The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

There Should Be No Sacred Cows

Posted by The Futility Monster on August 6, 2009 @ 08:55

Remember poor old Shambo, that other sacred cow? Well, even he got the chop in the end too...

Remember poor old Shambo, that other sacred cow? Well, even he got the chop in the end too...

When the axe falls, much as David Cameron likes to pretend he will preserve the NHS budget, there’s bound to still be a huge programme of “efficiency savings”. The reason being that for years, government have been trying to do this all over the bureaucracy; with local councils being asked to share a large amount of this pressure.

Trying to save money is just normal. But it seems, for one government department, they haven’t got a bloody clue what that means.

Step forward the Ministry of Defence. How many times do we have to read articles like this which consistently tell us that they are wasting money hand over fist on useless projects? Projects which deliver no value to the taxpayer, and never seems to improve conditions for our soldiers on the front line.

But surely this time, they have gone a step too far. With open talk about the slashing of Trident by members of all parties now, there can be no doubt that the time has come for us to abandon the pretence that any cuts in the defence budget must surely equal starving the soldiers and not supporting “our boys”.

Someone has to be bold enough to risk such negative tabloid headlines because this country can’t afford not to.

It is traditionally seen as a very Labour thing to do, to want to slash defence spending. But, if the next election delivers a Tory government, one which is able to impose severe spending restraint on the defence budgets, it would, at last, lay to rest this notion that defence spending must always rise inexorably to keep ahead of our rivals.

The world has changed. There is no need to try to keep up with our “enemies” any more; and in any case there is no way we’ll ever keep up with the USA, and certainly not China. The chances of an old-style country vs country war are now, thanks to the EU and other worldwide institutions, almost non-existent. Defence spending must be focused purely on fighting battles of the likes of Afghanistan: smarter, quicker, more mobile and flexible forces.

And we’ll just have to take our chances that China never turns into the aggressor. Because, if they do, there’s probably not an awful lot we can do about it anyway.

And that basically sums up what most defence spending is about. Pre-emption. An insurance policy. A huge bucket of money poured into things that we hope we never have to use but have to keep spending on it anyway just in case we ever do need them.

Such is human nature. Such is the realpolitik of the international stage.

And hoping it will one day change is, alas, sheer naivety.

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