The Inconvenient Truth About Our Underfunded Defences
Following the departure of Michael Fallon as Defence Secretary due to his alleged behaviour from years ago, we now see yet another Tory remainer given a post he knows nothing about and has no credible experience of. Why, I hear you all ask? The truth is, no one will know until it’s too late. We can all speculate; is it because he was the PM’s campaign manager or does she want a remainer to rubber stamp the ever-closer union moves when it comes to our Armed Services and their strategic demise? Who knows.
The real scandals of this latest farce are why didn’t Fallon resign due to his sustained incompetence whilst running the MOD and not for the reasons he sighted? Did the PM want a fall guy to try and ease the pain of the impending revelations facing the government and parliament or was it a cover for the horrendous cuts the Armed Services are now facing?
What is clear is that at a time when a Conservative government is systematically downgrading the capabilities of our Armed Services, putting not only service personnel at risk but the defence of the UK itself, there is no credible opposition speaking out about the failure of our state to carry out its primary function; to protect its people.
For too long now our Armed Services have been run down whilst politicians and successive governments talk of groundbreaking new equipment and growing service personnel numbers. Since the governments push to move to a part-time Army by growing the Territorial Army, they have managed to recruit an additional 1000 members. We don’t have the equipment, aircraft or sailors to man our new carrier, we have a nuclear submarine which was docked due to sex scandals and drug taking and an Army which can’t effectively recruit or retain solders. This is only the tip of the iceberg.
We have a young population which doesn’t seem to want to join the Armed Services as a career option any longer and an underfunded, mismanaged MOD being guided by politicians who wish for us to become part of an EU military project, thus reducing our capabilities to defend ourselves if the situation was ever to arise.
The government continually harp on about their commitment to spending 2% of the country’s GDP on defence in line with the NATO commitment. The harsh truth is that we must spend at least 3% just to stand still and meet our current defence spending and equipment commitments. The reason we are now facing a new strategic review from the government is that they won’t spend more and need to desperately save money. Therefore, the talk of our amphibious ships being mothballed will most likely happen along with the proposed new “pound shop” frigates being built to replace the aging Type 23’s.
Defence spending isn’t just about having a huge army and state of the art equipment ready to move at any time, far from it. For me it’s about supporting communities through manufacturing, harbouring and developing workforce skills, creating innovative designs and abilities which can be used in other sectors and most importantly, being able to defend your people when required.
In a time when security and defence should be at the top of any politicians to do list, we find ourselves in an environment where they are the areas government can save money.
We will ultimately pay the price for this unless we start to drive the debate again in this country.
UKIP needs to be the party of Law & Order, the party of Defence and the Armed Services. This is campaign critical ground which has been abandoned by every other political party.
At a time of year when we remember the brave service personnel who gave their lives so you could live yours we must also remember that conflict can come when you least expect it and a nation must always be ready to respond. Sadly, the UK is not.