16 October 2010

Rule Ruritania

"A triumph for Liam Fox" pants ConHome's Tory Diary. This great victory, it seems, has been in keeping the cut in overall defence spending below 10 percent. Not, on the face of it, a remarkable achievement in a nation that has seen defence spending reduce in real terms over the past ten years, despite being at war

But really - triumph? Are they kidding? Cameron has had to step in to stop the bitch-slapping between MoD and the Treasury. Fox has proved to be the least well prepared of all the secretaries of state,* and has totally failed to win the respect of his department, evidence of which has been tsunami of leaks emerging from the MoD.

If Cameron does not get rid of Fox as soon as possible after a defence spending review that has had nothing to do with strategy, and has degenerated into a very public exercise in deeply disloyal horse-trading between the service chiefs, then his own prestige as prime minister will take a hit.

Historically, nations do not reform their armed services until they suffer defeat. Well, our land forces have been defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan, and even the generous air support given by the Americans has failed to compensate for the total inadequacy of the RAF.

But that's not the British way, old chap. The only victory our host of laughably be-ribboned and be-spangled top brass can proclaim after seven years of war is yet another resounding defeat of the concept of value for money.

*Fatty Clarke appears to be winging it at Justice, but he clearly does not give a shit and is playing it for laughs.

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