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The Daily Telegraph’s campaign for high military spending has gathered momentum. Conservative backbenchers, retired generals and some Labour MPs have backed calls to keep “defence spending” at 2% of GDP. Last week, in a Commons debate attended by very few MPs, the majority of those who bothered to turn up voted in favour of the proposal.
Ninety-nine years ago today (2 March 1916), every unmarried man aged between 18 and 41 in England, Scotland and Wales was “deemed to have enlisted” in the armed forces. It was only a few months before another act was passed, extending conscription to married men.
What is security?
If your family is going hungry because your benefits have been cut, security might mean knowing that you have enough to eat. But Prime Minister David Cameron wants to make you secure by renewing the Trident nuclear weapons system at a cost of £100 billion.
The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is generally considered a 'slow news' period by the media, as not much is happening (in reality of course, lots of things are happening; just not the sort of things that most editors tend to consider newsworthy). The week, however, is always livened up by the release of government papers under the 30-year rule. Government documents from 1985 have just entered the public domain.
My radio alarm clock woke me this morning with the news that the USA’s former defence secretary, Robert Gates, has criticised the cuts that are being made to military spending in the UK.
Last year, I visited the Judean desert and met with people who used a water pipe funded by UK aid money. Before the pipe was fitted, the villagers often had to go ten days without a bath. Now they can bathe every three days. They are also better able to water their vegetables and feed their livestock. The aid money has thus made them more independent, not less.