Saturday, 23 March 2013

Phillip Hammond and Danny Alexander: Defense or no Defense?

A few days ago, Defense Secretary Phillip Hammond stated that more reduction of military spending would jeopardize the country’s security arrangements and require more military redundancies. The Coalition promised that from 2015 there would increases of military spending. Now, Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury says that the Ministry of Defense and the Home Office would ‘share the pain of £11.5 billion of cuts due in 2015-2016.

So what is it going to be? Will defense spending be increased or reduced in 2015-2016? Different members of the Coalition are sending contradictory messages. In reality, we should take this kind of announcements and counter-announcements with a pinch of salt because 2015 is General Election Year and everything will be determined by two factors: the ideology of those who form a government in 2015 and the financial environment in 2015.

What we can expect is that a certain number of soldiers will be thrown out like used toilet paper in an effort to fix public finances. Danny Alexander, as a Lib Dem is playing a tune to please Lib Dem supporters and Phillip Hammond as a Conservative is playing a tune to please Conservative supports. I am sure that both Conservative and Lib Dem supporters will be hugely disappointed when both defense cuts and welfare cuts are implemented.

Little more than two years separate us from the next General Election and in the present climate and given ideological constraints all they have to offer is nothing more than wishful thinking.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s financial poetry feels like the music played by the orchestra onboard the sinking Titanic. It was like telling a cancer patient who is about to die ‘you look better today’.

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