The Liberal Democrat manifesto is here
Analysis after the jump
With strong Treasury involvement, review all major defence procurement projects through the SSDR to ensure money is being spent effectively. We will not purchase tranche 3B of the Eurofighter.
If anyone thinks we will be actually getting 3B, unless it is a gap filler for any Omani orders they are not living on this planet. The Liberal Democrats seem to have fixated on Typhoon (making a point of not calling it Typhoon) following the ridiculous Lewis Page narrative that it is a cold war relic with no relevance to modern conflicts when the actual truth is that it is maturing into a powerful swing role aircraft with relevance for all types of conflict. This shows a disturbing lack of depth of understanding.
Do we actually need more Treasury involvement in defence issues and how will the Treasury measure effectiveness?
When the Treasury gets involved they decide things like because that Destroyer is now twice as good as the last one you only need half as many.
Rule out the like-for-like replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system. At a cost of £100 billion over a lifetime it is unaffordable, and Britain’s security would be better served by alternatives
What are these alternatives?
Do they mean no nuclear weapons or an alternative like for example a nuclear armed cruise missile. The fact that cruise missiles can be counteracted by decent air defence systems and that the Tomahawk nuclear version is no longer in service anywhere so would need expensive procurement project seems to have missed the authors of the manifesto.
Reinvigorate Franco-British and wider European defence co-operation to ensure procurement costs are kept low.
Like Typhoon, Horizon, TRIGAT, and A400m, those other famously cost constrained European procurement programmes. The lessons are clear, indulge in partnerships and cost and times rise.
Give a pay rise to the lower ranks so that their pay is brought into line with the starting salary of their emergency services counterparts.
All well and good but what does this mean for those transitioning through to senior ranks, they take their third and get no payrise. The fact is that the armed forces have a hideously complex pay and allowance system that needs sorting out. Trade pay it seems will remain unchanged, which is where most personnel get the majority of their pay rises from.
Is this actually a well thought through policy, I think not
We will reduce the number of civilian staff in the Ministry of Defence
A manifesto wouldn’t be worthy of the name unless it included reducing the armies of pen pushers at the ministry, ha ha!
And that was it