Those who would rattle sabres should take care their blades are still sharp. The fact is that this outburst was an horrendous & deeply irresponsible thing for a former cabinet member, government minister and UK Party leader to say at this time. We are all now forced – by the rules of “careful what you wish for” – to consider this previously unthinkable possibility. War with Spain over the Rock of Gibraltar.
“We will go to War over Gibraltar” says former Tory leader Micheal Howard.
After our horrendous experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, and after the savage public spending cuts under Conservative Austerity we must ask not just if we should, but if we could go to war to defend Gibraltar? The UK is currently the worlds third biggest defence spender, behind only the USA and China. The USA, who have a defence budget that tops half a trillion dollars every year, spend more than the next 20 nations combined.
SIPRI, the global military spending authority, reports that the UK has been well ahead of all its EU neighbours on defence spending, barring the French, which spends a similar amount. The UK is one of the few NATO countries (alongside the US, France, Turkey & Greece, who lend the money from the Germans to pay for it) to continue to spend 2% of GDP on defence. Spending fell following the end of the Cold war in the 1990s, but began to increase significantly from 1999 until 2010, actually exceeding Cold War spending levels before falling back a little from 2011 to 2014.
In the 21st century the UK has increased its military spending, in real terms, in ways that most European countries have not – but much of this spending has been wasted on aircraft carriers with no jets, and computer programmes that don’t work. Our personnel numbers are also woeful.
as Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye pointed out recently :
“THE FRENCH POLICE HAVE MORE OFFICERS THAN OUR ENTIRE ARMY.”
There is a £10 billion hole in our defence budget. Our police forces have had a 22% budget cut. Someone needs to remind Theresa May & the Conservatives that the primary role of government since ancient times has been “the defence of the realm”.
The people complaining about Vladimir Putin hacking the U.S. election should also bear in mind that not being able to monitor our waters is a much bigger threat to our defence than a bunch of people posting pepe memes on 4Chan. First we bought Navy aircraft carriers that were set to be sold after three years – and never carry jets. Each one cost £3 billion – half a billion more than the NHS deficit. The excuse from the government?
“THIS IS NOT A PERFECT SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES. THERE IS NO POLITICAL BENEFIT FOR US BUT IT IS THE RIGHT THING FOR THE COUNTRY. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE EXPENSIVE TO CANCEL THAN BUILD THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER.”
Last year all our destroyers were in port at the same time. Now This. The Tories are terrible at defending our country, and planning our defence strategy. Our service personnel, like our Police force numbers under Theresa May as Home Secretary, are seeing their numbers cut/ Those that remain are paid peanuts and kitted out with sub standard kit, they are provided with sub standard after care and they are then abandoned to the Streets with PTSD.
All so that the Government can throw away the budget and leave us without a defence strategy that actually defends the Islands on which we live.