Security cannot be protected through military means aloneby Emily Thornberry / June 8, 2016 / Leave a comment
If there’s a campaign equivalent of the silly season, for me it reached a peak when one of the papers carried the headline: “EU army plans kept secret from voters” last month. Even the article itself showed this was complete nonsense. There was no such plan, nothing was being kept secret, and that none of it had anything to do with a so-called “EU army.”
That didn’t stop the Brexiteers though. Conservative MP Liam Fox suggested that the EU was trying to “weaken NATO and undermine our security,” echoing what has become a depressingly familiar refrain in recent weeks. Of course, the “Leave” campaign concentrates on such issues because they do not want to talk about the economy, yet it is precisely the economic impact of Brexit on our nation’s defences that should worry them the most.
The government has committed to a defence budget that is based on a percentage of GDP—two per cent, to be exact. This would buy a great deal less in a post-Brexit economy than it does today.
In a worst-case scenario, cuts could be imposed on a scale last seen in 2010, when the Strategic Defence and Security Review enacted an 8 per cent real-terms cut to the Ministry of Defence’s budget which led to a 20-30 per cent reduction in our military capabilities according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies.