British military expenditure

With the (long, long overdue) announcement that HM Government is finally going to, begrudgingly, start spending a bit more of Defence, the Telegraph carried various articles on the subject today. I have shared a similar graph to the one they used to illustrate one of the articles previously, but I think the one used in today’s paper is well worth re-posting:

Of course, such facts and stats will not go down well with the True Believers, as it completely torpedoes their much-loved fantasises of the Boer War being the most costly war in the history of mankind, and their laughable claims that it ‘almost bankrupted the British Empire’ etc. Instead, as the graph makes clear, the cost of the war barely registers as a blip across the centuries.

Given that the shrill nonsense of the Defenders of the Myth is so easily countered by a bit of research, it really is remarkable that they keep popping up to make such wild, and unsubstantiated, claims.


  • Niall Beazley Posted April 24, 2024 9:09 am

    It is about time that the British Government spent more on defence. We are sadly lacking in depth of weapon systems and recruiting is way short of the sort of forces we would need for the defence of our Country and the aid to NATO and other forces. Whilst Russian, Chinese & North Korean governments have ben building their forces we have stood idly by reducing numbers and giving away all the advantages we had from the past seventy years.

    • Bulldog Posted April 24, 2024 12:29 pm

      Absolutely agree. It was ridiculous for Governments to be talking about ‘the Peace Dividend’ – and cutting regiments, ships and squadrons – even as they committed us to a 20 year war in Afghanistan. Defence spending should never have dropped below 4% of GDP. Even this supposed rise up to 2.5% will – I fear – not really make any impact. Rather than announcing that (for example), 10 more infantry battalions will be re-activated, 5 more RAF fast-jet squadrons would be formed, or 10 more Royal Navy escorts will be available by 2030, instead, it was all very wishy-washy talk about ‘investment’ etc. I imagine most of it will be frittered away on cushy civvie jobs at the MOD, or tipped into these epically wasteful multinational projects.
      Just look at the navy the Japanese manage to maintain on a Defence budget far smaller than ours.

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