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)

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Labour to axe Defence?

The Daily Telegraph outlines what is contained within each party's manifesto. Mrs Rigby cast an eye over each one and particularly noted what each party says about Defence.

One of the things she was hoping to see was a pay rise, because she was quite shocked the other day to hear that young soldiers earn £6k less than their civilian equivalents in the Police and Fire Service.

Here are the bare bones of the manifestos from the Telegraph.

The Liberal Democrats say this about Defence
Liberal Democrats would "make the welfare of the men and women of our armed forces a priority."

Key defence policies are:
* Cancelling Eurofighter Tranche 3b
* Holding an immediate Strategic Security and Defence Review
* Ruling out the like-for-like replacement of Trident nuclear weapons system - planning to save £100bn
* Giving a pay rise to the lower ranks to bring them in link with other emergency services
* Doubling the rate of modernisation of forces' family homes
* Reducing the numbers of MoD staff and top brass officers
* Military action against Iran ruled out categorically
The Conservatives say
... their top defence priority will be to "repair the broken Military Covenant"

Specific defence policies include:
* Doubling the operational bonus for troops serving in Afghanistan
* Ensuring that Forces' families and veterans are taken care of
* Tracking and monitoring veterans' mental health after they leave the Armed Forces
* Launching a Strategic Defence Review
* Maximising efficiency in the Ministry of Defence
* Streamlining the procurement process
The SNP says this about Defence and International Affairs. They will
*Press the Government to spend 0.7 per cent of Britain’s national wealth on international aid.
*Call for armed forces personnel recruited in Scotland to be based as close to home as possible.
*A review of the UK’s military strategy and approach in Afghanistan.
*Scrap Britain’s current Trident nuclear submarines and plans for their replacement.
*Set up a Scottish Centre for Reconciliation and Conflict Resolution to promote peaceful alternatives to armed conflict.
The Labour Party has sub headings for
*Constitutional reform
*Council Tax
*Northern Rock
There is something about 'terrorism' within the 'Foreign' section - but no section entitled 'Defence'.

Mr Brown and Harriet Harman/Dromey have, if you recall, accused other parties of intending to axe services that aren't specifically mentioned within their manifestos - they have talked about bus passes, dental care, eye tests, cold weather payments and so on.

Mrs Rigby uses their own reasoning and, because there is no Defence Policy within the Labour Party's manifesto (as published in the Telegraph) she must assume that, if they win the coming election, they will axe the military and we will no longer have an Army, Navy or Air Force.

Could this be a tobacco-pipe-smoke moment?

What do you think?

Is this omission an editorial error by the Telegraph, or does Labour truly not have a Defence manifesto?


Uncle Marvo said...

Defence is under "terrorism". It's more emotive, and you can lie and cheat and hide everything behind the OSA, thus soldiers can be sent to "conflict" ill-equipped and with no comeback when they return minus a few legs and stuff, and bent completely out of shape.

Mrs Rigby said...

It might be, but it doesn't say anything!