(Ainsworth addresses the Commons in December 2009 on defence cuts. He might have said "I've done some sums, and they don't add up. But don't worry, I'm not going to be here after the election to worry about that.")
Apologies for the lack of postings from here at SRM HQ - I've been very busy and, as they say, all will be revealed shortly. Thus, it is with apologies that this follow up to part one has been delayed - but here we are now.
The figures are stark: the UK MoD is broke, and despite the cuts from the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) that we've discussed here and here before, there are reasonable grounds to assume that there are more cuts to come. Indeed, whilst Liam Fox told Parliament on 18 July 2011 that the defence budget was "broadly in balance", it must be assumed that "broadly in balance" actually means "not actually in balance, so more cuts are required".
But this is not news. Indeed, prior to the 2010 election, Labour belated recognized that they'd blown the budget. This was made powerfully clear in Bernard Gray's report, which famously described the budget as undeliverable under any likely future budget. This was demonstrated in his chart on p. 94:
(Not ever going to work)
Moreover, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has made clear that Labour will accept the Coalition's cuts, meaning that Jim Murphy and his team need to meet the same challenge as the Government - find £74bn over ten years to balance the defence budget. And that will mean a proper discussion of what the UK is going to do with it's place in the world, setting the Government's aspirations, and then providing the budget to cover them.
Jim Murphy, over to you....