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Do we now know what the Tory strategy for defence is?

25 February 2015 8:48
Britain's Defence minister Michael Fallon talks with his US counterpart Chuck Hagel during a defence ministers meeting at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on February 5, 2015.

For a while the Tories had hoped they could get away with dodging questions on defence spending until after the election. Even as the pressure within their own party for… Continue reading


We are one town away from a proxy war between Russia and the US

22 February 2015 11:06
Pro-Russian separatists on a road near Uglegorsk (Photo: Dominique Faget/Getty)

We are alarmingly close to the most serious confrontation between Russia and the United States since the end of the Cold War. A proxy war between Moscow and Washington on… Continue reading


Here’s an election idea: why not weaponise defence?

(Photo: Getty)

A few weeks ago, Boris Johnson posed a question in his residents’ survey for the Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency. ‘Which issues are most important for the country as a whole?’… Continue reading


Iraq and Syria are lost causes: Western intervention can’t help – or can it?

24 October 2014 18:05

Iraq and Syria are lost causes: Western intervention can’t help. Well, at least that was the motion put forward on Wednesday evening at a Spectator debate, in association with Brewin… Continue reading


Ottawans to jihadists: our city is stronger than ever

24 October 2014 13:29
Flowers left in front of the Canadian Parliament in honour of Cpl Nathan Cirillo of the Canadian Army Reserves, who was killed while guarding the National War Memorial (Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

I was born in Ottawa. I grew up in Ottawa. I studied in Ottawa. I work in Ottawa. Ottawa is in my DNA, as it is for more than a… Continue reading


Philip Hammond: No plans to engage in airstrikes

18 August 2014 14:52
Philip Hammond. Image: ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images

So Britain’s long-term fight against Isis isn’t, at the moment, going to involve this country doing any fighting. The Prime Minister this morning insisted that there would be no ‘boots… Continue reading


The Tories must commit to more defence spending in the next parliament

1 August 2014 12:32

Nato is 65 years old this year; but there’s little cause for celebration. The Defence Select Committee’s latest report suggests that the populations of western Europe and North America are… Continue reading


Is NATO a busted flush?

31 July 2014 9:22
The Ceremonial Funeral Of Former British Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher

Rory Stewart is no soft-touch. When he was elected chairman of the Defence Select Committee, it was thought that he would hold the government and NATO’s feet to the fire.… Continue reading


A full separation of powers could reinvigorate parliament

26 July 2014 13:22
Big Ben and the The Houses of Parliament

Last summer, parliament was recalled after President Assad’s forces used chemical weapons in Syria. David Cameron wanted the Commons to support air strikes against the Syrian regime in response. But… Continue reading


Is it time for ‘nose-peg Toryism’?

24 July 2014 16:24
Image: Getty

Before the election in 2005, the magnificently grand Polly Toynbee made a generous offer to Guardian readers reluctant to vote for Tony Blair after Iraq. ‘There is much to be… Continue reading


Michael Fallon marks century of Muslim service in British armed forces

24 July 2014 14:45
Muslim prayer taking place in the Memorial Courtyard of the Ministry of Defence in London on 23rd July 2014. (Image: Ministry of Defence)

After nineteen hours without food, nor even a drop of water, the prospect of the single succulent date which breaks the fast looms ever larger in the mind as sunset… Continue reading


Rory Stewart elected Chairman of the Defence Select Committee

14 May 2014 15:53
Rory Stewart, the new Commons Defence Select Committee chairman. Image: Getty

Rory Stewart, the colourful and interesting Tory MP, has been elected as chairman of the Defence Select Committee. Stewart is a formidable appointment. He is knowledgeable on defence and foreign… Continue reading


Will Philip Hammond challenge the SNP’s conceits?

15 April 2014 8:51

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas has said, in the Telegraph, that the sum of the Royal Navy’s parts is not greater than its whole. Scottish independence, he says,… Continue reading


Ukraine increases mistrust and misinformation between Russia and the West

14 April 2014 8:48
World Leaders Meet For G8 Summit AT Lough Erne

The tense situation in Ukraine has escalated overnight. A deadline has passed for pro-Russian agitators to vacate government buildings in eastern Ukraine or face military action. There is no indication… Continue reading


Women should not fight on the frontline

10 April 2014 13:44
Operation Buzzard

Writing in the Spectator Diary some time ago, the evergreen Peregrine Worsthorne, observed that one of the things about getting on was that you ended up forgetting the reason why… Continue reading


Scottish independence: an exemplary or cautionary foreign policy Rorschach Test?

9 April 2014 15:35
(FILES) A file picture taken in 1971 sho

The eyes of the world are upon us. Or so Scottish Nationalists like to say. Whae’s like us? There is some truth to this even if you think unseemly all… Continue reading


America won’t be Europe’s policeman any more – but that’s good for Britain

25 February 2014 14:32
US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel. Image: Getty

The US Army’s cuts are good for Britain. They will force our European allies to think about their own defence and re-evaluate their policies. This will highlight the benefits of… Continue reading


Tory rebels and government are fighting yesterday’s wars

20 November 2013 9:27
British soldiers inspect a 'Snatch' Land Rover vehicle outside Basra in September 2006. (ESSAM AL-SUDANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, has a battle on his hands. 20 or so Tory MPs have signed John Baron’s amendment to the Defence Reform Bill. The bill aims to… Continue reading


Philip Hammond: Britain can do better than a blank sheet of paper or the Lib Dems

29 September 2013 15:27
Philip Hammond was made defence secretary because of his ability to balance the books. Picture: Getty.

listen to ‘Hammond: 'A Conservative government will never send our forces in to battle without the right kit'’ on Audioboo Philip Hammond’s speech to the Conservative conference was accompanied by… Continue reading


Jim Murphy: Labour does believe in intervention

23 September 2013 10:26
Shadow defence minister Jim Murphy. Photo: PA.

When Ed Miliband dropped his support for the government’s motion on military intervention in Syria, it was seen as a convenient way of the Labour leader avoiding the thorny question… Continue reading


Philip Hammond: No 2nd Syria vote ‘unless the circumstances change very significantly’

2 September 2013 16:50
Philip Hammond was made defence secretary because of his ability to balance the books. Picture: Getty.

Defence Questions this afternoon was, as you might expect, a rather chippy affair. It seemed that whenever Philip Hammond rose to answer a question, he answered it by reminding the… Continue reading


Argentina’s G-20 membership should be revoked

12 August 2013 17:07
Argentina's President Kirchner is not afraid to play on the global stage by her own rules. Britain should stop her. (JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)

When Argentina appears in British public discourse, it is normally in relation to one of the two ‘f’s – football or the Falklands. The behaviour of President Cristina Kirchner’s regime… Continue reading


What did President Eisenhower say about the ‘military industrial complex’?

9 August 2013 9:03
HMS Illustrious is on its way to Gibraltar.

The ‘routine’ deployment of HMS Illustrious and two bustling frigates to Gibraltar, en route to the Gulf of Aden, has excited the morning papers. And the evacuation of the American… Continue reading


Is José Manuel Barroso after the top job at Nato?

24 July 2013 13:30
Image: Getty

José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, put on a suspiciously big-time press conference today to launch what were really no more than some modest proposals to standardise the… Continue reading


If David Cameron wants a military capable of toppling Assad, he’ll have to pay for it

18 July 2013 9:05
"I heard that you were short of air cover in Afghanistan, so the guys at DFID made you something..."

Libya is a success from which David Cameron might not recover. This, at any rate, seems to be the fear of Sir David Richards who has marked his exit as… Continue reading