The primary role of the British government is to defend the realm and her people, above all else this is the function that any government whether Labour, Conservative or other should have the people’s confidence to perform. However, in a time when traitors, swindlers and careerists occupy our age-old institutions, we are right to doubt that government is fit to be trusted even with this, their supposed priority.
It is a well known fact that the British armed forces are not what they used to be, nor anywhere near, but in recent times and surprisingly under a Conservative government, our military capabilities have been well and truly neutered. It is partly a mark of contemptuous politicians having a generally opinion of the armed forces that this state of affairs has been allowed to develop, but also a tangible effect of poor management of the economy by successive British governments since the Thatcher days, as tightening purse strings leads to a reorganisation of priorities depending on what wins votes.
Although it really is inexcusable that our government can find £20.3 bn for pointless military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, £12 bn per year to send to banana republics or £1.8 bn per year for NHS England to treat foreign nationals, yet are in fact stripping resources and cutting funding for the very forces that are there to defend the realm and her people. One might be forgiven for thinking its as if these politicians no longer have the interests of the British people at heart!
The speed and scale of the depletion of the British Army in particular has been quite remarkable. In 2010, there were just over 100,000 full time Army personnel. At that time the Tory government set a target to cut that figure by 20,000 by 2018, but actually achieved this 3 years early in 2015, so that the number of full time servicemen and women is now just 81,700, the lowest in over 200 years. The plan was to fill the gaps left with reservists, yet the government is behind on their target to recruit 11,000 reservists by 2019, something which former army commander Richard Kemp rightly pointed out means that we have serious personnel deficiencies within our land forces, leaving us with a big loss in capabilities.
By 2015, the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force (RAF) had already exceeded their target cuts, with the former losing 5,500 personnel and the latter losing 8,500. That equates to over 15% of full time Navy personnel being struck off, and a massive 22% of RAF men and women losing their roles. There is a plan to plug the gaps with a token amount of reservists, but as with the army, this has failed to materialise and it appears that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will fail to hit their 2020 reservist recruitment targets. The cuts were as a result of the 2010 ‘strategic defence and security review’, which was essentially part of the overall deficit reduction plan enacted by George Osborne and his team at No. 11. In short, they saw the armed forces as an easy target for budget cuts, showing total disregard for the safety of the realm and that of the British people.
But, it is not just the recent personnel cuts that are a problem. An independent review of the Royal Navy’s capabilities led by Sir John Parker recently found alarming deficiencies in terms of vessels and firepower, not just low personnel levels, and that shipbuilding inefficiencies were both harming the defence of the realm and costing the taxpayer unnecessarily. A parliamentary select committee also found that the Royal Navy is ‘woefully low’ on warships, stating that we currently have just 19 frigates and destroyers, a number which could fall even lower thanks to government dithering on the ordering of new ships. The committee also attacked the MoD over significant failures in the design of the Type 45 Destroyers, after it emerged their engines are faulty and unable to operate properly in warmer waters (which, thanks to endless foreign wars, is where most of our ships spend their time).
It seems the only spec of pride we have left in terms of our armed forces concerns our nuclear capabilities. We currently have 4 Vanguard Class submarines, with a total of 32 missiles and 120 warheads, capable of hitting almost any major city in the world within 30 minutes. That’s pretty impressive, and parliament has recently voted in favour of renewing the Trident nuclear programme with the construction of the Dreadnought Class submarines to be operational by 2028.
However, despite the positives of Trident and the SAS, there are clearly significant deficiencies in our armed forces, coupled with a contemptuous attitude towards defence of the realm by our stale political class.
In a world that is becoming evermore dangerous thanks to the growing capabilities of the emerging economies, as well as our old adversaries in the east, it is more important than ever that we have a government that can be trusted with our safety. This government clearly does not fall into that category, and it would be fairly safe to assume that a communist-leaning Labour Party led by comrade Corbyn would be even less inclined than the Tories to do something about our current predicament. God only knows what would become of our remaining overseas territories should Labour get power!
It is imperative to our very survival as a country and a people, that we find political representatives who are willing to rebuild our military to a standard fitting of our great island nation.