Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Merging forces?

The Defence Green Paper, debated today, suggests that :-
The Army, the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy could be merged into a single 'super force' .. but ... Bob Ainsworth, the defence secretary, said the structure of the Forces could be debated, but said neither Labour nor the Conservatives would go as far as abolishing any individual service

He said: “Do I think anything as radical as the disappearance of one of the services will be necessary? No I don't. But if other people want to suggest that that is up to them.” (handy bit of buck passing there)
The Mail adds a bit more, and annoys lots of readers by claiming it's to be a new 'alliance' with France  :-
[Mr Ainsworth] paved the way for greater military co-operation with France in a 21st century 'Entente Cordiale' .....
It's all most odd, because only two days ago Mr Brown told Navy they would be getting two lovely new aircraft carriers? :-
Gordon Brown will put two new aircraft carriers at the heart of his vision for the military this week as he commits Labour to billions of pounds of extra defence spending. .....
The Prime Minister will use the launch of a Green Paper on the future of the Armed Forces to promise a new generation of warships and fast jets over the coming decade. He will also guarantee an extra £1.5 billion for the war in Afghanistan, and promise to safeguard defence spending from any cuts next year. 
Mr Brown aims to display Labour commitment to the military while also forcing the Conservatives to say whether they would match such spending.
Didn't anybody tell Mr Brown what was in the Green Paper - or have the later news reports got the wrong idea?

As a sort of aside, the number of MPs who took part in the debate can be seen here on arrse but can be seen much more easily at 13th Spitfire's place.

And they tell us they care!

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