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Split in the Cabinet over proposed £15billion defence cuts

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posted on Dec, 4 2007 @ 07:08 AM
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Proposals to slice up to £15bn from the defence budget over the next decade have been drawn up by the Treasury, provoking bitter rows within Whitehall and the cabinet at a time when the military are under enormous pressure to meet commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The rift has caused the Ministry of Defence to postpone publication of the latest 10-year industrial strategy on Thursday week because ministers admit current negotiations are ongoing and no agreement has been reached.


Source: The Guardian

I read this earlier in the morning and I think I actually gave a disgusted grunt out loud.

How on earth can the Treasury even consider these kinds of cuts when there's widespread reports of overstretch as it is? Added to that the possibility that we could be in Afghanistan as long as we were in Northern Ireland and it just makes the whole idea completely ludicrous. We also have an obligation to defend our overseas territories (thirteen of them, dotted all across the world, consisting of 231,000 people) from foreign powers and we simply can't do this with a second-rate military.

Hopefully the civil servants who drew this up will be sent away from their comfy, safe offices in Whitehall and out to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to explain to them why they feel the need to slash their funding by £15,000,000,000. Accountability in action.

I know it's only a proposal but why should such a huge cut be even considered? The brakes should have been applied immediately because it's so short-sighted it's laughable. There are surely plenty of less vital areas where cuts could be made (ID cards, anyone?) without having to hack away at the defence budget.




posted on Dec, 4 2007 @ 09:54 AM
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What complete cotton wool headed baboon sitting in their air conditioned London office thought this would be a good idea, at the very time when our forces are being stretched financial and operationally someone suggests cutting their budget and their safety as a result. Particularly as the cut in spending includes postponing the new armoured vehicles for troops (FRES I believe) which will save lives by replacing the Land Rovers currently in use.

The following did make me giggle, a poor counter argument indeed:

Cabinet split over £15bn proposed defence cuts


The UK is the highest per capita spender on defence among its European allies, and Brown has said he is putting "more money than ever before" into the defence budget.


Of course we spend more, we need to spend more. Not only are we heavily involved in both Iraq (shouldn't be there) and Afghanistan (should be there) but as Ste said we do have a "obligation to defend our overseas territories" which are wide spread.

The very least that should be managed would be to show some respect and make the role of the Minister of Defense a full time job.

One person supporting the cut backs isn't exactly a small time official either, I think you need to rethink who your listening to Mr Brown.

Cabinet split over £15bn proposed defence cuts


Shriti Vedera, a junior minister in the Department for International Development, but one of Gordon Brown's most influential advisers, is also said to be insisting that the Treasury push through more savings.



posted on Dec, 4 2007 @ 12:26 PM
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Even if these are just proposals, we can make life hell for our MPs but making a point of going to see them, write to them and hassle them so that know our views.

At some stage, these will have to be voted on and if enough people make the lifes of their MPs a living hell on this issue, they will report back to the whips who will report back to the party leadership.



posted on Dec, 9 2007 @ 08:39 AM
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Savings of £15 billion over the next 10years may or may not be appropriate.

But I do know that under this Gov we have seen the largest sustained cash increase in Defence spending for the 10yrs they have been in power (which is why certain people love to avoid this fact as best they can and continually refer to spending as a % of national wealth).

Rather than just listen to the vested interests in the military
(or those just retired from the military, who took all the 'gongs' on offer & kept incredibly silent during their careers and did not resign out of their new-found deep principles & anger etc etc)
I'm all for public debate on what we spend.

But I'd be pretty certain that while an informed public might like to see the UK with altered spending priorities
(which would turn the military white with fear)
I also suspect that the British public might not understand how come we outspend all but 4 nations in the whole world including all of our European neighbours (by a considerable margin) and are only behind (2005 figures)
1) USA - $420.7 Billions,
2) China - $62.5 Billions and
3) Russia - $61.9 Billions.

The UK is 4th with a spend of $51.1 Billions.



.....and it's also worth pointing out that there is a large chunk of non-military spending that is related to the military (Gov funded science and R&D - which has seen substantial increases in the UK) .

By all means lets have a national debate on this.

But I'm quite sure one of the reasons why we rarely do is that those currently leading all the complaining right now know full well that if they over-do it and it really were to happen they would be liable to see the kind of examination they really do not want.



posted on Dec, 9 2007 @ 01:27 PM
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It raises the old 'guns or butter' argument in a sense...

Is it possible that, at the moment, we have too much butter? Is such a thing possible? Have we become too benign for our own good? I think Iraq, which has made British people a lot less likely to favour military action even when it is more justifiable than Iraq (e.g. Zimbabwe), has a part to play in all this.

I know the cuts are over a decade but when you take £1.5billion from the defence budget each year it basically negates any extra money that Labour has given the armed forces since 1997 and, when you take inflation into account, means they get less money than before (which is why I suspect Gordon won't side with the civil service on this one). Added to the fact that we're involved in two major conflicts (Afghanistan and Iraq, both of which are a long way from home and hence require sophisticated logistical abilities to feed, clothe, equip and transfer the troops) and still need to keep reserves for defence of the UK itself and its overseas territories and I don't see how they can justify this.



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