Cover 9781785904103

Britain is at a crossroads. As we leave the EU, we face a great challenge and also the opportunity to forge a new identity in an increasingly uncertain world. Our Armed Forces will be critical to our power and prosperity.

For centuries, they have been the envy of the world. Now barely a day passes without reports of diminishing prowess. The number of Navy workhorse ships has been halved and the Army reduced to its smallest size since the Napoleonic war. Our spectacular new aircraft carriers and the F-35 fighter jet programme are mired in controversy. Meanwhile, the Armed Forces face questions about their purpose. The bitter experiences of Iraq and Afghanistan have undermined the concept of the military as a ‘force for good.’ Voters are now sceptical of discretionary wars in faraway places. Aside from sporadic jihadi attacks, few believe there is any real threat to our way of life.

Thus defence spending is no longer a public priority. Politicians know that there are more votes in schools and hospitals, even while they are deploy our troops onto the streets after suicide bombings or, more recently,  a nerve agent attack. In what feels like peacetime, no wonder top brass have to justify big budgets.

Yet this country faces an array of new and escalating threats, while Brexit and Donald Trump raise difficult questions over the future of our most important alliances. Have we become dangerously complacent?

Are we still masters of our own destiny, or have we run up the white flag?


“If ever there were a time when the UK needed a clear national strategy with strong armed forces at its heart, it is today. Yet, as this excellent book makes disturbingly clear, the opposite is true: we have no strategy and weakening armed forces. Thought-provoking and highly readable, this book shows how we have reached this nadir and what must now be done to rectify it. At stake is the protection of our way of life in a very troubled world. I commend White Flag? equally to defence professionals and interested laymen.”

General the Lord Richards GCB CBE DSO

“This book will change the way you think about our country’s defence.”

Captain Johnny Mercer

“This is an essential book at a crucial time. It needs to be read by anyone who cares about the UK’s security and prosperity – and about our children’s prospects in the twenty-first century.  The book establishes the battered state of the UK’s armed forces and why they cannot now defend our homeland or secure our vital interests. It shows we must now choose: either innovate and pay to transform the armed forces to do the job we ask of them, or accept that the UK will  rely on luck and the benevolence of our opponents to exist in a much more challenging world.”

General Sir Richard Barrons KCB CBE

White Flag? offers a refreshing independent analysis of the state of the armed forces, free of the inter-service rivalries that can undermine analysis on this subject. The authors have a unique insight into the political wrangling over defence and how this affects the military.

While giving praise where it is due, the authors reveal the dysfunction at the heart of political decision-making on military matters and explore the huge challenges faced by the Ministry of Defence. They show how politicians of all parties, believing there are no votes in defence, have consistently underfunded the armed forces in the hope that they will only ever engage in ‘wars of choice’. In a straightforward and highly readable style, this book explains why defence cannot be taken for granted.”

James Glancy CGC

“Britain needs to read this book before it’s too late.”

Andy McNab

“A highly readable and constantly interesting account of how our armed forces function today and what they could be missing. This book is an urgent reminder to all of us to think hard about new threats that are developing rapidly. It is essential reading for anyone concerned about the future defence of Britain, and should be recommended for those under the illusion that they need not be concerned.”

William Hague
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  • Hardback, 400 pages
  • ISBN: 9781785904103
  • 2 October 2018
    Available to pre-order
  • £20.00

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  • ISBN: 9781785904196
  • 2 October 2018
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