Saturday, January 26, 2008

We can no longer afford to defend ourselves

UK defence plan hits finance snag

The turmoil in credit markets has dealt a big blow to the UK government’s defence procurement programme, putting in jeopardy plans to help fund a new fleet of Airbus tankers for the Royal Air Force with a bond issue. At a time when our armed forces are risking their lives fighting wars in Iraq and Afganistan with shoddy equipment and poor housing our government runs out of money. What a mess! Soon they will be paying the armed forces with food and clothing vouchers rather than money.

Posted by who stole my pension? @ 06:45 AM (802 views)
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11 thoughts on “We can no longer afford to defend ourselves

  • Welcome to the unintended consequences of credit contagion. I have written papers on this.

    Reply
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  • The Good News and the Bad News about Synthetic CDOs

    Evil Pension Fund Manager (EPFM but written EPMF): [Brooklyn Accent] Mr Schmo, about your pension I have some bad news and some good news.

    Joe Schmo (JS): [Looking worried] Well what’s the good news?

    EPMF: Well it’s like this. We had a little bit of a problem. We lost all your pension money. It’s gone. That’s it. And there’s nothing anyone can do.

    JS: Eh! WTF! And you say that’s they good news. How the f**k is that good news?

    EPMF: Well we still got our 10% cut.

    JS: [Ashen faced] Well what’s the bad news?

    EPMF: We need your house. Well actually it now belongs to (rustling papers) The Government of Kyrgyzstan

    JS: [Now angry] But I paid off that house with 40 years of lowly paid productive labour. I have never even HEARD of Kyrgyzstan, let alone invested there.

    EPMF: Well it’s like this: There is a group of products called CDOs which involve slicing and dicing loans. We invested in Synthetic CDOs and it turns out that MBIA and AMBAC got downgraded and now we have no insurance. So the buyers of the slices of the CDO are now on the hook for 7 times the amount they invested. So that means you and your house….. Hey! Mr Schmo!, what you doing?!….AAAAAAAARGH

    JS:[Sound of chainsaw starting] I’ll show you some slicing……………………..

    Reply
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  • Today’s Telegraph is reporting “Third of Army helicopters fit for the front line”:

    “The Tories, who obtained the figures from the Ministry of Defence, blamed Gordon Brown for the problems because he presided over a £1.4 billion cut in spending on helicopters when he was Chancellor.”

    If this keeps up it looks like the RAF will soon be joining the ranks of the unemployed. No flying machines, no RAF!

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  • @lmvreader: Nice scenario. It won’t happen though because Joe Schmo isn’t [yet] hungry and is probably too poorly educated to understand why he suffers when rich moneymen still get large bonuses.

    @Sue: A Nation gets the Armed Forces it deserves. Joe Public voted Laboour in and Labour has decimated the Armed Forces. It is nice to know that the computer systems used to track deliveries, stores and spares around the battle field has been cut – it is deemed unaffordable. Looks like Mrs Roberts [widow of Sergeant Roberts of body armour fame] will be setting up a support group soon!

    (If you feel the need to dig deeper, you could ask the MOD why £175 millions has been spent developing software to track deliveries, stores and spares around the battle field when the Army doesn’t have any computers in the battle field which can run the software. Nice one. Run a software project but don’t buy the computer-power needed to run the software!

    The level of incompetence within Government astounds ….

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  • It’s fair to state that this goverment have expected more from the armed forces whilst providing significantly less.
    The state of our armed forces has reached crunch point as was indicated by senior defence staff before Christmas.
    The equipment our armed forces are supposed to work with is actually quite embarrassing.

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  • TR

    It’s bad enough when government incompetence leaves people poorer, but it’s another matter when lives are at stake. I really feel for Mrs Roberts – it must be so much harder to come to terms with your husband’s death under these kinds of circumstance. But it’s encouraging to know that churches all over the country are praying for the safety of our guys in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m sure the casualties would be much higher otherwise.

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  • who stole my pension? says:

    The big problem is that due to the war in Iraq terrorism will increase and thus we will need our armed forces and security services more. The sad reality is that they are not equipped for this and the government will not buy the equipment they need. A lot of the army equipment is over 40 years old. This is why the soldiers use mobile phones as opposed to the “secure” communications equipment that they are issued with. Russia is also starting to look like causing trouble again. The Iraq war is a mess soldiers are getting seriously injured in large numbers yet, after risking their lives for their country, the medical and financial care they get is c**p!!!!

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  • I read somewhere that only the US spends more on defence than we do. I sometimes wonder whether we spend too much on unproven technology rather than on lots of basic equipment and people that gets the job done. The success of the AK47 springs to mind.
    The use of technology is meant to limit risk to the soldier. Is it working?

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  • The US Marine Corps (the smallest of the 4 US Armed Services) is bigger than the entire British Army.

    They have more airlift capability than the combined Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and British Army.

    You will find that the number of US “Special Forces” is a significant percentage of all our uniformed army infantry personnel.

    This is a key moment to address transformation.

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  • who stole my pension? says:

    I think the problem is the classic supply and demand. Take supply = money and demand = Iraq + Afganistan + others. While government spending may have gone up, the government is asking the army to fight more wars than ever before. So in real terms spending is down. I take the point about new technology, or waste, but we must not hold this against the front line troops. Most of the waste is in Whitehall were they have never seen the frontline. Perhaps we ought to move Westminster to Baghdad so that they can experience what is really going on!

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  • @wsmp. “Perhaps we ought to move Westminster to Baghdad..”

    Do you not realise that “christians” (i.e. non-muslims) have had to flee Iraq or face being killed?

    Oh, you do… Ah, so that’s your cunning plan to reduce public spending at Westminster and recoup your pension losses. 🙂

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