Defence spending

The United Kingdom spends (when you count on the basis of its population numbers) the fourth largest amount on “defence” of any country in the world. It is not as though the United Kingdom has a far flung empire which it wants to defend. There are odd pockets of colonial territory which other nations wish to acquire, but these odd pockets do not justify a massive defence expenditure. The United Kingdom is bound by treaties to various organisations which provide for mutual defence and as far as I know there are no nations seeking to invade the United Kingdom nor are there likely to be any in the foreseeable future.

Once nations start spending money on any matter, it is very hard for them to get out of the habit of making such expenditure. This applies not just on defence spending but also on spending, on health, welfare education and all the other heads of expenditure that governments have in respect of the taxes that they collect from their electorates. Some classes of expenditure can be cut or even wholly removed because politically it is possible so to do. In the United Kingdom expenditure on some matters – take justice for example,- can be drastically pruned with very little political damage being suffered to those who yield the secateurs.  Try to take the pruning shears to “defence” and you discover that the plant to be pruned bites back.

The United Kingdom is not the fourth wealthiest nation in the world on a per capita basis or indeed on any other basis. It is not appropriate that it should spend the huges sumes it spends on military matters and it seems to be that many items of defence expenditure can be safely cut without endangering our population or its wealth.


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