LETTER: Defence review spending plans ‘beggar belief’

YOU couldn’t make it up if you tried: the news yesterday telling of this Tory government’s so-called ‘Defence Review’.  

Here we are in the middle of Government Covid-alleviation spending to the tune of a £400bn, a current account deficit and a total national debt now topping £1.8 trillion. And what do we plan to spend further on in the years ahead?

No, not the climate emergency, nor social services, resource depletion, the environment, the NHS, migration emergencies or to avoid the looming ‘sixth extinction’.

Yes, as much as it beggars belief, on yet more nuclear bombs and Trident submarine-launched intercontinental missiles, costing hundreds of billions of scarce public funds. This so that we can maintain our so-called ‘credible’ independent nuclear deterrent and be able to murder everyone on this planet several times over with an arsenal of an extra 80 warheads on top of the 180 already in use.

All this in a world where, via the UN, an international treaty signed by most nations to ban nuclear bombs was confirmed just last January  – albeit with UK refusing – AND  all countries remaining tied to the previously agreed Nuclear Non-Proliferation International Treaty of 1968 which bans all new nuclear bomb provisions or activities.

But as much as we all want mutual disarmament, friendship and peace, we all now know via Brexit withdrawal and Irish Protocol agreements made by PM Johnson recently, and then reversed, he cannot be trusted to keep to international treaties even when signed in good faith.

This defence review, again unlike others, promises to spend more – an extra £16bn over the next four years upon a £32 billion base – but with a 10,000 nominal reduction in troops down to 72,500, all compensated for by big investments in equipment modernisation, deployment of new aircraft carrier, and keeping our nuclear deterrent with set aside £32 billion.

The strategy behind all this big spending is  to make Britain look ‘great again’ in its new Tory post-Brexit ‘global’ role, but accompanying it with recent big cuts in overseas aid shows old ‘nasty party’ returning, with fictional global military status –especially nuclear – more important than tackling  poverty.at home, or abroad.

It all begs the questions: what or who in this Covid world is ‘defence’ against? Why can’t there be a new ‘peace’ UK department fighting for love and disarmament?

Alan Debenham


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