Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Gavin Williamson misspoke - but covered his tracks

Europhobes and Americophiles have long maintained that it has been NATO alone which has preserved the UK's security since the last World War. That is disputable, but impossible to refute. However, the Defence Secretary went further yesterday claiming that the EU had nothing to do with keeping the peace in Europe since the war, that this was all down to NATO.

His only excuse is that he is too young to recall the days before the expansion of the EU, when both Spain and Portugal were dictatorships, when Greece suffered a coup allegedly inspired by NATO apparatchiks, or when Turkey (a NATO country) invaded Cyprus (a protectorate of a NATO country).

Someone in government must have had a quiet word with him, because the Hansard record has been softened. It is a grey area, but to me this goes beyond editing "to remove repetitions and obvious mistakes but without taking away from the meaning". At least we know that the official government line is not completely anti-EU.

(In reply to an earlier question Williamson had said: " we cannot outsource Europe’s defence to the United States" . This is interesting in view of UK's dependence on the USA for the Trident programme.)

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