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Life Experience

We are all turkeys voting for Christmas

Keir Starmer, Leader of the UK Labour Party
Rishi Sunak, Leader of the UK Conservative Party
Ed Davey, Leader of the UK Liberal Democrats

Keir Starmer, Leader of the UK Labour Party, Rishi Sunak, Leader of the UK Conservative Party, Ed Davey, Leader of the UK Liberal Democratic Party. Polls suggest (13 June 2024) that Labour is so far ahead that Labour will be certain to form the next government. Election day 3 July 2024.

Election 2024  –  Why does our rich country
seem so poor?

It doesn’t matter who we vote for in this coming election, the outcome will be a government working with the same terrible financial restrictions – and huge and increasing spending commitments that will not be talked about by politicians.

We live in a rich country that is much poorer than it needs to be. Whichever main party is elected it will face the same cash strapped situation and will have great difficulty in maintaining or improving social services. Election commitments may turn out to be just wishful thinking.

The reasons for this are varied but chief among them are the huge spending increases the country is committed to. All three main parties are committed to complying with American demands. These are in an area kept out of public scrutiny by politicians and a complicit media and therefore seen as irrelevant by most voters. You will find little or only superficial mentions of our ties with American arms spending programmes and the NATO Alliance, and superficial or blandly re-assuring coverage in the media writing to an American script.

 

Joe Biden and Donald Trump

The US president sets the spending target for NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. We, the UK, comply. This arrangement is beyond the reach or influence of British voters, a totally undemocratic feature of UK government spending which has a big impact on how much money the UK has for public services.

The big leap in arms spending
Boris Johnson announced commitments to an astonishing increase in spending on armaments on 19 November 2020 a £16.5 billion increase above the Conservative manifesto arms spending commitment. It created the biggest UK defence budget in 30 years.
More details may be found in my article of March 2, 2023 – The case against spending more on defence Don’t give more money to this man.

Why might these expenditures on armaments and weapons be unnecessary?

1. They have not been costed on the basis of need. Instead, the US government has demanded that all members of the NATO alliance increase spending to a large percentage of GDP. It looks as if we are being guided by arms manufacturers who are now enjoying a boom time.

Most members of NATO do not jump to comply in full, but we have.

2. Money has been spent in vast quantities on weapons that cannot defend us and almost no other nations possess: nuclear weapons which can never be used and two huge aircraft carriers which cost £7 billion each with huge ongoing operational costs. There is talk of buying another such ship.

2. The argument is often made that the world is becoming more dangerous. This may be true. Problems with Russia obviously, but NATO bears a heavier responsibility for the problems by provocative behaviour towards Russia.

See my article on my blog. (Tick here to view.)

For a detailed analysis read the 76 page book on the issue, How the West Brought War to Ukraine: Understanding How U.S. and NATO Policies Led to Crisis, War, and the Risk of Nuclear Catastrophe by Benjamin Abelow | 5 Aug 2022 available from Amazon.£7.99 paperback, £3.49 for Kindle download. (tick here to view).

Our own, little scrutinized, Ministry of Defence is a disaster area of incompetence and mismanagement. Our Foreign Office appears to be asleep and to have forgotten the word diplomacy. How else have we allowed ourselves to get into an armed confrontational situation with Russia having avoided one for half a century?

Avoiding armed conflict
And what are the answers to conflict situations between Nations? The answers always rest in diplomacy and negotiation.
But better than this, violent conflict situations between nations are best avoided by a determined and active understanding of countries with which we may not readily agree, and of course by continual dialogue.

3. NATO has been steadily increasing the number of countries admitted to membership. This does not increase our safety. It does increase the number of countries we are committed to defending, as Nato’s key principle is that an attack on any member is considered an attack on all. This means that all members must rush to the defence of any country attacked. Therefore we have increased cost with decreased security.
4. We should also consider the question do we really need to spend more on weapons/armaments than almost all countries in the world?

At the moment we are ranked sixth in the world for spending on armaments. We also contribute greatly more to the defence of Ukraine than any other European country. See defence spending statistics below.

NATO has shown itself to be a costly, dangerous, abysmal failure in this regard. Instead of constant dialogue with potential adversaries it places its faith in ever greater arms spending. This has seriously put the UK in danger because we have got into conflict with Russia. It has cost every single person in the UK a great deal of money. Money spent on weapons obviously cannot be spent on the NHS etc. And the huge increase in fuel costs experienced across Europe was the direct consequence of Russia cutting off low cost gas supplies.

Conclusion
We need to reconsider our membership of NATO which

  • ties us to spending targets set by America
  • draws us into the highly dangerous armed confrontation with Russia – so much so that a nuclear conflict is forseen and talked about – an absolutely suicidal idea – potentially fatal for all humanity. 13 June 2024 President Biden signed a ten year agreement with Ukraine to support Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. He is determined to crush Russia using Ukrainian soldiers, and weapons supplied by NATO countries.
    ———————
UK rank in arms spending v world 2023

Figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
via Wikipedia

Current Defence spending as a percentage of GDP
United States – 3.49%
United Kingdom – 2.07%
Albania – 1.76%
Belgium – 1.73%
Bulgaria – 1.69%
Croatia – 1.65%
Czech Republic – 1.63%
Denmark – 1.59%
France – 1.57%
Germany – 1.55%
Italy – 1.53%
Luxembourg – 1.49%
Montenegro – 1.46%
North Macedonia – 1.44%
Norway – 1.43%
Portugal – 1.42%
Slovakia – 1.39%
Slovenia – 1.38%
Wikipedia chart

The election manifestos 2024
The Conservative manifesto clearly states the increased defence spending target.
The Lib Dems don’t see it as important enough to mention.
Labour; No figures for defence spending but the manifesto states “Our commitment to NATO as the cornerstone of European and global security is unshakeable.”

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David Roberts

Writer, publisher, music promoter

Born in 1942, I now have time to enjoy life more widely and reflect on my experience, interests, and contemporary events.

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