The General Election result wasn’t what was expected when it was called, but can’t really be considered a surprise following the lacklustre campaign waged by the Conservatives.
We are where we are and what does it mean for defence?
I cannot bring myself to be anything other than gloomy about the prospects. The subject was barely mentioned during the campaign apart from the, now perennial, issue about the Labour Leader’s attitude to Trident. The Defence Secretary was interviewed quite frequently, but spoke very little about defence as he was considered to be one of the few ministers trusted to talk about anything.
At least HMS Queen Elizabeth is now at sea, but initial reports that money will have to be saved elsewhere to keep her there are not exactly encouraging, especially as the second carrier is not far behind.
Once again, it highlights the total nonsense of the 2% figure. I have spoken of this before, but it makes no sense whatsoever to restrict defence spending to a fixed figure. Money might be short but the Defence of the Kingdom has to be paramount and not based on the smallest figure NATO could get away with as a target for its members.
There are severe gaps in the capability of all our Armed Forces. These are glaring to those who know about defence and should have the government worried, but nothing seems to get through to those in power who quietly hope that nobody will notice that promising equipment in a few years time is hardly going to provide solid defence in the meantime.
So the answer to my question is: “no, it doesn’t”.
UKNDA has got to play a leading role in bringing the dire defence situation to the attention of both the General Public and the politicians who represent them.