Friday, 5 January 2007
Money Muddle for the Military
We are told Britain's economic stability is the envy of the developed world. We know tax payers are contributing more of our economic earnings to the public purse than at any time for the past 20 years. So why can't we afford a proper navy? (Let alone decent homes for our soldiers' wives?)
The answer is that our current government does not view defence spending as a priority. Rightly or wrongly our forces are committed in two major warzones and many other "situations" around the globe. However defence spending has declined dramatically. From 4.2% of GDP in 1985-1989 to around 2.3% in 2005.
Like many civilians I do not want to try to second guess our military leaders and tell them what pieces of equipment, ships, aircraft or submarines they should be buying to defend me. But I do want to be defended and am proud of Britain's great military and naval history. Where in all those election manifestos did the Labour party they tell the British public about their plans to cut military spending so dramatically?
Another report in today's paper is that the US navy is hunting down al-Qa'eda suspects off the coast of Somalia. This sounds like exactly what I want a navy to be able to do in today's world. One of the ships they are using is a destroyer. The sort of ship that I read is almost "entirely useless" in today's world. Is it any wonder some of us on civy street are in a muddle.