Bombs not food: Labour backs massive Tory military budget

A fighter plane
Joe Glenton

Labour has backed a gigantic war budget hike announced by the Tory government. The reported £16.5bn will go on ships and new technology like cyber warfare, artificial intelligence, and space capabilities.

It is said to be the biggest single increase in military funding since the Thatcher era:

Labour quickly backed the move while offering mild criticism about spending priorities. In a press release, shadow defence minister John Healey said:

This signals a welcome and long overdue upgrade to Britain’s defences after a decade of decline.

Financial experts, meanwhile, were quick to point out that it’s a great time to buy stocks in global arms firms like BAE Systems.

Ships, cyber, and laser guns

Some cash will be spent on traditional military equipment like ships, with Johnson telling the Telegraph:

If there is one policy which strengthens the UK in every possible sense, it is building more ships for the Royal Navy

But much is likely to go into new technology like cyber, artificial intelligence, and space warfare, according to some reports. New laser guns are also said to be in the pipeline.

Defence minister Ben Wallace claimed:

This is excellent news for Defence, and provides us with the financial certainty we need to modernise, plan for the future and adapt to the threats we face.

Bombs not food

The news comes in the midst of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which has highlighted food poverty in the UK.

In his announcement, Johnson said it was a matter of priorities:

I have taken this decision in the teeth of the pandemic because the defence of the realm must come first.

But Labour backing the vast new war budget might surprise some people.

After all, a Labour line of attack against the Tories has been government mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic and the party has partly endorsed the campaign by Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford to extend free school meals outside of term times:

National Children’s Bureau head Anna Feuchtwang told the Guardian: 

If the government can find significant extra funds for defence then surely they can find money for children in crisis. It’s appalling that hard-pressed families have to rely on food banks to get by, and that the services that might stop them spiralling into further crisis are being cut year-on-year with local authorities facing bankruptcy.

We need the government to take seriously its responsibility to the next generation and have a proper strategy for investing in children.

Welfare not warfare

Other campaign groups and anti-war organisations also slammed the decision.

Campaign Against Arms Trade said:

For far too long, UK security policy has been focused on military solutions, foreign wars of aggression and hypocritical and dangerous partnerships with human rights abusing regimes. These policies have caused a great deal of damage and have done nothing to keep us safe from many of the biggest threats, such as pandemics and climate change.

The government should reconsider its priorities. Our security is not advanced by throwing money at the military. It is strengthened by building fairer societies that support the most vulnerable, and by investing in our public services.

Free school meals for 53 years

Peace Pledge Union pointed out that the same money could fund free school meals for 53 years. Stop the War Coalition started a petition calling for the money to go towards dealing with the pandemic:

Calls for a big investment in military technology were first raised by the top general Nick Carter. As The Canary reported at the time, he started publicly lobbying for a bigger budget started on Remembrance Day.

But the fact that Johnson has approved this massive budget hike and that Labour is seemingly willing to back it, speaks volumes about the real priorities of both parties.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. Yet again if we bomb there be a bigger influx of refugees has of us bombing their countries more moaning with those pointing out those escaping their countries has of it while I applaud giving our services more monies their wages are the lowest of the low yet it looks like our governments haven’t learned

    2. Russian (Steve Topples paymaster) and Chinese aggression has increased massively in the last decades. It’s not about party priorities, it’s about living in the real world.
      Thankfully Trump has pursued a non interventionist policy and is withdrawing the troops that warhawks Bush and Obama filled the Middle East with, but the world is still a hostile place.

      1. Any specific examples of Chinese or Russian aggression increasing rapidly?
        Or are you just another Sun reader troll who spouts the regular bile?
        Have you ever visited Russia or China to find out why this alleged aggression against the UK might be occurring?
        I wonder why the UK would allow such a hostile state such as China build our new Nuclear Power Stations that’s a very odd decision don’t you think?
        Or have you conveniently forgotten about that? Do research before you put your right shoe in your mouth.

    3. I didn’t leave Labour they deserted me and the shared values we had.

      Have you noticed that if you are not a war mongering psychopath then you must be in the Russian pay roll ? As someone that has spent time in Russia both before and after the communist times I can tell you that Putin is not a communist nor a war monger. Now lets look at how many countries on Russia’s border and beyond have nukes aimed at Moscow and then look at how many countries the “allies” including the Yankee invaders and UKainia have bombed the crap out of in the name of democracy and bringing better conditions for the population when all they do is rape torture and plunder.

    4. Defense of the realm comes first “circa 1759” is about how modern this is. As the world degenerates from not dealing with climate change it will be “Until death do us part” along with the planet, and our “concept” of civilization brought about by military conquest.
      No courage here. A Death Culture ignoring all the attributes of civilization we have gained in two centuries in spite of the wars which has nothing to do with this philosophy.
      Soon everyone else including its own populace becomes the emeny as their psychosis deepens into their vision.
      Spycops!
      Its turning upon its own populace, and refusing any alternative direction. This is pure aggressionas seeking to go on the offensive.
      Starmer is right there, and their Man to mold the Labour Party into conformity with this death philosophy.
      As Piet Hein wrote in the 50’s the poem of the nuclear arms race ,and its consequences.
      The True Defense
      the only defense
      that is more than defense
      is to act on the fact
      that there is no defense.

      That is the Question
      another poem about this “death becomes you” social crowd and is its glorious desires.

      Co-existence
      or no existence.
      Bertrand Russel had a lot say about this desire of the Death Culture in his book Common Sense, and Nuclear Warfare written in 1959.
      This pecular narrow military mind seems oblivious to the fate of our the planet.
      Thanks goodness for the courage of Joe Glendon who has been a soldier to write this article.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.