BORIS JOHNSON’S announcement that the Ministry of Defence will get £16.5 billion extra over the next four years — a 10 per cent increase in the arms budget — gives a simple message: the government would rather spend money on the possibility of a future war than the reality of our health and education.
If nurses are being offered no real pay rise after inflation but the money for rockets and bombs is going up, then the lesson is obvious.
The government thinks the “strength of the nation” is in fighter jets and tanks.
But our “national security” is really about making the people of the nation secure — about having decent housing, food for our kids, welfare services, education and so on.
Johnson is making a simple calculation that the chance of warfare is more important than the reality of welfare.
But there are also other figures in the sums. Increasing the money spent on “defence” also means that billions will bleed out to favoured arms firms, often for poorly working kit and systems.
But those corporations use some of that money to hire key insiders. The arms industry is a bit of a racket.
Take, for example, Babcock. It started life as a big heavy-engineering firm. But since the 1990s it has moved to being more and more a military “service” company, making most of its £5 billion a year from “supporting” the armed forces.
Babcock runs the Rosyth naval docks in Scotland and relies on fitting and servicing Royal Navy warships and submarines