Sunday, November 25, 2007

Defence Spending- Reptile News

The Major is still cheering the massive Combined Ops attack on Bottler's dug-out. Bottler staggered from the wreckage gibbering:

"I want to see the armed forces properly equipped with the resources that they need. And that's why we've been increasing expenditure on defence compared with the cuts under the previous government."

It's a horrible case of shell shock. The last year of Tory government saw defence spending at 2.9% of GDP; this year it's 2.5%; and by 2010-11 it will be 2.3% (see here, here, and here). If that's not a real terms cut, what is?

What's that? Deflating the cash spending figures by the GDP deflator shows defence spending has increased in real terms since 1997, and the government will increase it by a further 1.5% pa over the next three years?

Irrelevant. Everyone knows defence prices rise faster than average prices because of all that new fangled kit. Plus, the forces wage bill rises in line with incomes. Everyone knows that, don't they? The GDP deflator is a red herring- the only sensible broadbrush comparison is with overall GDP.

Sure, as a percentage of GDP, spending has been falling for as long as any of us can remember. And yes, the end of the Cold War did see a significant leg down. But the Tories, along with all Western governments, were taking the Peace Dividend (remember that?).

Anyway, WTF has that got to do with this clothead government plunging us into two HOT wars simultaneously, and cutting defence spending as a percentage of GDP at the same time?
Only a bunch of spineless reptilian incompetents would do that.

PS Here's the BBC report on that Nimrod fuel leak issue. They're still flying, so let's hope we were wrong.

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