Another day another policy group report. This morning the National and International Security Policy Group unveiled its final report at Chatham House. The group’s chairman, Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, was introduced by David Cameron who pointed out that he had placed her in a difficult position as she was now a member of the Shadow Cabinet to whom she was submitting a report. As well as David Cameron (who has not attended either of the two previous policy group launches) Liam Fox, William Hague and David Davis all attended.
In common with the reports launched by Social Justice Policy Group and the Globalisation and Global Poverty Policy Group this morning’s report – entitled An Unquiet World – is comprehensive and substantial, David Cameron called it "hard headed, gritty and practical."
In her speech Dame Pauline started with a broad definition of what constitutes security; it encompasses our domestic as well as our foreign policy. She then highlighted three key conclusions;
- The growing world powers are in Asia; Britain should make more of its unique relationship with India.
- Power is shifting to the large producers of raw materials yet these countries are often unstable, authoritarian regimes where the resources are state owned.
- The ideological challenge of political Islam to liberal democracies; where Dame Pauline said we had to succeed, there can be no compromise.
The report does include all the recommendations we previewed this morning but in her speech Dame Pauline focussed on an increased use of diplomacy, highlighting the importance of the special relationship and calling for greater engagement with China and India; the need to integrate rather than alienate British Muslims, saying that separation is increasing, and starts early, often when choosing primary schools; and more support for our overstretched armed forces, calling for a defence review and the creation of a dedicated force to assist with civil emergencies.
Dame Pauline was critical of Gordon Brown’s announcement yesterday about border police, saying that it was not comparable to the force being considered by the Conservatives.
In the questions afterwards David Cameron was asked about his strategy and he was resolute, saying he would "stay in the centre ground, battle for the centre ground."