Featured picture credit is here.
How can people make this kind of Orwellian double-speak disconnect?
(Because they don’t care, in this post-truth world, if it’s ‘true’ or not. They just want to stick the knife into both New Labour and Corbyn’s social democratic Labour as much as possible.)
What the actual f**k is this- Schrödinger’s Bomb?
(Is it in the manifesto? For Labour? Yes. In 2015 and voted on at Conference in September 2016. For the Conservatives? A surprise announcement done by Osborne in 2015 and NOT in the manifesto.)
You’d say ‘you cannot make it up’, but they did. And the MSM have been complicit in this.
For example, The Express screamed yesterday (30/04/17) that Labour want to STARVE the armed forces. Er, ok.
In 2014 John McDonnell, now the Shadow Chancellor, tabled a motion in Parliament to let voters “direct the proportion of their income tax that goes to the military to be placed in a non-military security fund”. It did not pass.
- this is not a Labour policy (see below).
- it would not be the Labour Party ‘starving the military’, it would be the public but the public may want to pay for the military
- this would be democracy in action, would it not?
If this motion had passed, and an overwhelming majority of voters would rather that money be spent on health, welfare, education and so on rather than guns, bullets and bombs, then more money would be spent on the former and less on the latter.
Whether this is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is irrelevant, the people™ would have decided.
So the entire article is a very lazy swipe at a FAILED MOTION from three years ago. And would have allowed the people™ to decide, so it absolutely wouldn’t be Labour opting to ‘starve the military’ (which incidentally hasn’t been used to defend the realm since WW2) it would be the people™.
Currently the Conservative government decide how much to pay the armed forces, how much they spend on equipment, and how much to support them. As we shall see below, it’s not a bl**dy lot.
And the arms policy stated by Gardiner in the run up to the GE runs as follows:
- Barry Gardiner, the Shadow Minister for International Trade and Climate Change, has suggested in an interview with the Independent today (29/04/17) that Britain could push for arms sales only to countries that did not have repressive regimes. The more the Labour package is revealed, the more I like it, I will say. And this would be in line with many YEARS of cross-party with SNP, the Lib Dems and Greens (but not Conservative from what I can see, and I’ve been through dozens of them) early Day Motions to stop arms sales to such countries on humanitarian grounds.
- And to contextualise that, Nia Griffith, Labour MP for Llanelli, makes it clear that the 2% pledge is still on the table. And she ought to know- she’s the Shadow defence Secretary!
This puts paid to the ‘no weapons at all’ accusation, as well the fact the UK are in NATO. And one of the conditions of being in NATO is that ‘we’ have to spend 2% of our GDP on defence as has already been said. Many NATO countries don’t, but we do and the 2015 Manifesto shows Labour will spend that 2% minimum. Again, we need to attack policies with facts, not scaremongering.
Here are ALL the points on defence from Labour’s 2015 general election manifesto. There is no reason to suppose they will change this in 2017.
From page 76 of the 2015 manifesto:
A Labour Government will always do what is necessary to defend our country. Beyond self-defence, Labour has been clear about the need to learn the lessons of previous interventions, especially the 2003 invasion of Iraq. We will continue the approach we have taken in this Parliament. A Labour Government would not propose the use of military force without judging whether reasonable diplomatic efforts have been exhausted, the action is proportionate and in partnership with allies, whether there is a clear legal basis, and if there is a clear plan, not just for winning the war but also for building a lasting peace. [my italics].
The Defence plans, from page 77-9
Defence and our Armed Forces
The primary duty of any government is the defence of the nation and its interests. That is why Labour is committed to ensuring the UK has responsive, high-tech Armed Forces, with the capability to respond to emerging, interconnected threats, in an unpredictable security landscape.
We will conduct a Strategic Defence and Security Review in the first year of government, with an inclusive national debate on the security and defence challenges facing the country. It will be fiscally responsible and strategically driven, focusing on the obstacles that impede our Armed Forces from effective response to threats.
At the heart of our defence policy are the service men and women, both regulars and reservists, who risk their lives for their country. Labour will strengthen the covenant between our nation and our Armed Forces, veterans and their families. We will create a Veterans’ Register to make certain our veterans receive proper support on leaving service. We will continue to roll out Labour’s Veterans’ Interview Programme, in which companies voluntarily guarantee an interview for job-seeking ex-forces personnel. We will introduce legislation to make discrimination against members of our Armed Forces illegal, and we will enshrine the Military Covenant in the NHS Constitution.
The UK defence and security industry is a key contributor to our economy, with a turnover of £22 billion a year. We will work to secure defence jobs across the UK, protect the supply chain and support industry to grow Britain’s defence exports. In partnership with industry, we will put accountability, value for money, interoperability and sustainability at the centre of defence procurement. Britain needs to be prepared to counter the threat of cyber-attacks.
We have already called on the Government to require every company working with the Ministry of Defence, regardless of its size or the scale of its work, to sign up to a cyber-security charter. This would reduce the risk of hackers using small suppliers to break into the systems of major defence companies or the department itself. We will consult on creating a statutory requirement for all private companies, to report serious cyber-attacks threatening our national infrastructure. Labour remains committed to a minimum, credible, independent nuclear capability, delivered through a Continuous At-Sea Deterrent. We will actively work to increase momentum on global multilateral disarmament efforts and negotiations, and look at further reductions in global stockpiles and the numbers of weapons. [Again, my italics.]
Google is full of articles on how the Conservatives have cut the defence budget. Here is the Conservative Defence Policy report. They too committed to the NATO rule of spending 2% of the GDP but ask these very important questions.
What is included in the 2% ‘defence’ spending commitment?
There are three big unknowns in response to the new 2% commitment.
First, it is not clear what the government intends to include within this ‘defence’ spending envelope. NATO will make its own assessment of what it accepts as defence spending but it is possible that the Chancellor plans to include some or all of UK intelligence spending, support for peacekeeping operations or military pensions in the total. Such bolstering looks unlikely, even though the government is greatly increasing its combined (and secret) allocation to military and civilian intelligence agencies. Is 2% of GDP sufficient to fund ambitious procurement and personnel targets?
Secondly, even with the higher-than-expected spending commitment,[so note, they weren’t going to keep to the NATO requirement] it is not at all certain that the government can finance its very ambitious procurement plans (£163 billion to 2024) and keep its manifesto commitment to preserve the armed forces at their current size. The Coalition government made important progress in constraining MoD procurement practices and cost over-runs but the current focus of resources on procurement of some relatively unknown systems, especially the next generation Trident submarine and missile system and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, makes the prospect of cost over-runs very likely. This, in turn, would put pressure on personnel strength.
Why was the 2% commitment not in the Conservative manifesto?Thirdly, there is the question of why the 2% commitment did not appear in the conservative electoral manifesto, as the £160+ billion procurement plan did. During the campaign, Conservative ministers (and their equivalents in Labour and Lib Dems) repeatedly refused to be drawn on meeting the 2% commitment. As the BBC’s defence editor Mark Urban put it, during an election “even a party that historically has prided itself as strong on defence feels unable to make the argument for spending more on it.” This surely says something interesting about the sceptical public mood on defence spending even in the context of renewed crises in the Middle East, Mediterranean and Ukraine. [my italics.]
Does this sound like a party ‘strong on defence’?
In 2015, David Davis admits on the ConservativeHome website, that the armed forces were in desperate need of funding. What actually happened? More cuts.
Labour Lords yesterday questioned the government’s timeline for the construction of the Type 31 frigate.
Former First Sea Lord and Labour Peer Admiral Lord West questioned the Government’s ability to deliver the required number of Frigates by the 2035 timeline as laid out in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review.
During the debate Lord West stated “I cannot see how that can occur by 2035, by which time the oldest of the Type 23s will be 35 years old.”
Lord West highlighted the necessity for a ‘steady drumbeat of ship orders’ if the UK was going to meet its escort arrangements for the fleet.
Concerns were raised throughout the debate about the current underfunded nature of our Defence Budget. The Labour Party is committed to spending at least 2% of our GDP on defence spending.
Ministry of Defence will face another £500m of funding cuts this year is an ‘absolute disgrace’ according to a group of military experts.
Chancellor George Osborne today announced the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will make one of the largest contributions to £3bn of savings in this financial year.
These are just three examples. Here are some from 2016:
Less than half of UK military personnel are satisfied with service life, a Ministry of Defence (MoD) survey shows, indicating a 3 percent dip in the last year and an overall plunge of 16 percent since 2009 – the last year of Labour governance.
The annual Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey found that 52 percent of the 12,875 personnel polled think morale is low.
Some 50 percent are unhappy with family accommodation and just 34 percent think the pay and benefits they receive are adequate.
And most damning of all, in December 2016:
Although it really is inexcusable that our government can find £20.3 bn for pointless military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq…[…]…yet are in fact stripping resources and cutting funding for the very forces that are there to defend the realm and her people. One might be forgiven for thinking its as if these politicians no longer have the interests of the British people at heart!
The speed and scale of the depletion of the British Army in particular has been quite remarkable. In 2010, there were just over 100,000 full time Army personnel. At that time the Tory government set a target to cut that figure by 20,000 by 2018, but actually achieved this 3 years early in 2015, so that the number of full time servicemen and women is now just 81,700, the lowest in over 200 years. The plan was to fill the gaps left with reservists, yet the government is behind on their target to recruit 11,000 reservists by 2019, something which former army commander Richard Kemp rightly pointed out means that we have serious personnel deficiencies within our land forces, leaving us with a big loss in capabilities.
By 2015, the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force (RAF) had already exceeded their target cuts, with the former losing 5,500 personnel and the latter losing 8,500. That equates to over 15% of full time Navy personnel being struck off, and a massive 22% of RAF men and women losing their roles. There is a plan to plug the gaps with a token amount of reservists, but as with the army, this has failed to materialise and it appears that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will fail to hit their 2020 reservist recruitment targets. The cuts were as a result of the 2010 ‘strategic defence and security review’, which was essentially part of the overall deficit reduction plan enacted by George Osborne and his team at No. 11. In short, they saw the armed forces as an easy target for budget cuts, showing total disregard for the safety of the realm and that of the British people. [my italics].
Michael Fallon, the now Minister of defence for Theresa May, admitted to lying about the Trident misfire.
If this Trident missile had been live, it could have sent radiation across an area of over 90 square km. So that’d be good bye to
or ONE Liverpool,
or TWO Lutons,
or ONE AND A HALF Derbys,
or HALF of Glasgow or Birmingham…
I am sure you’re getting the picture…
But let’s get this into absolute perspective.
It would also be EIGHT Hiroshimas.
So the damage and destruction caused would be EIGHT times this:
He also said we would fire them FIRST if the Government deemed it necessary.
Boris Johnson, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, said this
Yet Fallon (and Johnson) call Corbyn a security risk on the issue?
Get in the sea!
Yes, Corbyn’s personal opinion on peace is well known. I discussed some of this in this blog. And to be honest I agree with him. BUT Corbyn ≠ the Labour party.
He signed many of the Early Day motions mentioned above.
He wants a Minister for Peace.
But he respects the vote at conference to keep Trident and to keep to the NATO level of 2% of the GDP on defence.
Tony Blair has learned no lessons. He still aligns with Trump on being aggressive towards Syria and Korea. And still thinks he was right to remove Saddam. But he’s neither leader nor an MP any more. And despite all the rumours, is NOT coming back to Parliament for 2017, or in the foreseeable future.
WHICH party sounds like it has a ‘good’ defence policy?
One that will ensure enough staff, supplies, wages, equipment and proper housing?
One that pledges good aftercare and jobs once they leave the services?
One that will not just bomb anyone and admits that it is due to the Iraq War that they have rethought a blindly aggressive foreign policy BUT will not leave this country open to any incursions?
Well it’s not the bl**dy Conservatives, is it?