Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Now what will a Con-Lib coalition mean for defence?

Finally the election is over so maybe we can get back to normal. A Con-Lib coalition is what we have got, i did vote for one of the two parties in the coalition so am reasonably happy. Trident will be secured (though apparently will be looked at for value for money), personally i wanted it scrapped (so that might give away which of the coalition i did vote for?)

I thought it would be interesting to look at the two manifestos from the coalition parties and see if we can glean any common ground with respect to defence policy. First of all the Conservative manifesto stated :
  • a system of regular defence reviews
  • replacing Trident with like
  • 25% savings in the running of the MOD
  • NATO not the EU being the cornerstone of defence policy
  • improves bonuses, treatment and after-care for serving service personnel
And from the Liberal Democrat manifesto :
  • hold an immediate defence review
  • review all major projects, Typhoon Tranche 3B would not be procured
  • not replace Trident with a like for like
  • improve co-operation with the French and EU
  • improved pay, conditions for service personnel
There are other items for both but these are the key points. As can be seen there are some areas of overlap and some where the two parties are immediately opposed. We can expect a strategic defence review pretty soon and probably budget cuts but that was a given considering the economic difficulties. Co-operating more with the French and EU is probably not incompatible with remaining strong in NATO (as most countries in NATO are in the EU after all).

In the end the true determinant of where the shared defence policy will stand will be how much money is in the wallet and that could be pretty frugal for some time.

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