Defending himself against recent accusations that Labour aren’t taking seriously their duty of care to our service-men and women, Gordon Brown boasted that the UK had the second highest defence budget in the world.
Nobody doubts that the brave men and women in our armed services deserve excellent care in terms of pensions, medical support and housing. Yet they have been risking their lives in foreign adventures which have made us arguably less secure rather than more so. They haven’t been defending us from any imminent threat, despite the dodgy dossier’s claims.
The Treasury expects to spend £32 billion on defence in the 2007-08 financial year. We’re not a superpower, our borders are not under threat of attack, yet why are we spending hugely more on armed forces than all other countries except the USA – the sun set on our empire a long time ago.
We do need to maintain defensive capabilities, but otherwise we should be spending this money much more wisely. Climate change is a huge challenge to world peace and stability. Oil, water and food supplies are already and will becoming increasing sources of conflict.
Our defence spending should be redirected to sustainable transport, greening our housing and kick-starting British eco industries to generate new jobs and ensure our leading position in this booming global market.