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Labour the upper hand? Ha! Sorry Alan, but there's no way the British public will EVER trust Labour more on matters of security. For all Cameron's neglect of national security, and his uncharitably characterized speech on hoodies, I find it hard to believe that Labour have any sort of advantage on these matters with the electorate - or ever will have. Labour is the party that, in government, requires the Loyal Opposition's help to uphold Britain's nuclear deterent. The party that released thousands of violent criminals onto our streets, that has overseen the PC politicization of the Police force, botched Police mergers, given taxpayer's money to extremist Islamic organisations, ripped out huge chunks of our armed forces...

The electorate, thankfully, isn't quite so stupid as Milburn thinks. It is inconceivable that even Cameron on a particularly bad day could do much to damage the solid position of the Tories on security, letalone enough to bring them below Labour in the public's estimation on this issue.

Thank God.

Why do we need an NSC ? We have the JIC. This is structuralism gone mad.

What we do need is a restructuring of the Ministry of Defence

And the cabinet level Overseas & Defence Ctte......

I am afraid terms like "homeland security" are anathema to the British way of doing things. We already have the structures in place - it's the personnel that are the problem. We also have a solution to that, called elections.

David Cameron sets up a committee to find out what his national security policy should be and it recommends forming a new committee. Bin Laden will be shaking in his boots. Not.

Labour's spin on security is starting to resemble comical Ali declaiming that all was well, while US troops could be seen clearly in the background. He was utterly deluded, and so is NuLab. We are going down the right path if Nulab is becoming that desperate.

"The Independent's Mr Anderson sees Dame Pauline Neville-Jones' report as a bold attempt to consider Britain's foreign, defence and security policies within the same context and, in future, to see that policy progressed under the direction of a new US-style Security Council, to be chaired by the Prime Minister".

In light of all the dangers facing this country, whether terrorist threats or pandemics, I have argued before in favour of having an overarching security council to advise the government of the day on the options available for action.

Politicians and civil servants should not form part of that council (though I imagine the security services are civil servants and therefore would have to be members).

Men/women of action, whose training and lifelong experience have taught them the art of making decisions on matters of life and death should man the council, not lawyers and polytechnic lecturers whose job depends on spinning any situation in favour of their party.

After all, who would you prefer to have in charge of such a council (reporting to the PM), Sir Richard Dannatt or someone like Stephen Byers or Geoff Hoon?

And in any case...why all the US imports???
Homeland security rather than Home Office, Supreme Court rather than Law Lords, National Security Council rather than JIC/ODC.

What next???

The NSC was formed after the 1947 National Security Act and modelled on the Joint Intelligence Committee.

Really Cameron must do better than simply to copy US variants on what Britain itself developed.

Does he also propose to create a National Security Agency to take control of Menwith Hill which is the largest overseas listening station run by the NSA ?

Or does he propose to refuse US funds which keep GCHQ running ?

If ideas of this limpid nature continue to emanate from those around Cameron we may as well send them to University to learn something of the structures which have long been in place.

The real farce is that the Hutton Enquiry can reveal a Secretary of State for Defence who has in his own Department on secondment one of the world's top experts in Biochemical Weapons but said Secretary of State has never deigned to meet him or be briefed by him before attending Cabinet.

That Mr Hoon is the stark failure of command in the MoD

Tom Tom and Richard Shackleton are right. This is copycat rubbish. Dave should give Dame Pauline the boot.

Sadly not too much meat on this bone when you examine it. The biggest positive to it all is the move towards the basic principle of considering Foreign, Security and Defence policy as a wholistic and cross cutting single area of endeavour. However why we need yet another tier of undemocratic, tax payer funded, bureaucracy to do that is beyond me. We already have the structures and the people in place, it simply requires the political will to use them in that way. I would also wish to second very strongly indeed the Editor's wish list when it comes to these matters.

"3) A policy of zero tolerance towards domestic Muslim extremism including an end to public funding of any groups with Islamist connections and close supervision of foreign funding of UK mosques".

Yes, agreed ...but, if we want a transparently fair society, should that not be expressed as "zero tolerance against domestic extremism".

I am not quite sure how you would define "extremism" for this purpose but it should be cracked down on whether it is Islamic fundamentalism, the IRA or BNP or any other.

I've several times emailed Central Office to ask them, "who is on the National & International Security Policy Group". True to CCO form, no reply has ever come. Does anyone else know who's on it, other than Tom King & Pauline Neville-Jones?

Our American model has a lot to recommend it, not the least being that the fractured power structure prevents wholesale changes in government due to passing moods (i.e. the abolition of the Common Law in favor of the European "human rights" model or the radical constitutional change through devolution, both the products of a single Parliament).

But of all the uniquely American features of government that could be adapted to British use, a "National Security Council" is one of the worst. Our NSC is bureaucratic ass-covering at its very worst. Since its mandate is to anticipate threats to national security and devise solutions, it covers everything and talks about nothing.

If you don't believe me, Google up a copy of the most recent "leaked" NSC memo printed in the New York Times, read it, then ask yourself "Why is this crude summary of events and ideas about as a tenth as interesting or convincing than most Internet discussions on the same topic?"

Your PM would be better served by a minister he/she trusts than another self-perpetuating, permanent institution.

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