Did you know…

… that in order for the British Armed Forces to remain legal Parliament has to pass an annual Continuation Order of the Armed Forces Act 2006?  It’s a practice that seems to have its seeds in James II, the Glorious Revolution & the 1689 Bill of Rights where Parliament wrested control of the Army from the King.  It was laid down that there should be no standing army in peacetime without the consent of Parliament, hence, the annual Continuation Orders.

In 2005 there was an attempt by Blair’s government to abolish the requirement for annual renewal  and rely instead on primary legislation every five years.  A report from the Defence Select Committee at that time makes clear their objections  and includes an appended response from the Secretary of State for Defence at that time, none other than John Reid .

Be that as it may, what triggered my curiosity was THIS article in today’s DT.

“… reserves will take a significant role in front-line operations at the expense of up to 5,000 regular soldiers… the MoD is asking the Treasury for £150 million a year of extra funding for the TA to cover the oost of additional recruitment, training and equipment… The review was set up last year after ministers ducked out of plans to make deep cuts in the TA.”

Now, that just doesn’t make sense.  It would be ludicrous to take money away from the professionals in order to bolster training and numbers in a part-time force and some of the comments towards the end of the article make this clear.   However, it can’t be only cost-cutting that’s behind this Review – because there are no savings.  It seems, to me at least, to be ideologically-driven, something thrown up for debate to see how the wind blows.

Fewer full-time professionals and more part-time reservists would fall in with current thinking about re-structuring the Armed Forces across Europe (Germany recently ended conscription and is reducing numbers). What country could possibly need its own independent Standing Armed Forces when we could all just rally round the EUGendFor flag?  Something’s not quite right and I’ve got an uneasy-queasy feeling.


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