There was an interesting article in Warships monthly this month, even Parliament has noticed and is starting to get concerned. The chair of the Commons Defence Committee (Conservative MP DR Julian Lewis) remarked on the start contrast between UK Spending on Defence and other areas. Apparently its 4 times on health and about tow and a half times on education that we now spend on defence. We arent even really doing 2 percent of GDP. Its only 2 percent after the Government rejigged the books to include military pensions and overseas aid spending. In fairness, we DO seem to have a pretty good Defence Secretary at long last. But such is the obsession with austerity over everything else, one has to question how much good that is.
Look, I dont like defence companies playing the same silly games Boeing played over Airbus. It smacks of commercialism when you should be putting the country first. But looking at it from BAE's position, they have been a good supplier to the MOD for a long time. And until we start recognizing we really need to be throwing bones to our own industry to maintain capabilities, they are going to evaporate, and that I think in a period when our alliances look less certain than ever is not a direction we are going in. 20 years ago we knew what alliances we would have 15 years hence. Today, im not sure we even know what alliances we are going to have next year, or at least not ones we can rely on.
We still should procure Boxer because its necessary, and as it happens, unavoidable in the time scale we need it. But its a situation that really could have been completely avoided by multiple Governments.