Dimbleby Lecture

For the past 35 years the Richard Dimbleby Lecture has featured a talk by the influential and the great - largely members of the Establishment. This year's speaker does not get much closer to the core of the Establishment; General Sir Mike Jackson, former Chief of the General Staff.

I thought he was promising, at the outset, to give us an insight into the needs of the military for the next generation and its needed manifestation, though I think he failed to deliver on that score. What we seemed to get was his hawkish preference for foreign intervention and a plea for more money and conditions for soldiers. This is fair enough but not particularly profound or shocking..he would say that, wouldn't he? After all he knows no other life but the military and his parochial credentials were clearly discernable.

Perhaps the thing that also did not shock, but did give a terse justification, if you will, for the nuclear option was what he said about the replacement for Trident:

We need to create a terrifying uncertainty about what we would or would not do in extremis.

Herein lies the weight of over 40 years of experience of "the enemy". Creating uncertainty.

I wonder if this uncertainty affects the way they think in Damascus, Kabul, Beirut and others - or China for that matter?

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