Will the Tories Be Good for the UK’s Military?

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  1. Will the Tories Be Good for the UK’s Military?

    By Gary Schmitt
    September 16, 2009, 4:00 pm

    It’s nearly a certainty that British conservatives will return to power with the next UK election. Current Prime Minister Gordon Brown appears to be a “dead man walking.” For conservative defense wonks here in the United States, that should be good news. Brown, no Tony Blair, has been less-than-stellar in supporting the UK’s contribution to the fight in Afghanistan and, more broadly, has let the gap between British defense needs and resources grow dangerously large. So much so, that many of Britain’s top defense experts are calling the days ahead, an “East of Suez moment,” meaning that London may well have to give up any and all pretensions of being a global partner to the United States.

    But while British Labor has been particularly bad when it comes to defense matters, should American conservatives expect much more when the Tories return to power? Here, the early signals are not good. In theory, a new government could reverse course on Britain’s domestic welfare spending, which in many areas has more than doubled or even tripled under Blair and Brown, and carve out more for the military under the budget. If statements by the Tory opposition are taken at face value, however, there is little interest in reversing course on health or education spending should the party come to power.

    And just this week, two new stories should give American conservatives further pause. First, in an interview with Defense News, Liam Fox, member of parliament (MP) and Shadow Defence Secretary, made clear that should Tories win control of the government, there would be no special urgency in ramping up defense spending. Rather, the government would undertake a yearlong review of the UK’s strategic posture before deciding what resources to dedicate to the military. In theory, not a crazy thing, but, in practice, hardly what is needed. The British military is in a critical state—on life support; what it requires is triage, not a discussion about how a healthy diet and a change in lifestyle will make its golden years so much better.

    Then, also this week, in a speech on the economy, George Osborne, MP and the Shadow Chancellor, let slip that he would be looking to save immediately some £30 billion in the budget by possibly cutting three large British defense programs, stopping procurement of new fighters, aircraft carriers, and transport planes. At a minimum, Osborne’s comments suggest divided opinion about how the Tories would like to approach defense issues. Just as likely, “hawks” within the party are simply in the minority and hoping that they can use the strategic review to set the ground for generating a bit more support down the road for some increase in defense spending. Given Tory leader David Cameron’s apparent lack of interest in defense and strategic matters, the betting in London among the Whitehall watchers is that Osborne’s “cut first, ask questions later” approach to defense is more likely to be one adopted by a Conservative government. Let’s hope they’re wrong.

  2. Command_doh

    Command_doh LE Book Reviewer

  3. A small note of caution,everyone,ZanuLabour have been 'importing' 'voters' for the last 12 years as a result of their immigration 'policy',and they're not out of office YET.They will pick a time to call the next Election for their own maximum political advantage(perks of being in office).Unfortunately for the Defence portfolio,which has always been an easy target for Treasury-backed cuts,neither of the main political parties has proved themselves to be unqualified friends of the military community-the Tories,remember,presided over the last serious blood-letting in the 90's.In any event,whoever the 'unlucky' soul is who is 'invited' to become the next Chancellor,he/she will have some very tricky if not downright controversial choices to make almost as soon as he/she takes over the post.The current Defence Secretary is on record as claiming that his constituents want to see a reduction in Defence spending,not an increase.Consequently if Labour are returned to office we can almost certainly rely on the fact that some 'sacred cows' will be led unceremoniously to the slaughter.
  4. Anyone who lived through 'Front line first', 'Options for Change' and any one of the death by a thousand cuts knows the Conservatives are no friends of the mil, oh the talk a good game but at the end of the day they don't give a toss. remember the cuts pre-Falklands to the RN that gave the Argies the idea we didn't want to play any more? So look forward to a future of doing more with less, and trying to be a world power on banana republic funding and support. Oh and who closed the military hospitals?
  5. I'm starting to think the only course that could be described as "good" for the UK military is to PVR on mass and join the Yanks.
  6. In the short term the Tories are stuffed because of Labours slash and burn policy they won't be good for the Forces. In the long term the Tories will do little for the Forces only the minimum they can get away with.
  7. Incoming parties seldom do a wholesale about turn on a previous parties policies. In many cases the actions of one party are broadly similar to what an opposition would do if in government. They therefore change nothing, but use the previous incumbent as a whipping boy for the duration of their term.
    The Tories were still trotting out how it was Labours fault even though they had been out of office for nearly twenty years, and Labour are today still blaming the Tories. Repeat to fade........
  8. They had better be, or 'ashie', 'parapauke' and 'Whet' will find my posts highly colourful in language!

    Sadly, I believe that the 'whole state' of the nation - socially and financially - will present a task of such magnitude that many areas will inevitably continue to 'suffer' for some time.

    PS: Humphrys of the Ministry of Propaganda & Misinformation (BBC Radio 4) has just uttered the following words of historical importance:

    "........... Lord Mandelson announced in the House of Commons no less.....".

    Dear God! Has it happended? Was there an election I missed?
  9. Do you blame them? The Labour party did everything it could to ruin the Tories term in power. They were running the trade unions and getting people to strike all the time (not giving a stuff about people) and in doing so started their path for the destruction of Britain. Sadly, the mess that Labour have made will take many years to fix (probably 20) and by that time Labour will be back in power blaming the tories for the mess the tories were trying to clear up from Labour.
  10. I'm sure that's what I said! :lol:
  11. Jeebus. To answer the question - as another poster has said, the Tories, other than an unavoidable pay rise post GW1 have always looked second to the MoD to make its cuts in the public spending purse (first being the Welfare Gordian Knot - taking an Alexander-esque view of the problem).

    The tories will continue to cut although I believe Osborne has played a blinder with the big three projects - follow me for a moment.

    GO "I want to cut Carriers at X, Typhoons at Y, and A400M at Z. Although until we are duly elected I don't know what penalties there may be. Look at me! I want to get rid of all these nasty War machines and save the country a chuffing fortune!

    Voters "Yay!"

    Day after the election.

    GO " my GOD, you would not believe the penalty clauses these Labour incompetants allowed to be negotiated into the contracts. I'm afraid I wont be able to cut nearly as much as I would have liked. But I WOULD have liked to. Because War is bad. And Labour really are poo."

    "Voters "Yay!"

    There will be cuts because there have to be. But the HMF have rarely done well under a Tory regime.
  12. Couldnt have put it better myself, I do think that the tories will try to help the forces as best they can due to the fact quite a few MP's are Ex HMF.

    But their hands are tied by the Lierbur fcuk ups
  13. Are you employed by the Tories? You should be! You have given Call me Dave his free pass for his first term and he isn't even in Office yet!

    That refrain was tired the second time it passed Blairs Lips - and it will be equally tired when it FIRST passes Daves.

    I don't want excuses, I want action. Or am I to believe that the first priority of any new administration is to shore up the vote for the next go round.

    I don't want the same tired old cliches. I want Men with brains the size of a planet to roll their damned sleeves up and sort through the grit and start hoising out some gold economic nuggets.
  14. 'Will the Tories Be Good for the UK's Military?'

    The short answer is 'No'.

    As mentioned above, cast your mind back to Options for Change, The Peace Dividend, the pre-Falklands cuts etc etc.

    The Tories are less likely to get the military involved in stupid conflicts than Labour - Iraq 2 and Afghanistan. Labour traditionally deploy the troops more than the others - Northern Ireland - despite their inbred loathing of the Military and all that it stands for: Standards, decency, loyalty and the 'class' structure.

    This Labour shower have plunged the nation into such a deep pile of poo that even if Adolf Hitler got in next time round, defence spending will out of neccessity be curbed.

    Frankly it's time we realised who and what we are and gave up our 'Global Policeman' delusions and settled for concentrating on the Defence of the Homeland. I think we should adopt the Swiss model with leanings towards the US for support but not policy (if one can have one without the other ).
  15. I am looking for a constituancy at the momment to run for, when I am back in the UK in the next few weeks I will be attending an interview at Tory HQ. 8)