The election campaign has concluded and votes have been cast.
Whether it actually makes a great deal of difference one way or the other is debatable but what does a Conservative victory mean for defence?
A starting point for the hopelessly naive is the Conservative Party Manifesto;
The usual collection of vague platitudes and meaningless soundbites but as we approach the National Security Strategy (NSS) review, Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) and Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) I think we all understand full well that three things will happen;
- Politicians will continue talking the talk about UK defence, focussing on Twitter friendly statements peppered with words like second largest defence budget in NATO, our brave service personnel and investing in high-tech capabilities, whilst desperately seeking ways of reducing the MoD’s actual spending i.e. the whole NSS, SDSR and CSR process will be an elaborate exercise is making the MoD even more ‘all fur coat and no knickers’.
- The Service Chiefs will continue their best impression of three ferrets in a sandbag, fighting for their respective corners and to ensure the pain is shared equally.
- The resultant package of
cutsmeasures will focus on reducing actual capabilities whilst maintaining outward appearances so the Army will keep 82,000 personnel but overseas training, terms and conditions of service, logistics support, live fire exercises, housing and other welfare type spending will take a battering. The same will happen to the RAF and RN, hollowing out by the tried and tested method of salami slicing and cutting where the Telegraph won’t notice will be the ‘soup of the day’. Also expect some creative accounting when it comes to target percentages such as the much talked about 1% increase in real terms on equipment and a handful of headline-grabbing equipment purchases to sweeten the pill.
Anyone expecting anything radical is going to be as deflated as Ed’s Balls :)
Am I being far too cynical?
Let’s hear your predictions.