The first, and most important, duty of any government is the defence of our national security.
It is our armed forces and security services that underpin our democratic freedoms and economic opportunities. We have survived and prospered as an independent trading nation for several centuries because in every century we have summoned the courage and the resources to defend ourselves, our neighbours and our allies.
Twenty-five years ago, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the West became complacent. Some even predicted the ‘end of history’, and expected to see every country in the world move inexorably to embrace democracy and freedom.
How naïve and foolish that vision now seems. Russia is led by an old-fashioned nationalist autocrat, who has annexed the Crimea and invaded the Ukraine. Meanwhile, a few hundred miles from popular European holiday destinations, the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean are terrorised by a new barbarism which buries women alive, decapitates people because of their religion, and throws gay people off cliffs.
The world is more dangerous and more threatening than at any time for 40 years – and the British people need a government with a clear plan to deliver the defences we need to guarantee our national security.
Our plan starts with economic growth: because it is only with sustained economic growth that we can afford to make necessary investments in the full range of defence capabilities, whether the replacement for our nuclear deterrent, the purchase of the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter or the development of vital new capabilities in cyber-warfare and drone technology.
But our national security requires more than that. It also requires strong and clear leadership. In David Cameron, we have a Prime Minister who is respected around the world. President Obama recently called him an “outstanding partner” and commented that “on many of the most pressing challenges that we face we see the world the same way”.
In Europe, David Cameron has led the way in negotiating a tough set of sanctions to punish Russia for its intervention in the Ukraine. Allies know that David Cameron can be relied on. Enemies know that he cannot be pushed around.
On May 7, when the British people vote in the general election, one of the things they will be asking themselves is this: “Who do I trust with Britain’s national security? Which man will keep our country strong and safe? Is it David Cameron? Or Ed Miliband?”