the uk military burden

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"The Ministry of Defence's Spending Review 2002 is excellent news for defence. It represents the biggest sustained real increase in defence spending plans for 20 years." (MOD information)

 British government military expenditure
  2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06
 £million £34,875 £36,930 £38,083 £39,659
 misplaced priorities

"No conventional military threats to the UK are likely to emerge over the period to 2030. Whilst the Argentine claim to the Falklands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands remains a national cause, recent elected Governments of Argentina have eschewed a claim by force. There are no current or emerging military threats to our Overseas Territories, although we need to retain the ability to defend those territories, even if no threat is predictable."
The Future Strategic Context for Defence MOD 2003


The question to ask is why is there such a big increase in military expenditure when the threat to the UK is so insignificant?
The government's answer will be that it must prepare for all eventualities. Certainly preparing for some eventualities is sensible but there may be different ways of preparing for them or even trying to forestall them. Having an arsenal bristling with the latest weapons may make some people comfortable, but it will make others anxious and just as dangerously tempt the owner to use them for their advantage whether threatened or not.

 Government Expenditure by Function as % of GDP

Source: Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses 2002-2003