"May questions UK’s top tier military status.."

#21
Do the healthcare systems in other countries cope better? Do we need to look at European or Scandinavian models of funding and managing healthcare? What savings could be generated by greater investment in preventative medicine?
We are dealing with the consequences of the "baby boomers" getting old. Coupled to improvements in 20th century public health, we have an elderly population that is in physically good shape.
Mortality is right down.
Morbidity is way up.
The elderly aren't dying of tobacco related lung cancers, industrial injury, malnutrition or TB a couple of years after retiring.
They are dying at the end of their natural span with a host of annoying, expensive but non fatal manageable conditions.

The services they require tend to be long term social care. This is more expensive than a couple of weeks in hospital then home.

The biggest avoidable costs are all public health issues.(Which is cheap, but politically unpopular).
Ban tobacco.
Tax sugar.
Encourage exercise.

The NHS is not really a "health "service. It is an "illness management" service.
 
#22
Yeah that seemed a weird stat. Might be in terms of tonnage but even then seems low. I seem to recall we are one of only three credible blue water navies.
Hull numbers maybe? Lots of of countries have loads of FACs/FIACs (or whatever were calling them this season) which gets lots of numbers for a low price
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
#23
There is money. It just gets wasted on crap that isnt important
... To you, me and people on here. The problem is the other 98% of voters who want stuff NOW. A large standing army has never been a vote winner and it was only the Cold War that allowed a golden age for the Royal Armoured Corps in particular. All those regiments amalgamated away in 1992 and several times since would have been history in 1946 without the Cold War. Just like they were disbanded or amalgamated after every previous war.

If PMTM wants to win the next election, spúnking money on tanks instead of the NHS isn't the way to do it.
 
#24
#25
Frankly its her job to question - I want to know that if she's going to sign off on more money, which means coming out of my pocket through tax rises, that the homework has been done.
Given the manner that MOD has spent years going 'Tier 1 military power' coupled with 'need more money' coupled with squeals of anguished outrage every time someone suggests simple ways of saving money to create headroom, frankly its created a perfect storm.
Its utter common sense to check the homework, make sure the sums add up and that Defence NEEDS more money, rather than WANTS more money, and that its spending it in the right way.

Given threats we face increasingly diverse, having 300 extra challenger 2 tanks may look good, but may also not be the counter to the threats we have.
Does the financial, human, and reputational (is that a word?) legacy of Telic and Herrick mean politicians and public cannot place as much faith in defence?

We are dealing with the consequences of the "baby boomers" getting old. Coupled to improvements in 20th century public health, we have an elderly population that is in physically good shape.
Mortality is right down.
Morbidity is way up.
The elderly aren't dying of tobacco related lung cancers, industrial injury, malnutrition or TB a couple of years after retiring.
They are dying at the end of their natural span with a host of annoying, expensive but non fatal manageable conditions.

The services they require tend to be long term social care. This is more expensive than a couple of weeks in hospital then home.

The biggest avoidable costs are all public health issues.(Which is cheap, but politically unpopular).
Ban tobacco.
Tax sugar.
Encourage exercise.

The NHS is not really a "health "service. It is an "illness management" service.
But "we have always done it this way......". Beware of proposing a holistic approach to health and welfare. Wait for the 'nanny state' cries...
 
#26
If PMTM wants to win the next election, spúnking money on tanks instead of the NHS isn't the way to do it.

And so what happens when there is literally no money left in other pots (defence, policing, borders, trading standards, justice system, prisons, transport, Foreign Office, Trade, etc)?

At some point, a PM with balls is just going to have to stand up and explain in words of one syllable that there just isn't another £20bn to throw into the NHS or housing benefit.

Wrecking the country just to buy NHS votes is a cowardly, destructive course of action. Thats the central easy-vote methodology of leftist parties that have no viable economic manifesto.

A so-called Conservative government should be trying to educate the population about money, reform the horrific financial black holes of welfare, reduce the debt burden, and keep the other institutions of the country in decent shape.

Throwing cash at the NHS is actually profoundly counter-productive from an electoral point of view. The comments sections of the tabloids (ie the vox populi of the mass unwashed) are overwhelming in favour of the NHS being thoroughly reformed before money is thrown at it. Add to that the millions who withold their conservative vote because they do not want high tax/high spend socialism, and there is a significant vote in financial prudence.

IMHO May is going to lose the next election anyway. Every week or so she is angering and insulting sections of the dwindling conservative voter base.
 
#28
We haven't been a tier 1 military power for 10 years or so, we have neither the manpower or equipment to even claim that status. we are 32nd in the list of Navies, and defintley not in the top 10 when it comes to Airframes and Army personnel. We have a defence force at best and with recruitment and retention at a low level I can only see that getting worse.

I'd love to see the scale of metrics from which you posit this. Whilst I fully concede we are right short on numbers of personnel, ships and aircraft, the technological difference is supposed to make up for numbers.

I also acknowledge the simplicity of that point (mass vs technology), but it is still the case we are top 10 (and possible top 6) in terms of GDP spent, probably top 4 in terms of nuclear warhead numbers, one of a very small (<10) number with a full sized carrier (yes yes it has nothing pointy on board at the moment).

You also comment about being a defence force, I'm not sure the relevance of this. If you are referring to Army numbers, it is presumably because you conflate not having the numbers for an Echelon made up of more than one Corps, with not having an Army. Even Lichtenstein, with 3 squaddies and a regimental goat, can call the land based facet of their armed forces, an Army, because the numbers of such a formation do not predicate what it is called.
 
#29
Government expenditure and debt is one part of the the equation. The other is tax revenue and national income. What is the Government doing to promote exports and other forms of international trade, make British companies more competitive, and promote and agile and innovative economy?

Oh, silly me...

Ultimately all things desired to come from the public purse have to be paid for by the private sector, so providing an environment in which businesses can grown and thrive should be a top priority.

As with the discussion regarding the NHS about treatments provided and healthcare funding, discussions about the education system and how it was 'better' thirty/forty years ago (guess what - the world has changed, so must schooling), or about defence (why are we building carriers when we cannot keep a frigate/destroyer in the Carribean all the time), we need to be innovative and agile.

Innovation and agility must play a part across all aspects of public and private endeavour, if we are to stand any chance of meeting future challenges.
 
#30
Those NHS billions have to come from somewhere.
I’m happy for everyone to pay more tax, let’s get it back up to 25% for lower band and really start improving things.
 
#33
The greatest mystery in all of this is just how and why the International Aid budget marches blithely on unchallenged.

Foreign aid: how and where is Britain’s budget spent?
It's a very balanced article. Did you read it?

There's two issues here.

The overall size of the budget.

The effectiveness of the contributions.

The budget is set by international agreement and now enshrined in U.K. law. So it's a non-trivial matter to change which will take up parliamentary time that she doesn't have, and one that affects less than 1p in the pound of our tax contributions. She has bigger problems at the moment.

The effectiveness (and efficiency) is absolutely an issue. But think of designing an aid project like an AFV. It needs firepower (effectiveness) mobility (efficiency) and protection (auditing etc). If you ramp up design requirements you have bigger transaction costs - more civil servants and consultants to design, monitor and evaluate.

In my experience (going back more than 25 years) of observing DFID they have always been very reluctant to take on this project management role. Hence them donating a large %age of their money to people like the UN. By doing so, they abrogate decision making and hence money going to some silly or poorly managed projects. So if you want more effectiveness you have to pay for better project management.

Cash transfers actually work very well but they seem hard to market to the home population (according to the article- I'm not sure that's true, but that's another story).

The fad that annoys me at the moment is 'budgetary contributions' to the coffers of recipient governments. That's asking for trouble.

One other thing to consider: when Trump proposed cutting his aid budget he was apparently asked not to by the Pentagon. Aid is seen as a cheaper way of heading off problems than fighting.
 
#34
We are dealing with the consequences of the "baby boomers" getting old. Coupled to improvements in 20th century public health, we have an elderly population that is in physically good shape.
Mortality is right down.
Morbidity is way up.
The elderly aren't dying of tobacco related lung cancers, industrial injury, malnutrition or TB a couple of years after retiring.
They are dying at the end of their natural span with a host of annoying, expensive but non fatal manageable conditions.

The services they require tend to be long term social care. This is more expensive than a couple of weeks in hospital then home.

The biggest avoidable costs are all public health issues.(Which is cheap, but politically unpopular).
Ban tobacco.
Tax sugar.
Encourage exercise.

The NHS is not really a "health "service. It is an "illness management" service.
I am regularly in hospital in London for outpatient appointments for a genetic degenerative disease. But it boils my p!ss to see so, so many people there with life-style induced illnesses (Type 2 diabetes, heart disease through smoking, MO due to being pie eaters) - and then to see them shuffling out catheterised and wheeling a drip so they can drag on some tobacco.

And don't start me on health tourism; I think there is massive corruption amongst compliant GPs who will register foreigners and then refer them to clinics for eye-wateringly expensive treatments; my treatment alone is iro £250,000 pa (tablets alone!) yet when I am at that specialist clinic, I am generally the only native English speaker, and as I have pointed out before, there are people who have clearly just flown in or about to leave, with their crappy, cheap luggage wrapped in cling-film. Again, no one can just rock up for a specialist referral - these people have been referred by a UK-based GP and the rest is easy - no bill apart form cheap flights form the Middle East or wherever.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
#35
There are two viewpoints at play here, looking in opposite directions.

From the inside, the question is "what is the military actually for?" We've built up a laundry list of "stuff we get people in uniform to do", but the last time there was any sensible attempt at a coherent assessment of "Britain's military is to be prepared to..." with a definition of the tasks and the kit needed to achieve them, was 1998 (and even then it fell over when it wasn't funded). Otherwise, we've muddled on, with services and units grabbing missions to justify their existence show their willingness to serve for Queen and Country, with "defence reviews" that were basically "okay, less money, whose turn is it to take the pain?" salami-slicing. As a result, we've got an incoherent mess, especially on land, with critical capabilities gone or expiring and replacements shifting rightwards or just not happening, and a force structure based on "who managed to corner which politician at SDSR time?" rather than any sort of plan.

The light and dark blue have at least kept a more coherent story of what they need to do, how they aspire to do it, and why gaps have appeared because funding was taken away to support TELIC and then HERRICK: the Army has bounced from one CORGI to another (effects based operations! COIN! strategic raiding! Strike Brigades!), managing to neither see any of these new ideas through to fruition nor support its legacy capability for heavy-metal shin-kicking, yet burning through a lot of cash in the process. If we threw a few billion extra at the military, what would we actually get for it?



From the outside, I refer to m'learned friend @Glad_its_all_over and his wise warning, "There are no votes in defence and no-one outside the Services and a very few MPs and civilians cares about it." At a point where the story is that "cuts" at the Home Office is causing a crime wave, the NHS is yet again collapsing for want of money, education will only survive with a massive uplift in funding, and local councils are leaving potholes unfilled and refuse uncollected because of "lack of cash", voters simply don't care about whether the RN is getting thirteen, eight, or no new frigates.

Ask them in isolation and they may make vaguely approving, patriotic noises, because it's not done to be overtly anti-military... until they have to choose between "more battleships for the Navy" and "Grandma getting a GP appointment in less than a fortnight", "new tanks for the Army" or "keeping the local police station open and manned", at which point defence loses every time: they're not hostile to the military, they just don't see it as a priority for which they'll make any perceived sacrifice.


There's a definite sense of 1981, in fact, and the infamous White Paper of that year: which was actually a hard-headed look at what we had, what we needed to do, and what we could afford (at a point where, as today, we had a lot of block obsolescence). In some ways Nott had it easier, though, in that back then there was the clear, obvious task of "be prepared to oppose GSFG's tour of Western Europe" which could be focussed on.


We don't have an existential threat to the UK: the nearest thing we've got to any potential for a big conventional war is Russia poking the Baltics to see what happens; and the British public feel overtaxed and underpaid already.

We are conducting various optional interventions overseas, but do the typical voters really care that we're finding and smiting Daesh recruits in Syria?

We're one of the few NATO members to even pretend to meet the nominal 2%-of-GDP commitment, why is that "not enough" and what will "spending more" get us that will persuade the occupants of the notional omnibus in Clapham to either open their wallets, or give up government-supplied goodies elsewhere?


So, we don't have a clear mission for the military to fulfil, we've got big bills coming to try to support "be prepared to do... almost anything, we don't know what", and the public don't want to pay more for defence. Particularly with the current Opposition, I could see another 1981 moment where we cut a lot of aspirations from our plans (hence the "give up Tier 1" balloon being floated) - it's not as if Corbyn and McDonnell can credibly position themselves as champions fighting for HM Forces, is it?
 
#36
The services they require tend to be long term social care. This is more expensive than a couple of weeks in hospital then home.
I really do take issue with that view point. I have no Idea what percentage of elder P's are in residential care, my family never have been. what we do hear consistently is the bleating of for Profit organisations as they can't cope and how we must pay more. If there wasn't substantial profit in it they wouldn't do it. And it's not as if aged care hasn't been around for a few centuries. From the current news the NHS seems to be colluding in the deception as well.
 
#37
IMHO May is going to lose the next election anyway. Every week or so she is angering and insulting sections of the dwindling conservative voter base.
She has to get there yet. She seems to be shooting the zombies at the door without a thought of where they are coming from.

I would rather shove needles in my eyes than vote for Labour, but I am losing faith in this Conservative government rather rapidly.

IMHO someone with guts will step up to the plate, maybe say a few unpopular home truths and take her on, I hope.

As long as his name isn't Johnson!

MB
 
#38
It’s interesting that after 20+ years that no-one can actually make this argument. If we could, it is self-evident that we wouldn’t be having this discussion. I presume the answer is re-submitting the same argument(s) and hoping it’ll change something this time around.
 
#39
We don't have an existential threat to the UK: the nearest thing we've got to any potential for a big conventional war is Russia poking the Baltics to see what happens; and the British public feel overtaxed and underpaid already.

One trusts if that happens, CGS will ask the PM for an 'excused games' note
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
#40
One trusts if that happens, CGS will ask the PM for an 'excused games' note
There's a queue with the Germans busy making their excuses at the front.

If hardly anyone considers it important, why is it up to the UK taxpayer to pick up the slack and cover the gap?
 
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