I was amused to hear the interview with the ex Secretary for Defense in America, Robert Gates, telling UKOK that he was disappointed with it for its cuts in military spending. Mind you in fairness he said that he was disappointed in the cuts in military spending in the USA too.
He said that UKOK could always be relied upon to be the US’s stooge, erm partner, in whatever it felt it had to do around the world, but recent cuts meant that it was no longer an all-rounder and was therefore letting the US down.
He was particularly concerned that for the first time since the Great War, UKOK didn’t have an aircraft carrier (although I thought that they had some sort of agreement with the French to borrow one of theirs). He felt too that UKOK should keep its weapons of mass destruction.
I can see his concern. If you’ve been used to being able to send a set of foreigners to do your dirty work, at their expense and at their government’s unpopularity, and all you had to do was agree that your president would be seen smiling at, or with his arm around, the client state’s first minister, then it must come as a bit of a shock, especially in these hard times, when that service is no longer available to you.
Mr Gates pointed out that the special relationship would be likely to be damaged by these cuts. So touching! A deep friendship entirely reliant upon UKOK punching way above its weight and doing as it is bid.
I don’t know if Mr Gates has taken into consideration the fact that UKOK’s ministry of warfare is having a hell of a job recruiting people. Massive recruitment programmes are ongoing at the moment, at the same time as the MoD is paying off people 3 days before their pension becomes mature (leaving them in redundancy with a part paid pension plan). So not only is there a shortage of ships, but there is a shortage of personnel too.
The MoD recently had to write off £6.7 million on an online recruitment scheme and has admitted that it is costing the taxpayer £1 million a month to pay for staff to fill in while new software is sourced…
It’s not that long ago since the long-faced millionaire Hammond, said that an independent Scotland would not be able to recruit anyone for its armed forces, because they would be small, pathetic, and only good for Chinese tourists to snap pictures of, standing outside Edinburgh Castle.
Hammond, it seems, is another failure of a minister who comes to Scotland and blows off about something he knows nothing about and then goes back to his own place to make even more of a mess.
Strangely, there was no one from the MoD, least of all Hammond himself, available for comment this morning for the Today programme. However (and you’ll love this) the department did issue a statement saying that UKOK still had the fourth largest military spend in the world, and after the USA (of course) its troops continue to be the best trained and the best equipped in the entire universe.
Tell that to the lads who had to buy their own kit, share body armour, and use their own mobile phones for communication.