Saturday, 22 December 2012

An original thought of defence

It is Christmas yet once again. It is a festive season. I quite enjoy it and always have. I think it is fair to say that I used to enjoy it a lot more. But fret not, I shall take pleasure in being with my family and friends as much as I ever have. Perhaps it will be different this year though, perhaps we might finally reach that crescendo where we realise that lo and behold we already have so much junk in our tiny houses that we really do not need more of it courtesy of the consumer society that we live in. Would it not be nice if we could give away happiness and joy instead of iPods and jewellery. Naturally I realise that this is an inimical part of capitalism but to me at least it seems that we have so much stuff these days that we simply do not need more.

But I digress. My thoughts are on defence. The defence budget is shrinking and this is sad and bad - but does it really matter? The first duty of the state is to protect the people under its aegis. To protect their values and cherish their believes and way of life. A budget must reflect its people. Certainly the welfare budget does. But, maybe, just maybe, the budget is a true reflection of our country these days. The budget is decreased because there is less to defend and protect, not physical things, but abstract concepts like 'family' or 'afternoon tea'. As these concepts continue to crumble then can we really be so surprised that the MoD is reducing the budget, after all, what is there to protect anymore? Our right to binge drink, to not participate in democracy, to shun work?


James Higham said...

perhaps we might finally reach that crescendo where we realise that lo and behold we already have so much junk in our tiny houses

Post coming up on it myself. Yes, it's time to examine what we're doing.

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember that in the glorious days of Good Queen Bess, when the Spaniels sent their galleys out in force, to conquer the Good Queen's domaines, she looked around and found that she didn't have any navy to speak of. So every available shipcaptain was roped in and these good chaps, after a promise that money would change hands, set out merrily to meet the foe, with results we all know about. Then, practically the day after the armada disappeared into the North Sea, the good queen paid off her captains. In effect, sacked the lot of them, to save money.
So. What's new about history.(*)
(*) This is new. Nowadays things happen faster.
I hope one of your resident historians can set me right on the above.

Anonymous said...

Britain has always, historically, had small armed forces. We had a small standing army during our wars with the French following their (leftist) revolution in 1789. The Royal Navy was the shield of the nation during those days and was appropriately funded - unlike today.
We reacted to the outbreak of the first world war with a very small standing army, backed up by a well equipped and trained territorial army. Of course, we ramped up our response very quickly and in the end somewhat more than 5 million men served in the armed forces. However, we were able to do this because we had one of the worlds' largest industrial and financial bases and could enlist the might of British industry and their supporting financiers.
We are clearly not in this position now and, should a major conflict break out, which Britain has no choice but to join (e.g. the need to protect energy supplies), we will be finished.
You cannot create armed forces in the blink of an eye. I once watched a TV documentary where they took 20 young blokes and trained them to be basic infantrymen. It can be done in six weeks. So, assuming we have enough regular, reserve and territorial army experience to train lots of young people, we could, perhaps, train a reasonably effective army of, say, 500,000 in six to 9 weeks. However, can we properly arm and equip that many people?
Furthermore, we probably do not have enough tanks, armoured personnel carriers and transport aircraft and vessels to move them anywhere and for them to fight as a concentrated, effective and cohesive fighting force.
The RAF requires its personnel to undergo significantly more and extensive training because it operates equipment and systems that are more complex and require more practice and experience before users become effective. To some degree, of course, the army also has complicated systems and equipment and those soliders would require more time and effort. As far as I know, the RAF also do not have a ready reserve of aircraft and equipment tucked way anywhere (the government being rather too keen on scrapping or selling aircraft as soon as they go out of service). The navy is in a similar position and does not have a reserve of vessels which it could fill with personnel.
In essence, the UK is in the same position as we were pre-industrial revolution: we have limited industrial capacity and could not create a very large military response.
As a nation I believe we are presently doomed to fail and will have to suffer a serious and existential threat (probably internal) before we get our act together. That will probably happen in the next 50 to 100 years and it will be another half century or more before the nation is brought around and the people who are left return to common sense. Of course, that depends on what type of culture wins the coming civil war(s?) and what our society becomes in the next 100 years.
I am certainly not convinced that the world will get ever more peaceful. On current evidence (not Mainstream Media evidence, but real evidence) there are plenty of cultures and societies that are more than happy to use force and violence to get their way. It is an old technique and it works particularly well on soft, liberal societies who have, currently, lost the will to survive or to defend their way of life.
We are like Rome before the final decline of the western Roman empire (the Byzantine (eastern empire) continued until the overthrow of that empire in 1453 by our peaceful religious friends,the Muslims).
Cameron and the Tories are Cultural Marxists, but they do not know it because they have been indoctrinated within a system that enveloped them at University and in their formative political years. They are simply continuing to implement the programme instructions that the Soviets injected in to the west during the cold war.