equip.

      • Kitty MLB

        What are we going to train, equip and sustain these
        special forces for, a civil war elsewhere?
        Or to defend us in our own country, after all
        David Cameron has said they will come after us,
        and we know that we have potential terrorists here
        like that ‘English’ Muslim doctor who has taken
        himself off to Iraq.

        • HookesLaw

          So what sort of army do you want? We are part of the NATO alliance and have our own nuclear deterrent.
          Special forces operating where they are needed are as much a defence of our homeland as anything.

          • Alexsandr

            oh. what use is a trident against something like ISIS?

            • HookesLaw

              That was part of my point … but trident is of some use against nuclear blackmail. Our strategic defence is catered for by NATO and Trident.
              Thats why in case you care to think about it we need strong special forces and elite units to support them to be the basis of any interventions overseas. There is no way we can aford the divisions and divisions that the US have. But we can build up reserve units in the manner of their National Guard to support our army.

              • Wessex Man

                You are completely mad, National guard, where are you going to get them from? Nato, now totally ineffective because your ‘friends’ in the EU are pushing for an EU army, the USA who provide most of the fighting element and hardware are aghast at these plans. Are you in the reserves or are you totally b********* yet again?

          • Wessex Man

            Have you signed up yet you liar?

      • MirthaTidville

        Hooky go away and find out about defence rather than Tory CO publicity.We are building 2 carriers, it would be more expensive to abandon than build (thanks to Liebour) one of which will never go into service. When the first, and only,comes into service we will have no jets to fly off it. The RAF is stretched like a rubber band (inside knowledge here) your comment of `ample airpower` really shows how little you know..All thanks to your pal Dave

        • Wessex Man

          Thank you for bringing a hint of sanity to hooky’s bag of lies, I feel that he already knows everything you say is true but has no quelms about trying to mislead the nation much like his master.

          • HookesLaw

            Keep your lies to yourself – that you can talk about sanity is hilarious.
            We have one of the largest defence budgets in the world but a parliament which is obsessed about not using the results.

            • Wessex Man

              You are one of the biggest liars here, the Chief of Defense has begged the liar Cameron not to impose the latest bout of cuts and was completely ignored. They haven’t actually set aside any money for aircraft to go on the one carrier. Your exotic aircraft can’t actually fire weapons yet, perhaps the crews will down opposition by shouting boo at them!

              Our Special Forces are worn out because of constant deployment, don’t tell me lies, one of my family is in the very units you talk about with so much knowledge. You are a buffon, who has probably never been anywhere near combat!

              You are nearly as bad a liar as tele.

            • Colonel Mustard

              Budget doesn’t translate into effective forces. The MoD is top heavy and over-staffed and procurement is an expensive mess. The RN has more Admirals and Captains than ships, about 300 to 19. God knows what they all do, write diversity propaganda I should think.

        • HookesLaw

          Like you are an expert? I don’t think.
          We are a part of the F35 programme. The carriers are really too big for what we need but we will have them. The planes are probably too exotic, but they will serve for decades. They will give us a major strike force. It is not this govts fault that labour misabaged its equipment procurement timetable.

          Meantime we have sufficient airpower to play our relatively small part in any action if called on. We have not used up our recources we still have a very large defence budget which meets our treaty obligations.
          I repeat we need to invest in our special forces and the elite units to support them.

          • MirthaTidville

            I happen to have a son who serves front line in the RAF, which makes me a damn sight more of an expert than you.You talk whatever string your puppet master pulls

          • Colonel Mustard

            We already had a major strike force until Cameron started cutting it so that he could boast about hosing borrowed money to foreign countries and subsidising fake charities.

            • monty61

              Too right.

    • victor67

      Indeed No Iraq 2003. No 7/7.

  • Kitty MLB

    Oh slightly off topic.I remember a few years back noticing a red
    faced man chosing a tie in Bath. I intervened with his choice
    not realising it was Liam Fox…very red faced myself , fortunately
    he was lovely.

  • Mark

    Whatever your foreign policy, cutting our national defences at a time when America’s retreating, Russia’s resurgent, China’s rising and Islamism’s gaining strength and organisation is a dereliction of the first duty of government.

    • HookesLaw

      You want our armed forces to match China’s and Russias?

      • southerner

        No but it’d be useful if we had enough men to at least defend the Isle of Wight.

    • DaveTheRave

      Yes, I concur.
      We should greatly increase our spending on defence, but make sure our sights are firmly set on defending this country, rather than on deployment thousands of miles away, which has not solved problems and, arguably (ironically and perhaps predictably) created more threat to ourselves back home.

    • Alexsandr

      in jamaca they have a minister of defence
      he is also minister of de walls and minister of de hedge.

    • telemachus

      And just what do we need these forces for
      We will not go on the offensive in a hurry after Iraq

      • Andy

        To defend ourselves against subversives like you.

        • telemachus

          Now if you imply we need more surveillance here at home, I agree

          • Andy

            We do against all Fascists who are enemies of the people and traitors. That means you and your ilk.

            • Wessex Man

              Andy he’s not dangerous, he’s just an evil lying slimeball.

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