And how many of you were then dismayed to discover he wants the money needed to safeguard defence spending to be taken from the social security budget?
In an interview with the Telegraph, Hammond said the “first priority” must be “defending the country and maintaining law and order” and that further defence cuts are not possible while meeting stated security objectives.
How many of you find that statement extremely sinister?
What does he mean by “defending the country”? It is hard to reconcile this with the defence of every citizen within the UK, because his desire for social security cash (Tories only call it “welfare” because it’s an Americanism and a term that allows them to look down on people in receipt of benefits) makes it clear he has no interest in society’s poorest.
Let’s take it that he means the armed forces must be able to defend Conservative business interests instead. That seems far more likely, especially when one goes on to his next assertion, that the armed forces must be capable of “maintaining law and order”.
He thinks there will be civil unrest.
Hammond is not the only one to have such concerns – Labour’s Baroness Meacher made a statement along similar lines. The difference is that, it seems, he wants to use the armed forces to make sure such troubles are quelled.
Hammond says rising levels of employment mean savings could be made from benefit budgets. This is a clever manipulation of a situation that we all know is not what it seems – for example, 200,000 of the million new jobs the Coalition claims to have brought into existence were re-classified education posts, moved from the public to the private sector. Who knows how many people on Mandatory Work Activity schemes have been knocked off the benefit books, even though they are still paid only Jobseekers’ Allowance?
He is set to announce future plans for army bases – where troops returning to the UK will be barracked. In the light of the fact that cuts to the number of personnel in the armed forces have already been announced, one contributor to the Vox Political Facebook page has already raised a question about what uses may be found for those buildings that may be left empty.
“I have an idea,” she wrote. “Why not put all us scroungers into the empty barracks, and turn them into a modern day workhouses? Thats the way it’s headed!”