Anyone else catch the Today programme debate about Defence funding between two members of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee? Bernard Jenkins is arguing that we (defence) need an input of £3 Bn per year for the next 5 years to just hold steady and that spending should be increased by £25 Bn if we are to achieve the armed forces we actually require. The crux of his arguement was that we, as a country, need to decide that if we want to remain globally committed, we need to pay for it. Brian Jenkins argued that the money isn't there, it's needed in education, health and transport. Bernard said that we need to make some hard decisions about what are priorities are. What really annoyed me was Brian's parting shot that Bernard was living in a 'fantasy world', implying that the cash wouldn't ever be available and the 'shopping list' Bernard had come up with (more AH, military hospitals, vehicles etc) wasn't 'standing still'. Well, to my mind: - Troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq aren't in a fantasy world, they are in the real world where the attrition rate on the mulitude of platforms means we need replacements (how many C130, rotary wing, Warrior, LR etc etc pltaforms have we lost?). Not to mention the most important platform of all, soldiers, sailors and airmen who are dead or maimed and, at the hard nosed side of it, need replacement? - If Mr Brian Jenkins thinks there is no more cash, how would he feel if he was in a shell scrape, screaming for backup to be told, "Sorry mate, you're in a fantasy world as there ain't the cash to buy the assets you need to save your life". - If there is no more cash, I trot out the old arrse arguement, £25 billion for Northern Rock? No cash for defence? Couldn't get my computer to play back the debate, which is probably just as well as i'm still seething. The only good thing is, at last, we may have a member of Liarbour finally admitting that they can't fund what they've got us into. Open admission of incompetence? At least the debate still rolls on, I don't care if the money is begrudged by Liarbour, just hand it over. Rant over.