The taming of the shrew

Keith Hudson

It was amusing to see Michael Fallon, our Defence Minister, being questioned on the Alan Marr Show this morning.  Amusing, but also highly instructive as to how skilfully an experienced politician . . . can evade answering the real nub of a question — the main one being “Are you going to raise Defence spending?”.

Before the Election, he was the most persistent voice saying that this country must keep to its European commitment to spend at least 2% of its government spending on defence.  So, of course, David Cameron appointed him Defence Minister, whereupon at the first opportunity the Treasury department officials told Fallon in no uncertain terms that there was no way that the armed services were going to be given any more money to spend on equipment that was suitable for fighting previous wars.  Since then Fallon hasn’t said a single word about spending 2% on defence.

It’s another sign that warfare between advanced countries will no longer be by means of expensive physical equipment but subtleties of competitive taxation in order to attract units of large multinational corporations to set up shop in one’s own country and thereby offer employment and bring in export earnings.

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