Saturday, 31 July 2010

Status schmatus

Participants in a recent panel discussion organised by thinktank the Henry Jackson Society were in agreement that any cuts would effectively force some significant restructuring in the armed forces. There was also agreement that this defence review could have a major impact on the UK's world standing.
'major impact on the UK's world standing'? I have not seen any debate on what our world standing should be, Is there any assessment as to what it now is so that cost of re-eatablishing us as a leader can be properly determined? Is there any vox pop as to we want or need to be in the forefront? Back in the days of Empire we needed a strong Navy and Army but surely that situation no longer pertains. If we take the example of US expenditure on maintaining superiority, we would never be able to sustain our status. The UN is supposed to be a parliament of equals and we are members of that. Can anyone point to any benefit we have obtained from being part of the Security Council where membership is related to status.

What is currently happening now in Afghanistan demonstrates the cost of playing alongside the big boys - cost in financial terms, in lives lost or ruined and diminution of our moral standards as in the tactics we adopt.

I for one care nothing as to our place in the world. This is not because of any lack of pride in GB but because status brings no return but demands much to uphold. If £x buys ten rifle rounds or one month's treatment for cancer, I know where I want my taxes to go.

Cameron is a great advocate for public involvement in decision making but seems to have overlooked this aspect of work that should be settled before we decide how much we will pay to be in the forefront of world powers. I have lived in a number of countries that were outside top ten and they had some very good levels of care for the sick and elderly, low unemployment and general standards of living and enjoyment of life. We have too many inequalities and general neglect that should be sorted before we worry about status. We should concentrate in cleansing our own stables before worrying about someone else's midden.

I really care nothing for holding a position where we can kill many innocent people very efficiently just because we feel a need to do so. If we do wish to maintain that ability, we owe it to our armed forces to ensure that they never again have to worry where the helicopters are, what medical treatment they will receive when maimed physically or mentally and whether Doris and the kids at home are properly accommodated.

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