Richard Drax: Forces cuts a mistake

Richard Drax: Forces cuts a mistake

Richard Drax: Forces cuts a mistake

First published in News

THREE years ago, an illustrious group of retired senior commanders from our armed forces spoke out against the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

Their verdict was that the SDSR was “an accountant’s approach to strategy” and would threaten our “special relationship” with America and Nato, the ‘twin pillars’ of our security.

Regrettably, but not unexpectedly, former US Defence secretary Robert Gates reinforced their concerns last week when he told the BBC that Britain was no longer able to act as a “full partner” with America in global affairs. Defence cuts are now limiting our “full spectrum” capabilities, he added, meaning our ability to fight across land, sea and air.

His comments came a month after General Sir Nick Houghton, Chief of the Defence Staff, warned that our military was in danger of becoming a “hollow force”, with “exquisite” equipment, but without soldiers, sailors or airmen to man it.

Those defending the SDSR claim that we can reduce our defence capabilities because it’s highly unlikely that we will operate alone in the future. However, history shows how flawed that argument is.

We were alone during the Falklands War and alone during the early stages of World War Two, when we so nearly foundered.

The Prime Minister says we are a “first class player”, with the fourth largest defence budget, but that’s misleading when you take into account the role we have to play on the world stage.

Our fighting men and women remain the best in the world and other nations look to us for leadership.

To see so many thousands of them fall at the stroke of an accountant’s pen is short-sighted in the extreme.

We owe our armed forces so much.

I can only hope that Gates’ intervention acts as a timely reminder that our first responsibility is to the country we all serve.

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

12:32pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Dave Aitch says...

Richard, the phrase "Two hopes" comes to mind. One is Bob, the other No.
Richard, the phrase "Two hopes" comes to mind. One is Bob, the other No. Dave Aitch
  • Score: 1

1:21pm Fri 24 Jan 14

cosmick says...

Richard resign your seat as the MP then David may take some notice.
Richard resign your seat as the MP then David may take some notice. cosmick
  • Score: 2

3:50pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Hippyhooker says...

Well thanks to you Mr Drax voting through the gagging order you have made sure nobody can protest the cuts!
Well thanks to you Mr Drax voting through the gagging order you have made sure nobody can protest the cuts! Hippyhooker
  • Score: 2

8:06pm Fri 24 Jan 14

navelgazer says...

Since the mid-50's the greatest reductions in the armed forces have been imposed by Conservative governments.
Following their election success in 1957, the 1957 defence white paper resulted in the armed forces being halved. Perhaps the biggest impact, however, was the effect on the then world -leader status of the British aircraft industry...

The cuts under Thatcher, particularly those to the Royal Navy, persuaded Argentina that the Falklands could be invaded. Some of us remember all too well the cost in lives and life-changing injuries.

In the 1990's the Conservative government introduced 'Options for Change' ... more cuts.

In 2010 Cameron signed a 50-year cooperation treaty with the French... a sharing of resources, but inevitably a further loss of independent capacity.

Ironically, successive Labour governments have cut UK convention forces far less.... if only because they have tended want an alternative to WMDs.

So Mr Drax, if you want to see a the UK armed forces in sufficient numbers to be a capable and viable independent force, you need to stop voting for Tory governments..

And I agree with HippyHooker's assessment - and that of any number of charitable organisations (including the British Legion) - regarding your vote in support of the Gagging Order that will restrict freedom of speech that embarrasses the government.
Since the mid-50's the greatest reductions in the armed forces have been imposed by Conservative governments. Following their election success in 1957, the 1957 defence white paper resulted in the armed forces being halved. Perhaps the biggest impact, however, was the effect on the then world -leader status of the British aircraft industry... The cuts under Thatcher, particularly those to the Royal Navy, persuaded Argentina that the Falklands could be invaded. Some of us remember all too well the cost in lives and life-changing injuries. In the 1990's the Conservative government introduced 'Options for Change' ... more cuts. In 2010 Cameron signed a 50-year cooperation treaty with the French... a sharing of resources, but inevitably a further loss of independent capacity. Ironically, successive Labour governments have cut UK convention forces far less.... if only because they have tended want an alternative to WMDs. So Mr Drax, if you want to see a the UK armed forces in sufficient numbers to be a capable and viable independent force, you need to stop voting for Tory governments.. And I agree with HippyHooker's assessment - and that of any number of charitable organisations (including the British Legion) - regarding your vote in support of the Gagging Order that will restrict freedom of speech that embarrasses the government. navelgazer
  • Score: 3

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree