We are facing many uncertainties in the world, with international terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the instability caused by ‘rogue’ states. Now, as much as ever, we need to think clearly and act decisively when confronting these issues.
Yet people who are very good at facing up to challenges in their everyday lives suddenly lapse into wishful thinking when it comes to international affairs.
An example is the European Union. We want to think that Europeans can work together and nation states can co-operate, so we are therefore prepared to overlook the uncomfortable facts. Is it acceptable that an unaccountable bureaucracy drives through 70% of our laws? And why is it that we are prepared to accept things from Brussels, in the name of ‘European integration’, that we would never accept from our own government?
We know, for example, the EU is dumping subsidised agricultural produce in developing countries and undermining local farmers in those countries. But we have virtually no means of challenging this. No party standing for election can promise to change this policy, since the policy levers are not held by our elected government.
Wishful thinking also extends into wider international affairs. Previous generations have had to fight major conflicts when the future of the country was at stake. It is almost inevitable that, after a long period of relative peace and prosperity, we are lulled into a false sense of security. Every generation needs to be ready to face whatever challenges are thrown at it, and the desire for peace often requires readiness to take military action.
It has always been so, of course. The great writer George Orwell upset pacifists during the war by saying that pacifism was ‘objectively pro-Fascist’. The pacifists were outraged, but Orwell was simply stating an unwelcome truth: that in an all-out conflict with the Nazis, the pacifists in Britain did not wish Britain to fight the war. They therefore were indirectly assisting the Nazi effort to conquer Britain.
So it is that we have always to challenge our own assumptions. We need to be hard-headed and understand the long-term consequences of what we are doing. Aspirations for peaceful co-operation in Europe do not necessitate the Brussels bureaucracy, and aspirations for peace do not mean ignoring the growing threats to our security.
The New Party believes in strong defence, national self-government and democracy. We realise that tough choices have to be made in the world as it is and that our long-term security is not something that can be compromised.