Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The SDSR: Another Magnificent LibDem Triumph?

Here's an extract of an email sent out today by the President of the Liberal Democrats, Baroness Ros Scott.

Today, within the Strategic Defence Review, the Coalition Government announced
that there will be no final decision on the like-for-like replacement of Trident
during this parliament. So Trident will not be renewed this parliament - not on
a Liberal Democrat watch. Let us be clear, this is a significant victory for
Liberal Democrat campaigners, and a fantastic example of what our Ministers can
and do achieve in government.

But the Coalition Government is not just saying no to replacing Trident this parliament. It is going further. It is also taking important steps towards the goal of multilateral nuclear disarmament. The announcement today sees a 25% cut in warheads.

Today is yet another day that we can all feel hugely proud to be a party of government, delivering key Liberal Democrat priorities.

Anyone think she's slightly overplaying her hand on this? Or as a Conservative do you feel slightly queasy this evening? To me there's something deeply odd about these defence cuts. They seem radical, and yet we're only seeing a real terms cut in the defence budget of 2% a year.


Richard Manns said...

Cute. It's as if she thinks that extending Trident for a little longer somehow gets rid of them.

Still, maybe wilful misinterpretation is cheaper in policy terms than actual policies, when it comes to keeping the more rabid LibDems on board...

Anonymous said...

You are getting a little carried away - the LDs need to talk up their involvement in the coalition.
We have no need to start replacing Trident yet Mr Dale and in any event we cannot afford to.

People will need a reason to vote LD as opposed to labour in the next election.

What this shambles we are facing at the moment shows is that labour should be kept away from government at all costs; did you see what a bunch of arseholes they have on their front bench? Lets leave the LDs to their propaganda.

dazmando said...

As a lib dem I was surprised to see this in my email box. And so soon too. I think this is over egged.

Tcheuchter said...

"Or as a Conservative do you feel slightly queasy this evening?"

As a conservative I stopped voting Conservative in 1997.

Nigel said...

There's nothing particularly odd about the defense review. Most of the strange choices (cf the carrier purchases) were made in long ago.

What is truly weird is the apparent belief of the previous government that they could put off any strategic review time after time over a number of years, while committing the MOD to vastly expensive pork barrel contracts (many of which were designed to benefit Scottish constituencies), without having any deleterious effects on the nation's defense.

We're in a bad place - and this is about as good as could be hoped for. (And I'm no fan of Liam Fox.)

John said...

Today is yet another day that we can all feel hugely proud to be a party of government, delivering key Liberal Democrat priorities.

"yet another day..." means there were previous days, plural, when we were hugely proud.

These must have all slipped my memory.

Unknown said...

I think it was bloody impossible to get this one right.
Previous governments have made such a mess of defence procurement.

Someone has to take long term decisions about defence spending but political pressure will always make them make the wrong decisions.

Unknown said...

I wish there was some evidence of a serious defence review instead of just a financial review that got rearranged whenever the top brass got too heated.

God help us if anyone tries to challenge us in the next ten years.

Boo said...

reducing warheads, isn't necessary a bad thing. Providing you are improving the warheads that remain. There is a problem with the non-proliferation treaty, but it has been talked about as a way of reducing stockpiles of warheads without limiting our ability to destroy the planet.

More accurate and effective weapons means fewer required to hit their mark. Unlike the soviets who got round accuracy issues by building a bigger bomb.

Unknown said...

Cuts. All the cuts are bogus. The structural deficit will not be touched. Spending will remain higher than it was in 2008 (pre-stimulus), and will continue to rise through the parliament.

What is shocking about the defence review, is (1) spending billions on an aircraft carrier for it to be mothballed on completion, (2) building aircraft carriers but not having the aircraft to go on them, and (3) scrapping Nimrod planes just as the first one has been delivered. Shocking waste of money that someone should be hung for.

Realistically the country spends too much on defence, and after this review will continue to do so. We should be spending a more realistic proportion of GDP on defence - more in line with Germany, Italy and Netherlands - rather than trying to keep up with the Chinese and Russians. If these crackpot despotic regimes want to play geopolitics with the Americans let them, it is not for us to be wasting money on.

Gareth said...

There is a method to the madness.

The mutually assured destruction doctrine relied on ICBMs and SLBMs that carry multiple warheads. These days a rogue state or a really desperate measure of using nuclear bombs to blast bunkers to bits doesn't require 6/8/10 warheads being lobbed into space and landing them on an entire nation. It is a waste.

We used to have nuclear missiles or bombs for our aeroplanes but I think they were decommissioned about 10 years ago. The future may well be a mix of submarine launched multiple warhead missiles (quite possibly the French M51) and nuclear tipped cruise missiles (which could be on submarines, boats, launched by air or wherever else.) Fewer warheads overall but more actual nuclear weapons could be the result.

Anthony Trew said...

Have you seen this blog?


Very funny, though a bit scary too...

davidc said...

carriers with no aircraft, the fleet with no air cover once out to sea

let us hope news of this inspired piece of defence thinking doesn't tempt the Argentinians to cast covertous eyes on the falklands again otherwise we will have to try and hire some roro ferry's and get hms victoria back into service

Will Sheward said...

The reduction in the number of missiles and warheads I can live with. LibDems getting excited I can live with.

We all know that this wasn't (by necessity) a strategic defence review and there won't be one until current deployment is over. That I can also live with. The real decisions are in 5 years time when we have to decide if we're firefighters (short term intervention) or construction workers (sidekicks in longterm nation building projects).

The former will require a power projection ability (and as we have the carriers, we might as well make use of them), the later less so.

And for one last time, we won't have the new large carriers without aircraft - 1st carrier and JSF will arrive at pretty much the same time. Few people seem to realise just how clever Fox has been here. He's made it not only possible we'll end up with 2 (which we need if we want one in service) but likely given the way they're being brought into service.