Dr Alf poses a simple question to which the answer has to be “no!”
Unless there are more exports, or they plan to borrow more money, there is no more money for defense.
An island nation spending beyond its means, with an army smaller than that of some banana republics, no coastal protection vessels and a tiny navy, cannot be taken seriously, whether it is under Cameron‘s watch or Miliband’s, assuming the latter became Prime Minister.
Lord West, an expert on navies and sea power, has said on Radio 4 that with just seventeen escort vessels, it is little short of a scandal.
Last week, 1000 soldiers were sacked and plans to replace them with reservists are nowhere near on track, nor credible.
Without a lot of spending on defense, a massive increase in exports to pay for things, we are effectively relegated to a passive role on the sidelines, unable to project military power or give anyone cause for pause.
The credible scenarios now are:
- Remain in the EU and contribute to a European Army
- Become a plug and play component of the US military
- Leave the EU, become neutral and become an offshore tax haven
Ed Miliband, if he lasts the distance, will not go for the third option, so the result will be one of the two, unless he plans to reintroduce National Service and introduce conscription, which the Army has said it does not want.