Letters - Friday March 19, 2021
I was shocked at daffodil destruction at Fairhaven Lake
South Fylde is among the most picturesque environments in the North West yet there are those who choose to desecrate it.
Fairhaven Lake is currently awash with daffodils and I was appalled by what I witnessed while walking round it late one sunlit afternoon.
I passed what I took to be two young mums together with three children, two of whom were each holding a single daffodil. I was slightly taken aback but felt it wasn’t something to get worked up about.
However, when I glanced back I couldn’t believe my eyes. One of the women waded into the beautiful bed and helped herself to a massive bunch. Besides the sheer greed of it, what was tantamount to wanton damage was an appalling example to set the children. It also undermines nature being seen at its best by others.
There are plenty of daffodils on sale in the shops. Surely it wouldn’t have dented the culprit’s purse to fork out a pound or two on a bunch and spared the landscape being harmed by indiscriminate actions.
On the positive side, I anticipate that the Lake is going to look really idyllic once ongoing work is completed hopefully in time for the summer season.
Fylde council are to be commended on their vision in enhancing their top tourist attraction.
All defence reviews are leaps in dark
The first and most important task of any government is to ensure the safety and security of its citizens. Every other task is secondary. Regrettably, until danger threatens we forget this.
The government has just published its long awaited 100-page foreign and defence review, the first for 10 years.
It is very important. During that time vital parts of our defence equipment and weaponry have become outmoded in a world transformed by technological change. A revolution has occurred in military affairs. For example, the tank’s future is in doubt.
It is an integrated review. Foreign policy is spelt out as well as defence; they are two blades of the same scissors dealing as they do with ends as well as means.
All reviews are leaps in the dark. Future threats are unknown. Will: terrorism continue to be a major threat, conventional armed conflict in Europe be a thing of the past, Russia behave, China, an emerging superpower, be content to sit within its own borders, North Korea become a global threat as its nuclear arsenal grows, and will nuclear submarines remain undetectable? How will Brexit affect us?
Assumptions, therefore, have to be made and these determine the choice of future equipment and weapons. A growing lead and lag time of major weapon systems means a delay of, in some cases, eight years or more before they are ready for the battlefield. Cost-overruns are inevitable, and threats have a nasty habit of changing. Today’s new weapon may be old hat in under five years. Space may be the next battleground.
Britain since 1945 has been a country of the second rank in military terms. We continue to depend on America for stability in Europe. NATO has been and must remain our key commitment. Our nuclear deterrent is, contrary to popular belief, not independent; It would never be used or threatened without America’s sanction. That is why the decision in the review to remove the cap on the number of our nuclear warheads is unnecessary.
Each thermonuclear warhead today is around one hundred times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. America has over 6,000. While the decision to uncap does not breach the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty it does infringe its spirit as well as giving opponents of nuclear weapons free ammunition.
An integrated policy is welcome. However, this one partly focused on a role in the Indo-China sphere is going to be extremely challenging as the world balance of power is shifting steadily eastwards-one third of humankind is now Indian or Chinese.
How Britain can play a significant role in, say, another India-Pakistan war or one between China and Japan over the South China seas, or between the Korea’s, is not at all clear.
Cuts in our armed forces are inevitable. Some ‘teeth’ arms and support ‘tail’ units can no longer be justified. A much leaner force equipped with the very latest systems is what is required in the coming years of uncertainty.
High expenditure on intelligence remains vital. ‘Soft power’ as well as coercion is still very important in a world riddled with wars, rebellions, coups, and terrorism.