June 9, 2010

IN THE FIRST PLACE, THERE'S NOTHING TO DEFEND BRITAIN FROM...:

My once-in-a-generation cut? The armed forces. All of them: We are safer than at any time since the Norman conquest. Yet £45bn is spent defending Britain against fantasy enemies (Simon Jenkins, 6/08/10, guardian.co.uk)

I say cut defence. I don't mean nibble at it or slice it. I mean cut it, all £45bn of it. George Osborne yesterday asked the nation "for once in a generation" to think the unthinkable, to offer not just percentage cuts but "whether government needs to provide certain public services at all".

What do we really get from the army, the navy and the air force beyond soldiers dying in distant wars and a tingle when the band marches by? Is the tingle worth £45bn, more than the total spent on schools? Why does Osborne "ringfence" defence when everyone knows its budget is a bankruptcy waiting to happen, when Labour ministers bought the wrong kit for wars that they insisted it fight?

Osborne cannot believe the armed forces are so vital or so efficient as to be excused the star chamber's "fundamental re-evaluation of their role".


...and, in the second, America's nuclear forces have them covered.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 9, 2010 6:09 AM
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