chapter  6
12 Pages

The Politics of Defence

Introduction Defence has always been deeply ingrained with political sensitivities. Past administrations have often been bracketed by their most notable defence failures or the wars they have fought. Anthony Eden is remembered for the Suez debacle and Margaret Thatcher for the Falklands War and Westland Saga. While this might appear to be a relatively crude justification for the role of politics in defence, at a deeper level defence has a far more significant impact. Margaret Thatcher would include the reduction in the size of the Civil Service and the wide-scale privatisation of state-owned industry among her long-term achievements, both of which had a significant impact upon defence.l More significantly, in an age of finite resources, the cost of defence precludes or alters spending in other areas which also have political implications.