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The case against spending more on defence

The case against spending more on defence Don’t give more money to this man.

Ben Wallace, Secretary of State for Defence

In the face of  underpayment of staff in UK caring professions, and the destruction of the NHS by not addressing staff shortages, I have been shocked by the way the government is hugely increasing spending on “defence”. The UK has the fourth largest military budget in the world. This century UK wars have been mainly wars of aggression causing untold misery. In my view this ministry needs holding back not given ever more money.

I have spent several days researching this article which I hope readers will find informative and useful. The media I feel should be giving proper prominence to this important issue.

Dear Readers, I’d be interested to hear your views on this topic. You can comment at the end of this article.

Ben Wallace, our Secretary of State for Defence, is making a bid for still more increases in defence spending citing “an historical low in defence spending,” “the Russian threat” and “The War in Ukraine.”

These arguments deserve examination.

Historical low
Since when has the spending of a government department been based on spending many decades earlier? Current and predicted need should be the only guide.

The Russian Threat
This is a problem. For most of the last sixty years we have lived with the Russian Threat. Diplomacy prevailed and violence against the western European countries never erupted. In fact Russia (actually the Soviet Union) withdrew from country after country, as a result no doubt feeling itself diminished. A sign, perhaps, that NATO, could also relax.

Tensions were reducing and this new relaxation began to be exploited with trade with Russia improving, and proving very valuable, even vital, to some western European states.

NATO’s inappropriate response
Thinking only with a military mindset NATO courted states formerly within the Soviet sphere of influence to join NATO so that “NATO countries” began to encircle the remains of the Soviet Empire (and become customers of western arms manufacturers). Surely something which would discomfort Russian leaders, even humiliate them in the eyes of their population – especially when NATO forces exercise along the borders of Russia. In these circumstances how could Russia “look strong”?

Fighting Russia today
It is unbelievable that the rhetoric remains aggressive towards Russia. Our only secure defence is friendly relations with other countries. This may seem impossible to some but a look at history shows that most of our former enemies whom we fought for years, decades or even centuries are now our trading partners and allies, not because they fear our armies and weapons, but because it is the only policy that makes sense. I’m thinking especially of Germany, Japan, France, Spain, the Netherlands.

A war with Russia
It would be suicidal lunacy to engage in actual fighting with Russia, and we seem to be on the edge of this at this moment (March 2023). We are so vulnerable it wouldn’t even take nuclear weapons to destroy Britain. We have sitting targets which, if struck with missiles, would make Britain uninhabitable. I’m referring to our nuclear power stations and especially our nuclear waste storage facility in Cumbria. This is the largest store in the world of the most toxic substances known to man, radio-active nuclear waste. At huge cost and for the next hundreds of years and more we will continue to struggle to keep this material safe. Its release into the environment would create devastation on a scale never previously experienced by mankind. Brief extracts from a Guardian article, a government report and facts about the toxicity of the waste material are printed below.

We therefore need better diplomacy not more weapons to handle “the Russian threat”. We are heading dangerously in the wrong direction

Does the war in Ukraine justify more spending?
Presumably part of our current vast defence budget is earmarked for war fighting so this is where the money should come from. We are no longer fighting in Afghanistan or Iraq.

We are not a protagonist in the war in Ukraine, just a supporter of the Ukrainian side. Are we contributing enough or should we contribute more?

In fact we are contributing far more than any other country in Europe – £2.3 billion in 2022 with £2.3 billion pledged for 2023 – roughly equal to the financial contribution of all other European countries put together. [Source:House of Commons research briefing 15 February 2023. See below.] Several countries will supply only non-lethal materials.

It would seem reasonable for us to contribute less and encourage other European/NATO countries to contribute more.

Britain’s Defence Record

British “defence” has been a disaster and a disgrace for the last 25 years. We have engaged in wars of aggression against Serbia, Afghanistan and Iraq. The social, economic and political fabric of Iraq and Serbia were deliberately destroyed and Afghanistan, already one of the poorest countries in the world, has been weakened significantly by our 20 year intervention alongside the Americans. The consequences of these wars has been death and destruction, millions fleeing from their homes, vast increases in human misery, in terrorist threats and millions of refugees. These wars have not been in defence of Britain. Our leaders have failed us. Twenty years in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban left the Taliban in control. Some of the facts of these conflicts are set out below.

The running of the ministry of defence has been incompetent, lacking strategy, proper planning and serious failings in administering its spending. More details below.

How well is our money being spent by the Ministry of Defence?
Unfortunately the Ministry of Defence is legendary for its delays in contract fulfilment, over-spends, and cancelled and failed projects. Currently it is short of shells and artillery and possibly manpower. This suggests that money has been misspent elsewhere. As an example, one suggestion is that the two new super aircraft carriers costing £7 billion (plus the cost of aircraft) and an astronomical sum to run were a mistake. They are targets not easy to hide and their anti-missile defences may be overwhelmed.

So far they have not proved reliable. The second of the two, “HMS Prince of Wales, which has a crew of 1,600, spent fewer than 90 days at sea during its first two years of service after suffering multiple leaks, according to The Guardian.” – Business Insider report.

Might they be sailed into the Baltic and the planes used to attack Russian forces? Of course not. Are we going to take on China? For practical modern day warfare they are useless unless used against some poor defenceless country, and we wouldn’t want to do that. Sell them.

Was enough being spent on defence in 2021?
It jolly well should have been enough. Britain is almost top of the table for big military spending in the world. It’s fourth in the world after the US, China and India. We spend more than Russia, or Germany or France. [Source Stockholm International Peace Research Institute report 2022, therefore 2021 figures.] We spend more of our GDP on defence that any other country in NATO except the US. Why are we trying to look like a super power and delude ourselves that we could ever survive another all-out war?

The answer is, I think, that spending is not related to our calculated needs but to spending targets set by America.  It is as if we are incapable of thinking for ourselves as an independent country.

Present Day UK Defence Spending

● 2019 Conservative Manifesto commitment to increase defence spending every year by ½ percent ABOVE INFLATION.
● 19 November 2020: Government announced £16.5 billion increase in defence spending ABOVE MANIFESTO COMMITMENT – the biggest increase in defence spending for thirty years.
● Total increase in arms spending £24.1 billion over four years compared to 2019
● Further huge increase in defence spending promised in next 7 years.

Liz Truss planned to spend 3% of GDP on defence by 2030. To do this the government would need to increase defence spending by about 60% in real terms. This is equivalent to about £157 billion in additional spending. I believe this target is still in place.

We need to scrap the proposed increases in defence spending and spend our existing defence budget more appropriately in relation to actual needs. We need to pay more attention to developing friendly relations with all countries.

Appendix – Sources and Facts

  1. Destruction in Afghanistan

  2. Destruction in Iraq

  3. Contribution to war in Ukraine

  4. Radio-active nuclear waste – the problems of containment

  5. The astonishing danger of nuclear waste a serious war risk​

Destruction in Afghanistan


December 2022

“The United States war in Afghanistan continues destroying lives due to the war-induced breakdown of the economy, public health, security, and infrastructure. Afghans have been massively impoverished by the conflict. 92% of the population faces some level of food insecurity and 3 million children are at risk of acute malnutrition. Some regions are currently facing famine. At least half the population is living on less than $1.90 per day.

[Death toll]

About 243,000 people have been killed in the Afghanistan/Pakistan war zone since 2001. More than 70,000 of those killed have been civilians.

Key Findings

• As of September 2021, more than 70,000 Afghan and Pakistani civilians are estimated to have died as a direct result of the war.

• The United States military in 2017 relaxed its rules of engagement for airstrikes in Afghanistan, which resulted in a massive increase in civilian casualties.

• The CIA has armed and funded Afghan militia groups who have been implicated in grave human rights abuses and killings of civilians.

• Afghan land is contaminated with unexploded ordnance, which kills and injures tens of thousands of Afghans, especially children, as they travel and go about their daily chores.

• The war has exacerbated the effects of poverty, malnutrition, poor sanitation, lack of access to health care, and environmental degradation on Afghans’ health.”

“The CIA armed Afghan militia groups to fight Islamist militants and these militias are responsible for serious human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings of civilians.

Even in the absence of fighting, unexploded ordnance from this war and landmines from previous wars continue to kill, injure, and maim civilians. Fields, roads, and school buildings are contaminated by ordnance, which often harms children as they go about chores like gathering wood.

The war has also inflicted invisible wounds. In 2009, the Afghan Ministry of Public Health reported that fully two-thirds of Afghans suffer from mental health problems.

[Effects of the war]

Prior wars and civil conflict in the country have made Afghan society extremely vulnerable to the reverberating effects of the U.S. post-9/11 war. Those war effects include elevated rates of disease due to lack of clean drinking water, malnutrition, and reduced access to health care. Nearly every factor associated with premature death — poverty, malnutrition, poor sanitation, lack of access to health care, environmental degradation — is exacerbated by the current war.”


111 Thayer Street,   Brown University, Box 1970   Providence, RI USA   02912-1970

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© 2023 Watson Institute

Afghanistan deaths

UK forces’ deaths in Afghanistan since 2001 – 456.

“As of September 2021, more than 70,000 Afghan and Pakistani civilians are estimated to have died as a direct result of the war.”

Destruction in Iraq


December 2022

“No one knows with certainty how many people have been killed and wounded in Iraq since the 2003 United States invasion. However, we know that between 275,000 and 306,000 civilians have died from direct war related violence caused by the U.S., its allies, the Iraqi military and police, and opposition forces from the time of the invasion through October 2019. The violent deaths of Iraqi civilians have occurred through aerial bombing, shelling, gunshots, suicide attacks, and fires started by bombing. Many civilians have also been injured.

Because not all war-related deaths have been recorded accurately by the Iraqi government and the U.S.-led coalition, the numbers are likely much higher. Several estimates based on randomly selected household surveys place the total death count among Iraqis in the hundreds of thousands.

Several times as many Iraqi civilians may have died as an indirect result of the war, due to damage to the systems that provide food, health care and clean drinking water, and as a result, illness, infectious diseases, and malnutrition that could otherwise have been avoided or treated. The war has compounded the ill effects of decades of harmful U.S. policy actions towards Iraq since the 1960s, including economic sanctions in the 1990s that were devastating for Iraqis.

Despite more than $100 billion committed to aiding and reconstructing Iraq, many parts of the country still suffer from lack of access to clean drinking water and housing.”


111 Thayer Street,   Brown University, Box 1970   Providence, RI USA   02912-1970

P +1 401 863 2809

© 2023 Watson Institute

War-related deaths in Iraq 2003 to present

According to Iraq Body Count there have been approximately 200,000 civilian deaths and 88,000 military deaths. For details and their meticulous methodology see

UK Service personnel deaths in Iraq
“Operation Telic was the codename for British operations in Iraq, which lasted from 19 March 2003 to 22 May 2011. During the campaign, 179 British service personnel died.” – Wikipedia.

War-related refugees in and from Iraq

“As of 2020, 9.2 million Iraqis are internally displaced or refugees abroad.”

War in Ukraine (House of Commons report)

“Who is providing military assistance?

The US is the largest provider of military assistance to Ukraine, having committed $30 billion since the start of the Biden administration. $29.3 billion of that assistance has been provided since February 2022.

As the second largest donor, the UK has committed £2.3 billion in military assistance to Ukraine so far and has pledged to match that assistance in 2023. The UK is also hosting a training programme (Operation Interflex), which is supported by several allies, with the aim of training 10,000 new and existing Ukrainian personnel within 120 days. The UK has recently committed to training Ukrainian fast jet pilots but has said that combat fighter aircraft will not be provided, at least in the short term.

NATO, as an alliance, has been clear in its political support of Ukraine and fully supports the provision of bilateral military assistance by individual allies. NATO is helping to coordinate requests for assistance from the Ukrainian government and is supporting the delivery of humanitarian and non-lethal aid. Ukraine is not a NATO member, however, and therefore isn’t party to NATO’s mutual defence clause under Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty. As such, NATO troops will not be deployed on the ground in Ukraine. Allies have also ruled out imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine because it would bring Russia into direct conflict with NATO forces. At the Heads of State and Government summit in Madrid at the end of June 2022 NATO allies agreed a new package of assistance for Ukraine that will provide long term, sustained, support.

The European Union is also providing non-lethal and lethal arms through its European Peace Facility (EPF). This is the first time the bloc has, in its history, approved the supply of lethal weapons to a third country. To date, the EU has committed €3.6 billion. In October 2022, the EU also approved a new training mission for the Ukrainian armed forces.”

Radio-active nuclear waste problems, longevity, costs – 1

The toxicity, enormous quantity, difficulty of containment even in peace time, the timescale of this risk are all on a scale that is difficult to comprehend. Most people can’t begin to try to grasp it and so the most dangerous and vulnerable feature of life in Britain isn’t thought about. The issue deserves our attention.

These are tiny extracts from an important article in The Guardian by Samanth Subramanian

“Nothing is produced at Sellafield anymore. But making safe what is left behind is an almost unimaginably expensive and complex task that requires us to think not on a human timescale, but a planetary one.

“I’d gone to Sellafield not to observe how it lived but to understand how it is preparing for its end. Sellafield’s waste – spent fuel rods, scraps of metal, radioactive liquids, a miscellany of other debris – is parked in concrete silos, artificial ponds and sealed buildings. Some of these structures are growing, in the industry’s parlance, “intolerable”, atrophied by the sea air, radiation and time itself. If they degrade too much, waste will seep out of them, poisoning the Cumbrian soil and water.


“The best way to neutralise its threat is to move it into a subterranean vault, of the kind the UK plans to build later this century. Once interred, the waste will be left alone for tens of thousands of years, while its radioactivity cools. Dealing with all the radioactive waste left on site is a slow-motion race against time, which will last so long that even the grandchildren of those working on site will not see its end. The process will cost at least £121bn.


“ All of Sellafield is in a holding pattern, trying to keep waste safe until it can be consigned to the ultimate strongroom: the geological disposal facility (GDF), bored hundreds of metres into the Earth’s rock, a project that could cost another £53bn. Even if a GDF receives its first deposit in the 2040s, the waste has to be delivered and put away with such exacting caution that it can be filled and closed only by the middle of the 22nd century.


“High-level waste – the by-product of reprocessing – is so radioactive that its containers will give off heat for thousands of years. It, too, will become harmless over time, but the scale of that time is planetary, not human. The number of radioactive atoms in the kind of iodine found in nuclear waste by-products halves every 16m years.


“Somewhere on the premises, Sellafield has also stored the 140 tonnes of plutonium it has purified over the decades. It’s the largest such hoard of plutonium in the world, but it, too, is a kind of waste, simply because nobody wants it for weapons any more, or knows what else to do with it.

“Sellafield now requires £2bn a year to maintain.”

The Guardian, Samanth Subramanian

Read the full article at

Radio-active nuclear waste problems, longevity, costs – 2

House of Commons Public Accounts Committee

Extracts from the Report on the work of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) Session 2019–21

23 November 2020

[This report is primarily about the clearing up of radio-active materials and equipment from the British Magnox nuclear reactors which have so far been closed down, but it makes clear the worrying uncertainty about the unprecedented timescale to complete the task of decommissioning nuclear power stations and the unknowability of the escalating costs.]

“The uncertainty affecting the Magnox sites reflects a wider uncertainty about the costs and timetable of decommissioning the whole civil nuclear estate. According to the NDA’s [Nuclear Decommissioning Authority ] most recent estimates it will cost the UK taxpayer £132 billion to decommission the UK’s civil nuclear sites and the NDA estimates that the work will not be completed for another 120 years.”

“The cost of the long-term liability to decommission the UK’s civil nuclear sites now stands at £132 billion, though by its nature this estimate is inherently uncertain. When pushed to provide us with a full and final figure for the cost of decommissioning the Magnox sites, The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s management of the Magnox contract the NDA could not do so and stated that this will not be possible until the work has been completed.”

“Public accountability is hindered by a lack of transparency about the scale and nature of the challenge of decommissioning and the performance of the NDA. Nuclear decommissioning will cost current and future generations of taxpayers’ substantial sums of money “

Source section 2 of Conclusions and Recommendations for this information.


The astonishing danger of nuclear waste  –  a serious war risk

Nuclear waste is the most toxic mix of substances known to man. The biggest repository in the world of such material is in Cumbria, UK. Very large sums of money are being spent trying to contain this material until such time, in decades to come, that it can be buried in caverns bored deep into rock far below the earth’s surface to keep it “safe” for tens of thousands of years.

There are several kinds of radio-active substances with different degrees of danger to life. Just as an example look at plutonium-239. Its radio-activity reduces over time. It is calculated to have decayed to half strength after 24,110 years.


“Plutonium-239 emits alpha particles to become uranium-235. As an alpha emitter, plutonium-239 is not particularly dangerous as an external radiation source, but if it is ingested or breathed in as dust it is very dangerous and carcinogenic. It has been estimated that a pound (454 grams) of plutonium inhaled as plutonium oxide dust could give cancer to two million people.

from wikipedia

Sellafield stores 140 tonnes of plutonium. See The Guardian” article above.

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Arms spending 4 – Public service workers Nil

Arms spend 4, public services pay Nil

Arms spending 4 - Public service workers Nil

Arms spend 4, public services pay Nil

Ambulance drivers’, nurses, and other public service workers pay demands are described as “unaffordable”. Yet spending on arms has consistently gone above inflation and even this has been added to. Biggest increase in defence spending for 30 years, way above commitments in the rest of Europe.

● 2019 Conservative Manifesto commitment to increase defence spending every year by ½ percent ABOVE INFLATION.
● 19 November 2020: Government announced £16.5 billion increase in defence spending ABOVE MANIFESTO COMMITMENT.
● Total increase in arms spending £24.1 billion over four years compared to 2019
● Further huge increase in defence spending promised in next 7 years.

Liz Truss planned to spend 3% of GDP on defence by 2030. To do this the government would need to increase defence spending by about 60% in real terms. This is equivalent to about £157 billion in additional spending. 

This spending target for arms spending by 2030 remains the government’s aim.

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The line Joe Biden is taking towards Israel shames America

The line Joe Biden is taking towards Israel shames America

Joe Biden repeatedly states that Israel has the right to self defence, a statement which is literally true but designed to be misleading and is therefore dishonest.

In fact the opposite is true. Biden suggests that the aggressor, Israel, is the victim in this Israel/Palestine dispute. Israel has overwhelming fire-power, an endless supply of sophisticated weapons, jet planes, tanks, drones, guided missiles, high explosives much of it supplied by and even funded by the United States and is using this fire-power against two million defenceless civilians in Gaza. America is on Israel’s side.

Two million civilians live in the Gaza coastal strip

Israel’s bombardment is almost exclusively of civilians, their homes, their means of living. Today (17 May 2021) the BBC reported that Israeli attacks in Gaza had destroyed roads and power lines. Yesterday they destroyed an apartment block that housed, amongst families, international reporters. On 12 May Offices of Gaza’s Interior Ministry were hit and all police stations were destroyed.

The Israelis didn’t blow out just a few windows of the apartment block and international media centre. The whole building went down in just a few seconds

What is the message of all this targeted destruction by Israel?

The message is, “We will destroy you. We will make Gaza ungovernable. We will make your lives impossible and we are taking steps to stop the world from knowing what we are doing to you.” I think the word for this is “genocide”.

Hamas and its rockets

True that Hamas who govern Gaza continue with determination but not effectively to fire their simple rockets at Israel, and that 10 Israelis have been killed as a result of hundreds of rockets fired. The rockets land in civilian areas (the few that get through) and this is wrong.

What can Hamas gain from firing rockets? – World attention.

They can expect more violence from Israel. BUT ALSO their cause may be kept before the attention of world leaders who are the only ones who can release Palestinians from their suffering. Their cause is their claim to have a right to freedom, respect, and life itself, free from Israeli control and abuses.

Was Hamas in the tower block destroyed by Israel?

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken 17 May 2021

Blinken, speaking at a news conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, said he has not seen any Israeli evidence of Hamas operating in the Gaza building that housed residences, offices and media organisations – including Al Jazeera – that Israel hit on Saturday. Blinken says he has asked Israel for justification for the attack.

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Are aircraft carriers useful in a war situation? Expert opinion.

Are aircraft carriers useful in a war situation?

Expert opinion

Aircraft carriers of some of the biggest ships ever built and are therefore very impressive, as well as being extremely expensive to build and operate.
Here is expert opinion on the usefulness of aircraft carriers in the first Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm, 1990-1991.

“Little in Desert Storm supported the Maritime Strategy’s assumptions and implications. No opposing naval forces challenged us. No waves of enemy aircraft ever attacked the carriers. No submarines threatened the flow of men and materiel across the oceans. The fleet was never forced to fight the open-ocean battles the Navy had been preparing for during the preceding 20 years.”

Statement by William A. Owens former admiral in the United States Navy and Commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet from 1990 to 1992. He became vice chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, the second-ranking military office in the United States, in March 1994.
From The Carrier Myth 1999, By Rebecca Grant, March 1, 1999

Today’s aircraft carriers

Today’s aircraft carriers may be no more useful. They carry dozens of aircraft capable of dropping bombs and causing an immense amount of destruction, but what international problem will be solved by a massive bombing campaign and in which countries might this tactic be used?

And being so large won’t they be easy to find and easy to destroy?  

High tech solutions well adapted to fight the second world war

It seems defence planners are stuck in Second World War thinking. Mass bombing is not an answer to today’s international problems. The bombings of Iraq and Afghanistan have been disastrous and avoidable tragedies.

Britain’s two aircraft carriers, the biggest ships ever built in Britain, cost over £3 billion each, have crews of 700, with accommodation for up to 1600, and are built to carry normal maximum load of thirty-six American F-35 multirole combat aircraft and four helicopters. The theoretical maximum capacity is 72 aircraft. Currently the UK has just 21 of these planes costing around $100 million each. This military might is not constructed or planned to deliver real help to any country.

David Roberts

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Billions for more weapons – why?

Billions for more weapons - why?

More of this? What are the problems

that this is a solution to?

Britain’s defence budget is is in the wrong hands

Britain is planning the largest military spending budget for 30 years. This amounts to a £16.5 billion increase above the Conservative manifesto commitment over four years. (New Defence policy explained in parliament 16 March 2021.)

To justify all this spending defence planners have given a little thought to defending Britain, but mostly they are concerned with the machinery and equipment of war. Hence the vastly increased budget for defence at a time of dire financial need in the country. 

They have proved themselves to be unfit to be in charge large numbers of lethal weapons.  This century they have not used them to defend Britain. Instead, they have attacked other countries with disastrous consequences, including Iraq and Afghanistan. 

When I think of the destruction death and the refugees brought about by Britain’s military interventions it makes me ashamed to be British. 

We should not be planning and preparing for more military action. We have enough problems to deal with at home. 

We should be cutting arms spending, not increasing it.

David Roberts

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Rocketing arms spending leaves little for nurses

Rocketing arms spending leaves little for nurses’ pay

The UK will have the biggest defence budget in Europe

On 19th of November last year the UK government announced the largest military spending budget for 30 years. This amounted to a £16.5 billion increase above the manifesto commitment over four years.
On existing forecasts, this is an overall cash increase of £24.1 billion over four years compared to last year’s budget.
The Royal United Services Institute said that the “additional cash represents a real-term increase of between 10 percent and 15 percent in the defence budget.
The National Audit Office, the government’s financial watchdog, said, even before this announcement that the 10-year equipment plan was unaffordable,being too costly by as much as £13 billion. The current annual defense budget is about £40 billion.

Who benefits from vastly increased defence spending?

This cannot be about the defence of Britain. We are not under military threat from any country or likely to be so so within the next decade or two. Can the government name a single country that might want to invade or attack Britain? The government is funding military equipment some of which cannot be positioned or used to defend Britain, for example two huge aircraft carriers which were ordered by Tony Blair and his government. These currently lack aircraft so there is is a big aircraft building programme. There is also the hugely costly and illegal Trident weapons of mass destruction programme. See my post on this topic.

So what’s behind all this spending?

  1. First there is the doctrinaire belief that we must remain best and most supportive friend of America and support America in its military actions whatever they may be. (We have seen to our cost for example, Afghanistan and Iraq that the open cheque has cost huge number of lives, created thousands of refugees, and cost a great deal of money as well.)
  2. From the government’s point of view this spending will maintain or create very large numbers of jobs, especially in parts of the country where it feels a great need to maintain popularity. In Scotland there is a desire by many for independence so assuring jobs there may be a political move. Some of this spending will pay for the building of thirteen frigates which are currently under construction in Scotland. Britain also has plans for the creation of a Space Command capable of launching a rocket from a site in Scotland by 2022.

Boris Johnson’s explanation to parliament

“These projects are expected to create up to 10,000 thousand jobs annually across the UK. These will reflect the expertise and ingenuity of British people both inside and outside our Armed Forces, harnessing the UK’s skills in construction and science and reinvigorating those industries in the coming decades.”

What can we do?

First we need to be specific about what we want. We might then focus on petitions for which we work to gain support.

For example,

  1. We might demand the cutting of the planned increases in the defence budget immediately in order to raise the pay of nurses and give more funds to the NHS.
  2. We might demand a halving of the defence budget before the end of the current parliament.
  3. We might demand the scrapping of the Trident weapons of mass destruction programme and the nuclear powered submarines which carry them.
  4. We might demand that Britain leave NATO.
  5. We might demand that Britain declares itself unwilling to support US military adventures.
  6. We might demand a foreign policy which concentrates on friendly cooperation with all countries and working towards the peaceful encouragement of tolerant and democratic societies in countries where we find human rights to be lacking.

On a personal level the least we can do is write to our MP stating what changes we would like to see. We also need to raise this matter with as many people as possible. This might be in face-to-face discussions but it can also be in the form of letters to the press, tweets on Twitter, messages on facebook etc. We should stop misnaming offensive weapons of mass destruction “deterrents”.

The media should take on the topic of peace and disarmament

We need to lobby the media to deal with peace and disarmament issues and not brush them aside. Why was the huge increase in defence (war) spending at a time of severe financial difficulty not thoroughly explored by the media?

Peace and disarmament should become a long-term burning public issue.

Britain’s reputation as a violence-loving country

When we think of the death, destruction and misery our bombing and interventions in other countries have caused in this century alone it is obvious that the subject is something we are right to be angry about. British governments have proved themselves to be unfit to be in charge of their huge and growing destructive armoury.

True “defence” is a topic which ought to be part of the school curriculum but can we persuade the government to allow this controversial and political topic to be aired in British schools?

Your views?

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on these topics. Please use the comment box below. If you use facebook you can use the second comment box without any formalities, and could share your views on facebook too, if you wish.

David Roberts,


Defense News (online) 19 November 2020
Statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street. 19 November 2020.

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Starmer joins Tories in wasting billions on shameful Trident nuclear weapons

Today (26 February 2021)the Labour party announced support for the Conservative policy of spending billions on nuclear weapons, the Trident nuclear missile.

The country is facing huge economic problems, so why plan to spend billions on an outdated weapon that had its time in the 1950s? It’s as pointless as bows and arrows as a defence system. And it is shamefully immoral in its ability to destroy many cities and wipe out millions of innocent human beings by explosion and radiation at the press of a button.


No imaginable threat can justify preparing to annihilate cities and cause long-term environmental devastation.

Each trident submarine carries destructive power over 200 times greater than the bombs that destroyed the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons came into effect earlier this year. The Conservative and Labour parties clearly plan to ignore the treaty. Over 190 countries do not have nuclear weapons.


Our nuclear weapons did not deter Argentina from trying to seize the British Falkland Islands in 1982. They cannot deter suicidal terrorists. No potential invader (who could that possibly be?) wants to use nuclear weapons against us because what use would a Britain that had become a radio-active wilderness be to them?


Defence is best achieved through international co-operation and trade. That’s how we have overcome the threats from our former enemies: Spain, Holland, France, Germany and others. They do not co-operate with us because of fear of annihilation.

Nuclear weapons, like castles, are relics of outmoded, obscene, fantasy thinking on defence and have no place in the modern world. Now, the last thing we need is the threatened destruction of humanity. Today we need to co-operate to deal with environmental and humanitarian crises that call for our attention.

The reasons for this government spending is not defence but thousands of jobs in our arms industries. We need people and money to address the pressing social needs of this country. We need to spend money more wisely.

David Roberts
26 February 2021 Updated 12 March 2021

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