The recently announced cuts to the British Armed Forces, including the slashing of the Army to below 100,000 Regular Soldiers for the first time since The Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon, are a terrible example of disastrous spending priorities which compromise a core function of government; the defence of the realm. As Conservatives, we have placed great importance on a strong military deterrent. If we can defend trident, surely we must begin defending the Army?
Since the onset of the financial crisis and the subsequent recession of 2007, the Conservative Party has, rightfully, advocated cuts to public expenditure to reduce the structural deficit. We are constantly reminded by ministers of the need, for every Whitehall Department, including the MoD, to make cutbacks. This point would be perfectly acceptable, if only the policy substance actually measured up!
If it did, then we would not have real terms increases in NHS spending or heavy investment in climate change policy – and we certainly wouldn’t be legislating for a statutory minimum in International Development spending or throwing money at the EU and the IMF. Why then, is the Government abandoning its main function, that of protecting the people of the UK from attack, in favour of less vital spending?