One of the Conservative party’s most influential voices on defence has conceded that Britain can no longer be regarded as a “division-one military power”, and raised questions over the sense of replacing the Trident nuclear fleet with a new generation of missile-launching submarines.
James Arbuthnot, the veteran chairman of the defence select committee and a former defence minister, told the Guardian that funding cuts over the last three years had made it impossible for the UK to retain its status in the top tier of global armed forces.
“Good Lord, Holmes! Can this be true? Have the British establishment finally admitted that they can no longer rule the waves?”
“No one in their right mind wants to live in some soggy seaport in Scotland, Watson. They want to be in a more civilized part of the world. England. Cheltenham. Or to be more precise, one of those agreeable Cottswold villages.”