Stability. Security. The peace of mind that comes from being able to get a decent job and provide for your family, in a country that you feel has a good future ahead of it and that treats people fairly. In a nutshell, that is what people in Britain want – and what the Government I lead is dedicated to building.
Britain – our economy, our security, our future – must come first. After a deep and damaging recession, and our involvement in long and difficult conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is hardly surprising that so many people say to me when seeing the tragedies unfolding on their television screens: “Yes, let’s help with aid, but let’s not get any more involved.”
I agree that we should avoid sending armies to fight or occupy. But we need to recognise that the brighter future we long for requires a long-term plan for our security as well as for our economy. True security will only be achieved if we use all our resources – aid, diplomacy, our military prowess – to help bring about a more stable world. Today, when every nation is so immediately interconnected, we cannot turn a blind eye and assume that there will not be a cost for us if we do.
The creation of an extremist caliphate in the heart of Iraq and extending into Syria is not a problem miles away from home. Nor is it a problem that should be defined by a war 10 years ago. It is our concern here and now. Because if we do not act to stem the onslaught of this exceptionally dangerous terrorist movement, it will only grow stronger until it can target us on the streets of Britain. We already know that it has the murderous intent. Indeed, the first Isil-inspired terrorist acts on the continent of Europe have already taken place.