Last week, Douglas appeared on Channel 4’s Dispatches to discuss the failures of the Ministry of Defence budget. The programme, “How the MoD wastes our billions”, examined whether the British taxpayer and British troops are getting value for money from the department.
Amongst other issues, the programme investigated the provision of poor equipment for British troops. The majority of this equipment is supplied by a few privileged suppliers, effectively making the arms industry one of the last state-subsidised industries left in the U.K.
Douglas says, “I don’t really see how those like me, on the centre right, who believe in choice and competition, can really square that believe in choice and competition to raise standards, with what is going on with defence procurement. It’s a form of irrational economic insanity, but the price we’re paying is not simply that there’s an industry that is not made as efficient as it should be. The price is paid by our armed forces- that’s what makes this so outrageous”.
“When I hear politicians talking about the fact that if we ended some of these contracts there would be job losses- I want to turn around and ask those people, do they really think that the primary purpose of our defence budget is a job creation scheme? Because if it is, I think they should go out to Afghanistan and explain that to our soldiers”.