Mass migration and the internet are increasing threats to Britain’s national security, according to former Home Secretary John Reid.
By Christopher Hope, Whitehall Editor
The Telegraph (UK)
National crises which threatened the UK were happening far more than people thought, he added, and were no longer “one-off events”.
The MP for Airdie and Shotts, who will leave the House of Commons at the next general election, said he is setting up a new think tank called the Institute of Security and Resilience Studies.
The new centre will assess long term threats against the UK and other countries.
International migration had increased the range of threats against the UK after the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, he said.
He told The Daily Telegraph: “The chief characteristic of the world we have to face is mobility.
“Forty years ago, the Cold War meant that the borders were inviolate, extremist religious groups and ethnic tensions were suppressed, there was no internet and travel was difficult.
“Now you have a completely mobile world. So the great questions of mass migration, international crime and international terrorism were much higher than they were previously.”
The result was “far more sources of insecurity than ever before”, made worse by the advent of the internet which increased the interdependence of the world.
He said: “We have to recognise that on the net you can practically get the full DNA of the First World War flu that killed 24 million people.”
National emergencies were no longer one-off events, he said. “Crises are looked upon as very exceptional circumstances.
“Actually they occur a lot more than people think, a lot more often than people know and they are getting more regular.”
Threats were now cyber attacks, pandemics, global warming and energy shortages.
Politicians were forced to make key decisions under “huge pressure” from the internet and 24 hour news media. Too often Governments were “behind the curve” when trying to deal with new threats, he added.
“Countries, societies and economies that cannot develop better the capacity to prevent, resist and recover will be left vulnerable and exposed.”
The new institute would work on long term solutions with academics and the private sector to try to come up with long term solutions to help ministers on a “non-partisan” basis.