The best form of defence is…development?

Very strong speech today by Jim Murphy MP on why Labour is the party of the armed forces – but also why development is central to defence policy.

“…I want to tell you what can often be the most effective defence policy – and it’s not always a new piece of military hardware. It is a world-class international development policy. Investment in education, democratic reform and viable economies can hinder the spread of conflict. The careful prevention of development policy can be so much better than the painful cure of military action.

And I know that when development and diplomacy don’t succeed the decisions about deployment will always be controversial.

This Government was right to act to prevent the slaughter of thousands in Libya, just as a previous UK government was unforgivably wrong to sit idly by and watch the murder of 800,000 people in Rwanda.

I know that post-Iraq these decisions are even more difficult. We will debate, we may not agree, and so it should be – the decision to place our people in harm’s way will never be taken lightly.

I don’t want the anger that many people felt about the action that was taken in Iraq to defeat the shame we all felt about the failure to act in Rwanda.”

You can read the full text here

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