One can debate the sufficiency or otherwise of the UK defence budget but that is surely another completely different topic?
The fact is that this thread was begun on the premise that the RAF had a fleet of ancient aircraft that were in dire need of replacing.
It was then backed by claims that the UK defence budget has been cut.
Both these specific points have been successfully challenged and IMO blown totally out of the water.
Whilst one can take a view on the matter of the funding level contrary to the current gov policy it has to be pointed out that the extensive and very
recent reviews do not
agree with or support the claim that UK forces have been cut to the point of an inability to perform the functions
required of them.
Those reviews were conducted by experts in the field as well as being informed by serving and ex senior military staff....the last one by the Joint
Chiefs - and there was absolutely no sign of your 'insufficient' claim there by the way.
Some may disagree but that is all it is, a disagreement amongst some but by no means all and certainly not the agreed conclusion of any serious review
Whilst one can always turn up a tame journo in a 'newspaper' that claims 'senior sources said' I don't think there has yet been a case of
senior personnel publicly saying what you have claimed Mike_A
It's true that certain members from the ranks have privately said they felt let down by the lack of personal protective equipment for instance, but,
seeing as the USA has had similar complaints whilst having a budget massively greater than anything 'we' could ever afford I don't think that is
necessarily a matter that has anything to do with the total central government allocation/spend and is IMO far more likely to be about 'micro'
spending priorities determined within the services themselves.
As is not unknown in the military arena there are many careers being built and protected and many private empires to be maintained......and if a word
or two to the current pet journo on the Mail or Telegraph (or bonus if it's the Guardian sticking the boot in) then they are hardly above that as
history shows only too clearly.
......but when it comes down to it, after all the debate and argument, someone has to finally decide and set the reasonable limit amongst a host of
competing priorities set against a background of finite and limited resources.
Not everyone will agree, such is life.
But it is, quite rightly, the democratically elected government of this country that determines the level of spending in line with the nation's
financial position, the duly elected program for government, the advice and representations they receive.
It is not for the military, not the 'military fans' nor any of their 'fans' in the press to decide for they are not responsible to 'the people'
through the democratic process.
Thankfully in the UK the military (and the 'military-industrial complex') remain subordinate to the political leadership; they just like to get out
and lobby noisily sometimes.
[edit on 4-9-2006 by sminkeypinkey]